Browsing articles tagged with " food carts"
Jan 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

Bagpipes and Kilts Featured at Local Food Truck

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One local food truck had residents busting out their kilts in order to receive a free pasty.

London Calling, a local food truck in Springfield, is celebrating Robert Burns Day Jan. 25 by having local bagpipe musician Beau Buffington play some Scottish classics for the crowd.

“I’ve played the pipes 26 years or so,” said Buffington “It’s a primitive instrument when it comes down to it, so I think that people have a feeling and have a reaction because it is very evocative emotionally.”

The food truck is offering any customers who come out to enjoy the music and celebrate in a kilt today a free pasty.

A pasty is a hand-held pot pie from England.

“I like the slogan (for the food truck) Take a Bite Out of Britain, what that represents is the desire to bring the best of British cuisine to the Ozarks, said Buffington.

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Jan 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Face-Off highlights fifth annual Meat Week

Among food trucks, there is an implied rule: Vendors that serve the same cuisine don’t park next to each other. Or even on the same block. The reason is obvious: They tend to cannibalize each other’s business.

Meat Week LogoOn Friday, however, a handful of food trucks plan to blow up that rule as part of the fifth annual Meat Week. BBQ Bus, Carnivore BBQ, Curley’s Q, Hardy’s BBQ and Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co. will all serve smoked meats at one location: the LivingSocial space at 918 F St. NW.

For better or for worse, the food truck operators will be sans vehicles during the second annual Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off. They’ll be spread throughout LivingSocial’s building trying to impress the general public, as well as a crew of judges, to determine who produces the best curbside ‘cue in the area.

“It’s basically going to be a catering face-off,” quips Mike Bober, the food blogger and founder of the D.C. chapter of Meat Week.

Unlike every other pit stop during Meat Week, the Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off comes with a price tag. It’ll cost you $49 to enter, and tickets are available only through LivingSocial. For the price, Bober notes, you’ll get 15 samples of barbecue, a PBR tall boy to wash it all down, access to barbecue demos (from butchering to wood sources) and a chance to vote for the People’s Choice awards. Last year, the public crowned BBQ Bus the grand champion.

This year, Bober has lined up an official panel of judges to bestow awards, too. The panel includes Pork Barrel BBQ co-founder Heath Hall, The Post’s Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin and yours truly. Meat Week founders Chris Cantey and Erni Walker, who launched the first event in 2005 in Florida, will arrive in Washington for the food truck contest and may be drafted to serve on the official judging panel, Bober notes.

“We wanted it to be bigger and better than last year,” Bober says about the D.C. edition of Meat Week.

The meat-centric week officially kicks off Sunday at Urban Bar-B-Que Co. in Rockville and continues through Feb. 1, when smoked-meat enthusiasts gather at Mr. P’s Ribs Fish at Sixth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW, where they will not only enjoy some of D.C.’s best spare ribs but gawk at Mr. P’s new truck.

All events except the Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off are free and open to the public. Each person is responsible for paying his or her own check at every location. For more information, check the Meat Week site.

The schedule:

Sunday, 6:30 p.m., Urban Bar-B-Que Co., 2007 Chapman Ave., Rockville.

Monday, 6:30 p.m., Hill Country Barbecue Market, 410 Seventh St. NW.

Tuesday, 7 p.m., DCity Smokehouse at Showtime Lounge, 113 Rhode Island Ave. NW.

Wednesday, 7 p.m., Pork Barrel BBQ, 2312 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria.

Thursday, 7 p.m., Smoke BBQ, 4858 Cordell Ave., Bethesda.

Friday, 6 p.m. Barbecue Food Truck Face-Off at LivingSocial, 918 F St. NW. Tickets available through  LivingSocial for $49 each.

Saturday, noon, Mr. P’s Ribs Fish, corner of Sixth Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW.

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Jan 25, 2014
Tim Lester

Vietnamese Street Food Comes to the Marina

saiwalks.jpgSaiwalksWhen it comes to Asian food, the Marina has little to offer aside from sushi bars and Americanized Thai food. So if you happen to be in the neighborhood and get a craving for pho, banh mi or noodles, Saiwalks, recently opened to fill that void. With a full menu of meat-heavy and vegetarian options, the selections lean more towards southern Vietnamese street food, which seems to be the preferred style in this city.

