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Mulling things on my morning ramble with Lady, our family’s mutt pup.
And hello, Tyler Florence, and once again Charles Demuth.
Dark enough, even at 6:30 a.m., that my ears were the most important sensory agent.
As we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, a sandpiper called and flew around the west side of the north old clay pit.
It was too dark to see it.
But their call is distinctive.
In the distance, Canada geese honked and raised a racket on the lake to the west.
I swear a red-winged blackbird trilled on the north end of the north pit as we neared the bridge over the neckdown between the two pits.
A muskrat, at least I am pretty sure it was a muskrat, splashed off from the north bank of the south pit.
A train tooted far to the south at one of the rural crossings. And headed our way as we neared leaving the wildness of the town pond and coming back to town.
A vivid light from the pole light by the grain elevator cut through the room between cars on the side rail.
Hello, Charles Demuth.
There was a string of the cars waiting for the corn and beans pouring in from a steady stream of trucks all week.
Downtown, the food truck was back and loading up at the downtown restaurant, which has been closed for more than a year I think.
Hello, Tyler Florence.
The owner had moved to another town to cook his food he loaded in his food truck several years ago and the new owners of the restaurant did not last long.
The owner and his daughter were loading up the truck, which services primarily migrant field workers in nearby nurseries and truck farms. I got to talking with him and he is opening up the restaurant as a restaurant on Fridays and Saturdays next month.
He said it will have Mexican food, fried chicken, pizza and hamburgers, that sort of thing.
That made my morning.
I had expected to hear some shooting as dawn neared with waterfowl seasons opened today, but none were heard.
Light before dawn had only slit into the night darkness a bit by the time we reached home.
But the second boy’s stacks of newspapers were already here to be delivered. I will have the joy of rousting him early.
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Portland police have arrested a 45-year-old woman in connection with a theft investigation.
Police served a search warrant to a home in Northeast Portland in connection with an ongoing investigation into Hia Thi Thai’s activities at her food cart “Julie’s Food” located at Southeast Fifth Avenue and Oak Street.
Thai was previously arrested on Oct. 2 and booked into Multnomah County Jail on charges of first-degree theft, two counts of unlawfully obtaining a food stamp card and three counts of identity theft, police said.
On Thursday police seized about $15,000 worth of items including large quantities of new clothing with tags on them, laptops, multiple iPods, large quantities of perfumes in the original packaging and multiple high-end handbags and wallets.
Police investigators said they believe the items were stolen from retail stores and then purchased by Thai. Police said the investigation is continuing, and Thai may face additional charges.
You can get a cold ramen salad, churros and a massive chicken cutlet plate in one location.
The thing about food trucks is that we don’t always know where to find them. And that’s both the thrill of the roaming restaurant and the frustration for its fans. So some food-truck operators have decided that the best solution is to park a truck in the same spot all the time, or even better: Park a bunch of trucks in the same spot all the time and make it a destination. Done.
The Pau Hana Market on Beach Walk in Waikīkī is like a micro Eat the Street-style food truck rally that’s there all day, every day. A circle of eight trucks (and one Elvis Presley face-in-the-hole photo board, naturally) surround a few canopied picnic tables, where diners can sit for a bit and eat their choice of food, from ramen to roasted chicken to churros.
The best reason to seek out the food truck hui is for the Kamitoku Ramen truck, which makes its broth from beef bones instead of using the pork-based soup that we’re used to.
The beef broth is lighter than its porky cousin, but is still full of rich, deep flavor. At Kamitoku, they top their bowls with slices of charred beef brisket, which gives it a beautiful smoky flavor. With the silky soft-boiled egg, it’s a pretty perfect bite. The Beefy Cold is a cold ramen salad that’s like the best somen salad you’ve ever had.
The Lani’s Loco Moco truck, an offshoot of Uncle Bo’s in Kaimukī, makes a good—and massive—chicken cutlet plate. The chicken itself is delicious, so we can overlook the violation of the first rule of loco-moco making: Don’t use powdered brown gravy. Rule No. 2 (for any meal made in Hawai‘i, not just mocos) is good rice. There’s no excuse for overcooked, mushy rice, which is part of the reason why we suggest skipping the Five Star Shrimp truck. Save your shrimp appetite for the North Shore, where the garlic butter shrimp is guaranteed to be better at any truck you choose than at this one in Waikīkī.
We opted to take most of our Pau Hana Market meals to go, so we could fill up on churros from the Chuloa truck, where the churros are fried to order. We were hoping for tender, crisp fritters, but were let down when they arrived undercooked and tough, but we’ll try again and hope for better results because we love a good churro (that isn’t from Costco).
