Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Mar 4, 2015
Kim Rivers

Game On: Get Foie Gras from a Food Truck

Chef Jean-Paul Peluffo’s Fair Game will serve foie gras and lobster sliders on Friday

March 3, 2015

Chefs and Restaurateurs, Dining, Food

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Want to eat foie gras cooked by an international chef who’s prepared meals for world leaders like George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, and Silvio Berlusconi? All you have to do is visit a food truck on Friday. Chef Jean-Paul Peluffo will be in his Fair Game food truck at Westchester First Friday serving $10 foie gras sliders and $20 foie gras and lobster sliders.

Fair Game isn’t the only L.A. food truck that’s served foie gras since the ban on it was lifted. Chef Wes Avila at Guerrilla Tacos, who bases his menu on the best ingredients available each day, has occasionally been slinging oxtail and foie gras tacos and will have short rib and foie gras tacos in front of Culver City’s Cognoscenti Coffee tomorrow.

Foie gras and lobster makes sense for Fair Game, known for its gourmet offerings with wild game and fresh seafood. Peluffo, who at age 5 started to help make pastries in his father’s restaurant in Nice, France, has worked in restaurants across the globe from Guinea to the Ivory Coast to Mexico. In 2000, he became executive chef for the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, where he cooked for numerous heads of state.

redarrow Fair Game at Westchester First Friday, 6200 block of West 87th St., 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.


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Mar 4, 2015
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Stops: March 3

Happy Tuesday, food truck followers! Brighten up the gloomy day with chicken souvlaki from Habebe, or chicken fricassee at Borinquen Lunch Box.

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Farragut Square (17th and I sts., NW), where you’ll find CapMac.

Franklin Square (13th and K sts., NW), where you’ll find Captain Cookie.

L’Enfant (Sixth St. and Maryland Ave., SW), where you’ll find Dolci Gelati and Sang on Wheels.

Metro Center (12th and G sts., NW), where you’ll find Chatpat Truck and Habebe.

NoMa (First and M sts., NE), where you’ll find Basil Thyme, RockSalt, and Zesty Kabob.

Northern Virginia, where you’ll find Borinquen Lunch Box (Alexandria), Fava Pot, Korean BBQ Taco Box (Ballston), Tortuga, Peruvian Brothers (Reston), Choupi Crepes, and Big Cheese (Rosslyn).

Patriot’s Plaza (Third and E sts., SW), where you’ll find South Meets East, Yumpling, and Lilypad on the Run.

State Department (around 21st St. and Virginia Ave., NW), where you’ll find Crepes Parfait, Red Hook Lobster Pound, and Tasty Kabob.

20th and L Streets, Northwest, where you’ll find DC Slices.

Union Station (North Capitol St. and Massachusetts Ave., NE), where you’ll find DC Empanadas, DC Slices, Tasty Kabob, and Tapas Truck.

Too many good trucks to decide? Check out our guide to the Top 25 Food Trucks in Washington and the Wheelie Awards for best individual dishes, deals, and more.

Sign up for our new Food Truck Stops daily newsletter to have a roundup of locations delivered directly to your inbox.

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Mar 3, 2015
Kim Rivers

Toronto food truck advocates gear up for another battle

“In the beginning, of course, you’re thinking it’s going to be good and gravy,” said Traya, who operates Prince Edward’s Fries many days at the corner of University Ave. and Dundas St. “If they don’t change the rules, I don’t think a lot of the food trucks who bought their permits will renew their permits, because they realize that it’s not an easy go.”

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Mar 3, 2015
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Stops: March 2

Happy Monday, food truck followers! The ice is melting and the sun is shining, so head out and warm up with lasagna from Basil Thyme, or Alaskan fry bread tacos aboard Urban Bumpkin BBQ.

Sign up for our new Food Truck Stops daily newsletter to have a roundup of locations delivered directly to your inbox.

Capitol Hill (First and C sts., SE), where you’ll find Crepes Parfait.

Chinatown (Seventh and G sts., NW), where you’ll find Chatpat Truck and Tasty Kabob.

Franklin Square (13th and K sts., NW), where you’ll find Sang on Wheels.

Friendship Heights (Western and Wisconsin Aves., NW), where you’ll find Peruvian Brothers and South Meets East.

L’Enfant (Sixth St. and Maryland Ave., SW), where you’ll find Basil Thyme, Captain Cookie, Crepe Love, Halal Grill, Hungry Heart, and Red Hook Lobster Pound.

Metro Center (12th and G sts., NW), where you’ll find Phonation and Yellow Vendor.

Navy Yard (First and M sts., SE), where you’ll find AZN Eats.

Northern Virginia, where you’ll find Kafta Mania (Ballston), Fava Pot (Courthouse), Choupi Crepes, and Urban Bumpkin BBQ (Rosslyn).

