The nights are chillier; you know what’s coming. Might as well take advantage of food truck and food cart season while you can, as you’re out and about during these waning warm days. How about Vietnamese-style sandwiches and wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza?
Friends Matt Bettine and Alex Palm took note of the food carts and trucks they saw on a road trip to the East Coast. “On the way back, we started hatching a plan,” Bettine said.
That plan hit Milwaukee streets Aug. 20: Bun Me, a food cart selling variations on banh mi, the Vietnamese sandwich.
They sell three kinds: salty-sweet pork belly ($6, right), and chicken or a seasoned soy-based vegetarian version ($5) dressed with lemongrass or peanut sauce.
The sandwiches are topped with marinated daikon and carrot, cilantro, jalapeño and a long slice of cucumber for traditional banh mi flavors, but unlike other banh mi, they’re assembled on Mexican bollilo rolls. The crispy exterior mimics the traditional baguette-like roll.
At lunchtime, Bun Me usually is at Water and Buffalo streets in the Third Ward on Mondays and Fridays, in front of the U.S. Bank building on E. Wisconsin Ave. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and, lately, near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Wednesdays. They’re also at North and Farwell avenues around bar time Fridays and Saturdays.
Flying Cow Pizza
Some might see a 2,400-pound wood-burning pizza oven on a trailer and say, “No way.” Brett Buchanan saw one on a trip out West and thought, “Why not?”
Buchanan, of Oconomowoc, started Flying Cow Pizza two years ago, detouring from a career in construction. He makes Neapolitan-style pizzas with a gorgeous, bubbled crust (made from the extra-finely milled 00 flour from Italy) in the oven in two to three minutes each — the oven burns at 600 to 800 degrees.
He makes a weekly special pizza and six standard pizzas, including a classic Margherita with fresh mozzarella, basil and San Marzano tomato sauce; spinach-feta pizza with olive oil; and pepperoni. The average price is $7 to $8 for the 10-inch pizzas.
You can spot him and that oven — just follow the scent of smoke — at the Oconomowoc Farmers Market on Saturday mornings through October. The market is in the parking lot of St. Paul’s Church, 175 E. Pleasant St. Flying Cow Pizza also is at the Lake Mills Farmers Market on Wednesdays.
Between the markets and catering, Buchanan said, he’s busy five days a week; the portable pizza oven generally is out from March to November, depending on the weather.
Local mobile pantry truck sites have been scheduled for September 2012.
The sites are part of Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank, Inc., a regional food bank in Comstock Park, according to information provided by Muskegon County Cooperating Churches.
The local truck program provides an additional food source for Michigan residents struggling to “put food on their tables” by providing persons in need with “fresh produce and often dairy products, which are not usually available from a church pantry.”
The program is supported by various community groups and companies.
SEPTEMBER 2012 FOOD TRUCK SCHEDULE
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2 p.m., Harbor Unitarian Universalist/B’Nai Israel, 165 E. Apple, Muskegon, 231-638-7237.
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2 p.m., Holton Community Center/Holton United Methodist Church, Holton, 8772 Holton-Duck Lake, Holton, 231-821-0000.
Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m., Samuel Lutheran Church, 540 Houston at Eighth Street, Muskegon, 231-722-7308.
Friday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m., Loaves Fishes Pantry, 1095 Third at Houston Avenue, Muskegon, 231-726-5341.
Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m., Calvin Christian Reformed Church, 973 W. Norton, Muskegon, 231-737-5207.
Saturday, Sept. 29, 1 p.m., Bethesda Baptist Church, 575 S. Getty, Muskegon, 231-722-7552.
For more information, including additional food truck listings, and to verify sites, call 211 or 231-733-1155 or Muskegon County Cooperating Churches at 231-727-6000.
When mass communication junior Charley Whitman first saw Ruben’s Taco Truck parked outside of The Palms Bar and Grill on Freret Street last year, he was a little skeptical. He thought it was just a little truck on the side of the road, but he went up and ordered some tacos anyway.
After taking the first bite, he was hooked, and since then he has eaten there numerous times.
“The food is up there as some of the best Mexican food in New Orleans. My favorite is anything with pineapple pork in it,” Whitman said.
