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Mar 23, 2014
Tim Lester

Polish bloggers react to firestorm after saying they’d rather go hungry than …

Do you agree that Pinoy food is “packed with salt, sugar and oil”?

Sure you do.

We live on sisig, lechon, bagoong, menudo and adobong baboy floating in lard. We dig the umami saltiness of “magic powders” and the sodium overload of broth cubes. And we put sugar in our spaghetti.


‘Old and gross’

But let’s take that same phrase—“packed with salt, sugar and oil”—and attribute it to Polish food and travel bloggers Agness (Agnieszka Walewinder) and Cez (Cezary Król), who went to Banaue, Cebu, Bohol, Manila and perhaps Vigan to sample the local fare.

Let them say things like: “The fruits we bought at local markets daily looked and tasted old and gross” and  “I had a massive migraine, mood swings and heartbum (sic) caused by spicy and oily pork” and “The biggest disappointment was not trying traditional Filipino dishes (because) we simply could not find them!”

Finally, let them title their blog entry, “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food Again!”


Readymade firestorm

And voila! A readymade firestorm dreamed up in viral heaven, thanks to what the bloggers called their “honesty” and what many Pinoys thought was a gross insult to our culture (hashtag #PinprickedPinoyPride).

Uploaded on March 17, 2014 on, the post has generated 679 (moderated) comments (with more waiting in the wings), raised hackles on Facebook and had writer Agness defending herself on Twitter.

It didn’t help either that the blog showed a black and white photo of Agness looking sickly and disheveled, with the caption, “My ‘I’m starving but I don’t want to eat this food’ face”.



Among many things, people took issue with her photo of a hotdog sandwich which she captioned: “We asked for ‘longganisa’ which is Filipino famous sausage and this is what we were served – American style hot dog.”

Based on the single-serve condiment packs seen in the photo, commenters deduced that the hotdog was bought at a 7-11.



Commented @wooribadboy: “Finding good food is a specific journey and not just go out there blindly and order it and declare this is the flavor of this country. If I went to your country and find the first convenience store and ask for something local, are you confident that it will represent the flavor you want a friend to experience?”


Traveling on $25 a day

On his Facebook page, activist and Manila tour guide Carlos Celdran called Agness a “silly ignorant traveler” while acknowledging that he felt “so sad to read this article.”

He said, “…at the end of the day, unless we do something about uplifting the masses, poverty will always be the defining force of Philippine cuisine. Period.”

In fact, Agness and Cez, who call themselves “adventurous tramps (and) best friends,” claim on their blog that wherever they go, they live on US$25 a day.


An American travel blogger jumps in the fray

Meanwhile, an American travel blogger who has lived in the Philippines for a year, has reacted to the  ruckus, noting on his own post that Agness and Cez seemed “intentionally trying to antagonize Filipino people in order to bring attention to (their) blog.”

Nathan Allen noted that the bloggers earlier wrote about their “impressions” on the Philippines with a few negative comments about Filipino food.

“Then, perhaps you sat back and watched all the comments slowly start coming in. When you realized how sensitive and proud Filipinos can be about their food specifically, you decided to take advantage of the situation and write another inflammatory post all about the food,” he opined.


What Polish bloggers told Yahoo SHE

Allen accused Agness and Cez of deliberately being “offensive” to generate even more comments.

“Yes, they’re almost all negative (though you have done a good job hiding the people who are really speaking their mind), but look at all that blog traffic!” Allen wrote.

Contacted to comment on the online fury their post caused, Cez told Yahoo SHE in a private message: “The article attracted much more attention than it should already, and we do not want to further escalate it. What we have written is true and resembles our personal opinions based on our own experiences. It’s written solely about food, and our view is that people over-react and look for implied meanings where there’s none.”


Yahoo SHE asks: Are you Pinoy? If so, what do you think are the BEST and WORST things about our food?

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Mar 18, 2014
Kim Rivers

NJ’s most popular food truck? Voting ends midnight Friday; make your voice be … – The Star

You’ve read our Ultimate Jersey Food Truck Showdown series (if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?), about all the great food trucks scattered around the state.

Now’s the time to see who wins our coveted Silver Spatula Award for Most Popular Food Truck in New Jersey. Voting ends this Friday at midnight; the winner will be announced on Monday.

More than 3,500 votes have been cast so far, and it’s a close race, with the Cinnamon Snail, The Taco Truck and Oink and Moo BBQ the top three vote-getters to date.

But anyone can win the award, so it’s time to cast your vote — and tell your favorite truck to get the word out to all its fans through Twitter and Facebook.

To vote, go here.

Did you miss the mouth-watering stories in the food truck series, including profiles of the top trucks, a list of the best truck dishes, and a won’t-find-anywhere-else directory of Jersey food trucks? Here is the complete series.