The times we visited the truck stop, it was hit or miss with which trucks were open and which ones were inexplicably closed, but that’s sort of the nature of the mobile eatery. We’re just stoked to know we can always get cold ramen salad.
Pau Hana Market, 234 Beach Walk in Waikīkī (next to Henry’s Place), plate lunches and ramen from $6.75 to $14.95, pauhanwaikiki.com, 286-8900.
Hours: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
Type of Business: Food truck
History of Business: For almost a year the Romson’s Kebab food truck has been parked near the intersection of Golden State Boulevard and Canal Drive offering locals a unique twist on cook to order cuisine.
Unlike most food trucks which afford customers a quick bite to eat in a convenient environment, Romson’s food takes a little longer to cook, but owner Yolih Yonan ensures it’s worth the wait.
“It’s fresh food and ingredients and that takes time to cook,” said Yonan. “Chicken has to cook properly and we only make it once it’s ordered.”
Offering a variety of Mediterranean plates including chicken thigh, chicken breast, pork, and lula kebabs which is a mixture of tri tip and lamb, each plate comes with grilled tomatoes, fresh chopped onions, and a Serrano pepper. Romson’s also offers gyros meat on hot pita bread with Mediterranean sauce and customers can order sides as well such as tomato skewers and pita bread.
“The plates cost half as much as they are at restaurants,” said Yonan.
Romson’s Kebab can sometimes be found on the go as well, having recently posted up at Boomers in Modesto for a high school graduation as well as a catering event in Denair. A large amount of customers also often call ahead to place orders for pick up.
While the food truck has been a success in the past year Yonan hopes to eventually establish a restaurant which she operated back home in Iran before coming to the states.
“It’s been good so far but we’d like to hopefully have a restaurant eventually,” said Yonan.
Business Specialty: House special kebab plate with customer’s choice of three types of kebab.
Food trucks are now in Owensboro, and starting next week, they’ll be in downtown Evansville temporarily. It’s part of a two-month trial program that could lead to the city allowing these diners on wheels in some parts of Evansville.
“People love to eat outside,” says Joshua Armstrong, the Downtown Alliance Director for the SW Indiana Chamber.
Everyday we get hungry and, sometimes, we’re hungry for change.
“There’s quite a few options, but after you work here for a few months, it starts to, kind of, be the same places over and over,” says Michael Schade of Evansville. City officials want to introduce another option to downtown’s dining menu: food trucks, starting a test block on 3rd Street four hours a day for two months.
“I think it gives some diversity,” says Rebecca Russell, who lives in Dana Point, California. “It allows people to try out different foods that they wouldn’t necessarily try out that’s available. I think for the people that own the food truck, they have menus they can tweak, depending on the clientele.” Armstrong says they started the program to get city code changed to allow food trucks. Currently, city law prohibits them from parking on public streets.
“When you apply for your permit through the county, you’re given a list of regulations and one of them is you have to park on private property with permission of the property owner or the tenant,” he explains. “So, within that, that automatically excludes all city streets.”
Armstrong adds the site will also bring in contractors working on downtown projects in the future, and get Evansville hungry for more.
“It would be kind of a cool experience just to get to walk up and, you know, maybe get to meet someone new, get some good food,” Schade adds.
City officials say if the program works, an ordinance allowing food trucks to operate on city streets could be introduced after the test program ends.
It’s been a while since we’ve been to the Caribbean, but our recent lunch at the TMT Caribbean Delights food truck was like taking a short trip back there for lunch (minus the sand and surf, unfortunately).
The menu at TMT has a few stews, a few curries, and of course, jerk chicken. We ordered the shrimp curry for $10.
Side dishes at TMT can vary from day-to-day, and we had a choice of fresh roti bread or steamed veggies. We wanted the roti, but the person right in front of us got the last one. But that didn’t stop us from having a very enjoyable lunch.
Coming back from the truck, the aroma of curry permeated the subway car for the two stops we had to take back to the office. If anyone in our car was hungry, it must have been torture. Sorry.
One issue with getting shrimp is that servings can be skimpy. Not here. Not only were there 9 decent-sized shrimp, but they took the time to de-vein the shrimp. That’s a time-consuming task that not all vendors have been known to do.
The shrimp were still plump and juicy sitting in the curry sauce. The taste of the curry sauce was not as strong as the smell, but it was undoubtedly a curry sauce, with a number of other herbs and spices that added to the overall taste.
Even though we wanted roti, the steamed veggies were good. There were baby corn, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, string beans, red peppers and onions in our serving. The rice was good too.
