Jul 24, 2014
Tim Lester

8 Must-Try Treats at the SF Street Food Festival

Pull on the stretchy pants and get an early start if you want to beat the hungry hordes that will once again invade the Mission for the sixth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival.

During this daylong party on August 16, over eighty food makers and restaurants will set up booths to present creative, cheap, global street snacks to an expected crowd of 80,000.  La Cocina, a nonprofit incubator kitchen that provides subsidized commercial kitchen space to help low-income and immigrant food entrepreneurs launch their businesses, hosts the event. It alleges this will be the festival’s final year in the Mission.  

While it’s easy to overload on steaming momos, fried chicken bahn mi, and curried noodles, save some space for dessert.

Here are eight treats to look for:

Doughnut Sandwich from Frozen Kuhsterd ($6.50)

Excess, meet your incarnation. Build your own frozen custard sandwich starting with one Dynamo Donut split and stuffed with your choice of frozen custard and toppings like cornflakes, ube sauce, and nutter butter. Too tired from all that eating to make a decision? Go with the famed “Mission Style” sandwich. A bacon doughnut stippled with apple bits that have been cooked in bacon fat pairs with Four Barrel coffee frozen custard and a glaze of burnt caramel. It’s a smokey, caloric monstrosity that somehow doesn’t taste heavy. You can also grab plain scoops as well as old fashioned chocolate sodas composed of heavy cream, organic chocolate syrup, and carbonated water.

Cheesecake from Crumble Whisk ($3)

Newcomer Crumble Whisk manages to make cheesecake exciting without resorting to deconstructionism or bizarre flavor combinations. I Cart NYC has the flavor of a classic New York slice but a fluffy texture that keeps it light.  A chopped strawberry basil compote mixed with a bit of ginger drips down the top of each square piece.  For a richer option, try the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla speckled with little black vanilla bean dots. Both fillings rest upon owner Charles Farriér’s thick and buttery homemeade shortbread crust. One taste, and you’ll wonder why graham crackers have dominated the cheesecake crust market for so many years.

Frozen Banana from Kika’s Treats ($3)

The carnival classic returns and tastes even better than it did when you were a kid. Order your creamy, cold banana in a dark or milk chocolate cloak with or without crumbles of Cristina Arantes’s buttery coconut shortbread cookies (“with” is the correct choice). If the fog decides to party crash, try Cristina’s hot chocolate spiked with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a twinge of chile or her famed homemade marshmallow s’mores, torched onsite and slid between one plain and one chocolate-covered caramelized graham cracker.

Ice Cream Sandwich from Three Twins ($5)

Party like it’s 1990 with an ice cream sandwich reminiscent of the kind served at your childhood pool parties. Organic madagascar vanilla ice cream squishes between two soft homemade chocolate wafer cookies. Alternatively, you can go with a scoop of one of Three Twins’s new flavors: chocolate chip cookie dough, land of milk and honey, or brownie batter chunk.

La Luna Cupcakes ($5 for 4 mini cupcakes)

La Luna’s customers clamor for tres leches. Rich vanilla cake soaks in three kinds of milk—evaporated, condensed, and regular—giving it a milky pocket that’s not quite wet, but goes a step beyond moist. At the festival, owner Elvia Buendia will also serve her popular red velvet with cream cheese frosting and smear of chocolate ganache (pictured), summery strawberry, and chocolate mint. For something more portable, try a cake pop. These orbs of blended cake and frosting served on a stick get dunked in white chocolate and sprinkles to resemble decorative golf balls.

Tequila Jelly Shot from Sweets Collection ($5)

Art and booze collide in these jello shots for classy folks. Rosa Rodriguez uses a small knife to etch flowers into each one, which she pumps with milk custard. At the festival, she’s juicing them with tequila and flavoring each with lemon and grapefruit.

Almond Crack from Nosh This  ($3.50-$13)

Chopped organic almonds stud these squares of buttery toffee wrapped in dark Guittard chocolate. A salty finish lingers thanks to Esprit du Sel (grey sea salt) that’s cooked into the candy. Nosh This will also sell its beloved bacon crack made with applewood-smoked bacon from Zoe’s Meas. You’ll find single pieces, boxes of four, and bags of Crack Rocks.  

