Jun 30, 2014
Tim Lester

An Indonesian Food Court: Great Street Food in a Duarte Parking Lot

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  • James Gordon
  • Laksa at Bethania Depot.

If you were to find yourself walking at night through the streets of Bali or Kota Kinabalu, you would almost certainly smell food. Sometimes the smell will come from an individual stall specializing in murtabak or roti or some distinct noodle dish, but it’s likely the smell will be emanating from a central location where hundreds of stalls congregate. You’ll probably smell the food before you see it. You may need to walk through throngs of people selling every item imaginable: used televisions, poorly-made handbags, NFL jerseys, hand crafted jewelry, fake jewelry, authentic North Face jackets.

Eventually you’ll reach your destination, where the smoke and dust is so thick you will need to pause to breathe. Once your eyesight adjusts, you will see roasted ducks, skewers of freshly grilled fish and squid, hanging chickens, steaming bowls of soup and batches of tossed egg noodles, most of it offered for pennies.

The food market concept is ingrained in Southeast Asian culture. On the island of Borneo, the markets are quickly assembled on cracked sidewalks, filled with people and dogs and delicious food. In wealthy Singapore, the markets are rigidly organized, relatively clean and often placed in shopping malls. The food is still delicious.

It’s no surprise that something like an Asian food market has been attempted in Los Angeles. That was presumably the idea behind the 626 Night Market, which, with its corporate sponsors and long lines, looks exactly like what you would expect a night market in L.A. to look like. But the true food markets in L.A., at least in spirit, are where local immigrants congregate: the backyards of Burmese in Monterey Park, a parking lot in Duarte where Indonesians gather every Saturday and a small food court in a strip mall in West Covina. 

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  • James Gordon
  • Ayam penyet at Bethania Depot.

That strip mall is called Hong Kong Plaza, and its food court, located adjacent to an Asian grocery store, has been recently renovated. Its floors are polished now, and there are little sleek wooden poles around the eating area that give it a modern touch. Looking around at the vendors – a Filipino empanada spot, a Malaysian eatery, a couple Indonesian noodle shops – you may feel like you’re in a Singapore shopping mall.

The landscape of the food court has changed, too. There used to be an excellent Malaysian satay spot where Josephine’s empanadas are sold now. There will be a new vendor, Borneo Kitchen, that will open in the next couple months. The other three – Bethania Depot, Janty Noodle and Bakmi Parahyangan – have been there for years, serving what is essentially Indonesian and Malaysian comfort food.

There’s not much complexity to the food here. Much of Indonesian and Malaysian food relies on the freshness of its ingredients. That’s generally enough in Indonesia; ayam penyet, a simple fried chicken garnished with chili sambal, tastes very good when the chicken’s head is chopped off a few minutes before the frying. We can assume that’s not the case at Hong Kong Plaza, and the food suffers a bit for it, but that’s forgivable when there are only a few dozen places on the West Coast that serve ayam penyet in the first place. 

It’s possible to introduce yourself to most of the staples of Malaysian cuisine at Bethania Depot, the food court’s most ambitious stall, though roti was recently removed from the menu for inexplicable reasons. They do have ayam penyet. There are plates – or, more accurately, styrofoam containers – of common breakfast foods mee goreng and nasi goreng, the former served with fried noodles (mee), the latter with fried rice (nasi). There’s gado-gado (“mix-mix”), a sort of salad of pounded rice cakes and boiled egg slathered with a peanut sauce, served at Bethania and the other stalls. 

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Jun 30, 2014
Tim Lester

Photos: 10 Of The Best Things We Ate At LA Street Food Fest


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The 5th Annual LA Street Food Fest took place yesterday evening, bringing nearly 100 food and drink vendors to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

From Mama Musubi’s curry tuna and mayo musubi to Churro Borough’s mini churro ice cream sandwiches, the festival did not disappoint. Check out 10 of our favorites in the photo gallery above.

Check out all of the food that was available at the fest here.

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Jun 30, 2014
Tina George

Food Festivals In Fitzrovia, Waterloo And Carnaby Street

Cubana at Waterloo Quarter Food Festival

Cubana at Waterloo Quarter Food Festival

July will see three local food festivals take place across the capital, organised by the business improvement districts (BIDs) of each area. Whether you live or work in the Fitzrovia, Waterloo or the Carnaby Street areas, or are just passing through, here are some highlights that might be worth making a detour for.