The fried spring rolls are perfectly crispy and offer an indulgent start to the meal while the rest of the menu covers all areas like rice plates, vermicelli bowls, banh mi, and pho. With vegetarian options for each.

pho2.jpgYelp/Rachel E.The beef pho was a little too sweet for my taste, though I’m partial to the Northern style soup at places like Turtle Tower. The iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk was not strong enough, but speaking from experience, I know that figuring out the grounds-to-water ratio with Vietnamese coffee can take a while. I’m hoping that this has improved since my last visit. Vietnamese coffee is a beverage that I’m so obsessed with I actually purchased coffee filters from Vietnam so that I can make one for myself almost every day.

My favorite dish by far was the bun cha vermicelli bowl with pork. Smoky grilled pork shoulder over cold rice noodles, with fresh vegetables and pineapple. The clean flavor of the cucumbers and fresh herbs balances out the charred meat and is elevated by the vinegar sweetness of the fish sauce vinaigrette. The banh xeo, a coconut milk and rice flour crepe filled with pork and shrimp was also a standout, offering a browned crunchy crepe with sweet bites of shrimp and fresh romaine lettuce.

While none of the dishes brought me back to the many amazing meals that I enjoyed in Vietnam last spring, if I were in the neighborhood, the bun cha with pork could definitely satisfy my constant cravings for anything covered in my favorite condiment, nuc cham, a Vietnamese fish sauce blend.

The price of the dishes was extremely high, making it the most I had ever spent on a Vietnamese meal. I’m sure the rent is high in that part of town and when you’re the only bowl of pho around, you can get away with it.

But for now, the Tenderloin still holds the honor for neighborhood with the best Vietnamese food.

Saiwalks, 4438 Steiner St., 549-7931

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Jan 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Coachella Valley, Blythe officials to talk food truck rules

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PALM DESERT — Coachella Valley and Blythe city officials can learn about Riverside County’s new food truck ordinance on Monday in Palm Desert, Supervisor John Benoit announced Thursday.

A representative from the county’s environmental health department and a food truck consultant who works with local governments will give presentations at the Coachella Valley Association of Governments’ monthly executive committee meeting, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the association’s offices in Palm Desert.

The ordinance allows food trucks to operate throughout the county starting April 8, according to Benoit’s office.

Last month, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to lift most restrictions that prevent food truck operators in the county from selling products that are fried, barbecued, broiled and grilled.

Previously, they could only sell prepackaged food and operate with special event permits.

“Riverside County has ‘freed the food trucks’ to give greater flexibility to these small businesses to offer their unique food choices to visitors and residents,” Benoit said.

“I want to make sure cities have an opportunity to learn about the new rules and options for regulation and have their questions answered.”

Food truck operators must be permitted through the county annually, post their letter grades for operational conditions, have food manager and food handler certifications and undergo at least two yearly inspections.

Only food trucks manufactured after 2009 or upgraded or retrofitted to current standards can operate in the county.

City governments will be able to regulate when, where and how food trucks operate in their jurisdictions, according to Benoit’s office.

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Jan 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Creators of The Butcher’s Son to roll out fourth food truck

Jon Wagner and Dain Pool, creators of the Butcher’s Son and Gandolfo’s food trucks, will roll out their third food truck in February.

Danielle Abril
Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal

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The creators of The Butcher’s Son and Gandolfo’s Deli food trucks are getting ready to roll out their fourth truck.

Two Trucks LLC CEO Jon Wagner and President Dain Pool expect to debut their truck, Texas Burrito Co., in February.

The Tex-Mex truck will specialize in burritos and tacos made from scratch. The offerings will allow guests to customize their food, similar to how Chipotle and Freebirds operates.

Wagner and Pool brought Gandolfo’s to Dallas in 2011 and introduced The Butcher’s Son to the city in 2012. They also recently rolled out What’s the Scoop, their ice cream food truck. Both executives have a long history of food industry experience.

Wagner’s grandfather founded Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage and Pool’s family owns Georgia-based Pool’s Restaurant Group, parent of Gandolfo’s.

The two hinted at the development of their third truck in 2012, after realizing there was a high demand for the rolling eateries in Dallas.

In a 2012 interview with the Dallas Business Journal, Pool said a third truck could allow them to roll into the Fort Worth Food Park in addition to serving areas in Dallas.

Wagner and Pool said the cost of an average food truck is about $130,000 with total investment equaling about $250,000.

