Sep 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Cleveland’s newest food truck is giving away meals: Mark Naymik – The Plain Dealer

Minutes after Tristan Rader parked Cleveland’s newest food truck in a vacant lot at East 145th Street and Kinsman Avenue, the blue Ford with custom decals of luscious produce and vegetables attracted a steady stream of customers.

They waited under the truck’s green awning for a chance to look through its 6-foot sliding-glass window. Customers snatched up 750 pounds of food in a few hours.

The truck – which features stainless steel counters, a refrigerator and fluorescent lighting – would easily fit in among the city’s other colorful food trucks that draw downtown office workers to such weekly rallies as Walnut Wednesdays and Food Truck Fridays.  

But this truck isn’t after the crowd that can afford $6 shrimp tacos. It’s working the streets of Cleveland’s “food desert,” a portion of the inner city largely devoid of stores that offer fresh fruits and vegetables.

On the road less than a month, the truck doesn’t do any marketing. It doesn’t need to.

“People see it and come out,” Rader said.

Word of mouth is good, no doubt helped by the fact that the fare is free.

Rader works for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, which won a $50,000 grant from Feeding America, an anti-hunger charity, to lease and customize a box truck to distribute fresh produce to the poor.

The eye-catching truck also serves as an outreach office. As people take food, Rader queries them about whether they have applied for food stamps through what is formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

“The food truck starts the conversation,” Rader said.

In Northeast Ohio, about 50,000 people who are eligible for food assistance have not signed up, said the Food Bank’s director of advocacy, Mary O’Shea.

The Food Bank has long been distributing food in the inner city, but it’s had to rely on volunteers’ cars to help transport the goods. The Food Bank has used pop-up tents to create a street-corner store. The truck adds ease and visibility to its distribution efforts.

“Moving a few blocks is easy and brings in a whole different group of people,” Rader said.

The morning I spent on the food truck, people of all ages came by, on foot, bike, and in beat-up cars. A mom pushing a stroller. A mechanic from a garage next door. Customers from a nearby gas station. Some people seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Several asked for fruit, particularly oranges. Citrus is a luxury, something the Food Bank has a harder time getting into the hands of the needy. Rader and volunteer Dave Brinker offered grocery bags with a mix of apples, squash, zucchini, radishes and sweet potatoes.

The squash forced one man to return.

“What are these?” he asked. “What do I do with these?”

Karen Pozna, the Food Bank’s director of communications, leaned through the truck’s window to offer some suggestions.

“You can cut it in half and bake it or fry them with a little butter,” she said.

Pozna says the Food Bank plans to offer tips on preparation and, perhaps, even on-site demonstrations.

Every customer left happy and grateful, offering a ‘thank you’ or a ‘God bless” as they walked away.

The food truck did more than please its customers. It made a difference in the battle against hunger.

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Sep 30, 2014
Terri Judson

Garden State Wine Growers to host Grand Harvest Wine Fest, Oct. 4-5 in …

The Garden State Wine Growers Association will hold the annual Grand Harvest Wine Festival on Oct. 4-5 at the historic Fosterfields Living Historical Farm in Morristown.

The festival will be open noon-5 p.m. each day, featuring 19 New Jersey wineries, food trucks, arts and crafts and live music each day. This will be the fourth of five annual statewide wine festivals produced by the GSWGA this fall. The events give both in and out of state wine enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the rising quality of New Jersey wine, as well as the rapidly increasing number of local wineries.

As a special new feature, the Association chose Grand Harvest to be the venue that would feature a slate of food wine talks and presentations from speakers affiliated with edible Jersey magazine. Talk topics over the weekend will include wine and cheese pairing, wine-derived cocktails, and a history of spirits and winemaking in New Jersey. “We have long applauded the GSWGA’s annual array of festivals, which provide an outstanding venue to introduce consumers to the quality and range of brands statewide,” said edible publisher Nancy Painter. “We are delighted to team up with the Association to offer a day of educational seminars that explore the wonderful relationship between wine, food and other aspects of the epicurean experience.”

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm is preserved as it was at the turn of the 19th century, and still operates as such. The venue offers a dramatic backdrop in rustic Morris County during the peak of fall foliage. It will also be the end of the wine grape harvest season. As things gradually slow at the winery properties around the state, more wineries will come to the county park to pour samples and show off their latest vintages than at any other festival this year. Governor’s Cup winners Sharrott Winery, Heritage Vineyards, and Tomasello Winery will all be pouring their trophy winning wines. The park allows consumption on the property, so attendees can purchase a bottle to enjoy on the lawn in front of the band.