State Department (around 21st St. and Virginia Ave., NW), where you’ll find Ball or Nothing.

20th and L Streets, Northwest, where you’ll find Lilypad on the Run, Popped! Republic, Tapas Truck, and Tasty Kabob.

Union Station (North Capitol St. and Massachusetts Ave., NE), where you’ll find Ooh Dat Chicken and Pho Junkies.

Too many good trucks to decide? Check out our guide to the Top 25 Food Trucks in Washington and the Wheelie Awards for best individual dishes, deals, and more.

Sign up for our new Food Truck Stops daily newsletter to have a roundup of locations delivered directly to your inbox.

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Mar 3, 2015
Kim Rivers

No mystery: Food truck Ms. Cheezious so popular, owners open brick-and …

Emily Herman, a private-school teacher in North Miami, remembers standing in line for a half-hour to order from Ms. Cheezious, a local food truck that serves grilled cheese sandwiches.

Her signature pick: a short rib grilled cheese with pickled onions and arugula on sourdough bread.

“It’s my favorite food truck,” said Herman, 39. “They have interesting combinations.”

After five years of turning on an engine and serving sandwiches to customers from their blue mobile food truck, Christian Dickens and husband and wife, Brian and Fatima Mullins, founders and developers of Ms. Cheezious, in early February opened the truck’s first brick-and-mortar shop, at 7418 Biscayne Blvd. in Northeast Miami’s MiMo District.

“I can sit at a table, and there’s no crazy long lines,” Herman said.

Ms. Cheezious trucks still travel around Miami and stop to serve food in spots around Kendall, Miami Beach, Hollywood, Wynwood and others.

Its fans can track the truck’s whereabouts using social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which alerts followers on where the food truck will be next.

“People tweet us all the time,” said Fatima Mullins, who manages the social media accounts for Ms. Cheezious. “I try to answer everyone when they send a message, and I think that’s what makes a big difference.”

The food truck first debuted during Art Basel 2010.

In its first year in business, Ms. Cheezious doubled its sales and the owners purchased a second truck. In 2012 and 2013, it won the People’s Choice Award for Best Food Truck at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

“We had the first truck for only a year, but it was just so much that we had to do something else,” Brian Mullins said. “Now I can say we make more here on a weekend day than the trucks do in a week.”

Before opening Ms. Cheezious, Brian Mullins and Dickens ran training teams for Planet Hollywood, an international restaurant corporation.

They have opened and re-vamped restaurants together since 1991, not just in the United States, but also in Hong Kong, Russia, Indonesia, London, Dubai and Mexico.

“Essentially for seven years we lived off a suitcase,” Brian Mullins said. “Both of us had to go and evaluate what was wrong with the business and make recommendations to corporate on how it could be adjusted.”

After seeing food trucks in Las Vegas, they did the math over cocktails and decided to start their own in Miami.

“It was an investment and a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Brian Mullins said.

The new bricks-and-mortar location used to be a small boutique shop.

It took two years to turn it into Ms. Cheezious.

Before opening, the owners had to paint inside and out, buy kitchen appliances and put up the Ms. Cheezious sign – a vibrant blonde pinup girl, full of attitude.

The sketch was painted by Fatima Mullins’ sister, Maria Balseiro, 38.

Her graffiti-style paintings are on the walls of the restaurant, which has a patio lounge in the back where customers may eat.

“She’s very sexy and everyone’s drawn to it,” Fatima Mullins said of the sketch. “My sister created this image that’s become a brand, and people really like interacting with her.”

The total investment of the new permanent location, including purchasing the real estate and renovation, was more than $300,000, Brian Mullins said.

“When we turned on the lights outside for the first time and the sign went up, it was everything and more we thought it would be,” Dickens said. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our fans and guests supporting us throughout the years.”

If you go

What: Ms. Cheezious

Where: 7418 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. — Monday-Sunday

Parking: Free parking lot in the back and street parking available

Contact: 305-989-4019


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Mar 3, 2015
Kim Rivers

Rolling into region: Not your father’s food truck

Gia Sempronio of Phat Salads and Wraps

Phat Salads and Wraps owner Gia Sempronio, a former personal trainer, refers to her cuisine as “healthy fast food.”

In cities like Los Angeles, Portland, Austin and San Francisco food trucks are everywhere. Here in the North Bay, the trend has been a little slow to catch on. But that could be changing.

Especially popular among millennials, food trucks are convenient, inexpensive and offer a culinary adventure. Not to be confused with the versions of yesteryear, these “gourmet” trucks offer a wide variety of cuisine; some specialize in items like bruschetta or vegan fare, while others serve up twists on comfort foods like barbecue ribs, and many use fresh, locally sourced ingredients. And like craft beer, there’s usually a story behind each truck, and customers follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

In Santa Rosa, Jerri Hastey is rolling out her newly outfitted vegan food truck next month. Prior to this venture she owned a restaurant in Sonoma, also named Seed on the Go.

