What happens when food truck food is plated in the manner of upscale dining? Paul Qui breaks it down in this new video, presenting his East Side King dishes the way he might have done when he was in the kitchen at Uchiko.
“The quality of food we use here at the truck is just as good as any restaurant in the city,” Qui explains in the video, crouched in his food truck at the Grackle on East Sixth Street. “I think perception plays an interesting role with how people eat. I just want to show that comparison.”
Video: A Culinary Time-Out WIth Paul Qui
If the video’s got you craving some Quisine, the Top Chef winner is cooking at his Grackle truck over the next few weeks, “testing out new specials.”
Lauren SariaIf you love local food trucks, Food Network, or Man v. Food on the Travel Channel, here’s an event for you.
Next weekend, January 12 and 13, Phoenix New Times presents the Street Eats Food Truck Festival at Salt River Fields. There will be 30-plus Arizona food trucks and five out-of-state trucks — and more. Special guests Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Adam Richman will be in attendance, and the event will include five bars, a VIP experience, the Un-Wine-d Lounge, live music by School of Rock, three eating contests, and a kids’ zone.
The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. On Saturday, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian will host a one-hour public cooking demonstration starting at 1 p.m., and on Sunday, Host of Man v. Food Adam Richman will team up with local LTB Concepts Chef Aaron May to cook for the crowd at 1 p.m. Other live demonstrations will take place throughout the festival, featuring chefs from Top of the Rock, Pure Sushi Bar, and The Side Door as well as certified holistic health coach Michele Rusinkp, TheHopelessHousewife.com‘s Chef Erika Monroe-Williams, and Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams.
If 40-plus food trucks aren’t enough to sate your hunger, sign up for one of the festival’s eating contests, held on both days. Challengers can pick their poison: hot dogs, pie, or Twinkies. Rather save the extra room in your stomach for spirits? There will be a mobile bar run by the National Taco Association, or hit up one of the four partner bars, including Whiskey River Saloon and Firehouse. Featured drinks for the festival include Smirnoff Grand Cosmo, Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea, Butterfly Kiss Wines, and Blue Moon Winter Abbey.
But wait, isn’t this whole thing supposed to be about the food trucks? Indeed they will be the star of the show, such as favorites like Short Leash Hot Dogs, Old Dixie’s Southern Kitchen, Tom’s BBQ Pig Rig, and Pizza People. Other notable trucks to look for include Haulin’ Balls (meatball sandwiches from Nevada), Devilicious (lobster grilled cheese from California), Queso Diyas, Satay Hug (Dutch-Indonesian grilled meats), and Angie’s Americas Foodie (Alaskan reindeer sausage).
General admission to the Street Eats Food Truck Festival is $10 per person. For $35, upgrade to get access to the Un-Wine-d Lounge where there are eight wine tastings with food pairings. To gain entry to the LTB Concepts VIP Tent, appetizers, $20 in food tickets, six alcoholic drinks, and unlimited soda and water, purchase a one-day VIP ticket for $60.
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I’m not a strict ‘paleo’ eater myself. Being Messican, I can’t keep my hands off the tamales. However, I do lean in that direction, so I was interested to see that Caveman Cafeteria now has catering services and a food truck in Denver:
Caveman Cafeteria: Where The Hunters Gather! is gourmet food truck catering service that specializes in the Paleo way of eating and serves the Denver Metro Area… Catering information, select packages, and an information request form are on the Catering tab. We also have a Kickstarter Project to raise funds for a Caveman Cafeteria paleo food stand on 16th St Mall in Downtown Denver.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables and high quality meats isn’t exactly cheap, but the entrepreneurs behind Caveman Cafeteria will surely help make things cheaper and more accessible.
So, here in Denver one can get a nice big paleo meal to satisfy one’s cravings following a visit to the local Marijuana Club.
New Jersey State Police at Perryville responded but the trooper was still on the road this afternoon and could not immediately provide more details. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.
Porkalicious. Purple People Eatery. 2 Jive Turkey.
The imaginative names pull you in, and the gourmet grub keeps food truck fans coming back for more.
On Friday, Hallandale Beach officially joins the local craze for mobile cuisine with its own monthly food truck rally.
More than 20 high-end food trucks from Broward and Miami-Dade counties will roll in from 5 to 10 p.m. at Hallandale Beach City Hall, 400 S. Federal Highway, across from Gulfstream Park.