Bands will play from start to finish each day. The Dirty Blondes will play classic rock lead with driving female vocals and guitar on Saturday, while the B Boyz will entertain Sunday with RB and soul. The B Boyz are a seven piece band with a horn section, so be prepared to dance! Foodies will feel at home with food trucks offering delectable bites including flatbread wood-fired pizzas, gourmet tacos, and empanadas from the Empanada Guy. Artisan food and craft vendors will have their wares available, guests can snack on gourmet pretzels and chocolates, or take home specialty sauces, seasonings and spices. The event is family friendly, with a crafts activity tent for kids to enjoy as well.

The festival is presented in part by Audi Mendham and the brand new Audi Bridgewater, who will have an armada of luxury vehicles on the festival grounds to show off. “We are excited to help bring this wonderful celebration to the community,” said Christopher J. Adams, General Manager of the Audi Stores. “Like a fine wine, the luxury of Audi has only improved with age. With a new showroom in Bridgewater, we have two first-rate locations to care for our growing customer base.”

Tickets are $25 for adults; while those under 21 are free. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at a $5 discount, which is available through Saturday the 4th. Designated drivers receive entry for $5 at the gate. Admission includes a souvenir wine glass that can be used to sample the wines.

Ticket information, a festival guide, and the full list of winery participants can be found by visiting www.newjerseywines.com.

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Sep 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

‘Food Truck Face Off’ Sneak peek: It’s ‘a dream come true’

food-truck-face-off-101-set.jpeg

One thing is apparent from the sneak peek of Food Network’s newest series, “Food Truck Face Off” — It’s not just another food competition. In fact, it’s actually more of a way to help up and coming chefs live their dreams than anything else.

The premise is simple. Four teams of two face off (thus the title) to get a chance to run their own fully-customized food truck in Miami for an entire year. The first round is the pitch and the sample tasting for the judges. Two teams then go on to the second round, which is a trial run with a truck to see which team makes the most money. The catch is simple too — none of these chefs have actually ever set foot in or run their own food trucks. So it’s just a much a test of their concepts as it is a test of their abilities to get the job done.

This first go around, the two teams to make it to that second round are the Southern comfort food team, Mac’n Me Crazy, and the “fresh seafood with a kick” team, The Sand Pepper.

Once the series gets to the second round, that’s when the standard reality show backstory comes in. Already, in a show that is so upbeat, these are are the parts that tug at the emotional heartstrings, immediately going for family struggles and rehab. It’s a bit manipulative, but at the same time, these stories do end up being uplifting this first time. It all ultimately goes to show just how much these food trucks — which can seem like a lesser restaurant form — can truly mean to the people who run them.

Then it’s on to speed shopping for food supplies, and it’s back to the fun and chaos of the competition.

In the end, the winner is team Mac’n Me Crazy, who make $1,312, while The Sand Pepper falls short at $1,025. But even with the loss the judges encourage team Sand Pepper to keep on trucking (metaphorically), because with their youth they still have so much time to make their dreams come true. And that’s what “Food Truck Face Off” is all about.

The series officially premieres Thursday, October 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network. What did you think about the sneak peek? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Sep 30, 2014
Tina George

Dining News & Notes: October means food festivals

‘Tis the season for fall food festivals, and there sure are lots of ‘em this year. Here are a few:

The Taste of the Nation fundraiser for Share Our Strength returns to the Palms, featuring 35 local chefs and restaurants from the Country Club and BB Ristorante to Border Grill and Stripsteak. October 2, 7 p.m., $100-$125. Rain Nightclub, ce.strength.org.

LuckyRice Night Market returns to Cosmopolitan for an evening of Asian cuisine from chefs including Pichet Ong, Cédric Vongerichten and Miguel Trinidad, with local eats from China Poblano, Chada Thai, Sweets Raku and more. October 4, 8 p.m., $88-$150. Boulevard Pool, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.

It’s not just a food event, but Wednesdays Downtown returns to the Fremont East Entertainment District this month, featuring a painters lounge, a silent disco, a collective happy hour at area bars and more. The food truck village will feature chefs John Courtney and Nicole Brisson popping up, as well as local trucks Dragon Grill, Truck-U Barbeque, Can’t Dutch This, Hummus Factory and Slidin’ Thru. October 8, 6 p.m.-midnight, free admission. FEED, fremonteast.com.

