Daniel Figueroa sounds like a proud papa when going over the menu for his DC Jumbie food truck.
“Yes, we have your yucca, yes we have your sweet plantains, yes we have your Cuban sandwich,” Figueroa said. “We have the Triple Threat sandwich, which is very famous in Puerto Rico. Not well known here, but famous over there.”
Over the last year and a half, DC Jumbie has gained a significant following, selling cuisine with roots in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Figueroa’s parents were born in Puerto Rico. Figueroa was born in Chicago but grew up on traditional Puerto Rican cooking.
The seed for a food truck was planted when Figueroa was living in Miami more than a decade ago. A friend’s father owned a truck that did brisk business selling burgers around town.
“Up to that point, I had never even eaten at a truck,” Figueroa said. “There was such a demand for his food. I thought it one day might be a good idea.”
After moving to Tucson and working as a manager at the Azul restaurant at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, Figueroa decided to jump on the food truck bandwagon.
In additional to the traditionals, Jumbie — which Figueroa runs with his wife, Chandra Kimmel — also sports a list of fusion items, including the Mexi-Cuban sandwich, which comes with a jalapeño Mexican cream spread instead of mustard and mayo and a Puerto-Cuban, with potato sticks, roasted pork, ketchup, mayo and garlic, with sweet plantains.
Figueroa says business has been going well, in part because of the quality of the ingredients.
“A lot of people use deli meat for their Cubans,” he said. “I use ham that I season and roast for several hours. It is a really long process. That is why it tastes so good.”