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Mar 16, 2014
Kim Rivers

Greek Food Truck Opens in Waco – KCEN

Xristo’s Cafe is trying to bring food truck culture to Waco, but the journey to getting this restaurant on wheels wasn’t easy.

Stephanie Garman always wanted her own cafe in downtown Waco, but every opportunity seemed to fall through.

“We would always look and then something would happen or I’d have another child and it just never came to pass,” Garman said.

Six kids and several years later, she became inspired by the food trucks in Austin.

She thought it was the perfect way to showcase her Greek cooking, so Xristo’s Cafe was born. 

The truck opened for business on the corner of University Parks and Franklin last Friday, but she says it’s already taking off.

“We get a lot of people that say…somebody told me to come here or I saw this on Facebook,” Garman said. “It’s amazing.”

Customer say they love the handful of food trucks they find in Waco, they just wish there were more.

“I think it would keep young people downtown or even in Waco more if we had this kind of culture that they could enjoy,” Baylor graduate Sarah Picken said.

Jennifer Husak enjoys the convenience of food trucks.

“I think it would just be great for a lunch break to have more food trucks and it would kind of boost the economy,” Husak said.  

Getting one up and running isn’t easy.     

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District checklist says you have to operate from a central preparation facility, no storing or preparing food at your home.

Finding local restaurants with that extra space can be hard, but Xristo’s Cafe made it happen and Stephanie Garman is hoping more food trucks will too.

“I think Waco is ready to revitalize downtown,” Garman said.

If you want to try the local food trucks Waco has to offer, some of them are expected to be at Brazos Park East on April 5th for the “Movable Feast for Beasts” event.

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Feb 27, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Is Actually Serving IBM’s Insane Computer-Generated Dishes

[Photo: IBM/Facebook]

What’s a company to do when they invent a computer that generates weird, gimmicky recipes? Put in a food truck, apparently. IBM has partnered with the Institute of Culinary Education to bring the IBM Food Truck to life, serving up novelty food recipes voted on by the public at this week’s IBM Pulse conference in Las Vegas. Dishes from the computer-generated recipe archive include Creole Shrimp-Lamb Dumpling, Baltic Apple Pie, Austrian Chocolate Burrito, Turkish Bruschetta, Caymanian Plantain Dessert, Swiss-Thai Asparagus Quiche, and today’s recipe is Portuguese Lobster Roll.

The conference, which ends today, marks the truck’s debut, but ICE creative director Michael Laiskonis tweets that he’ll be working in the truck next week. He does not reveal where the truck is heading. The truck uses the IBM computer program that generates recipes, an act which it calls “computational creativity.” The video below illustrates how “cognitive cooking” works in layman’s terms. The computer’s goal is not to retrieve already existing recipes, but rather create new ones. Go, watch that video, and an inside look at the IBM Food Truck serving the above-mentioned Baltic Apple Pie below:

UPDATE 2/26 4:45pm: IBM confirms that their next stop is Austin, TX for SXSW.

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Feb 26, 2014
Kim Rivers

Sarah’s Cake Shop Adds Second Food Truck

sarahsfoodtruck2.jpg       A strawberry cheesecake cupcake at Sarah’s. | Emily Wasserman

We’ve got good news for your sweet tooth. Sarah’s Cake Shop (10 Clarkson Wilson Centre, Chesterfield; 636-728-1140) is putting a second food truck out on the road sometime later this week. Manager Jill Umbarger tells us that the truck was just wrapped with graphics and Sarah’s logo yesterday.

See also: The Five Best Places for Cupcakes in St. Louis

The team at Sarah’s has been planning a second truck for about three months. Sarah’s Cake Stop (the food truck) couldn’t make all the dates people and companies were requesting, so it seemed like the logical next step. Sarah’s will be tweeting and posting locations for both trucks on the existing Cake Stop Twitter and Facebook pages.

One of its signature desserts, Glitter Bites, will also be available in the food trucks for the first time. Not only do we love the name, but they sound amazing: white cake filled with buttercream, dipped in chocolate and dipped in sugar.

“We’re gonna be offering some new things, so just stay tuned,” Umbarger says. “We’re working on some new recipes and new desserts — it’s a work in progress.” Look for the new food truck later this week!

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at or follow her on Twitter.

Location Info



Sarah’s Cake Shop and Catering Co.

10 Clarkson Wilson Centre, Chesterfield, MO

Category: Restaurant

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Feb 22, 2014
Kim Rivers

Behold New Orleans’ Food-Truck King Cake Burger

The King Cake Burger, Food Drunk. [Photos: Facebook]

The appropriately named New Orleans food truck Food Drunk — which specializes in “chef-inspired, alcohol-influenced cuisine” — is stepping up its stunt burger game. Behold the King Cake Burger, which sandwiches brisket and aged cheddar between a sprinkle-topped brioche bun by New Orleans’ Ye Old Bake Shoppe (in appropriate Mardi Gras spirit, the sprinkles add the necessary green, purple, and gold coloring). According to Food Drunk’s Facebook page, the burger’s bun is “not as sweet as a traditional King Cake… it’s more like a brioche bun with a light fondant glaze.”