Fitzrovia

It’s the first year for Feast @ Fitzrovia, which runs throughout the area from today until Friday. Highlights include a chilli challenge, live chef demos and wine tastings. If you’re at a loose end, there’s a special literary pub crawl Monday night at 6pm, showcasing boozers frequented by the likes of Dylan Thomas and Virginia Woolf and ending with a pie and a pint at The Newman Arms. There’s also a rather special (£85) dinner at Elysée on Tuesday, with chefs from that restaurant, Pied á Terre and Fino cooking one course each. An open-to-all Independence Day street food market and English wine bar will take over Whitfield Gardens (near Goodge Street station, opposite Heal’s) on Friday, which is where you can find that chilli challenge. There are also offers on at several restaurants in the area, including Remedy wine bar and Drakes Tabanco. See an online version of the festival brochure here for full details.

Waterloo

The annual Waterloo Quarter Food Festival returns this week, and runs for the whole of July. It kicks off with an evening food fair packed with stalls from local restaurants and businesses (including Cubana, Konditor and Cook and Wahaca), on the square opposite the Old Vic theatre, where bake-offs, live music, and a beer and burger festival will also be held later in the month. Exotic Excess Café will pop-up on Lower Marsh on Saturday, serving smoothies made from food that would have otherwise gone to waste, and on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 July, Duck Waffle chef Dan Doherty will set-up in a secret location in the area as part of the Chateau Marmont supperclub. He’ll create an exclusive eight-course menu for the event, based around British seasonal herbs and flowers; each day will feature two sessions accommodating just 16 diners each, so we’re expecting the £95 a pop tickets (available here) to sell out fast. Many of the other events are completely free. Full details can be found here and on the festival’s events calendar.

Carnaby Street

A one day event on Sunday 20 July, Carnaby Street Eat will see 30 of the area’s restaurants, bars and cafés take to the street serving small versions of their signature dishes for £5 a pop. Dehesa, Masala Zone, Rum Kitchen, Stax and Wright Brothers are among those who’ll be taking part, while Hardeep Singh Kohli will lead a series of chef demos, and live music will bulk up the entertainment offering. The festivities will run from 11am to 6pm. Visit the Carnaby website for more information.

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Jun 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Photos: Food Truck Friday in Hopewell Borough

Hopewell Borough –The community kicked off the summer with good grub, live music and fun at the Food Truck Friday event.

Scores of folks came to the free event and stayed well into the evening at the Hopewell Train Station.

The event was sponsored by Hopewell Borough Recreation Committee and organized by local volunteers.


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Jun 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Sarge’s Chef on Wheels food truck to open restaurant in Rolesville



Sarge's

Sarge’s Chef on Wheels food truck is opening a restaurant in Rolesville.









Rebecca Troyer
Managing Editor- Triangle Business Journal

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Sarge’s Chef on Wheels food truck, famous for its shrimp and grits, is opening a restaurant at 400 Southtown Circle in Rolesville.

Julius West, “Sarge,” told WRAL that after suffering a heart attack earlier this year, he wanted a brick-and-mortar restaurant due to the heat of the food truck in summer.

Hours for Sarge’s will initially be 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday with breakfast and lunch fare. The restaurant is expected to open within the next couple of weeks, reports WRAL.

Rebecca Troyer manages the day-to-day process of delivering the daily digital content and the weekly print edition. Troyer also handles inquiries on news coverage and newspaper deadlines.


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Jun 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Toledo ponders food-truck permits, regulations

Parking close to brick-and-mortar restaurants an issue




Laura Ness is served by John Ray from The Displaced Chef food truck on St. Clair Street downtown. The pilot program for food trucks in Toledo began last year at the request of then-Mayor Mike Bell.
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Under pressure to protect downtown restaurants from mounting mobile competition, Toledo City Council is being asked to approve rules to regulate the growing food-truck industry.

Mayor D. Michael Collins presented legislation to council last week that would restrict operations of mobile food vendors on streets in the downtown business district and other neighborhoods and create zones in which the businesses could operate.

Council is to vote Tuesday on the new rules, which include requirements that food-truck operators apply for permits that could cost up to $1,000 per year, obtain $1 million liability insurance, and not park within 100 feet of entrances to brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Joel Mazur, the mayor’‍s assistant chief of staff, said the proposal is a response to complaints from restaurants in the downtown business district about the rising kitchen-on-wheels operators.