Wednesdays Downtown returns to the Fremont East Entertainment District this month.

Nathan Adelson Hospice’s 15th annual Wine Food Tasting Extravaganza offers samples of popular wines and cuisine plus music and silent and live auctions. October 9, 5:30 p.m., $75. Gaudin Motor Co., nahwine.auction-bid.org.

Communities in Schools of Nevada’s fourth annual Harvest for Hope features food from Cosmopolitan restaurants Blue Ribbon, STK, Comme Ça, Scarpetta, Wicked Spoon and more, plus a new fall cocktail from Cosmo chief mixologist Mariena Mercer. October 10, 5 p.m., $100-$350. Cashman Center, cisnevada.org/harvest-2014.

Red Dragon’s popular Foodie Fest has a new home this year: the Linq. Fifty food trucks will converge on the Strip, including newbies Me So Hungry, Dos Chinos, Cambalaches and Frach’s Fried Ice Cream. October 15-19, times vary, $10-$50. Linq, lasvegasfoodiefest.com.

The Epicurean Charitable Foundation’s 13th annual M.E.N.U.S. gala features a poolside dine-around preceding a concert by Zac Brown at the Grand Garden Arena, with snackage provided by Aureole, Crush, Gordon Ramsay Steak, Hakkasan, Public House, Sensi, Heritage Steak, Zenshin and more. October 17, 6 p.m., $600. MGM Grand, ecflv.org.

Five Guys Burgers Fries is among the new restaurants opening this month at Downtown Summerlin.

There’s plenty of speculation regarding the location(s) for the recently announced Wahlburgers expansion to Las Vegas. The Hingham, Massachusetts-based burger joint is owned by famous brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg and is the subject of its own reality show on AE, and a franchise agreement has three stores opening in Las Vegas in the next five years. One spot it will almost certainly not take? Downtown Summerlin, which opens this month and just recently announced it will be the home of the eighth Las Vegas location of Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Other recently announced restaurants for the 106-acre urban center are: Bonanno’s New York Pizzeria, California Pizza Kitchen, Earl of Sandwich, Grape Street Café Wine Bar, Marketplace, Moe’s Southwest Grill, MTO Café, Panda Express, Trattoria Reggiano, Gelato Messina, Lazy Dog Restaurant Bar, Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant, Pieology Pizzeria, Ribs Burgers, Rice Republic and Wonderland Bakery.

Chef Takeshi Omae’s wok-charred ramen is a study in complex flavors.

Just next door to Downtown Summerlin at Red Rock Resort, Mercadito is part of the national Tacos for Strength campaign beginning October 1. Chef Patricio Sandoval is inviting a variety of chefs to join him in creating unique tacos to support Share Our Strength and its mission to end childhood hunger, and you can help by eating those tacos. Various specialty tacos will be available throughout the month for lunch ($13.50) or dinner ($15.50) with a portion of proceeds going to SOS. Last year, Mercadito restaurants sold almost 3,000 Tacos for Strength.

Buzzy new restaurant Japanese Cuisine by Omae is also doing some fundraising. Through the end of October, the tiny restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Takeshi Omae will be open for a special ramen lunch with some proceeds going to an orphanage house in Kumamoto, Japan, where Omae stayed briefly as a youth. Since his recent relocation to Las Vegas to open his “dream” restaurant, Omae is unable to return to the orphanage for its annual fundraiser in November. Lunch reservations are available online here.

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Sep 30, 2014
Terri Judson

BC Wine Information Society Sensory Centre to be new home for judging …

B.C. Wine Information Society Sensory Centre to be new home for judging Okanagan Wine Festivals’ B.C. Wine Awards

Okanagan College Media Release

Wine FestivalAs Okanagan College and friends were celebrating the opening of the new B.C. Wine Information Society Sensory Centre at the Penticton campus, a new agreement was being finalized that speaks to the value of the Centre for the wine and tourism industry.

Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism, announced Wednesday that the Centre will be host to the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society’s professional judging for the 2015 B.C. Wine Awards.

“Each year, the Fall Wine Festival brings some of the continent’s best palates to the south Okanagan to judge the entries for the Fall Wine Fest,” explains Martin Lewis, the chair of judging for the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society. “We have used various venues for those intensive judging sessions, but we are very excited about being able to utilize the new Sensory Centre at Okanagan College next year.”

