Browsing articles tagged with " food carts"
Sep 12, 2013
Jim Benson

Astoria food cart competed in Vendy

Astoria food cart competed in Vendy 1

Astoria food cart competed in Vendy 1

George Tsampas hands a freshly grilled souvlaki pita to his hungry patrons at the 34-year-old Astoria food cart that made it to the Vendy Award finals last weekend.

Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:30 am

Astoria food cart competed in Vendy

by Josey Bartlett, Editor

Queens Chronicle


The little food cart on the corner of 31st Avenue and 31st Street in Astoria vied for a big award.

On Sunday King Souvlaki competed for the coveted Vendy Cup in the ninth annual Vendy Awards, a cook-off among the best of the best food carts. They didn’t take the award — it went to Brooklyn’s El Olomega, masters of the savory Salvadorian papusa — but to be picked as one of 27 carts invited to the competition in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is a big hats-off on its own.

More than 1,000 people shelled out $95 to sample the competing food carts’ dishes.

And afterwards the food cart went back to its corner not defeated but one of a group of finalists that made it that far.

The Tsampas family cooks souvlaki, tender meat hailing from Greece, like they have for 34 years. Their marinade comes from head-co-griller Kostas Tsampas’s grandfather and the recipe for their tzatziki, a yogurt-based sauce, is his grandmother’s doing.

There are three items on the menu: well six if one considers everything is made both in chicken and beef.

Chicken skewer — $2.50.

Souvlaki skewer — $2.50.

There are pitas in both meat varieties for $5 and platters for $7.50.

Last Friday following the competition George Tsampas was manning the grill for an audience and could only stop for a couple seconds to grab a business card and smile.

About 10 teenagers in school uniforms were feasting on pita sandwiches while another handful of people placed their orders during a 10-minute period — and it was only 11:30 a.m.

Jolanta Tyka from Greenpoint, Brooklyn stood in line at the little metal cart on Friday.

“The meat has great flavor,” she said, also touting the Greek food cart’s home- peeled french fries and special tzatziki sauce.

Tyka often buys the raw meat and brings it back to her home for backyard barbecues and her husband will stop by on his train ride back from work.

In the video posted to the Vendy website Kostas’ son Lampros said, “What they say is if you’re not good, the Greeks aren’t going to come to you and wait in line for you.”

And at King Souvlaki the masses wait.

Other Vendy awards went to carts stationed in Manhattan: the best dessert to Tizzy Ice Cream, rookie of the year to Niches and the people’s choice award to Luke’s Lobster.


Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:30 am.

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Sep 12, 2013
Kim Rivers

Yay Bacon!!! There’s A Bacon Food Truck In Boston!





It seems like lately, food trucks are all the rage. There have been food truck festivals all over the area recently, including the 2nd Annual Charles River Food Truck Festival coming up on September 21st.

Two guys in their 20s, Sam and JJ, have come up with what Kevin and Pete believe is the best food truck of all time: The Bacon Truck!

The menu consists of sandwiches with bacon, from the b.l.a.t: a BLT with added avacado, to the b.e.l.t: a BLT with egg salad.

There’s even bacon deserts!

As Sam and JJ’s website states: “They didn’t want just any old food truck, they wanted to create a truck with a menu focused on the single greatest food known to man: bacon.”

We at the Karlson McKenzie Show couldn’t agree more!

Mmm… Bacon…

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Sep 12, 2013
Kim Rivers

New food truck hitting Wichita streets – KSN

ANDOVER, Kansas – The Lord’s Diner is hitting the streets in a new food truck.

On Wednesday, volunteers worked some kinks out of their system and received a blessing before they take their outreach on the road.

“It’s exciting. It’s fun, it’s gonna be great to go out and serve the community,” explains Paul Cater, who is the special projects manager at the Lord’s Diner.

The Lord’s Diner is getting a hot meal to those who need it most.

“We’re just getting started we’ll see how popular it is, see just you know, we’ll see!” says Cater.