Ruben’s Taco Truck, no longer outside The Palms, was a weekend staple for many students last year because it served up cheap, fresh and hot Mexican food. Hungry students, like mass communication junior, Margi Kalbacher, lined up to get a taste.
“It was right outside of the bar, and I get hungry when I’m drunk. It was also delicious,” Kalbacher said.
In the past few years, the New Orleans food industry has expanded to include this alternative type of food service. Rachel Billows, president of the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition and co-owner of La Cocinita Food Truck, said these trucks are basically “restaurants on wheels.” They have popped up all over New Orleans and provide a service slightly novel for many New Orleanians. “Delicious, innovative, inexpensive food on the go,” Billows said.
Post-Katrina taco trucks sprouted up to feed people working on rebuilding the city since restaurants weren’t up and running yet, Billows said. “Only in the past two to three years did modern food trucks start to cruise the streets of New Orleans, following the national food truck trend”
Today, the industry has grown to include dozens of food trucks that roam the streets of New Orleans. One of the reasons food trucks are becoming so popular is because they are fairly easy to start up, Billows said. For her, the appeal of owning a food truck is the low start-up cost relative to starting a restaurant and the flexible business model.
Kalbacher noticed this firsthand. “The idea was genius. Ruben’s Taco Truck had lines of people outside of it every night. It was easy to make money,” she said.
It is also a great opportunity for “budding culinary entrepreneurs” to showcase their culinary expertise, Billows said.
Taylor Jackson is an example of such. Two years ago, he left his full-time job doing non-profit consulting and bought a 1981 Chevy box truck from Craigslist in Georgia.
Along with his roommate, he drove it back to New Orleans, renovated it into a food truck and perfected his empanada recipes at different food festivals and events. This past July, his Empanada Intifada opened full-time.
Today they serve up “baked empanadas, which is a Latin-American savory pastry made with many different types of meat and vegetables and our signature made-from-scratch dough,” Jackson said.
What adds to the flavor of the food truck industry is that every food truck has a different story.
For Rue Chow co-owner Rachel Eymard, she and her husband, both experienced professional chefs, were tired of working for other people and decided they wanted to try something new. Together, they decided a food truck was within reach.
“It’s an opportunity to own your own business and to do something you enjoy at a minimal investment with the opportunity to grow,” Eymard said.
Eymard and her husband decided to build their own food truck in their backyard. When they bought the truck, all it had was a driver’s seat, but they designed and outfitted it with their own complete professional kitchen.
“As far as the food goes, it depends on where we are, who we are serving and the needs of the customer. We don’t have a set menu, but some items you can find on the truck are Korean BBQ chicken pitas, pulled pork and coleslaw sandwiches and garlic butter fries,” Eymard said.
Before this fall, history senior Allegra Tartaglia had never eaten from a food truck in New Orleans because she didn’t trust “the outward appearance of the trucks.” It made her skeptical of the sanitary conditions and the quality of the food.
Tartaglia’s feelings are mirrored by many Loyola students, but what people may not realize is that food trucks are regulated by the city, and they are required to have health, fire and mobile food vendor permits before they can start slinging food.
According to Billows, in order to get your health permit, you must be in complete compliance with Part XXIII of the Louisiana State Sanitary Code, which includes having a 3-basin sink and separate hand washing sink with proper water pressure and hot temperatures, as well as having a wastewater tank larger than the freshwater tank, smooth and easily cleanable surfaces, proper thermometers and sanitizer.
“The most difficult part of the process is getting one of the coveted 100 mobile food vendor permits, and unfortunately, there is no way to ensure that there will be a permit available once you’ve spent the time and energy to buy your truck and get it up to code.”
Most food trucks have spots that they visit regularly, but in order to keep up to date on where a certain truck is at any given time, Billows suggests to use an outlet that most college students are very familiar with — social media.
“In addition to Facebook and Twitter, we recently created a text message alert system so that people can receive a text message any time we are in their neighborhood or anytime we move around at all,” Jackson said.
MSU Introduces Campus Food Truck: Eat at State On-The-Go
EAST LANSING, MICH. – Michigan State University Culinary Services has introduced a new dining option on campus with a food truck, Eat at State On-the-Go, serving burgers, sandwiches, salads, snacks and drinks year-round.