This year, the nine judges will consider a record 540 entries in the B.C. Wine Awards. The Festivals Society staff expects more will be entered next year.

“This is a welcome endorsement for the Centre,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Our goal was to create a facility with the amenities that would provide an excellent educational experience for students in credential and shorter-term programs. It was also to develop something that industry would want to use for purposes such as this.”

“Connections with industry are vital to delivering the viticulture and oenology programs that our students – and their employers – want and expect,” explains Rouse. “The Sensory Centre is, among other things, intended to be an incubator for those relations.”

Key to developing the facility was a $300,000 donation from the B.C. Wine Information Society, for which the Centre is named.

“Our Board understood the College’s goals for this facility from the beginning,” explains Society President Keith Bevington. “Learning that the judging for next year’s Fall Okanagan Wine Festival will be done in the Centre is proof of how valuable the facility will be to industry.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Photo courtesy of Kiernan Frey

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Sep 29, 2014
Kim Rivers

Great Food Truck Race 2014 Predictions: Who Wins Season 5 Tonight?

The teams on The Great Food Truck Race 2014 have made their way around the country in hopes of selling their food and making it to The Great Food Truck Race 2014 finale tonight and be named the winner of The Great Food Truck Race Season 5. We are down to the final two teams (Middle Feast and Lone Star Chuck Wagon) and one of them will walk away with $50,000 and the keys to their new food truck. So, who wins tonight on The Great Food Truck Race Season 5? Check out our Season 5 finale predictions below in our Great Food Truck Race 2014 spoilers!

Click here to find out the winner in our Live Finale Recap!!!

Great Food Truck Race 2014 Spoilers - Finale Predictions

Last week on The Great Food Truck Race Season 5, the final three teams made their way to Mobile, Alabama, and they started the weekend with a seafood challenge. They had to try and guess 100 pounds of shrimp. The teams that came the closest would be able to keep all of that shrimp for free! Lone Star won the challenge, but then found themselves taking up too much prep time cleaning these shrimp, so the victory hurt them in a way! The teams then faced a brunch challenge from Tyler Florence, but didn’t know he had secret shoppers come up and buy their food. It was Lone Star and Let There Be Bacon winning the challenge and then Bacon winning the Cooking Challenge and getting $5,000 for their till. It didn’t matter, as they still finished on bottom and were eliminated!

[PHOTOS: Click here to check out the Season 5 teams!]

For tonight’s finale, this is going to be a tough one. I think Tyler favors Lone Star over Middle Feast, but Middle Feast kicked some major butt in Mobile and I think they could do the same in Florida. Everyone loves some good barbecue food, but I think Middle Feast offers something different and for that reason, I am picking Middle Feast as the winner of Great Food Truck Race 2014 tonight!

Which team wins tonight on The Great Food Truck Race 2014?

Join us tonight on Reality Rewind for our Great Food Truck Race 2014 Live Recap. Let’s watch together and see who won The Great Food Truck Race Season 5 tonight! Subscribe to our Email and RSS or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all our latest updates.