Paul Cater is a member of the team who will take this new food truck out to northwest Wichita to the Evergreen Community Center.

Cater says, “We’ll hopefully get a lot of families, lots of kids coming from school, just serving that neighborhood.”

On Wednesday night, the group did a test run to see if all systems are a ‘go’ for serving as many as 400 hot meals from the truck each day.

They’ll serve hot meals on the west side of the Evergreen Community Center from 4:30 to 6 p.m. daily.

Before this truck hits the road, a blessing for its mission.

“The great commandment of love for one another, send your blessing on this truck and your servants who will be a part of this ministry.”

The Lord’s Diner may eventually take the truck to a variety of locations, after they figure out their system at the Evergreen Community Center.

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Sep 12, 2013
Kim Rivers

Four Seasons Food Truck Hits the Road, Will Offer $4 to $12 Plates


On September 16th, a new food truck will hit the streets and the lunch hour rush. But this is no halal-slinging, grilled cheese grilling, oreo frying, run-of-the-mill cart. No, this is the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Truck, which will be dubbed the FS Taste Truck for short, and it’s going on an eight-week, eight-city tour across the United States.

The truck will cover over 1,000 miles, stopping at Four Seasons locations in Santa Barbara, Palo Alto, and Sante Fe, to name a few. Chefs from each hotel will prep the food to be served from the truck, depending on its location.

For example, a stop in Beverly Hills will offer short rib quesadillas with Oaxaca cheese and avocado and tres leches cake. Other offerings might be beef hearts, octopus, or ahi tuna and will be sold for $4 to $12 per dish.

A portion of the proceeds from the truck will go to Chefs to End Hunger, a charity that redistributes unused food from restaurants and hotels. But if this trial run is successful, there are already plans to send the truck to even more locations next year.

To find the truck’s locations, follow @FSTasteTruck on Twitter. Let us know in the comments if you manage to visit the truck!

H/T + PicThx NYTimes

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Sep 12, 2013
Kim Rivers

Vegan food truck makes rounds in ‘food deserts’


September 11, 2013 11:52 AM EDT — Baruch Ben-Yehudah is tackling Prince George’s County’s “food desert” problem. His vegan food truck delivers nourishment to neighborhoods lacking fresh groceries. The Post’s Zoeann Murphy follows the food truck into the sprawling county at the edge of Washington, D.C. (The Washington Post)

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Sep 12, 2013
Tim Lester

Piada Italian Street Food Opening 4 Restaurants in Cincinnati & Dayton This …

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‘We feel that despite their hectic lifestyles, our guests shouldn’t have to sacrifice freshness, quality and ambiance for speed or value,’ says Chris Doody, co-founder of the Bravo and Brio restaurant chains.

Columbus, OH (PRWEB) September 11, 2013

Piada Italian Street Food, the fast casual creation of restaurateur Chris Doody that has attracted nationwide attention with its fresh, healthy, high-quality Italian fare and made-to-order delivery system, is opening 4 locations in the Cincinnati Dayton markets this fall. The restaurants will be located in Hyde Park, Kettering, Beavercreek Mason.

Each restaurant will offer a huge grand opening promotion; the first 100 guests on opening day of each restaurant will receive free Piada for a year. Visit for details about the promotion.

A long-standing passion for Italian food led Doody to the streets of Italy and back to create a one-of-a-kind Italian eatery that appeals to a broad range of time-challenged, budget-weary, and health-conscious consumers. Piada has seven locations open in Columbus and was recently announced one of the “Hot Concepts” in Nation’s Restaurant News.

“We feel that despite their hectic lifestyles, our guests shouldn’t have to sacrifice freshness, quality and ambiance for speed or value,” says Doody, co-founder of the Bravo and Brio restaurant chains. The ordering process takes just 60 seconds and the average customer check is less than $9.