Seed’s menu offers a healthy alternative, taken advantage of by 85 percent of customers at her restaurant who were not even vegan. Items include Sweet Potato Corn Tacos with pickled mango, cilantro shredded romaine, and an avocado lime crema for $7, a Roasted Mushroom Tart with creamed mozzarella, Kalamata tapenade, puff pastry, and arugula for $8, and other vegan fare.

Seed on the Go has been featured on the show Ellen — thanks to Ms. Hastey’s Oscar-nominated daughter Jessica Chastain, who also bought her mother the truck — and her Chia Parfait, which is one of the TV show host’s favorites.

Food trucks like these are fairly new to Sonoma and Napa counties, however, and their owners have run into obstacles in getting their mobile kitchens on the road. Cities either have old or no ordinances regarding food trucks on the books, and local restaurant owners are vocal about the unwanted competition.

Parking problems in Santa Rosa

“Santa Rosa is not food truck–friendly,” Ms. Hastey said, referring to resistance from restaurants owners who fear the trucks will take away business and restrictions as to where they can park. She also acknowledges both sides of the issue.

“I was a restaurant owner; I get it,” she said. “The (restaurant) association said, ‘You’re hurting us,’ taking away business. But actually, food trucks bring people into the area. And I’m vegan. I compete with no one.”

In Santa Rosa the parking issue is a little complicated. If you see a food truck parked and doing business, chances are it’s outside city limits — like the taco trucks on Sebastopol Road — which is more liberal in their regulations. Each district has it’s own restrictions and within the city of Santa Rosa there are places a food truck can and cannot park. Where they can park, there’s a time limit of half an hour.

The last time these regulations were revised was in 2006.

“Regulations are a process that evolve and develop over time,” said Clare Hartman, deputy director for planning and community development. “The city may be interested in bringing more flexibility to these regulations.”

Ms. Hartman also noted that the city does hear opposition to food trucks from brick and mortar establishments that have invested a lot of money in their property and complying with codes. The two businesses could be competitive but also complementary, she said, but the discrepancy for restaurants is the considerable investment they have made.

For now, Seed on the Go is parked at the farmer’s market by the Veterans Building on Saturdays, and starting in March it will be operating five days a week. Catering will make up a large part of the business, bringing ordered food to businesses for something like a “meatless Monday.”

While it’s challenging, Ms. Hastey says she wants to stay here.

“In L.A., I’d have a line around the block,” she said. “That’s the reality. But this is my home.”

She said she has to stay open to possibilities, like maybe taking the truck to Marin County.

Gourmet on wheels in Napa Valley

Although there are more food trucks operating in Napa than Sonoma, there are similar challenges. Having opened in 2007, Phat Salads and Wraps is the oldest gourmet food truck on the road, and owner Gia Sempronio said “there was plenty of backlash when we opened.”

Ms. Sempronio was also met with resistance from restaurant owners, and a 40-year-old food truck ordinance that applied to those that served cold, premade sandwiches, chips and sodas.

In Napa, there are also restrictions as to where food trucks can park on public or private property, but the rules are less restrictive than in Sonoma. On the street, a truck must be a certain number of feet from a stop sign, for example, and not obstructing traffic. And if someone complains enough the police will come out Ms. Sempronio said, but over the years the problems have pretty much weeded themselves out.

Once she did open, Ms. Sempronio encountered another issue: The idea of a gourmet food truck was too new to Napans, and it took two years before people would actually stop and buy something.

Prior to opening Phat — the name comes from the slang term for “excellent” and an initialism for “pretty, healthy and tasty” — Ms. Sempronio was a personal trainer at HealthQuest Fitness Center. Being health conscious she thought, “Why isn’t there a healthier fast food?”

Without being able to afford to open a restaurant, she observed the taco trucks doing good business. She went to L.A. and bought a food truck, and made a deal with the gym’s owner to park it across the street.

The Phat menu is short but varied, including a breakfast wrap with bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, tomato, green onion, bell pepper, black beans, and pico de gallo, a classic Caesar wrap with chicken, a steak wrap and a California BLT wrap, all for between $7 to $9, and a soup and salad or wrap combo is $10.

Phat is parked in a semi-industrial area on California Boulevard, just blocks away from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. “It’s good for me because there are like-minded people shopping here,” she said. She also parks at Napa Valley Community College.

Parking is not as much of an issue for St. Helena’s sole food truck, which debuted last fall. Clif Family Bruschetteria food truck is the product of Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson of Clif Family Winery, and it’s parked at their wine tasting room and café Velo Vino.