Cotton Candy from Sugar Spun ($3)

Put a wad of this grownup cotton candy on your tongue, and feel it melt almost instantly. Dots of cayenne fleck the light yellow Spicy Salted Mango which makes it look more menacing than it tastes. Biscoff Spread and streaks of ground Oreo-like cookies (Sugar Spun uses the 365 brand from Whole Foods) look like black pepper riddling the Cookies and Cream flavor. Find pre-packed containers of the above as well as Peanut Butter Jelly. Or, order yours spun on-the-spot in options that include Nuetella strawberry, chocolate black sesame, and matcha green tea latte.

 

Follow Alissa Merksamer on the blog Glamorous Snacker or twitter @glamsnack.

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Jul 24, 2014
Terri Judson

Eat, drink, and escape at these BC summer festivals

Here are seven focused on food, wine, and beer that go particularly well with the great outdoors. They’re listed in chronological order, so check your schedule, see which weekend fits, and block it off. After all, the October rains will be here before you know it…

Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine (July 24 to 27, Victoria)

There’s no time like the present to make some last-minute reservations for this weekend. The sixth annual Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine kicks off this Thursday (July 24) and lasts four days.

At press time, a handful of tickets remained for the opening evening’s signature winetasting event, which features more than 100 B.C. wines, local chefs, and local cuisine. On Saturday (July 26), a whole suckling pig will be roasted on the patio at the Hotel Grand Pacific for the Swine and Vine party, which pairs pork with wine, tea, and cider as well as live bluegrass music. On Sunday (July 27), the Everything’s Better With Bacon dinner serves up a three-course long-table meal featuring the cult meat and Red Rooster wines.

There are other events in between; see the Victoria Taste website for info and tickets.

Wanderlust Whistler (July 31 to August 4, Whistler)

Returning this year for a five-day run, Wanderlust focuses on yoga, spiritual renewal, mindfulness, outdoor activities, and inspirational music. The main draw is yoga headliners like Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, and Eoin Finn, as well as speakers like meditation educator Padma Shyam.

And of course, adding some good food and beverages to the mix also nourishes the soul. An August 1 event highlights wines from local, organic, and biodynamic vineyards, while an August 2 evening features B.C. craft beer and a separate farm-to-table dinner.

The Canadian National BBQ Championships (below) coincide with the Wanderlust weekend, and there’s no reason you can’t hit both while you’re up in Whistler—or carpool with a friend who’s going to one or the other. See the Wanderlust website for more details.

Canadian National BBQ Championships (August 1 to 3, Whistler)

The highlight of the Pacific Northwest barbecue circuit takes place Creekside at Dusty’s Bar BBQ with competitions in pork butt, beef brisket, ribs, and chicken. Watch the action on the afternoons of August 2 and 3 and enjoy samples by donation.

For more serious meat eaters, August 1 features an all-you-can-eat rib dinner followed by a Led Zeppelin tribute band; on Saturday night, there’s a “bottomless” barbecue buffet. Secure tickets in advance at the Whistler Blackcomb website.

Slow Food cycles (August 2, 3, and 17 in Agassiz, Chilliwack, and Pemberton, respectively)

These daylong, self-guided bicycle tours wind through farmland and offer opportunities to meet the farmers and artisanal food producers. Consider spending the weekend in the Fraser Valley to take in both the Agassiz and Chilliwack rides; local tourism boards will even shuttle your purchases back to each starting point so you can stock up on fresh produce, handmade cheese, honey, and more over the course of your journey. Sign up at Fraser Valley Slow Food Cycle Tours  and Tourism Pemberton.

Silver Star Summer Wine Food Festival (August 8 to 10, near Penticton) and Viva Las Pride (August 14, Kelowna)

If you’re up for a drive to the Okanagan for a little winery-hopping, time your visit to coincide with these events.