Piada Hyde Park will be the first of the four restaurants to open on September 20, 2013, at 3780 Paxton Avenue. The approximate 3,000 square-foot restaurant will seat 56 inside and 62 on the patio. The restaurant will employ a staff of 40. The Kettering restaurant located at 4397 Far Hills Avenue will open on September 27, 2013.

The interior design is a blend of white subway tiles, Carrara marble, brushed aluminum, and painted brick with warm, custom hewn-wood furniture and stained concrete floors, the restaurants’ sophisticated, contemporary European design is a dramatic departure from the typical old-world Italian décor.

Guests choose from three entrées: the Piada, a stone-grilled, thin-crusted dough made from organic flour and extra virgin olive oil; a chopped salad; or a pasta bowl. They customize their entrées with a variety of grilled items ranging from steak and Italian sausage to salmon; sauces such as Pomodoro, Alfredo and pesto; a selection of sautéed and fresh vegetables; as well as salad toppings such as cheese and pancetta.

Street sides include Parmigiano Reggiano, pepperoni and artichoke Piada sticks with dipping sauce; Italian chips served with warm artichoke and spinach dip; calamari; and lobster bisque, tomato basil and wedding soup. Beverages include red and white wine, beer, Italian sodas, teas, soft drinks and bottled water.

The restaurant, a popular spot for both lunch and dinner, attracts a broad range of customers, from the food savvy Gen X and Millennial to families with young children, baby boomers and business people.

The restaurant will be open from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. More information is available at

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Sep 12, 2013
Kim Rivers

Wait a sec, the Four Seasons has a food truck?!?

A food truck is nowhere in the picture — at least it wasn’t, until now.

The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is launching a food truck tour, and it hits the road Sept. 16. The truck, called FS Taste Truck, will make the rounds in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

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The truck menu will vary depending on which hotel location is manning the truck. The Beverly Wilshire truck will make stops at the downtown L.A. Art Walk on Oct. 10, Abbot Kinney in Venice on Oct. 11, Santa Monica Food Truck Alley on Oct. 12 and the Beverly Hills Farmers Market on Oct. 13. The menu will consist of beef hearts, aji huancaina, ahi tuna, grilled octopus, beef and carrot cromesqui, steak salad, salmon salad, chocolate Rodeo Cronets and more.

Chef Ashley James will create offerings when the Four Seasons L.A. at Beverly Hills takes over the truck with stops at Sony Studios on Oct. 14, the Pacific Design Center on Oct. 15, and the Red Bull headquarters in Santa Monica on Oct. 16. James will prepare kalbi, or short rib, quesadillas with Oaxaca cheese, shrimp tostadas with chipotle remoulade, traditional tres leche cake with Mexican chocolate ice cream, as well as traditional British fish and chips and Argentine empanadas.

Prices will range from $4 to $12.

A portion of the proceeds from the tour will be donated to Chefs to End Hunger, a charity that redistributes excess food from hotels and restaurants.

You can follow the truck tour at Taste by Four Seasons, @FSLosAngeles, @ChefAshleyJames, or by searching #FSTasteTruck on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

“We want to keep our chefs engaged in something that is very relevant and the food truck movement fits the bill,” Guy Rigby, vice president of food and beverage of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in the U.S., said in an announcement. “It’s fun, unexpected and will foster the notion that Four Seasons does things differently.”


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Sep 12, 2013
Tim Lester

nothing better than street food

Nothing represents the rich tapestry of India’s multicultural fabric better than its street food. The cuisine of a place speaks volumes about the culture and lifestyle of the city. Like travelling educates us, street food with its diverse ingredients and aroma across different states and regions opens a window into the lives of people and their unmistakable love and vigour for life. If one is looking to backpack across the country and sample the varied street food on offer, here are five streets you must not miss.

The taste of Lucknow and Indore

China Bazaar, in Lucknow, is a street food court with a number of street-side restaurants serving a menagerie of Avadhi, Mughlai and Punjabi cuisine. The area is famous for its huge variety of kebabs – kakori kebabs, tunde kebabs, sheekh kebabs, hariyali kebabs and galawat kebabs. After dinner, one can have paan from the Malhotra Pan Bhandar.