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Sep 29, 2014
Kim Rivers

Big Pig BBQ Food Truck stops by Local 10

WE’RE JUST OUTSIDE THE STUDIO AND WE’RE SPOKE SMOKING. WE’RE GOING TO TALK TO THE FOLKS COOKING UP THIS BARBECUE. WE’LL TALK ABOUT RIB FEST. WITH RAISED 8,000. SECOND YEAR 15 NEW YORK CITY AND LOOKING FOR MORE THIS YEAR. HOW MUCH COMPETITORS TAKE PART. THESE ARE LOCAL GUYS. NOT LOCAL. WE HAVE TALENT TO SEE HOW SERIOUS THEY ARE. JUST PAN OVER THERE IF YOU WOULD, BRANDON. THAT IS ONE OF SMOKERS THAT THEY USE THEY CAN DO 18 RACKS OF RIBS IN TWO HOURS. YOU HAVE IT’S ON OCTOBER 4 FROM 11 A.M. TO 9:00 P.M. COME AND EAT YOUR FILL. $10 FOR ADMISSION. CHILDREN GET IN FOR FREE IF THEY ARE UNDER 10 YEARS OLD. DANA FROM THE BIG PIG. YOU TAKING PART IN THIS THING? ALWAYS. ANYTHING WITH CHARITY AND THEY WORK SO HARD AND THE CHARITIES THAT THEY HELP AVES A MAG SO ANYTHING WE CAN DO. AND PEOPLE COME OUT HUNGRY, RIGHT? YES, THEY DO. LARRY ASKED ME TO BE A JUDGE. I WAS ON THE FENCE. I THINK YOU PUT ME OVER THE FENCE. MAY HAVE TO DO IT. TELL US WHAT YOU’VE DONE HERE LOADED GREEN BEANS BECAUSE WE DON’T DO ANYTHING PLAIN. GOTTA HAVE BEANS. PULLED PORK. RIBS CAN’T FORGET THE RIBS. GOTTA DO TRADITION, BAKED BEAN AND COLESLAW. CHICKEN. MACARONI AND CHEESE. EVERYBODY LOVES IT. EVERYTHING IS HOME MADE NO STORE BOUGHT STUFF. A TRIO OF BURGER. WE HAVE WEIRD BURGERS. PEOPLE LIKE STRANGE STUFF. THIS IS THE BIG WEST — BEST ONE OR BIGGEST SELLER. ITS A BARBECUE BOMB HAMBURGER WITH PULLED PORK, BAKED BEANS AND COLE LAW IS SLAW. THIS SAY CAPRESE BURGER WITH A TOMATO MOZZARELLA STACKER. THAT’S GOOD. IF YOU LIKE THE SPICY STUFF WE HAVE THAT. YES, YES. INTRODUCING TO THE COOK. IT’S NEKI MOW MAN. LOOK AT THAT. [ LAUGHTER ] I NOTICE THERE’D THERE’S OATH THREE FRIDAYS ON THERE. DID YOU EAT THEM ALREADY? OF COURSE YOU DID. YOU WANT TO HEAD OUT TO RIBFEST IT’S A BALL OCTOBER 4. YOU GUYS ARE GOING IS IT TAKE CARE OF ONE OF OUR VIEWERS AS WE DO WE LIKE TO GIVE AWAY FREE STUFF. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FACEBOOK WINNER ROSIE JUST ONE FOUR TICKETS TO THE UPCOMING HOMESTEAD RIB FEST. THANK YOU FOR COMMENTING ON THE FACEBOOK POST. CHECK THE OTHERS FOLDER TO SEE HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE. HAVE A GREAT TIME. THANKS FOR FEEDING THUS MORNING. RIB FEST — GET — WHAT YOU ARE YOU DOING HERE? GIVE ME A FORK THEN. IF YOU ARE GOING TO COME YOU HAVE TO SHARE. WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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Sep 29, 2014
Kim Rivers

Crowds gather at local food truck rally despite weather

Posted: Monday, September 29, 2014 2:00 am

Crowds gather at local food truck rally despite weather

Stephanie Wantage, Alligator Contributing Writer

The Independent Florida Alligator

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Julian Andrew sipped on vodka-soaked raspberries, tonic and a splash of grapefruit with a lime.

“It’s amazing. You should try it,” he said before he took another sip of his drink served in a mason jar.

 He and dozens of others escaped the rain inside the High Dive, an indoor and outdoor bar that hosted the Original Gainesville Food Truck Rally on Saturday night.

Andrew, 23, found out about the rally from a friend who had gone last year. The UF telecommunication senior said he felt like it was something fun and different than the Midtown scene.

“I had three totally different things, and it is so awesome that they have so much,” Andrew said of the variety of foods available, his favorite being the Pelican Brothers’ chicken-and-waffle slider. “It’s been really good.”

The frequent food truck rally featured eight trucks and two non-alcoholic drink tents in the High Dive parking lot from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Prices ranged from about $6 to $15.

One of the rally’s more popular vendors was Humble Pie. The pizza company’s setup didn’t consist of a regular truck, but instead, a trailer with a round, clay-oven top and a firestone brick oven. Employees texted patrons when pizzas were ready to combat long lines.

“We do catering, and we are at the Farmers market downtown every week,” said Louis Jarvis, as he assembled a pizza topped with apple and blue cheese on it. Humble Pie sold out at about 9 p.m.

Inside the bar, a handful of bands and musicians played short sets while people gathered with family and friends for cocktails, moonshine, Jell-O shots and food.

Despite the rain, the downtown staple attracted new patrons, like Absinthe Wu.

The digital arts and science junior sat alone at the bar, eating a Monsta Lobsta lobster roll.

“I rode my bike here,” Wu, 21, said, adding that she liked the sandwich. “I’ve never been here before.”

[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 9/29/2014]

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