The first runs over three days at Silver Star Mountain Resort and features a Mile High tasting with more than 30 wineries showcasing new varietals, an evening with chef David Hawks­worth, and activities such as cooking classes and guided alpine-flower hikes.

The Viva Las Pride event is organized by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society as part of Okanagan Pride week (August 9 to 16, visist the Okanagan Pride website). It features a Vegas-themed winetasting evening with 24 Okanagan wineries.

Whistler Village Beer Festival (September 11 to 14)

While it’s true that September is not technically summer, the weather tends to hold for the first few weeks, so get out there and store up some sunshine. The festival’s signature tasting event takes place outdoors at Whistler Olympic Plaza on September 13 and offers a chance to sample more than 150 beers from 53 B.C., Canadian, and international breweries. Those in attendance include Red Racer (winner of the 2013 best in fest award), Whistler Brewery, Deep Cove Brewers, Phillips, Granville Island, Deschutes, Gigantic, Four Winds, Parallel 49, and more.

This year’s festival has expanded to four days and includes cask nights, parties, and brunches. There are also educational seminars such as Beer 101, Craft Beer Revolution, and History of Beer. For tickets, see the Whistler Village Beer Festival website.

Feast Portland (September 18 to 21, Portland)

This four-day celebration of Oregon’s bounty boasts some big-name chefs not just from Oregon but from all over the U.S., including Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker and Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi. Notable events include a sandwich invitational, a “dessert for dinner” meal that features sweet treats, and a brunch village in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

On the beverage front, tasting panels will highlight tiki drinks, Negronis, the best new lagers, and more.

Some events, such as a dinner that celebrates Bon Appétit magazine’s best new restaurants in America, are already sold-out. Although there are plenty more to choose from, you’d best jump on those tickets now; see the Feast Portland website.

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Jul 24, 2014
Jim Benson

What to eat at Food Cart Fest Vancouver

Now in its second year at its location between the Cambie Street Bridge and the Olympic Village (215 West 1st Avenue), the fest takes place every Sunday until August 31 from noon to 5 p.m. A sister fest launches August 2 at Surrey’s City Hall Plaza (13450 104 Avenue, Surrey) and runs from noon to 5 p.m. every Saturday until August 30.

Situated in a massive repurposed concrete lot, Food Cart Fest Vancouver gets a whole lot of unrelenting sun and heat when the weather’s good. Fest veterans come prepared with parasols, jaunty straw hats, and plenty of sunscreen. This year there’s an artificial turf area complete with umbrellas, lounge chairs, a DJ, and Ping-Pong tables. Look out for urban gardening demos and a kids’ bouncy castle.

Of course, the main attraction is the diverse gorging that can be done, especially if you invite a gaggle of friends who aren’t possessive of their food. (Sharing is indeed caring.) On a recent visit, carts in attendance included Ze Bite (a crêpe or baguette with rosemary ham, grainy Dijon mustard, tomato sauce, and greens for $8.50), Mogu (featuring a pork katsu sandwich with house-made red miso sauce and Asian hot mustard coleslaw for $8), JJ’s Trucketeria (garlic fried rice with Filipino barbecued pork and a fried egg for $9.50), and Slavic Rolls (a pastry cylinder with a filling such as Nutella or Bavarian cream for $5.99). All trucks post a list of local ingredients they’re using.

Other food vendors were also on-site, such as the Pie Hole with its sweet and savoury pies, Delish Gluten Free Bakery, and Lukes General Store.

After much debating, we decided to start at Varinicey Pakoras with a small order ($5.50) of the original pakoras, which feature battered and deep-fried onion, ginger, carrot, kale, yam, and Swiss chard. The pakoras arrived crispy, with subtle spicing, and were especially delicious dipped in the cooling raita and sweet mango chutney. Tip: try not to dig in too quickly, lest you burn your fingers and tongue.