“Food helps build community, and that’s exactly what our new food truck will be doing on campus,” said Guy Procopio, director for MSU Culinary Services. “It’s going to make Eating at State more portable and convenient. We’re constantly looking at creative ways to enhance and support our community without necessarily relying on traditional food services, which is what we’ve done with Eat at State On-the-Go.”
The truck will be offering menu items with campus and local ingredients – greens grown at the MSU Student Organic Farm, beef is raised on campus, cheese from the MSU Dairy Store, desserts from the MSU Bakers and bread baked locally at Breadsmith Artisan Bread Bakery of Okemos, Mich. – as part of the Grown at MSU program. The fall menu includes local and vegetarian options: MSU’s own smoked cheddar cheeseburger, salad wrap, salad wrap with chicken, chicken sandwich, smashed chickpea sandwich and specialty sandwich.
“The menu’s inspiration came from taking a local mindset and thinking about what our guests like to eat to create items that are fun and flavorful,” said Kurt Kwiatkowski, corporate chef for MSU Culinary Services. “Our signature item is the smoked cheddar cheeseburger and with all of its ingredients grown, raised or made on campus or in the community, it doesn’t get more local.”
The food truck contains a flat-top grill, a hot box, a bakery cabinet, a refrigerator, a quiet generator and a three-compartment sink. The vehicle was designed in cooperation with the company, Mobi Munch. The Ingham County Health Department vetted and approved plans and conducted food and work safety inspections.
Eat at State On-the-Go accepts cash, credit cards, Spartan Cash and on- and off-campus student, and faculty/staff dining plans through Combo-X-Change and Flex Option. Eat at State On-the-Go is located north of Shaw Hall near the Red Cedar River on MSU’s campus from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily during fall semester while Shaw Dining Hall is under construction. The food truck will also be serving at fall football games. Beginning spring semester 2013, the food truck will be moving to different campus locations.
This past summer, Eat at State social media followers gave their input in naming the truck. The three top names, Green Machine, ST82PL8 and Go Green Cuisine, were added into the designed graphic wrapping on the truck. Guests can “follow” the food truck and find out more about campus dining through “Eat at State” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Culinary Services is a department of the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University.
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9/21/2012 04:54:00 PM
San Francisco Bay Area Weekend Planner: Eat This, Drink That
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Cocktail WeekBy Meesha Halm
From Eat Real to San Francisco’s Cocktail Week to Oktoberfestivities, this weekend is crazy busy with a cornucopia of ways to eat and drink yourself silly.
Last we met our friend Joshua Wilder-Oakley, the food mastermind behind Tango Stache, he was gearing up for the second installment of his soul food pop-up on September 9 at Asiento in the Mission.
Needless to say, he has been quite busy ever since.
With another three Stache-ups this month alone — including an appearance at Dear Mom on Monday, September 24 — the mustachioed chef has been busy serving his delectable “White Boy Slaw” and Negroni smoked pork sandwiches to a hungry public.
Now, he will take his ultimate goal of bringing” a tangible sense of culture around food,” and developing “a strong sense of community” to one of San Francisco’s most infamous attractions: This weekend’s Folsom Street Fair.
And this will be no ordinary fair-food-installment either. Tango Stache will be taking over the kitchen at the Fondue Cowboy at Folsom and Russ. And giving proceeds from the sales those delicious Pulled-Pork Sammies to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
Despite a growing schedule, the humble and always-accommodating chef took time to answer a couple questions for SFBay about the cultivation of the Folsom Street Fair pop-up and giving to a charity he’s passionate about.
SFBay: This pop-up will be in the midst of the Folsom Street Fair. When did you decide to unleash TS on one of The City’s most-coveted events?
“I had been thinking about it for awhile actually. My friend Dave Mur is the owner of Fondue Cowboy, and he is not normally open during the day, only dinner. I approached him with the idea of a daytime pop-up just out of the front door, as his place is one block away from the main entrance of the fair.
It was actually his idea to have the restaurant open so he could serve drink specials and I could utilize the open kitchen as a walk up food counter. Let’s face it, for as much of a food town as we are, the street fairs are the lowest on the totem pole for good food. It has only been recently that that has started to turn around.