“It is more or less to level the playing field,” Mr. Mazur said at council’‍s agenda review meeting.

The proposal would create “competitively” restricted zones for food trucks to operate on North St. Clair Street at Levis Square between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays and on Michigan Street at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library on Wednesdays, also from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Nighttime” designated zones, between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., would include Adams Street between 12th and 21st streets; Superior Street between Monroe Street and Jefferson Avenue; St. Clair between Washington and Monroe streets; and Huron Street between Washington and Monroe streets.

Two other daytime zones would allow food trucks during the work week between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. near the Lucas County Courthouse on Ontario Street and on Constitution Avenue, near Toledo Municipal Court.

Mr. Mazur said the ordinance would put Toledo in line with Ohio’s other large cities in regulation of mobile food vendors.

Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, which Toledo used as a model for its proposed law, have annual mobile food vendor permit fees, ranging from $500 to nearly $2,000, he said.




Customers wait by JoJo’s food truck on St. Clair Street downtown. Vendors pay $3 for each spot used by their truck or trailer.
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Because of efforts of the Downtown Toledo Improvement District, prime parking spaces on St. Clair at Levis Square are reserved for food trucks, catering to the downtown lunch crowd, and within several hundred feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Vendors pay $3 for each spot used by their truck or trailer. The pilot program, which began last year at the request of then-Mayor Mike Bell, has become popular for both vendors and downtown office workers.

Matt Salgado, co-owner of Displaced Chef, which is among the regular mobile businesses at the square, said the regulations — especially the $1,000 permit fee — would be an unfair burden that will only serve to protect downtown’‍s brick-and-mortar restaurants.

“We are in the same business as they are and we are trying to do the right thing. My business is just like having a restaurant. You have to change things to stay above the rest of the competition. If you want to compete you have to step up your game,” he said.

Ed Becyznski, the owner of Blarney Irish Pub and Focaccia’‍s Deli in the HCR ManorCare building, said he supports having vendors on the street, but wants it limited to one day a week because of the economic impact they have on the eateries.

“I am not against them. I think it is good to have variety. But we have to make it work for everybody,” he said. “When you sit at the same spot every day, instead of moving around, you are affecting the same places.”

Councilman Michael Craig agreed that a level playing field is needed to balance the concerns of the “fixed-base” restaurants and the growing mobile food business.

While both are important to downtown revitalization, Mr. Craig said restaurants have to balance fixed costs and slow periods during the winter that make the booming summer months important to their profit margins.

“The legislation is designed to make the vendors move around so they are not preying on a certain restaurant,” he said. “You have to level the playing field and spread this around. I am not totally against the mobile vendors, but we have to make it work for everybody.”

City council will discuss the proposal at 2 p.m. Tuesday during a committee of the whole meeting, with further action scheduled at the 4 p.m. council meeting.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.

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Jun 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Richmond Food Truck Rodeo Coming This Fall

New food truck festival alert! The Richmond Food Truck Rodeo, a food truck festival to the max, is coming to Richmond, courtesy of Chef Patrick Harris of the Boka Truck on Sunday, Sept. 14.  

The Food Truck Rodeo will host 30 to 45 food trucks, all in one place, with music and beer (often the most difficult part of the food truck puzzle).

And they’ve already got a location at the Chesterfield Town Center.

The Food Truck Rodeo is more than a food truck court,” Harris says. “The food trucks are a great place to get away from the monotony of the regular. You can travel around and see different trucks. But this is a different animal. This has more to bring to the table. It’s a full day event, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s designed like a dining festival, where you can come out and graze from a variety of trucks for several hours. There will be beer and music. We hope to turn it into a Richmond institution.”

Harris says he chose Chesterfield Town Center because it can hold the expected crowds of 6,000 to 9,000 people.

Brown Distributing has signed on as a sponsor and will provide the beer.

And expect bands – either from town or further afield, details are still being finalized.

Harris is working with Laurin Willis who has handled concert promotion for The National, Pocahontas Live, Innsbrook After Hours and other venues.

Harris says he wanted to create an event similar to the Downtown Food Truck Rodeo in Raleigh, N.C. that closes down several streets and draws 20,000 people. That rodeo is so successful, it’s held four times a year.