Fliptop Filipino Fusion Food Truck’s pulled-pork sandwich ($8) was a daunting and unwieldy tower of slow-cooked pulled pork, barbecue sauce, roasted-garlic aioli, achara (pickled green papaya and cabbage), and crispy leeks—all on a sweet pan de sal bun. Sadly, some of the tender pork hit the pavement despite our best efforts to contain it all, but overall we loved the combo of textures and ingredients.

Community Pizzeria sells Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizza, baked at 900 ° F in a wood-fired oven. Frankly, we were in awe that staff could stand to be in the truck on an already blazing summer’s day. The prosciutto and arugula ($11.50) version was a refreshing choice in the heat, the fresh, peppery greens pairing well with the salty prosciutto. The crust had great char and a nice chew to it—pretty darn good for food-truck pizza.

The gargantuan lamb kebab pita ($9) from Mangal Kiss Mid East BBQ was packed with organic greens, cucumber, radish, daikon, fresh mint, hummus, fig vinaigrette, harissa aioli, and zhug (Middle Eastern hot sauce). Each bite offered a zippy and crunchy mix of veggies alongside the tender ground-lamb kebab.

By that point, it was time to surrender and finish with frozen yogurt at Sweet Ride. We opted for the crowd favourite, Sweet Monkey ($8), their signature plain, tart frozen yogurt topped with Nutella, peanut butter, banana slices, Skor bits, and a Belgian Liège waffle. We weren’t fans of the froyo’s sandy texture but happily scraped off and ate the sweet goodies that accompanied it.

Our wait time at each truck ranged from five to 10 minutes, although by the time we were done, the more popular trucks, like Mom’s Grilled Cheese and Pig on the Street, had lengthy lineups. But judging by the satisfied expressions of visitors chowing down, the food at this year’s Food Cart Fest is well worth the wait. And if you can get there early and beat the crowds, even better.

Entry to Food Cart Fest Vancouver costs $2 per person, or it’s free with a nonperishable-food-item donation. (It’s also free for Vancity and Car2Go members, children under 13, and seniors over 65.) For more information, see the Food Cart Fest website.

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Jul 24, 2014
Jim Benson

Smiling Bison food cart, smoker stolen, Orlando police say


ORLANDO, Fla. –

A food cart and numerous other items have been stolen from The Smiling Bison restaurant, according to the Orlando Police Department.

The food cart, propane tanks, a smoker, metal kegs and an extension ladder were among the items stolen from the restaurant’s fenced-in area, located at 745 Bennett Rd.

There is no description of who stole the items from the restaurant, but it is known the items were stolen between the hours of 11 p.m. Monday and 9:25 a.m. Tuesday, according to an OPD report.

The food cart is an orange and black homemade trailer with the words “HOT HOT” on the front. There is also chalkboard on the trailer with The Smiling Bison’s menu printed on it.

Contact the Orlando Police Department with any information regarding this case.

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Jul 24, 2014
Jim Benson

New food cart pod coming to Portland’s popular SE Division Street

Southeast Division Street is about to get nearly two dozen new eateries — all at the same time, all at the same place.

There’s going to be a new food cart pod in town, brought to you by the developers behind Trifecta and the Bollywood Theaters.

Tidbit Food Farm and Garden will open next month on a now-vacant lot at Southeast Division Street and Southeast 28th Place. Vendors will move to the site the second full week of August, and likely start serving by Aug. 16.

Reworks, Inc., duo Aaron Blake and Christina Davis were planning to open the food cart pod in Southeast Portland next spring, but bumped up their timeline when two local pods announced impending closure. (Good Food Here won’t be closing after all, but Cartopia appears destined for redevelopment.)

Tidbit will feature 24 vendors, including:

  • Love Belizean
  • Pyro Pizza
  • PBJ’s Grilled
  • Dog Town (new, gourmet sausages and hot dogs)
  • Namu
  • Azul Tequila
  • Buki (new, Japanese street snacks and bubble tea)
  • Smaaken Waffles
  • Tambayan
  • Hapa Ramen
  • Tandoor Indian Kitchen
  • Aybla Grill

Davis said the pod will also be home to a plant nursery, Lodekka (vintage clothing, shoes and accessories), a produce stand from Parsons Farm and Dragonfly Monet (cut flowers, small kitchen wares from France).