You can find TMT Caribbean Delights on Twitter here (although the account does not seem to be updated regularly), and on Facebook here. We know they park at both 47th St between Park Lex and 46th St just east of 6th Ave, among other places. We suggest keeping your eyes peeled for TMT Caribbean Delights if you like Caribbean food.
Next time we want to try TMT’s jerk chicken. It’s been a while since we’ve had jerk chicken, and the Jamaican Dutchy is no longer in business.
For all China’s nouveau-riche dining excesses, you can’t do better than street snacks or ‘little eats’, as locals call them.
Wangfujing Street in Beijing offers plenty of snacks.
Cake for sale in Xian’s Muslim Quarter.
Making noodles in a Beijing restuarant.
A teahouse in Chengdu.
For all China’s nouveau-riche dining excesses, you can’t do better than street snacks or “little eats”, as locals call them. It’s the comfort food your grandmother would cook if she were Chinese: chilli-studded noodles, steamed dumplings, roast pork buns sticky with caramel sauce, baked sweet potatoes that warm your hands.
Temptation is everywhere. Eat at busy stalls and you’ll be fine. In Beijing, it’s hard to resist a fat oil-fried pancake stuffed with meat. In Shandong Province they’re crepe-thin, with an egg cracked on top, then rolled for your eating ease. Everywhere, steamed dumplings are a popular late-night snack. Noodles are as various as Italian pasta. Buckwheat noodles are served with sesame sauce, liangfen noodles shaved off a block of bean-starch jelly and doused in chilli oil. In Yunnan Province, rice noodles are eaten in a piping-hot broth with sliced chicken and mushrooms.
Even breakfast is catered for. There’s a street in Wuhan nicknamed Breakfast Street (Hubuxiang) where you can try tang gao, a deep-fried doughnut made with rice flour and sugar. In Shanghai, glutinous rice balls are popular, filled with pickles or egg. In Pingyao (Shanxi Provence) you can buy wrinkled apricots and sesame balls filled with red-bean paste, and street vendors cook ears of corn over charcoal braziers. And don’t forget dessert. In country towns, vendors still spin animals from toffee. In Kaifeng (Henan Province), the local favourite is hot jelly, poured in liquid form over fruit, berries or nuts from huge kettles with dragon-head spouts.
Sadly, with increased road and foot traffic, city governments are clamping down on street snacking. Many stalls are regulated to particular (often pedestrian) food streets, or have retreated indoors to hawker centres. Enjoy while you can.
It’s impossible to go hungry in Shanghai: stalls across the city sell dumplings, amazingly good bowls of noodles, egg pancakes, grilled lamb skewers and pork buns sprinkled with sesame seeds. More sophisticated fare includes roast duck slices atop rice, or frogs’ legs in ginger.
Look out for crab-shell pies, which can have all kinds of fillings (both savoury and sweet) and are named for their appearance. For an old-fashioned treat, eggs boiled in green tea and soy sauce are a peculiar colour, but go down well at breakfast, accompanied by fried bread sticks.
To my mind, nothing in Shanghai beats xiao longbao. This Shanghai obsession is a dumpling with an almost translucent skin encasing a hot, flavoursome broth that explodes into your mouth – or, if you aren’t careful, over your clothes – as you bite into it. Only the adept can pick one up with chopsticks without it bursting.
Fangbang West Street near Yu Garden is a great eat street. There’s also good street eating around People’s Park Fabric Market in the South Bund area.
Huoguo (hotpot, or literally “fire pot”) is a Sichuan speciality that has spread across the country as a favourite street food. Hunker down at Lilliputian tables in places such as Jinli Street and order meat broth, kept very hot by a surface layer of oil, in which you cook your own ingredients. Spices, including opium shells, Sichuan pepper and chillies, give this celebrated dish a fiery kick; have a cold beer handy.
Avoid chicken’s feet, tough mutton and cow stomach, which are bubbled and rubbery like wrapping plastic. Much better are potato slices, lotus root, cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach stalks, as well as ham, beef slices and fish.
Sichuan is also famous for teahouses, where old men sit chatting in the sun, sucking on gnarled pipes and discussing their songbirds that hang overhead in bamboo cages. The best teahouses are in Wenhua and Renmin parks. Tea is served in small palm-size cups with a lid to keep it warm and strain any leaves that float to the surface. Boiled peanuts or melon seeds are traditional accompaniments.
Guangzhou has a reputation for fine ice-cream and tropical fruits such as lychees. Proper street dishes include spring rolls, steamed buns, rice porridge and mince-stuffed eggplant. Liuersan Road and the area around Cultural Park, as well as streets off Beijing Road, have a wide selection of food stalls.
