Browsing articles tagged with " food carts"
Feb 19, 2014
Jim Benson

A humble food cart — and its mouth-watering offerings

What’s wonderful about Mexico is that some of the greatest stuff isn’t expensive. Take street food. And there’s one food cart that lives up to its fabulous reputation.

I mean the La Guerrerense seafood cart in the seaside town of Ensenada in Baja California. If you are ever in the area, you must go. The cart has been an institution since 1960.

I was there on Saturday, and I had the freshest, best seafood of anywhere I’ve been outside a sushi restaurant next to the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

Mind you, the Guerrerense is nothing special to look out – just a simple street cart on the corner of First and Alameda. The giveaway is the crowd of people crowded outside. It’s drawn a lot of attention. TV food show host and chef Anthony Bourdain has been there (here’s a YouTube clip of a segment of the show), and so has celebrity chef Rick Bayless (here’s a clip of his visit). They both rave about the place.

I’d heard about it from colleagues who visit Baja a lot. So when I had to pop down there from Tijuana for an unrelated story, I went with hunger pangs. I was not disappointed. I started with tostadas – a fish one, then a crab salad one. I couldn’t stop there. So I had a shrimp one and a fish pate one. I tried one with a mango salsa and another with a peanut sauce. Yumm!

That was about $5.50 worth of food. But I was still hungry. So I had what looked like the piece de resistance – a campechano cocktail. This is a large mixed seafood cebiche. As best as I could tell, it contained fresh octopus, scallops, sea snails, clams, shrimp, sea urchins, a mussel or two and a couple of unrecognizable things. All in brine, a sprinkle of salt, slices of avocada on top, then bathed in the juice of fresh lime. It tasted like a reduction of all the best coming out of the Pacific Ocean, two blocks away.

I went to heaven. And in the future, I will drive far out of my way to go back. You don’t get seafood fresher than at La Guerrerense unless you are on the high seas with a fishing pole in your hand.

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Feb 19, 2014
Kim Rivers

DUSDAC members sample Mama Duke’s food truck

Members of the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee sampled options from Mama Duke’s food truck during their committee meeting Monday night.

Mama Duke’s owners—father-and-son team Michael and Mike Alexakis—served up signature Mediterranean cuisine with a distinct southern twist. Falafel, coconut curry and chicken masala were among the options that DUSDAC members sampled. The group’s responses to both the flavor of food and efficiency of service were positive.

“They had a big menu tonight and they got the food out immediately,” said senior Chris Taylor, co-chair of DUSDAC . “It seemed like really fast service compared to every other truck we’ve had”

Although Mama Duke’s has found success catering corporate offices, nightclubs and private events, Michael and Mike said they are looking to expand their client base to include Duke students. They highlighted Mama Duke’s flexible menu options when speaking about their truck.

“We can go any direction that you’d like,” Michael said. “Steak, shrimp, fresh seafood—we can do it all to order.”

The father-son duo is also willing to adjust dishes to fit student’s dietary needs.

“We do take special requests and we make things to order right on the spot,” Mike added.

Among the truck’s more popular items are curry and chicken tikka, both of which are gluten free.

DUSDAC is in the process of sampling various food trucks to decide which vendors to ultimately bring to campus on select weeknights. They will taste Durham pizza truck, Pie Pushers, during next week’s meeting.

Following the food truck tasting, the group discussed future plans to send out a survey that will gauge general perception of food options on campus. The survey will ask students what their favorite eateries are, where they would like to see more variety in dining and what dietary restrictions they may have.

Although DUSDAC is eager to hear about students’ dining preferences, Taylor emphasized that there will be no new restaurants added to the Duke line-up before the West Union construction is complete.

“There is nowhere else to add a restaurant on campus. I don’t want people to think we’re going to tear down the Chapel to make room,” joked Taylor.

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Feb 19, 2014
Jim Benson

Report: ‘Simply Spanish’ food cart to open at Mark’s Carts this spring

A food cart serving authentic Spanish cuisine will join the lineup of vendors at Mark’s Carts outdoor food courtyard this spring, Concentrate Media reports.

Xavi Vitta plans to open Simply Spanish, serving simple Spanish foods made with fresh ingredients. He envisions customers sharing a few tapas during a meal, the report says.

Located off West Washington and South Ashley streets behind Mark Hodesh’s Downtown Home Garden store, Mark’s Carts is a collection of outdoor food carts. The courtyard is typically open April through October.

A similar outdoor food courtyard opened in December on South University Avenue, when the co-owner of two food carts left Mark’s Carts to launch a courtyard model that could operate during the winter.