The diversity of vendors not only serves customers well, Davis said, but prevents the carts from competing with one another.

“We’re trying to create a really amenable, fun, unique place to hang out on what has been a vacant lot,” she said. “We’re trying to create a place that is very supportive and community oriented.”

The 15,000-square-foot lot used to be an auto repair shop, Davis said, and the city used it to park equipment during street repairs. It will be paved where the carts stand and gravel beneath the plant nursery.

“Who doesn’t like to eat amongst plants?” the designer said, laughing. “Everything is better with plants.”

– Melissa Binder

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Jul 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Oregon Brewers Festival starts at noon today

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real tasting glasses, bless ‘em… 
The brewers parade to Tom McCall Waterfont Park to tap the first keg is the start of it all…this is from 2010, but if you made it to Lucky Lab Brewpub, 915 S.E. Hawthorne, by 11 a.m. today, you could be in this year’s parade…just an idea… 

27th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival

noon- 9 p.m. Wednesday- Saturday; noon – 7 p.m. Sunday, Tom McCall Waterfront Park; free admission, $7 for required 2014 tasting glass, $1 per taste token. Photo ID required.

The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation’s longest running and best loved craft beer festivals and the largest outdoor beer fest in the country. Its laid-back attitude and scores of award-winning beers make it the perfect jewel in the crown that is Beervana — and a major destination for beer tourists from around the country and the world, including a dozen Dutch brewers hosted by the OBF this year, whose beers will be pouring in the specialty tent. More than 85,000 people are expected over the festival’s five days, twice as many visitors as Denver’s Great American Beer Festival. The OBF also features live music, beer-related vendors, displays, homebrewing demonstrations and several food vendors.

here’s the story I wrote for CNN on the origin of the OBF…

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– John Foyston

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Jul 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer festival offers chance to try suds not sold in isles – Honolulu Star

Whether you are a beer expert or a beginner, there is no better way to sample a wide variety of beers than at a beer festival. In recent years, beer festivals have exploded across the country, and Hawaii has a number of great events each year. On Oahu the premier event is the Real Beer Festival, 2 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at Kakaako Makai Gateway Park.

The second annual Real Beer Festival will feature more than 65 beers from international breweries and food from 15 local restaurants. A ticket buys you 10 4-ounce tasting tickets and unlimited food, plus a commemorative mug. Login for more…

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Jul 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer Buzz: Bare Hands’ Thai.pa, plus tasting notes from the Microbrewers Festival

click to enlarge

     The best part of Saturday’s Microbrewers Festival was seeing Chris Gerard pouring Granger-based Bare Hands brews. Chris has made an amazing recovery from an injury that put him in the hospital for an extended stay followed by intensive therapy earlier this year. People statewide answered a call to help towards medical expenses and fellow brewers pitched in to keep the taps flowing.

    We chatted and sipped Chris’ refreshing thai.p.a, an American IPA brewed with citrus Thai spices and lemon grass along with Columbus and Cascade hops and a measure of rice in the crystal malt bill. At 7.1% ABV and 51 IBU’s it’s a drink-along with food companion. Chris’ enjoyment of Thai cuisine’s fragrant flavors inspired him to experiment. Thai-p.a. is available in 22 oz bottles. More about the South Bend suburb brewery Chris and Kim Gerard opened Dec. 2010 is at: http://www.barehandsbrewery.com

    Per my usual routine for Indiana craft beer festivals I zero in on the brews not otherwise easily accessible since it’s not possible to make it to 62 in-state and 20 out-of-state breweries represented. I chose Indiana Cask Ales, starting with Broad Ripple Brewpub in homage to our first ‘modern-day’ craft brewpub. Then it’s a nod to the first brewpub allowed to open with one door for restaurant and brewery, Lafayette Brewing Co. that opened two years later in 1992. BRBP’s Cinnamon Roll Porter begins as a classic English Porter that takes on an attitude of a sticky bun with cinnamon nose and full-mouth layered taste of total yum to finish clean with a tinge of blackberry surprise. LBC’s Shagbark Indiana Mild starts as a traditional English Ale that gets its dark ruby glow and rich nose from Indiana Hickory syrup. Perfectly balanced between malt, hops and syrup it’s smooth, clean and inviting.