The Muslim food of the Hui ethnic minority is common in Guangzhou, which has long links with Arab traders; Huaisheng Mosque was built by Arab missionaries in 627. If you don’t eat pork, you’ll be content. Among street specialities are spicy noodles with halal beef, roast mutton, crispy goose, and dumplings in sour soup. Afterwards, get a slice of fried cake, usually containing raisins, dates and sesame seeds, and accompanied by green tea.
Adventurous foodies should have a wander through Qingping market, part of which is devoted to sack-loads of earthy spices and the dried roots. Soon cabbages and slabs of pork give way to more unusual critters for which southern Chinese cuisine is notorious. The bold can try snake in the surrounding open-fronted eateries.
China’s biggest Hui population is found in Xian, China’s ancient Silk Road capital along which Muslim traders came in the seventh century. The Hui live right in the old city, one of the most wonderful neighbourhoods in China. Charming Beiyuanmen Street, which runs straight north from the Drum Tower and is hung with red lanterns, has fantastic street eats.
Roujiamo, or shredded meat wedged between two pieces of steamed bread, is the local hamburger. Every vendor has their own special filling, some potent with numbing Sichuan pepper. Open-fronted restaurants display pyramids of skewered meats, grilled for the finger-licking pleasure of passers-by, or served up with a large round of flatbread to those who linger at rickety outdoor tables. Spare ribs, stewed oxtail, lamb dumplings, and mutton or beef soup poured over cubes of bread are other options.
For dessert, nibble on nuts, seeds and preserved fruits, or try the local speciality known as eight-treasures pudding, made from glutinous rice cooked up in little pots and sprinkled with sugar and sesame seeds.
Beijing isn’t the best city for street snacks. Islands of street eating survive, but they’re best suited to diehard Sinophiles. In Sanlitun district behind the swish Apple store you’ll find a laneway where youngsters squat on plastic stools and join the lucky dip of a hotpot, pulling out pig’s ears and misshapen fungus with their chopsticks.
Right off fancy shopping drag Wangfujing Street (where you can resort to a McDonald’s takeaway if you must) you’ll find alleys where raucous locals devour chicken and dumplings. The reckless can try scorpions with their Green Leaf beer, speared on cocktail sticks. If you have a fascination for the peculiar, Donghuamen night market provides scorpions, crickets and lizards.
Beijing’s Back Lakes district has plenty of open-fronted bars where you can enjoy warmed rice wine if you want to get local, though cocktails and beers abound. Vendors still sell the traditional treats becoming increasingly uncommon in this hipster city. Try pancakes spiked with spring onions, stomach-filling glutinous rice cakes and aniseed-flavoured peas.
The writer travels frequently to China at his own expense.
China Southern has flights from Melbourne and Sydney to its hub Guangzhou, and onwards to dozens of domestic destinations in China. See csair.com
Get dizzy at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai, which takes up the 53rd to 87th floors of a Pudong skyscraper. Rooms from $310 a night. See shanghai.grand.hyatt.com
Sofitel Wanda Beijing is Sofitel’s flagship property in the Asia-Pacific region and sets out to make a bold statement in service and luxury. Rooms from $160. See sofitel.com/beijing
Shangri-La Hotel Chengdu has the luxe services you expect, and a terrific Qi Spa to heal sore sightseeing feet. Rooms from $203. See shangri-la.com/chengdu
The sole mobile food vendor in the City of York may soon have company from other cart businesses. York council members passed an ordinance to allow up to 26 food-carts in and around downtown.
Darren Borodin makes a living by selling hot dogs. He says, “It gives me an opportunity with the hours that I work to be there for my children. I’m a single dad raising 3 kids.”
Darren’s the only licensed York City vendor. But come January, he’ll share Continental Square with other vendors. This week, York City Council members passed an ordinance which could bring as many as 25 more carts.
Darren says, “I think it could bring more diversity, bring people who wouldn’t normally be here downtown.”
Darren will continue to serve customers, but he’s concerned. Under the new ordinance, he’s not guaranteed a spot.
He says, “You have to renew your process and if someone wants the spot you have, you go into this lottery. A businessman could lose its spot.”
Council Member, Henry Nixon says, “Bidding provision is real simple. It’s the value of real estate, that’s the American Way. If you’ve got this piece of real estate and 2 people want it, let’s give it to the highest bidder.”
Nixon says vendors can begin applying for a spot with the city next month. They’ll pay a $325 license fee.
Nixon says, “It’s revenue generating, not a huge amount but it’s more an atmosphere-this a happening place.”
Vendors would be guaranteed a spot for two years. For Darren, a permanent place is how he wants to run business.
He says, “You should be able to operate as long as you’re not violating procedures, stay in business.”