The trucks will sell everything from burgers and pork to vegan dishes, cupcakes and gelato.
Dubbed “First Fridays on Federal,” the event will be held the first Friday of every month and is expected to draw an estimated 1,500 people, says organizer Sef Gonzalez.
Nearby in Hollywood, Gonzalez helped launch the city’s “Food Truck Invasion” in August 2011. The event, held every Monday from 5:30 to 10 p.m., has been drawing hundreds to the ArtsPark at Young Circle ever since.
“It’s become a staple event on Mondays,” said Jaime Hernandez, a spokesman for Hollywood. “It’s mainly locals who come, but the food trucks do have their own following. So they do have people coming in from other parts of the region.”
You can thank Cathie Schanz for bringing the rolling feast to Hallandale.
As the city’s director of Parks and Recreation, she scouted Hollywood’s food truck event and liked what she saw.
“We were interested in bringing that to Hallandale Beach,” she said.
There will be lots of variety to keep taste buds entertained, so don’t expect two pizza trucks at the same event.
Gonzalez says he also rotates food truck vendors in and out of different venues to keep things interesting.
“If you come back and see the same food trucks every time, you can get bored,” he said. “Some of your favorites will be there, but there may be some others so you can try more types of food.”
Gonzalez pulls from a group of about 130 food trucks from West Palm Beach to the Keys.
“Just like with restaurants, not all are surviving,” he said. “Some just disappear. Some go out of business. Some leave the state.”
But others have been showing up in their place, he said.
A food truck event and awards ceremony for the best rolling feast is coming to Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 2, compliments of Gonzalez. The event is from 5 to 10 p.m. at Esplanade Park.
A food truck event and Cool Wheels Car Show is planned in Deerfield Beach on Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Quiet Waters Park.
For calendar information on food truck events throughout South Florida, go to http://www.miamifoodtrucks.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4554
HOUSTON (KTRK) —
One downtown development is finding a creative solution to get more foot traffic — food trucks.
Lunchtime for downtown worker Linda Guzman meant a quick stroll to a food truck parked on Houston Pavilions property, which started daily food truck service this week.
“It’s not fast food, but you can kind of grab and go. And if you have a lot of work to do, then you can just head back to the office after getting it,” said Guzman.
Because propane-based trucks aren’t allowed to operate in downtown Houston, the Pavilions only use electric trucks, even putting in an exterior outlet so trucks can operate,
“We put it in because we thought it was a fun thing to make it easy for the trucks. So, calling all food trucks,” said Karen Mulville with Houston Pavilions.
Even though Mayor Annise Parker has expressed her support for changing the propane ban, efforts to change city ordinance has hit stiff opposition. Members of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association say generally trucks downtown would put brick and mortar restaurants at an unfair disadvantage.
“When the potential is that you’re going to have four or five food trucks lined up in an empty parking lot next to you, and they don’t have to pay as many taxes and permits as you do, I don’t think it’s fair,” said Carol Churchill with China Garden.
The mayor’s office told us at this time there is nothing scheduled for a vote to change the current ordinance.
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Everyman Theatre has enlisted a food truck to provide dinner for its patrons in its new home.
When the professional Equity theater reopens in its new home on West Fayette Street, Charm City Gourmet will be parked outside the theater for several hours before each performance. Patrons will be able to order directly from the truck and consume their food outside, but Charm City Gourmet will be providing table service inside the theater’s lobby.
The truck, a side project of Shapiro’s Cafe, serves a full cafe menu that includes New England lobster rolls, falafel and Israeli salads.
The theater’s grand opening week, scheduled for Jan. 14-20, kicks off with a ribbon cutting. The official run of “August: Osage County” is Jan. 16-Feb. 17.
Follow Baltimore Diner on Twitter @gorelickingood
Lou BustamanteThe California Sisig Burrito at Señor SisigOur weekly bite explores the city’s food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.
Kicking off a new year of food truckin’ merits a quick look back at what eating at more than twenty mobile vendors has taught me. My exploration of the food truck scene has yielded more than a few surprises, and thankfully, none of them were gastro-intestinal issues.
5. Each food truck usually has a specialty dish or signature item.
As a matter of differentiating itself from others, each truck has its must try item. So if you run into a truck you’ve never seen before, just ask them what they’re known for. You’ll sometimes get the “Oh, everything is good!” response, at which case it’s best to ask the person ahead of you in line.