    Michigan City scored with 9-year-old Shoreline’s light ruby-colored Imperial Raspberry with a cognac-like nose and not overly sweet clean taste from aging in red wine barrels. Just recently opened Burn ‘Em Brewery offered Vanilla Black Ale made with vanilla beans soaked in Old Crown Bourbon Ale for 24-hours, with organic pomegranate and cherry juice added. From Evansville’s Tin Man came a dark Porter aged in Makers Mark barrels. It’s so inviting and smooth you can easily forget 12% ABV.

    Black Acre’s Maple Wood Rum Porter wafts a rum nose to go with the ruby rum hue and flavor. It beckoned because the Black Acre brew crew, which always vies with Flat 12 for dress-up, came in fetching pirate attire. You had to be there for full impact.

    Even though there many more cask ales it was time to cross from the Opti Park Field to the Arts Center Lawn and Riverfront stations where I found old and new Indiana breweries carving out their specialties. Look for comments over the next weeks.

    Events:

    July 23: 
Sun King Beer Pairing w/ City BBQ Tickets at eventbrite.

    July 24: The RAM Downtown, 7:00PM for the next “Brew View” tapping for Hansel light and hoppy American Wheat and showing Zoolander, starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

    Kahn’s Fine Wines Spirits (North Keystone) Locals Only Craft Tasting, 6-8 p.m.

    July 25: Rocketship Comedy at Flat 12 with DJ Dangler 
8:30-10:30 p.m. July 26-27: Gnawbrew Beer, Arts, and Music Festival in Brown County. More at http://gnawbrew.net/

    July 29: Scott Hoke, celebrating his 10th anniversary as the host of Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, every Tuesday plays electric and double bass in The StoreyTellers Jazz Quintet at Patrick’s Kitchen in Zionsville. IN craft on tap: Bier DFG DIPA, Daredevil Vacation Kolsch, Sun King Grapefruit Jungle, Taxman Belgian Style Wit and Belgian Black Ale.

    New releases

    Bloomington Brewing award-winning 10-Speed Hoppy Wheat in bottles

    Flat 12 Pin of cinnamon chipotle 12 Penny Scottish Ale (12 Penny description) cask conditioned with cinnamon sticks and chipotles on tap.
    ABV: 3.4%, IBU: 17

    Triton 500 Sour Monks spent more than two years in a 7-year old Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrel aging on lactobacillus acidophilus. And the return of French Toast Saison. Both on tap

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    Jul 23, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    Food truck popularity hits Bellevue | City lacks regulations for mobile businesses

    A dozen food trucks that had parked for business in the former Rudy’s Barbershop lot downtown over the past several months has cleared out, but organizer Robert Schaudt said he sees demand for mobile dining in Bellevue bringing his model back.

    Secretary for the Seattle Food Truck Association and Buns on Wheels owner, Schaudt said consolidating food trucks into one downtown Bellevue location makes sense, and offers variety for consumers — many being office workers — rather than driving to various locations around the city. It’s not a new idea, and has long been embraced in Seattle, where Schaudt said about 65 food truck vendors open for lunch daily.

    The city of Bellevue lacks policies related to mobile food trucks, some of which are allowed under a vendor cart permit adopted into the land use code in 1994. Many food trucks operating in the city currently provide service for only a few hours each day at alternating private lots and are not required to obtain a vendor cart permit. Those operating at fixed locations are required to obtain a permit.

    A citizens advisory committee for the city’s Downtown Livability Initiative looked at how food trucks operate in the city, but is not recommending policy changes. Bellevue staff did conduct a land use audit as part of the Downtown Livability Initiative, which included vendor carts and mobile food trucks, and notes major cities like Seattle, Portland and Boston have adopted extensive vendor cart and food truck ordinances.