According to local news station Fox 8 (and Food Drunk’s own Facebook page), the stunt burger has attracted long lines since its first appearance on social media a few days ago. It’s not the only king cake-mashup to hit New Orleans this year: other bastardized king cakes have featured green, purple, and gold “cakes” made of muffuletta and crawfish.

· FOOD DRUNK’s King Cake Burger [Facebook via Serious Eats]
· All Novelty Hamburger Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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Feb 14, 2014
Kim Rivers

NYC Food Truck Lunch: Tonkatsu Curry Rice From Domo Taco

This lunch you’re going to read about was another testament to the fact that you should stroll through our Mobile Munchies Twitter feed before heading out to lunch. You never know what Daily Specials food trucks will have.

Domo Taco generally  serves tacos, burritos and quesadillas with Japanese-influenced meats and sauces, but we read on Twitter that the special of the day was tonkatsu with curry rice for $8. They had chicken or pork. We chose pork, and eagerly headed back to our office.

For the uninitiated, tonkatsu is a pounded pork or chicken cutlet, kind of like a Japanese version of schnitzel.

Of course, the breading is different from schnitzel, with panko bread crumbs used as the coating in tonkatsu.

In this case, you can see they left the cutlet in the deep fryer a little too long. The breading was much darker than it should be. Tonkatsu should have more of a golden color.

(credit: New York Street Food)

(credit: New York Street Food)

The meat still tasted good, especially with the curry sauce, but less time in the deep fryer would have been better.

The yellow curry sauce was exactly what you would expect. It was thick, with a nice curry flavor, and was not spicy.

There was a little bit of a second sauce in the dish, which was darker brown, and had a slightly sweet, vinegary flavor. It worked well as an accent, and would have been too strong as the main sauce.

This was a more traditional Japanese dish than what the rest of their menu looks like, and we enjoyed it.

You can find Domo Taco on twitter Twitter here or on our Mobile Munchies Twitter feed. Their facebook is here.

(credit: New York Street Food)

(credit: New York Street Food)

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Feb 5, 2014
Tina George

Lowcountry Oyster Festival off the charts

The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, Inc. (GCRA) hosted the 31st Annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival on Jan. 26 at Historic Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant.

The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, coined “The World’s Largest Oyster Roast”, has been named one of the “top 20 events in the Southeast” by the Southeastern Tourism Society.

Each year, the GCRA adds new elements to improve the festival.

This year marked a few firsts with gates opening at 10 a.m. (earlier than years past), an expanded children’s area, VIP Ticket upgrade option online and complimentary off-site parking shuttles.

The event is one of the largest in the Lowcountry and brings in thousands of event goers who consume over 80,000 pounds of oysters year after year.

This annual event is orchestrated by the GCRA with the help of hundreds of volunteers from the community.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit local charities including the Ronald McDonald House, Hollings Cancer Center, Hospitality Heroes, Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Charleston County Schools Science Materials Resource Center.

For more information on the GCRA or other events orchestrated by the GCRA please go to or find us on Facebook at Charleston Food Festivals and Events.

The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, INC (GCRA) represents the largest private sector employer in the tri-county area. The association serves as the voice of the Charleston-area food service industry on government and public relations issues. Annual fund-raising events like Taste of Charleston and Lowcountry Oyster Festival, both sponsored by the GCRA, enable them to give back to the community.

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Jan 23, 2014
Kim Rivers

DCTA plans five food truck lunchtime events

The Denton County Transportation Authority will conduct the first of five Mouthwatering Wednesdays food truck lunchtime events from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Euline Brock Downtown Denton Transit Center.

The weekly events have been planned by DCTA and Gabriel Kirkpatrick, owner/operator of the Lean Machine food truck.

Last summer, DCTA conducted its first set of food truck events as part of a pilot program.

Officials said the events were a success, and the agency wants to bring back this lunchtime dining option for DCTA passengers and the Denton community. Three food trucks will participate each week on a rotaing basis.

The Lean Machine, Pickled Carrot and Shitake Swerve food trucks will kick off the first event today.

DCTA and Kirkpatrick will announce future food truck participants via social media. Future dates for the trucks are Jan. 29, Feb. 5, Feb. 12 and Feb. 19.

Pending feedback from the Denton community, Kirkpatrick and DCTA may expand the food truck event dates past Feb. 19.

For more information about the Mouthwatering Wednesdays events, check out DCTA’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Vendors interested in participating in future events can contact Kirkpatrick at 940-367-2332.