The Mark’s Carts website says it is seeking proposals for food carts for the 2014 season. The food vendors listed on the website are: El Manantial, A2 Pizza Pi, San Street, Hut-k Chaats and Darcy’s Cart.


Read the full Concentrate Media report.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for The Ann Arbor News. Reach her at 734-623-2584, email her lizzyalfs@mlive.com or follow her on Twitter.

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Feb 19, 2014
Tim Lester

Chef Hugo Ortega dishes exotic yet familiar street-food recipes at Tucson …

Several years ago, acclaimed Houston chef Hugo Ortega — originally from the slums of Mexico City — traveled 4,000 miles across Mexico with his father and his brother Ruben.

Their collection of tastes, personalities and stunning photographs conjure a vibrant portrait of a national cuisine.

Part cookbook and part travelogue, “Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico” is full of exotic yet familiar recipes: a citrusy ceviche with fresh blue crab and a sour prickly pear called xoconostle; a chunky auburn salsa of peanut and pumpkin seeds from the state of Michoacán; tortillas the color of wine.

Ortega, who will speak at the Tucson Festival of Books Culinary Tent March 15, came to the United States at 17 and worked his way from dishwasher to executive chef of Backstreet Cafe in Houston.

Many of the recipes in his book draw from Ortega’s time living on a family farm in Puebla, Mexico, a colonial city southeast of the capital. A highlight is the cilantro-spiked crawfish and cactus-paddle salad Ortega would eat from a plastic bag as he walked through the market with his mother as a child.

A large section of the book also is dedicated to the colorful ceviches of Baja California and the southern port city of Veracruz. Many recipes from Mexico City, such as the tacos and fried masa cakes, called antojitos, can be a little labor intensive, requiring you to shape the dough and prepare the frijoles a day in advance. The heavily detailed process is a testament to the traditions and work ethic of Mexican street vendors: the tireless nation of workers who form the backbone of Mexican cuisine.

Ortega will speak at 10 a.m. March 15 (see “About This Series”).

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Feb 19, 2014
Tim Lester

Cary cookbook author teaching Mexican street food class

Cary cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez has a cooking class next month exploring Mexican street food.

At 6 p.m. March 26, Gutierrez will teach recipes from her recent book, “Latin American Street Food: The Best Flavors of Markets, Beaches and Roadside Stands from Mexico to Argentina.” The class menu includes horchata; orange, onion and pepita salad; homemade corn tortillas; tacos al pastor; traditional Mexican refried beans; Mexican rice; and candied yams.

The class costs $45. To register, call 919-929-7133 or go to southernseason.com. Gutierrez’s Feb. 19 class on Peruvian street food has already sold out. So you may want to register sooner rather than later.

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Feb 19, 2014
Tim Lester

Toronto street-food rules might finally be cooking

Finally, after nearly seven years of planning, thousands of hours of debate, and a disastrous first attempt, Toronto is on the verge of passing street food policy that could actually lead to street food being sold.

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Feb 19, 2014
Tim Lester

Cincinnati man raises money to open Mexican Street food window in Over-the …

CINCINNATI — If Andrew Gomez gets his way, Over-the-Rhine will be one window away from the perfect taco.

The Cincinnati resident has been developing Gomez Salsa for several months – and if all things go according to plan, his dream of opening a window-only Mexican street food shop at 107 East 12th Street will come true by late March.

“My passion involves food. It always has, but now my passion is to bring it to you street side,” Gomez said in a YouTube video promoting the upcoming eatery.

Gomez Salsa will not be a sit-down restaurant. Instead, Gomez hopes to introduce Over-the-Rhine to his dream: a grab-and-go street side taco and salsa window.

Gomez, who says he’s been serving tacos in Cincinnati for a few years, recently released his menu for the shop on his website GomezSalsa.com.

The menu includes slow-roasted beef and pork tacos, pulled chicken tacos, beer battered fish tacos (made with a beer of the month), veggie tacos and a taco of the day – all for $3 each. Gomez will also serve an $8 turtle shell, which he describes as a hybrid burrito.

“We take a burrito-sized tortilla, stuff it with all the goodies – rice, beans, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, meat, veggies, cheese – (add a) tostado to give it some crunch. We seal it up with a cheese of approval, cut it in half and give it to you,” Gomez said.

The eatery will also offer chips and salsa for $3 – with an extra $1 for guacamole – and a taco salad served with chips for $7.

Most options on the menu will come with a beer pairing, Gomez said.

In order to raise money to open his shop, Gomez set up an Indiegogo page last week. Similar to KickStarter, Indiegogo.com is an international crowd-funding site that helps raise money for a cause or business.