Part of it is pride I suppose, there are so many people who come from out of town to this event, and I want to show them that good food is accessible, even at street fairs.
SFBay: Could you tell me a little bit about working with the people at Fondue Cowboy for putting this pop-up in play?
“Dave is great, we sat down over a little fondue and bubbles, and started hashing out ideas. By the end of the meeting we were both pumped and excited for what is sure to be good time.
This will be the first time that we are partnering together. He will take care of the bar and I will do the food and together we will offer a little respite from the madness of Folsom Street Fair.”
SFBay: Do you have any expectations for Sunday’s crowd?
“I am not really sure what to expect to be honest with you. Being that the restaurant is just outside the gate, I feel like it won’t be too crazy, but you never know.”
SFBay: One dollar from every sandwich you sell is going to the SF AIDS Foundation. Is this your first time working with the AIDS Foundation?
“No. In 2007 and 2008 I ran the SF Marathon, through the SF AIDS Foundation training program. I raised close to 6,000 dollars between the 2 years and had the most amazing experiences doing it. I did it because there is an entire generation missing.
A generation that is no longer around to teach my generation the things you are supposed to learn. Unfortunately I have had several injuries that have prevented me from participating in the Marathon again, but I always wanted to make sure Tango Stache had a charitable component.
It is all about community after all.”
LOUISVLLE, KY (WDRB NEWS) — The local food truck industry continues to grow.
Sometimes it even leads to an expansion into the restaurant business.
Such is the case for Lil Cheezers, which specializes in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
“It is what we call a fancy grilled cheese sandwich,” explains owner Matt Davis. “It is not just regular bread and cheese. We use premium products, and then doctor it up with quite a few ingredients.”
Lil Cheezers opened about a month ago in the Highlands along Baxter Avenue, and right away it began drawing large crowds.
David started his business as a food truck operation, but quickly decided he wanted a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Davis credits Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration with allowing the food truck owners to cut through the red tape of too many city government rules and regulations and make it easier for them to attract customers and grow their businesses.
“For example he (the mayor) gave us the ability to park at downtown parking meters,” he says.
Encouraging entrepreneurship is something the city administration continues as a priority.
Davis started out small just a couple of years ago and now he has big plans.
He is looking for other locations to open additional restaurants in Louisville and Lexington and anywhere within 100 miles of Louisville that he and his partner would own.
“We also have some aggressive offers from other states,” he says.
Davis also has plans to add a second food truck to his business.
Once a paramedic, he says that, despite the long hours of running his own business, he has found his place as an entrepreneur and hopes he never has to work for someone else ever again.
Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.
Jonathan Gibbons, owner of french fry vendor Fryborg and a newcomer to the New Haven food truck scene, bustled about his mobile kitchen on Thursday, flinging bacon bits and ruby tomatoes onto a mound of hand-cut crispy fries embellished with swirls of mayonnaise. For the finish, he impaled his BLT fries with a plastic fork and handed it to a customer with a smile in a manner typical of the Elm City’s street food culture — quick, no-fuss and friendly.
A proliferation of new food trucks hit the city streets this past year, including Fryborg, Mrs. G’s Vegan Cuisine, Szabo’s Little Red Seafood Truck and the Sugar Cupcakery Bakery. Mostly offshoots of local restaurants seeking to expand their customer base, the trucks contribute to New Haven’s vibrant foodie culture by offering gourmet on the go, using high-quality ingredients and forging “intimate” relationships with their customers, Gibbons said. Food carts, such as those operated by Tacuba Taco Bar, have existed in New Haven for decades, but the latest batch of food trucks are comparatively upscale, a trend that owners said may have begun with Caseus Fromagerie Bistro’s Cheese Truck in 2010.
“People are changing the way they think about street food,” said restaurateur Arturo Franco-Camacho, who first brought Tacuba Taco Bar carts to New Haven 16 years ago. “They used to be too scared to eat from a food cart, but now they embrace it.”