— Bj Lewis

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Jan 22, 2014
Kim Rivers

Despite opposition, Jacksonville Beach council backs food truck businesses – Florida Times

JACKSONVILLE BEACH — Food trucks appear headed for this coastal community seven months after the City Council began discussing the issue that drew supporters from the industry and opponents among some local restaurant owners.

RELATED: What people are saying about the issue on the Times-Union’s Facebook page

Mayor Charlie Latham and four of the six other city council members expressed their support of an ordinance at a public hearing Tuesday that would allow the food truck businesses to open at the Beaches, but a second reading and vote isn’t expected until the Feb. 3 council meeting.

The council expressed unanimous approval for two related ordinances regarding the zoning for such businesses and appointing a special magistrate to oversee the enforcement of regulations for the trucks.

The trucks are banned from all three Beaches communities, but a push by truck owners eventually led to a series of workshops held by the Jacksonville Beach City Council followed by three draft ordinances regulating the trucks.

While food truck owners and their fans spoke at the workshops in favor of locating at the beach, some restaurant owners expressed their concerns over the competition and the trucks not facing the same regulations as their businesses.

Latham said he believes the design of the ordinances will do everything possible to keep established restaurants from being harmed by the new business. He said he is also pleased the program will be done on a year-long test basis, with the council to revisit the impact in April 2015 with the possibility of changing or eliminating the ordinances.

“We especially need to continue to support our brick and mortar businesses and I think staff has done a really admirable job of finding the best possible compromise,” Latham said in voicing his support for the trucks.

Councilman Tom Taylor said after long thought that he’s decided to support the ordinances.

“I think it would be unfair to our citizens if we don’t try this pilot program,” Taylor said. “Competition is what it’s all about.”

Council members Keith Doherty, Christine Hoffman and Phil Vogelsang expressed their support of the ordinances.

But Steve Hartkemeyer and Jeanell Wilson expressed concerns about regulations brick and mortar restaurants have to adhere to compared to food trucks. Wilson also expressed worries about potential parking problems created by the trucks.

“I’ve never been satisfied with the answers I’ve received about what they’re doing with their grease and what they’re doing with their trash,” Hartkemeyer said. “Is that trash going to show up at my wife’s gym?”

The dozen speakers on the issue at Tuesday’s regular council meeting split on supporting the ordinances.

John Stanford, who owns Blind Rabbit restaurant in Jacksonville Beach, a second restaurant in Jacksonville and a food truck in Jacksonville, said food trucks help bring jobs to a community and give entrepreneurs a chance to make a living.

“I think it’s a great thing for someone to get started as a business owner and to bring more tax revenue to the city,” Stanford said. “It would provide a great service to the Beaches area.”

Ed Malin, owner of Angie’s Subs on Beach Boulevard and a second eatery said he has no problem with food trucks, but doesn’t think the ordinances as written hold them as responsible as regulations for established restaurants. Malin said there should be one set of rules for everyone.

“I’m 100 percent for food trucks and government getting out of the way of the American businessman,” Malin said. “But I think the council is going to create a special interest ordinance for special group of people and whenever we do that, we create problems.”

The Beaches would be the latest spot for business conducted by food trucks in Duval County. About 60 are licensed to operate outside the Beaches.

The ordinances as currently written would only allow the trucks — not food carts — on private property with the owner’s permission, one per minimum lot size, with no limits on outdoor seating. Properties under the ordinances must be at least 6,000 to 43,559 square feet for one truck and more than 43,560 square feet for two.

City officials have estimated about two dozen properties would fit the ordinance restrictions in the city’s central business district.

Other provisions include:

◘ Routine inspections can be conducted by code enforcement, building code and fire inspectors and police officers.

◘ The vehicles must be located at least 100 feet from the main entrance to any eating establishment or similar food services business or outdoor dining area.

◘ One free-standing sandwich board or A-frame type sign, not to exceed 42 inches in height and 36 inches in width, is permitted for each vendor.

◘ Hours of operation are limited to 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. unless the location of the lot is within 150 feet of the property line of a home, when the hours would end at 10 p.m.

◘ The vendor is responsible for proper daily disposal of waste and trash and can’t use city trash receptacles.

◘ Liquid waste or grease shall be disposed of at an approved location and not placed in such places as storm drains or onto any sidewalk, street or other public space.

The city’s planning and development department began a study in the summer of 2011 on how other cities handled food trucks, collecting regulations from 25 jurisdictions as part of the research. Steve Lindorff, director of the department, said he thinks food trucks can easily co-exist with established restaurants at the beach.

“I think it adds to the quality of life in our community by providing an alternative way of enjoying a meal,” Lindorff said. “They’re obviously very popular in other locations.”

Jim Schoettler: (904) 359-4385

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