While the city of St. Helena is in the process of looking into changing its ordinance, it currently does not allow food trucks within city limits. The Bruschetteria owners petitioned the city council to park on private property.

“We obtained a use permit from the city of St. Helena in order to park our food truck in specific spots next to Velo Vino,” said Linzi Gay, Velo Vino’s general manager. “When the food truck travels to other cities, we adhere to that city’s regulations as to where and when we can park the truck.”

Velo Vino also draws it’s fair share of millennials, she said. The tasting room is casual, fairly inexpensive, with live music out on the large patio.

Executive Chef John McConnell operates the truck with a staff of three. He designed the specially outfitted interior to include a rotisserie oven — which is essential for making porchetta, their specialty, he said.

The menu Mr. McConnell has created is faithful to Erickson’s “love affair” with porchetta — hence the rotisserie. The menu is divided into two main categories, bruschetta for $10 to $11 and rosticceria for $11 to $12. With those two staples, the menu changes daily in accordance with seasonal fresh produce from Clif Family’s organic farm in Pope Valley.

Chef McConnell drove the newly outfitted truck to Napa by himself from Oregon. (Due to the weight of the appliances, there was some swerving.) Coming from a background at the New England Culinary Institute, and then a stint at Terra, in St. Helena, he said his experience in the food truck is “extremely different.”

“With fine dining you are barricaded in a fortress. This is familiar but adventurous,” he said.

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Mar 2, 2015
Kim Rivers

Spreading food truck access far and wide

What’s the appeal of a food truck rodeo or rally? When food trucks gather en masse, it’s a street festival with artisanal foods ranging from noodle bowls to mac and cheese to cannoli, says Anne-Marie Aigner, executive producer of Food Truck Festivals of America, a Boston company that organizes food truck extravaganzas. Aigner spoke with Globe correspondent Cindy Atoji Keene about the logistics of putting on a dozen festivals a year from the Arnold Arboretum to Albuquerque.

“After three years of creating food truck festivals throughout New England, my marketing partner, Janet Prensky, and I think we know the formula. Typically, we try to bring food truck festivals to locations like Worcester, where people don’t have a density of food trucks. We work with the vendors to keep prices low and keep lines moving.

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“Guests want to have a drink while grazing, although this does complicate our venue requirements because it requires a liquor license. I started this venture three years ago as an experiment. Today, we have a database of over 450 trucks in New England and also act as a clearinghouse to match food trucks with private events like weddings, block parties, and office luncheons.

“What’s my favorite food truck? I do love the Whoopie Pie Wagon — it has red velvet, chocolate chip, and even gluten-free whoopies. Unfortunately, you can’t make a meal out of a whoopie pie.”

Cindy Atoji Keene can be reached at

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Mar 2, 2015
Kim Rivers

VIDEO: Food truck thief tracked down by GPS, arrested at gunpoint

LITTLE CANADA, Minn. (KMSP) – A Fox 9 crew was in Chisago County covering another story when we came across police vehicles chasing a stolen food truck.

With guns drawn, the driver, later identified as 27-year-old Houston Schiernbeck, was arrested just off Highway 8 in Center City. At the time, police had no idea whether anybody else was inside the truck.

Bill Schlumbohm, deputy chief of the Lake Area Police Department, says it was like a traffic stop, “but with more heightened danger.”

“Law enforcement always operates on partial information,” he adds. “The information we have is it is a stolen vehicle. We don’t know why. It could be any situation. It could be someone kidnapped.”

In the end, police found Schiernbeck and nobody else inside the vehicle. He’d led a couple Lakes Area cops on a brief pursuit through two Chisago County communities.

The key to keeping tabs on Schiernbeck was GPS technology that allowed law enforcement to stay one step ahead.

As the food truck’s rightful driver Mark Burbank explains, “The bottom line is there’s GPS, and that’s what helped track the vehicle down.”

Burbank’s truck was stolen mid-delivery from a Little Canada BP station when he stepped inside and left the engine running.

“Just like, ‘Oh crap. My truck is gone,’” says Burbank, asked about his reaction. “The girl working called police.”

Burbank was reunited with his rig and his food in just two hours, thanks to the GPS tracker and the quick work of law enforcement.

He says it was a happy ending, but one that taught him a lesson he’ll carry with him going forward.

“Yeah, it’s typical we go do our thing,” Burbank says, referring to leaving the engine running. “Don’t give it a second thought. Not anymore.”

Meanwhile, Chisago County authorities took Schiernbeck to jail for formal booking. Authorities say he has a lengthy criminal record that includes fleeing law enforcement.

Thanks to our sister station Fox 9 Twin Cities for sharing this story. You can follow them at 

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