The Wandering Palate

A family’s food truck feeds Mattituck.

Last winter, Alex Apparu decided to turn an old Mac Tools truck into a complete mobile kitchen. He stripped the inside bare of its pegboard and shelves, and then trolled the Bowery for a range, a deep fryer, reach-in refrigerators, a three-basin sink and a generator.

Certification from the health department came next, and, in keeping with the food-truck explosion across the nation (including Edible’s own Food Truck Derby on August 10), Apparu was now in possession of a compact, fully equipped commercial kitchen on wheels.

At first he drove it from beach to beach, using social media to attract customers. Soon he was showing up at wineries to make lunch for the tasting crowd. That led to catering gigs, and the Wandering Palate was born, the name reflecting not only the peregrinations of the truck, but of Apparu himself and his culinarily skilled family—mother, father and four children, including Alex, are all cooks—who had spent their formative years in Corsica before moving to New York City and the East End.

Since June, the Wandering Palate truck has been stationed mostly in Mattituck on the south side of Sound Avenue, just west of the traffic light at Cox Neck Road. Regulars come to choose lunch from the ever-changing, locally-sourced menu—with a French bent. One day in June, a customer was eating a fish sandwich made from a sea bass he had watched them fillet minutes before.

As Apparu has a job as a chef at Tutto il Giorno restaurant in
Southampton, he is assisted at the truck by his mother, Martine Abitbol, who owned French restaurants in Manhattan and
Corsica and who sells popular baked goods at the Sag Harbor farmers market, and his sister Agathe Snow, who, while also an artist, can dish up the diverse menu of crepes, salads, fresh fish, quiches, sandwiches of the aforementioned fish as well as sausage, steak and fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. (The truck’s field also houses some of Snow’s boyfriend’s sculpture. The sculptor, Anthony Holbrooke, also pitches in.)

“We didn’t realize how many foodies there are among the
locals,” says Apparu. “We’ve actually been busier during the week than on the weekends.” Maybe that’ll change.

 The Wandering Palate food truck is open six days, closed Monday, from noon until 7 p.m. For the latest information, check their Facebook page.

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Eileen M. Duffy

Eileen M. Duffy DWS holds a diploma in wines and spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Her book on Long Island wine Behind the Bottle came out in 2015. Visit her website, eileenmduffy.com, to find out what else she's working on.