Similarly, Sarafa Bazaar  in Indore is a must visit. This is essentially a street with a double identity. Saraf, in Marathi means ‘jeweller’, and Sarafa Bazaar is a street lined with jewellery shops which are open through the day. Once these shops shut for the evening and as a source of added security for these shops, the area turns into a one stop shop for all sorts of delectable street food, with stalls that are set up right in front of the jewellery shops.

The variety is excellent: samosas, kachoris, pani puri, pav bhaji, chhole tikiyas, sabudana ki khichdi, maalpua and poha to name a few. The famous khopra patties can be sampled at Vijay Chaat House. The patties, which are made of khopra (dry coconut) with a covering of potatoes, are fried right in front of you and served with khatti-meeti chatni. For sweets, one cannot miss the mawaa baati, a large gulaab jamun stuffed with dry fruits, saffron and cardamom at the center.

The magic of Kolkata

Terreti Bazaar occupies Sun Yat Sen Street in Kolkata and is famous for being a breakfast market. Enter Terreti Bazaar and you’ll find vendors selling all sorts of Chinese influenced selection of Kolkata street food. The streets are lined with vendors hawking piping hot soups, melting momos, hakka noodles and more.

Soup noodles, steamed baozi buns, dumplings in both steamed and deep fried forms, fish meat ball soups, and congee are the most popular breakfast options on this street.

Dilwalon ki dilli

Chandni Chowk, a quintessential part of Old Delhi, also known as the food capital of Delhi, is famous for its street food. A good idea while here would be to start with the Paranthewali Gali. The paranthas are fried in pure ghee and are served with mint chutney, banana-tamarind chutney, vegetable pickle and aloo subzi. Half a century back, you could get only a few varieties – aloo parantha, gobi parantha and matar parantha.  While these continue to be the most popular, there are several new variants like lentils, fenugreek, radish, papad, carrot and mixed. Next, head to Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar, which is perhaps the best and most popular chaatwallah in Chandni Chowk. Then there’s Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala which is famous for its Urad Dal Kachori, served with Aloo Subzi. You could try Al Jawahar, which is famous for  mutton korma, piping hot changezhi chicken and the smoky flavored tandoori rotis. And finally, to indulge one’s sweeth tooth, the Rabdi Faluda at Giani di Hatti near the Fatehpuri Mosque is a must. Ghantewala, a very popular sweet shop is also a great place to pick up some authentic Indian sweets.

Eat all you want in Mumbai

Khao Galli in Mumbai, which means ‘eat street’ in English, is one of the busiest food streets in the country.  Situated near Marine Lines and Churchgate railway stations, one can find the most delectable vegetarian food there.

If you’re looking for a savoury treat, try the Marathi misal pav- a spicy melange of lentils, doused in spicy curry and eaten with the city’s favourite loaf, pav.

Pav bhaji (mixed vegetable curry with bread), vada pav (spicy fried potato balls in a bread bun) and bhel puri (puffed rice with spices) are also some of the other crowd pullers here. The juice stall right at the beginning of the galli offers the famous ‘mixed fruit’ drink, a glass full of fruits and dry fruits in thick mango pulp. It comes in a tall glass tumbler and is best ordered ‘half mixed fruit’.

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Sep 12, 2013
Kim Rivers

Vegan restaurateur’s truck aims to make Prince George’s ‘food desert’ a little …

A man in a red hat walks up and takes a sample cup. “This is delicious right here,” says James Himbrick, 59, a disabled construction worker. He gives a taste to his wife, Denise Smith, who asks what kind of chicken it is.

“You want to know what kind of chicken that is?” asks ­Ben-Yehudah, the owner of Everlasting Life Restaurant in Capitol Heights. “We raise our chicken in a way that nobody else does on the whole planet.”