    Schaudt said the Bellevue Way and Main Street property was offered up as a food truck roundup location by the Vander Hoek Corporation, which will level Rudy’s and other businesses around it for its mixed-use development project, The Gateway. Schaudt said July 3 was the last day trucks could use the site, as the building is planned to be razed by the end of the month.

    He said he has been unsuccessful in finding property owners downtown who will agree to lease lots for a food truck roundup, either asking too much to rent the space or rejecting the idea entirely. He said he’s also had poor luck convincing the city to explore allowing food trucks to set up on its undeveloped properties and rights of way. With only about 300 on-street parking spaces available in the downtown area, food trucks may have to continue to rely on private lots for their operations.

    The city land use audit does point to food trucks as having positive effects in Bellevue, such as increasing pedestrian activity, offering affordable and easily accessible food options, adding vitality to vacant or underutilized sites and parking areas and adding opportunity for more small business development. However, “When a cluster of carts is located on a private site, the heightened intensity of use can negatively impact the surrounding community.”

    The results of a March 2013 focus group conducted by the city were mixed regarding food trucks. Some said they felt food trucks add vibrancy downtown, while others expressed concern they add unfair competition to downtown restaurants.

    Bellevue Downtown Association President Patrick Bannon said restauranteur members with the association would like to see the city address food trucks under its land use code, because many are not required to acquire permits or comply with other city regulations that apply to brick-and-mortar restaurants. While the advisory committee is not making a recommendation, Bannon said he still anticipates city staff will come to council with ideas about regulating food trucks.

    “The food trucks are popular. The long lines attest to it and provide a great amenity to the lunchtime crowd for sure, but you’ve also seen through the land use code on it that the city doesn’t have any language that addresses food trucks,” he said. “… I think (city staff) will come back with a framework for how to deal with mobile food truck operations the way other cities have.”

    There are 135 full-time food trucks registered in King County, but Schaudt said he doubts that many are currently operating. About 65 food trucks operate in Seattle during lunch on a daily basis, he said.

    Schaudt said he thinks Aug. 14 will be a “wake-up call” for the city. That’s when a food truck roundup will be held at Ashwood Park through collaboration with the city’s parks and community services department.

    “They want to look at it and see how it looks,” he said, adding he has explored food truck roundups in other Eastside communities. “The only city that works here is Bellevue.”

     

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    Jul 23, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    State rule aims to make food truck transactions easier

    Change is in the air for North Coast food trucks.

    A new state rule, which goes into effect Tuesday, will permit vendors to post flat-rate prices for the food they sell that include sales tax.

    So, instead of having to add the sales tax to prices at the spot of the transaction, vendors can figure out how much they owe in taxes later.

    “The point was to streamline the process for everybody,” said Brian Miller of the California Board of Equalization, the public agency charged with the administration of taxes and fee collection. “The … number of food trucks in California has grown substantially, and we wanted to make it easier on everybody. ”

    Currently, trucks have to post signs saying the tax is included in prices or add the tax to the listed price, leading to different prices based on where the truck is parked when the sale is made. Now, they can charge one price — say $5 for a sandwich — no matter where they sell it and calculate how much they owe when they pay their sales tax.

    And, said state officials, customers won’t have to reach into their pockets for extra change.

    “In making the process simpler for the vendors, we’re also helping consumers too,” Miller said.

    There are about 4,000 mobile food vendors registered with the state, he said, a number that has been growing steadily each year.

    Unlike a brick and mortar restaurant, mobile food trucks can change their sales tax rate several times in one day.

    Local vendors, even some who didn’t know about the new rules, hailed the idea in principle but wanted to wait and see how it worked in practice.

    “I can see how it would make it easier for the moment (of the transaction),” said Yvette Cabrera, manager of El Roy’s Mexican Grill, which has trucks in Petaluma and west Santa Rosa. “I hope we aren’t faced with having to fill out more paperwork in the end.”

    You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or elizabeth.cosin@pressdemocrat.com.

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