4. It’s not impossible to eat healthy (or vegan) at food trucks.
Face it, food trucks build their menus for maximum appeal, i.e., salty, fried, or fatty items, and a lot of the great dishes fall in this category. That being said, there are a few trucks that offer tasty and healthy alternatives that won’t make you feel like you’re missing out. The salad at Liba Falafel is outstanding, with a sidebar that allows you to tailor your greens with toppings and sauces. The surprisingly fresh and filling chirashi sushi at We Sushi left us feeling energized and ready to take on an afternoon full of meetings. A little heavier, but still a great alternative is the pad Thai from Phat Thai that is vibrant, with plenty of flavor, but not greasy or overly sweet. One of the best sandwiches I ate also happened to be vegan: the Teriyaki Zen with Pineapple KoJa at Koja Kitchen doesn’t taste like consolation prize.
3. Just because a truck is popular doesn’t mean it’s good.
Some of the most disappointing dishes I tried these past few months weren’t bad, they were just overhyped. While I won’t name names, mainly since this is such a subjective study, there are waits better spent elsewhere for me.
2. There are strategies to getting the most out of a food truck.
To get the most out of a food truck experience, it helps to keep a few things in mind:
- Hit the trucks during lunch and going on the early side is optimal for best for selection (some dishes do run out) and ease. While I actively hit the trucks at the prime lunch hour to time the total wait, I often do this on my off time.
- For the dinner pods, Fort Mason Off the Grid in particular, the key is to go with a posse. Using the effective “Divide and conquer” technique, secure a base camp, then assign food orders, and hit multiple trucks and vendors at once. You’ll get to sample a wide range of dishes without having to spend all night standing in line.
1. Most customers expect dishes that are cheap, fatty, and salty, but there are some great organic, local ingredient-driven trucks making the rounds.
This is a tricky one since there is an inherent blue-collar history to the food truck that creates some protest when someone doing fresh, local ingredient driven cuisine shows up charging appropriately for their dishes. There is clearly room for both, but how this will affect the growth of the trucks, remains to be seen. If nothing else, the trucks have increased the chances of finding something delicious near you.
Nomad Gourmet is on a roll heading into 2013.
The Halifax-area food truck, which has a new high-profile chef in Graeme Ruppel, is getting a menu makeover and will soon be offering service outside of the downtown.
Owner-operator Nick Horne said Monday the changes will help drum up business during the winter months.
“If I can move my business around and serve more people, then that’s better for everybody,” Horne said in an interview while preparing to serve a crowd later that night during New Year’s Eve festivities in the Grand Parade.
Ruppel, formerly of Brooklyn Warehouse and Getaway Meat Mongers, joined Nomad Gourmet shortly before Christmas.
He had been operating a pop-up restaurant, Coastal@Night, in the Coastal Cafe space for the past seven months.
The chef said the biggest change in moving to a gourmet food truck is the type of cuisine he will be creating.
“Previously, I was looking at doing five-course tasting menus. Now it’s much more a sandwich focus, a hand-held focus.”
While he has mostly been busy with the catering side of the business so far, Ruppel is also helping reshape the mobile eatery’s fare.
For instance, a new menu will be offered starting in the next couple of weeks.
Horne said the menu will include a new gourmet burger, as well as a version of Ruppel’s signature fried chicken and waffle dish.
“The popular things are going to stay. But you’ll definitely see some big changes,” said Horne.
The chef won’t reveal what is going to be in new burger, saying the ingredients are still being tested and may change. And the chicken and waffle dish also still needs work, Ruppel said.
“We’re playing around with some ways of making that carryable.”
Besides the new chef and revamped menu, Nomad Gourmet also plans to be on the move more in the Halifax region.
The food truck will soon be adding service in Burnside Park in Dartmouth and possibly a location in Bedford as well.
Nomad Gourmet, which shares the local food-truck scene with Food Wolf, has been operating on Argyle Street since August.
Horne said his vending licence for the spot beside city hall expired Jan. 1 and he is hoping to renew the permit in the next couple of weeks.
But he is also eager to try out some new locations.
“I’ve been doing a lot of legwork the past few months to find these spots. They’re hard to find. It is private property and have to get permission to go on them and then negotiate payment and everything.”
Diners can keep up with Nomad Gourmet’s whereabouts on Twitter at @nomadgourmet and Facebook at facebook/nomadgourmet.