Ben-Yehudah — who has made it his mission to get people to eat more healthfully in a county where 70 percent of adults are obese or overweight and where 71 percent of restaurants are fast-food outlets — pauses for dramatic effect. “That chicken is made from vegetables.”

“Vegetables?” Himbrick repeats. “You mean not all that garbage-eating, mess-eating chicken? This is good. I just finished beating cancer for my kidney. And I need to eat good food.”

Over the next two hours, a stream of people approach the truck in Capitol Heights, one of the areas the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a food desert earlier this summer. Some describe their battles with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, heart disease and other ailments that can be related to diet. But not everyone owns a car or lives within walking distance of a grocery store — which is how the USDA determines who resides in a food desert.

“We define food deserts as areas that are low-income and low-access” to healthful foods, says Michele Ver Ploeg, economist for the USDA’s Economic Research Service. “Low access depends on the distance to the nearest supermarket or large grocery store and how many households do not have a vehicle and are at least half a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.”

About 5.7 million U.S. households live a half-mile or more from a supermarket and do not have access to a vehicle. But whether that actually affects people’s weight and health is a matter of debate. Last year a Rand Corp. study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found no link between the kind of food available near the homes of 13,000 children in California and whether they were overweight.

The idea that supermarkets prevent obesity — a centerpiece of the “food desert” narrative — is “wishful” thinking, says the author of the study, Roland Sturm, senior economist and professor of policy analysis at the Pardee Rand Graduate School.

“Supermarkets are extremely good at providing soft drinks, candy, cookies at low prices,” Sturm says. “Fundamentally, having supermarkets nearby isn’t going to make you thin. ”

The government, however, still analyzes which communities have limited access to grocery stores. In July, the USDA identified 10 food deserts in Prince George’s County, one of the country’s most affluent majority-black jurisdictions. Parts of Berwyn Heights, College Park, Landover Hills, Seat Pleasant, New Carrollton, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Temple Hills and Forest Heights qualified.

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Sep 12, 2013
Tim Lester

Fries Aside, Chefs in France Struggle With Fast Food

The cut of beef known as brisket doesn’t exist in France. So how do you make pastrami? Chef Kristin Frederick came up with a solution when she opened her New York-style deli in Paris.

PARIS—In the capital of haute cuisine, fast food is getting complicated.

For starters, it’s not always fast. At Le Camion Qui Fume, a food truck, the lunch crowd can wait up to an hour to get a made-to-order burger.

And in a city where chefs can easily find everything they need to make sophisticated sauces and posh pastries, getting the goods for some fast food isn’t so easy.

Foreign fast-food outlets have mushroomed in Paris in the past two years, selling gourmet versions of burritos, burgers and brownies. They have become popular for their high standards of quality and authenticity. But that has led chefs and restaurant owners on an epicurean quest for the right potatoes for fries, beef for pastrami and peppers for salsa.

Last year, when Damon Biggins was preparing to open France’s first Chipotle, an American chain serving Mexican fast food, he struggled to find green tomatillos, a staple of Mexican cooking. His French suppliers simply couldn’t understand what he was talking about.

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Karl Hab

Fish and chips are prepared at The Sunken Chip, an eatery in Paris.

“I ended up having to use a Latin word for it,” he said. He now gets his Physalis philadelphica from Spain or the Netherlands, depending on the season.

Le Camion Qui Fume’s Kristin Frederick, an American who brought the food-truck trend to Paris, craved queso fundido, a creamy Monterey Jack-based dip.

She tried to make it using expensive French cheeses. But they didn’t melt well, so she added American-style singles to get the right texture.

In the end, she wasn’t satisfied with the result and didn’t put it on the menu.

The memory of junk food, fast food and comfort food is prompting a new generation of chefs to re-create their favorite recipes—a down-home twist on Marcel Proust’s madeleines in “Remembrance of Things Past.”

From Paris to Portland via Brooklyn, food trucks and fancied-up classics, like white truffled mac and cheese, are driving a street food trend that is upending the dining scene.