Which is what Harris would like to do with the Richmond version as well.

The Richmond Food Truck Rodeo will be like the Food Truck Rally, held two years ago in the 17th Street Farmer’s Market, but only bigger. And hopefully better, Harris says.

“The first Derby downtown brought out more people than it could handle,” Harris says. “All the trucks sold out of food in an hour and a half. This year, we should have dozens more trucks, much more space, and beer. We’ll have better placement and lines. The whole festival should open up and create an opportunity for a great event.”

Harris says he’d like the Richmond Food Truck Rodeo to be held in the spring, summer and fall.

“We’re looking to find a permanent long term venue. It’d be great to close off five to six blocks, load it up with trucks, and build a marathon around it,” Harris says.

We’ll post more details as soon as we have them. But for now, mark your calendars for the Richmond Food Truck Rodeo, Sunday, Sept. 14.

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Jun 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Richmond Food Truck Rodeo Coming This Fall

New food truck festival alert! The Richmond Food Truck Rodeo, a food truck festival to the max, is coming to Richmond, courtesy of Chef Patrick Harris of the Boka Truck on Sunday, Sept. 14.  

The Food Truck Rodeo will host 30 to 45 food trucks, all in one place, with music and beer (often the most difficult part of the food truck puzzle).

And they’ve already got a location at the Chesterfield Town Center.

The Food Truck Rodeo is more than a food truck court,” Harris says. “The food trucks are a great place to get away from the monotony of the regular. You can travel around and see different trucks. But this is a different animal. This has more to bring to the table. It’s a full day event, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s designed like a dining festival, where you can come out and graze from a variety of trucks for several hours. There will be beer and music. We hope to turn it into a Richmond institution.”

Harris says he chose Chesterfield Town Center because it can hold the expected crowds of 6,000 to 9,000 people.

Brown Distributing has signed on as a sponsor and will provide the beer.

And expect bands – either from town or further afield, details are still being finalized.

Harris is working with Laurin Willis who has handled concert promotion for The National, Pocahontas Live, Innsbrook After Hours and other venues.

Harris says he wanted to create an event similar to the Downtown Food Truck Rodeo in Raleigh, N.C. that closes down several streets and draws 20,000 people. That rodeo is so successful, it’s held four times a year.

Which is what Harris would like to do with the Richmond version as well.

The Richmond Food Truck Rodeo will be like the Food Truck Rally, held two years ago in the 17th Street Farmer’s Market, but only bigger. And hopefully better, Harris says.

“The first Derby downtown brought out more people than it could handle,” Harris says. “All the trucks sold out of food in an hour and a half. This year, we should have dozens more trucks, much more space, and beer. We’ll have better placement and lines. The whole festival should open up and create an opportunity for a great event.”

Harris says he’d like the Richmond Food Truck Rodeo to be held in the spring, summer and fall.

“We’re looking to find a permanent long term venue. It’d be great to close off five to six blocks, load it up with trucks, and build a marathon around it,” Harris says.

We’ll post more details as soon as we have them. But for now, mark your calendars for the Richmond Food Truck Rodeo, Sunday, Sept. 14.

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Jun 30, 2014
Jim Benson

Owners frustrated after food carts burglarized

PORTLAND, Ore- They’re a Portland staple, spread out all across the city, they’ve become a part of the culinary culture here.

But recently, thieves have been targeting food carts more frequently, as evidenced by yet another break-in Friday at a food cart pod near 50th and S.E. Division.

The owners think the thieves may have been casing this place for a while. They went into a neighbor’s back yard, hopped a fence where they knew cameras couldn’t see them, and then went straight for this food cart where they picked the lock and let themselves in.

Daniel Hamm is the co-owner of Lou’s Ragin’ Ravioli.

He closed up Thursday night, and by the time he got back to work Friday morning his iPad was gone along with cash.

He called the police right away – they’re tracking down some possible leads but the damage is already done.

“Oh man, it’s infuriating,” Hamm said No one’s getting rich off food carts. We do this because we have a passion for our food. To target a small business like this it’s infuriating,” Hamm said.

Hamm lost more than $1,000 and had to shut down for two days to deal with the break in.

Now they’re looking at investing in new security cameras and say they learned the hard way to never leave any valuables inside the cart.
 

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