Two Trucks is based in Grand Prairie.

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Jan 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

NYC Food Truck Lunch: Tacos From La Gringa Taqueria

It’s currently the off season for food trucks, which makes it a good time to open a new one. You have time to work out the kinks without swarms of people clamoring for lunch.

La Gringa Taqueria opened last week, and we must say, they have one of the more striking food truck designs around. It plays off Mexican Day of the Dead iconography, with a skeleton, spider webs and roses. Nice job on the truck design!

As for the food, it’s a good thing they have time to work out the kinks before high season, because there were several problems that need to be worked out. We understand it was one of their first days out, but we have to report things as they were.

No worries though. In the New York Street Food world, everyone gets a 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) chance, so let’s get to the review.

We got an assortment of tacos, which were 3 for $10.

The menu included tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and salads. Fillings were listed as meatless, chicken, pulled pork, steak and grilled tilapia. Toppings were the usual Mexican offerings such as pico de gallo, yellow rice, beans and jack cheese.

(credit: New York Street Food)

(credit: New York Street Food)

First problem – no tilapia. We really like fish tacos, so that was a disappointment right off the bat. Ok, there was still chicken, steak and pork.

2nd problem – a single, stiff tortilla. The first taco was pulled pork, but picking it up, the problem was the tortilla. Not only did they use only one tortilla, but it was stiff and had split before we even picked it up.

The pulled pork tasted fine, but was on the watery side. This may have added to the tortilla problems. The pulled pork did not have any bbq flavor, which we expected from the “pulled pork” description.

3rd problem – cold food. Yes, it’s winter out, but we only walked around the corner back to our office. The food was cold enough that we could tell it was served that way.

The chicken in the chicken taco had a nice grilled, charred flavor, but we had the same problems with the tortilla and the temperature of the food.

Crema and tomatillo sauce were good choices for the chicken.

The final taco was steak with crema and picante sauce. The steak itself was decent, and the picante sauce packed quite a wallop! If you like hot sauce, order the picante. Otherwise, be careful.

This was not a good first look at La Gringa Taqueria, but that’s what happens sometimes on your first few days in operation. The question is whether these problems will be corrected or not. That’s what will determine the longevity of La Gringa Taqueria, not the cool truck design.

So far La Gringa Taqueria has been parking on Broadway between 55-56 St, but we expect they will start hitting other neighborhoods too. You can locate them on Twitter here or on our Mobile Munchies Twitter feed.

(credit: New York Street Food)

(credit: New York Street Food)

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Jan 24, 2014
Jim Benson

Food trucks bring jobs, flavors, and a friendly urban vibe

In Portland, Ore., immigrants and other restaurant workers open food trucks to build businesses. And residents get the best fast food they’ve ever had.


Abby QuillenYES! Magazine /
January 24, 2014

In Paris in 2012 people line up to have a lunch inside a ‘Restaumobile’ restaurant truck, where top French chefs serve meals to promote French food. Portland, Ore., encourages outdoor food carts or trucks, with about 440 set up around the city serving a wide selection of cuisines.

Charles Platiau/Reuters


At noon on a sunny day in Portland, Ore., in what not long ago was a vacant lot, customers roam past brightly painted food carts perusing menus for vegan barbeque, Southern food, Korean-Mexican fusion, and freshly squeezed juice.

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The smell of fried food and the tent-covered seating bring to mind a carnival, but a number of Portland’s food carts take a healthy approach to street food. The Big Egg, for instance, serves sandwiches and wraps made with organic farm-fresh eggs, balsamic caramelized onions, and arugula. Their to-go containers are compostable, and next to the order window is a list of local farms where they source their ingredients.

“We don’t have a can opener. We make everything ourselves, so it’s very time-consuming. And that’s the way we want it,” says Gail Buchanan, who runs The Big Egg with her partner, Emily D. Morehead.


6 international organizations that support jobs and businesses

The Big Egg usually sells out, says Buchanan as she hands a customer the last sandwich of the day, one made with savory portobello mushrooms. And on weekends, customers form a line down the block, willing to wait up to 45 minutes for their food.

Buchanan and Morehead dreamed of opening a restaurant for years. They had food service experience, saved money, and spent their free time developing menu items.

“Then 2008 happened,” says Buchanan. Difficulty getting business loans after the recession convinced them to downsize their dream to a custom-designed food cart. When a developer announced he was opening a new food cart lot, Buchanan and Morehead jumped in.