The jibarito sandwich is a Chicago invention featuring seared steak, lettuce, tomato and cheese between hot fried plantains.
But the Jibarito Stop food truck may never serve its namesake sandwich. That’s because the dish needs to be cooked to order, something Cely Rodriguez and Moraima Fuentes have lost hope of doing on the truck they own.
Though food truck operators have long sought permission for onboard cooking, not a single Chicago truck has been licensed for it since the practice was legalized in July.
The process of getting a license is just too daunting, according to Rodriguez and Fuentes, who cite bad experiences with city bureaucracy, steep additional costs and the need to retrofit equipment among the reasons.
“I think many food truck owners are hesitant to even pursue cooking onboard because of their haunting experience with working with the city,” Rodriguez wrote in an email. It was frustrating enough just to get a license that allows the truck to serve prepackaged foods, she wrote.
Of the 109 entrepreneurs who have applied for the Mobile Food Preparer licenses that allow onboard cooking, none has met the city’s requirements, according to the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
“The city wants to see a thriving food truck industry that also maintains important health and safety standards that are in place to protect the public,” said Business Affairs spokeswoman Jennifer Lipford. The department has held multiple workshops for businesses and offers individual consultations, she said.
Some food truck operators blame the holdup on Chicago Department of Public Health officials who cite numerous problems and offer few solutions. But Lipford, who works with the Health Department on the licensing process, says only four of the 109 applicants have returned for follow-up consultations after applying.
“We want to see more food trucks and we want to work with people, but we can’t work with them if they don’t come back,” Lipford said.
Gabriel Wiesen, a food truck operator who also runs Midwest Food Trucks, part of a company that outfits food trucks for cities all over the nation, said Chicago’s code is “one of the most, if not the most, stringent in the country.”
While most of its provisions are similar to those in other major cities, Wiesen said, Chicago’s code includes rules on ventilation and gas line equipment that “are meetable but extremely cumbersome and can raise the price of outfitting a truck by $10,000 to $20,000.”
Wiesen said the additional ventilation equipment (with intake and exhaust fans similar to those in brick-and-mortar kitchens) also raises the height of trucks to 13 feet, making certain Chicago underpasses impassable.
“The Fire and Health departments have set standards for what they think is safe (on the trucks) and that’s what we follow,” Lipford said. “Our doors are always open to individual operators to help them through the process of starting a business and help get new trucks moving, but we will not compromise health and safety standards for everyone in the city.”
Aaron Crumbaugh, who operates the Wagyu Wagon, said the city is sending mixed messages. While he’s heard official speeches on streamlining licensing procedures for small businesses, he has been discouraged by a process he sees as full of obstacles and little guidance.
Crumbaugh said he is outfitting several trucks for franchisees in other cities whose processes for licensing are clear-cut.
“But here they don’t know exactly what they want,” he said. “Every time a truck comes in (health officials) say ‘You need this’ but then when you come back they say ‘No you need that’ and then the next time they find something else.”
The Health Department says it is following procedures the same way it does for any food business. A statement from the department says it “encourages the development of small business across the city and at the same time works diligently to help ensure public health in the areas of food safety and sanitation.”
Wiesen, who makes freshly fried gourmet doughnuts on his Beavers Coffee + Donuts truck, must operate on private property until he gets his onboard cooking license. The last hurdle, he said, is a requirement to contract with a licensed local commissary for a host of daily services including wastewater and grease disposal. No such licensed facilities exist, he said.
But recently the Tribune confirmed that Triple A Services Inc. near Bridgeport is now licensed for such services. And the shared kitchen facility Kitchen Chicago (out of which Wiesen works) near Grand and Chicago avenues may also be eligible to serve as a commissary, though co-owner Alexis Leverenz hadn’t been aware of it because of a miscommunication.
Leverenz and Wiesen said they would inquire further to see if he could start cooking his doughnuts on the street.
To avoid miscommunications, some truck operators have suggested that the city appoint a liaison for a time to help them navigate the licensing maze — one that no one has yet completed.
“It’s confusing as all hell,” said Rich Levy, who recently shut down his Haute Sausage truck operation down after unsuccessfully trying to renew his license under the new rules. He plans to reapply in the spring. ”(The Health Department) shouldn’t be turning a blind eye to safety matters, but they should also be reasonable. They should be working with us, not against us. They should be helpful to entrepreneurs in this city, not hurtful.”
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