Food trucks owe their popularity in part to social media, which plays an integral role in helping owners “stay in touch with customers” by informing them of trucks’ locations and special dishes daily, said Tom Sobocinski, co-owner of Caseus. Rated one of New Haven’s top 10 culinary retailers on Yelp, Caseus’ Cheese Truck has accumulated over 3,400 Twitter followers and 2,700 Facebook likes, even attracting customers from out of town.
Dan Szabo, owner of Szabo’s Seafood Truck, who also posts daily on Twitter, said he sometimes feels like “a deer in the headlights” when he opens up before noon and “20 people have already lined up” for fresh lobster rolls and clam chowder. The truck, affiliated with Szabo’s Seafood Restaurant in Fairfield, Conn., opened last November and now has up to 60 steady patrons daily, which has encouraged Szabo to expand. He said he hopes to refurbish a schoolbus by ripping out all of the seats and installing a mobile kitchen inside, parking it permanently in a local lot.
As the city’s food truck culture has continued to grow, owners have collaborated to increase their sales by parking within the same vicinity. Gibbons claimed to “piggyback” with Michael Debonte, operator of the Sugar cupcake truck, which won the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and opened in April. Debonte said the variety among the food trucks works in favor of their businesses.
The city’s flourishing food truck industry, however, poses a threat to local small businesses, said Tony Schaffer, owner of the Four Flours Cookie Truck.
“The retailers pay rent and taxes, so it’s important that they don’t get overwhelmed with too many trucks,” said Schaffer, who is also a member of the Town Green’s Special Services District. “The city needs to exercise a sense of control with these trucks, but I also feel that there is room for them.”
Food truck owners said they are well-received by the Yale community, but students said the price of venturing out of the dining halls can deter them from frequenting food trucks.
Madelaine Taft ’13 said some members of her friend group are especially fond of particular street food, but that dining halls are more convenient and, as an off-campus resident, she finds that cooking for herself is cheaper.
Though Josh Eisenstat ’15 said he usually eats in the dining halls, he has relished his visits to the Cheese Truck.
“I wish they had a [meal] swipe at food trucks,” he said.
Another recent entrant into the New Haven street food scene is Nuts 4 Nuts, a New York City-based food cart chain, which opened its first two Connecticut locations in the Elm City.
People around Allen looking for a food truck fix need look no further than their own backyard this weekend, as some of the best are coming to town for charity.
Gourmet food trucks from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area are converging on Watters Creek on Sept. 22 for the 1st Annual Haute Wheels Food Truck Fest, which will be held from 6-9 p.m. that evening. The event will benefit Allen Professional Fire Association and Guns Hoses of North Texas.
Food trucks participating in the event are include trucks such as The Butcher’s Son, which serves Johnsonville sausage and more; Nammi Truck, which serves bahn mi; Easy Slider, which serves many varieties of sliders; Ssahm BBQ, a gourmet Korean taco truck; Ruthie’s Rolling Caf, which serves gourmet grilled cheese; Jack’s Chow Hound, which serves burgers, grilled cheese and sliders; Good Karma Kitchen, a gourmet vegetarian and gluten-free truck; Coolhaus, a cookie and ice cream truck; and Rockstar Bake Shop, which specializes in whoopee pies.
According to Kriste Klepper, Marketing Director for Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm, the idea to bring the trucks came from their corporate office in Fort Worth. She said these events have been quite successful in the past.
“The food truck events are very popular there, so we wanted to give it a try in Allen,” Klepper said.
Admission to the event is $5, which will be donated to the charities and will buy diners a wristband to wear to the food trucks. According to Klepper, the wristbands are not necessary to be served at the food trucks, but is greatly appreciated.
“I doubt anybody would be turned away, but I encourage them to make the donation,” Klepper said. “It’s for a great cause.”
In addition to the food, live music will be provided by the band Counterfeit Radio. The event will also feature a firefighter display, with tours of a humvee, a military-style dog tag machine, as well as FDNY Rescue 4 and other artifacts from 9/11, courtesy of The Remembrance Rescue Project.
The event will have free parking, and is located in the heart of Watters Creek, near “The Green”.
The 1st Annual Haute Wheels Food Truck Fest is sponsored by The City of Allen and Park Place Lexus Park Place Jaguar. For additional information visit www.watterscreek.com or call 972-747-8000.
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