Portland’s permissive land-use regulations allow vendors to open on private lots—food cart “pods”—like the one that hosts The Big Egg. Local newspaper Willamette Week estimates there are about 440 food carts in the metro area.

The food cart scene has taken off in Portland in a way it hasn’t in other cities—transforming vacant lots into community spaces and making neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly and livable.

Recent features in Sunset, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and on the Food Network have pointed to Portland’s food cart pods as tourist destinations. There are even food cart walking tours.

Despite their success, Buchanan and Morehead have found that running a food cart isn’t easy money. They both work 70 hours a week, most of it prepping menu items—their fire-roasted poblano salsa alone takes three hours to prepare. But they’re grateful for the experience. They plan on opening a restaurant soon, like a growing number of he city’s most popular vendors.

Many of those vendors are first-generation immigrants who’ve found a way to make a living by sharing food traditions.

A few blocks from The Big Egg, Wolf and Bear’s serves Israeli cuisine from Jeremy Garb’s homeland. But it’s Israeli cuisine with a Portland influence, says his co-owner, Tanna TenHoopen Dolinsky. “It’s inspired by food in Israel, but we sprout our chickpeas and grill everything and don’t use a deep fryer.”

Wolf and Bear’s has grown to two locations and employs 12 people, and Garb and Dolinsky are considering opening a restaurant. “There’s a feeling of opportunity in Portland, and I think the rise of cart culture is representative of that,” says Dolinsky.


6 international organizations that support jobs and businesses

Nong Poonsukwattana has made the most of that opportunity with her food cart, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, famous for her signature rice and chicken dish. She describes hers as the best kind of fast food: “Fast service but not fast cooked. It’s fresh. I serve happiness.”

Poonsukwattana arrived from Bangkok, Thailand, in 2003 with $70. She waitressed at five different restaurants, working every day and night of the week, before buying her own downtown food cart in 2009.

Now she has two carts and a brick-and-mortar commercial kitchen and employs 10 people. Recently she started bottling and selling her own sauce.

Poonsukwattana likes the sense of community in the food cart pods, “even though competition is fierce,” but especially the cultural exchange with customers, many of whom she knows by name. “I think it’s always good to support local business, mom-and-pop shops, or small businesses with different ideas. It’s beautiful to see people fight for a better future for themselves.”

 Abby Quillen wrote this article for How To Live Like Our Lives Depend On It, the Winter 2014 issue of YES! Magazine. Abby is a freelance writer in Eugene, Ore. She blogs at

This article originally appeared in YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions.

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Jan 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

How Twitter accounts are the new food truck

Feeling like opening a business? Start with a bunch of small bets and invest in the winners. Alex Tsamouras provides customers with a jumbo lump crab sandwich on the Feelin' Crabby food truck. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Feeling like opening a business? Start with a bunch of small bets and invest in the winners. Alex Tsamouras provides customers with a jumbo lump crab sandwich on the Feelin’ Crabby food truck. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Here’s a look at five ideas that could impact the way we live, work and play.

1. Twitter as the food truck.

It takes a brave soul to launch a restaurant as a majority fail within a few years. A less risky approach for the aspiring food entrepreneur is to open a food truck. The financial commitment is significantly smaller. If the food truck proves itself and builds a following, those customers are likely to follow it to an eventual restaurant, boosting its chances of success there.

We’re seeing how a similar script can play out with media companies. Given the limits of advertising and fierce competition online for consumers’ attention, starting a Web site from scratch is a herculean task.

A safer and smarter way to wade into the business is to launch a handful of Twitter accounts, see which one gathers a massive following and then take the “restaurant plunge” with the top account by launching a Web site. At the Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal has a good read on two teenagers who run the popular Twitter account @HistoryInPics:

My analysis of 100 tweets from the account this week found that, on average, a @HistoryInPics tweet gets retweeted more than 1,600 times and favorited 1,800 times.

For comparison, Vanity Fair‘s Twitter account — with 1.3 million followers — tends to get a dozen or two retweets and favorites on any given tweet.

The account has over 900,000 followers and the teens plan to launch a Web site once @HistoryInPics and its sister account @EarthPix hit a million followers. Because social networks drive so much Web traffic, it makes tremendous sense to stake a place on one of them before starting a Web site.