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Christina Passariello

Fish and chips

“I like the idea of junk food, but done classy,” said Michael Greenwold, an English chef who this summer opened The Sunken Chip, one of Paris’s only fish and chips eateries.

In Paris, the new taste for foreign staples is a backlash against a reverence for French cuisine done the French way—sitting down, with table service.

“Until the end of the 1990s in France, only haute cuisine and traditional cooking had any value in the eyes of opinion leaders,” said Alexandre Cammas, the founder of Le Fooding, a foodie collective that dishes on all kinds of cuisine.

Of course, McDonald’s and KFC have been flipping and frying in France for decades, and Subway is gobbling up market share from boulangeries selling baguette sandwiches.

But young urban eaters often shun those chains for “fast good”—a term coined by the French to describe high-quality—and expensive—meals on the go. (The French rhyme “good” with “food.”)

French suppliers haven’t caught up with the new foreign fast-food craze, restaurateurs say.

Decent hot dogs are unobtainable, Ms. Frederick says. The quality of local beef and cheese can’t be beat, she adds, but there is little foreign cheese and the beef cuts are all French.

For her burgers, she insists on using imported British Cheddar instead of the more readily available, locally produced American singles she played with in the queso fundido trials. “As a chef, it hurts to use that stuff,” referring to the processed cheese, said Ms. Frederick, who worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant after graduating from France’s most prestigious culinary school.

Like Ms. Frederick, many of the new fast-food entrepreneurs have lofty standards for their ingredients because they have formal gastronomic training. That is Mr. Greenwold’s problem in adapting British fish and chips to France.

Despite the ubiquity of frites in France, he worries about the availability of the potato he prefers for its starchiness, the Maris Piper. It will go out of season in the fall in France, while it is available year-round in the U.K., where suppliers offer many more spud varieties than in France.

Other chefs are left asking where’s the beef. French and American butcher cuts don’t match. Ms. Frederick knew that would be a problem when she branched out from burgers and opened Freddie’s Deli in July, making pastrami—which comes from brisket, a meat cut that doesn’t exist in France—as the cornerstone for her new menu.

Using Google Translate, she found the closest linguistic equivalent—gros bout de poitrine.

But the cut is longer and fattier in France, so she is still tweaking her recipe to compensate.

At Chipotle, Mr. Biggins gave up the search for brisket and decided to import a closer equivalent from Britain for his burritos.

A spokesman for Chipotle says the company has “done well in maintaining the consistency of our menu” in Europe.

Translation troubles go both ways. French diners kept misinterpreting the cheesesteak on Ms. Frederick’s menu as cheesecake—a dish that has become more mainstream since Kraft Foods began distributing Philadelphia cream cheese in France two years ago.

Native French clients at Mil Amores Tortilleria, which opened in spring, often ask what tortillas are. “I explain it’s like a Mexican baguette, you eat it with everything,” says founder Erika Ungur, who moved from Mexico to Paris to open her shop.

Corn is one of the most incomprehensible ingredients in France, where cows and chickens are its biggest fans.

Ms. Ungur says the uninitiated ask if they should feed her pricey homemade tortillas to their cats.

She dreams of making esquites, a popular Mexican street snack of sautéed and flavored corn, and Ms. Frederick longs to serve corn on the cob.

But the quality of corn she has found in Paris is inedible “because they’re not making it for human consumption,” said Ms. Frederick.

Yet, foreign recipes cobbled together with whatever French ingredients are available are sometimes better than the real thing. Mr. Greenwold says the batter he uses to deep fry his fish is superior with a mix of French beer and English ale. He now prefers his fish from Brittany.

“If this works,” said Mr. Greenwold, “I’d be tempted to go back to London and open a French fish and chips shop.”

Write to Christina Passariello at and William Horobin at

A version of this article appeared September 11, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Fries Aside, Chefs in France Struggle With Fast Food.

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