2. Google, the energy company.

For my money there’s no more interesting company on the planet than Google. Here’s a deep look at their interest in energy and what it means for utilities, via Utility Dive:

Google has invested over $1 billion in renewable power plants over the years and appears poised to be a major player in the energy sector for years to come. … In 2011, the company consumed 2.7 million megawatt-hours of electricity — roughly the equivalent consumption of Austin, Texas.

3. A cheap battery to store renewable energy on the grid.

Aquion has developed a sodium ion battery, a cheaper alternative than the lithium ions batteries that are the norm in smartphones and laptops. Wind and solar power can’t replace traditional power sources until we can efficiently store these renewable energies on batteries. From the MIT Technology Review:

By providing an affordable way to store solar power for use at night or during cloudy weather, the technology could allow isolated populations to get electricity from renewable energy, rather than from polluting diesel generators. Combining solar power and inexpensive batteries would also be cheaper than running diesel generators in places where delivering fuel is expensive.

4. Monsanto’s “supperveggies.” From Wired:

The company is introducing novel strains of familiar food crops, invented at Monsanto and endowed by their creators with powers and abilities far beyond what you usually see in the produce section. The lettuce is sweeter and crunchier than romaine and has the stay-fresh quality of iceberg. The peppers come in miniature, single-serving sizes to reduce leftovers. The broccoli has three times the usual amount of glucoraphanin, a compound that helps boost antioxidant levels. …
The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli — plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow — aren’t genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same tech­nology that farmers have been using to optimize crops for millennia.

5. South Korea: The world’s most innovative country? Thursday I mentioned how the country is eyeing a 5G network that would be phenomenally fast. That kind of infrastructure is to be expected from a place known for innovation. Sweden took second and the United States third in Bloomberg’s rankings.

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Jan 24, 2014
Jim Benson

Photos, Video: Bear Knocks Over NYC Food Cart

Photo by Samuel Thorne

Here’s what it would look like if a bear were to attack a food cart on the streets of New York City—ehhhhh, where does this guy think he is, Jellystone Park?!

Sure, this bear may not be real depending on your definition of “real”, and it may be a marketing tool to sell Greek yogurt, but we still love him, and it all seems real and isn’t that what matters?

class=”photo_caption”Photo via Reddit

This seems to part of a Chobani campaign that will start with a 60-second ad airing during the third quarter of the Super Bowl. It was filming near Madison Square Park yesterday.

Of course, back in the 1960s we used real animals—here’s the Dreyfus Fund using a real lion in their ad, shown emerging from the subway and casually walking around the city:


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Jan 24, 2014
Tim Lester

Fight or Flight: Motion to Legalize Street Vending Comes After Repeated LAPD …

When I read on Page Six that Anthony Bourdain was working on a Singapore-style hawker center in New York, my thoughts turned to L.A.’s street food scene. We’ve got some unfinished business to do here in order to support our street food vendors. Despite the popularity of sidewalk food vendors in Los Angeles, our local government has only been an obstacle to our pursuit of street food happiness.

Los Angeles Police officers in both plain clothes and uniform have lately been issuing some of the city’s best street food vendors fines of up to $1,000. Most people don’t know that they bring a garbage truck along to destroy tables, street food carts, and any other equipment used by vendors. Instead of enacting legislation that adapts to the city’s needs, the LAPD has been tasked with enforcing laws that don’t take livelihoods into account. Lately, the LAPD has stepped up its enforcement.

A few months ago, I witnessed officers at the Mercado Olympic after a bust bragging and joking openly about how many street food rigs they had destroyed in front of downcast working families. They continued to approach random people along the sidewalk, inquiring about their reason for standing or walking by.

Back in November, the city was optimistic after hearing that councilmen Curren D. Price, Jr. and Jose Huizar were working on a motion to legalize street food in L.A. Although details have not been made public, the LAPD’s recent actions have undermined the spirit of Huizar and Curren’s public appearances with organizations such as the East LA Community Corporation.

Considering the positive movement towards embracing street food nationwide (thanks, Tony), and our own irrepressible tradition of itinerant vending, it is troubling to have witnessed the police crackdown on the Mercado Olympic in the last few months.

While street vending is illegal in L.A., such zeal by the LAPD could be better spent doing outreach to prepare for the new regulations because the people have spoken: L.A. loves street food.



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