Gomez’s goal is to reach $5,000 in donations before March 9. As of Tuesday, Feb. 18, Gomez Salsa received $2,560 in donations.

“We’ve been at this for a while and we’re really excited about it, but we need your help in raising some extra funds in order for us to acquire the quality equipment we need so we can run efficiently when we open for you guys,” Gomez said in a video for his Indiegogo campaign.

Those who donate to Gomez Salsa receive different “perks” depending on the amount they donate. If a user donates $25, they receive a free taco, a free salsa and a “Gomez HooRag,” which is a branded hair accessory. For more money, donators can get perks like a free taco or salsa every month or week for a year.

Gomez said his dream of opening his own salsa and taco shop began in the small town of Brownsville, Texas where he ate “the best taco of my life.”

“It was assembled by my abuelita (grandmother), Oralia Gomez. She also hand-chopped the most authentic salsa I’ve ever encountered, which my father made weekly for our family,” Gomez said. “From them, I learned to make salsa the way they did and began producing and selling Gomez Salsa around the Cincinnati area.”

Gomez said his kitchen is almost ready as of mid-February, and the eatery is closer than ever to reaching its final stages before opening.

An official opening date has not been determined yet, but Gomez has already listed his hours: The shop will run all week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Until his signature tacos and salsa are served from his window on 12th Street, Gomez said there’s plenty of work ahead.

But he’s looking forward to it.

“As the Over-the-Rhine community unravels its true potential, I can only hope that Gomez Salsa will be given the same opportunity,” he said… “I can’t promise you I’m ready for what lies ahead, but I can promise you that I’m going to fight with everything I have to work my hardest for all of you. Lets do this.”

Visit Gomez Salsa’s website

Donate to Gomez Salsa

See the menu

Follow the Gomez Salsa Instagram

Follow Gomez Salsa on Twitter

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Feb 19, 2014
Tim Lester

Richmond restaurateur Michael Ng fosters 2nd Street food scene

Michael Ng is creating something of a food court on North Second Street. (PHOTO: Michael Thompson)

Michael Ng is creating something of a food court on North Second Street. (PHOTO: Michael Thompson)

RICHMOND, Va. (RichmondBizSense.com) - The next pieces of Michael Ng’s Jackson Ward food court are sliding into place.

Ng, a landlord and owner of the Thai Cabin food carts and Thai Corner restaurant, has leased space to a mobile food business looking to put down roots and is working to launch another restaurant on North Second Street.

Slideways Bistro plans to open next month in Ng’s 700-square-foot space at 317 N. Second St. The restaurant will be a brick-and-mortar incarnation of Garret Walker’s Slideways Mobile Bistro, which, as its name implies, specializes in sliders or mini sandwiches.

Click here to read more on RichmondBizSense.com.

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Feb 19, 2014
Tim Lester

Hugo Ortega dishes exotic yet familiar street-food recipes

Several years ago, acclaimed Houston chef Hugo Ortega — originally from the slums of Mexico City — traveled 4,000 miles across Mexico with his father and his brother Ruben.

Their collection of tastes, personalities and stunning photographs conjure a vibrant portrait of a national cuisine.

Part cookbook and part travelogue, “Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico” is full of exotic yet familiar recipes: a citrusy ceviche with fresh blue crab and a sour prickly pear called xoconostle; a chunky auburn salsa of peanut and pumpkin seeds from the state of Michoacán; tortillas the color of wine.

Ortega, who will speak at the Tucson Festival of Books Culinary Tent March 15, came to the United States at 17 and worked his way from dishwasher to executive chef of Backstreet Cafe in Houston.

Many of the recipes in his book draw from Ortega’s time living on a family farm in Puebla, Mexico, a colonial city southeast of the capital. A highlight is the cilantro-spiked crawfish and cactus-paddle salad Ortega would eat from a plastic bag as he walked through the market with his mother as a child.

A large section of the book also is dedicated to the colorful ceviches of Baja California and the southern port city of Veracruz. Many recipes from Mexico City, such as the tacos and fried masa cakes, called antojitos, can be a little labor intensive, requiring you to shape the dough and prepare the frijoles a day in advance. The heavily detailed process is a testament to the traditions and work ethic of Mexican street vendors: the tireless nation of workers who form the backbone of Mexican cuisine.

Ortega will speak at 10 a.m. March 15 (see “About This Series”).

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Feb 19, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food-truck operators in Baltimore oppose proposed city regulations

Food truck operators packed into Baltimore City Council chambers on Tuesday to testify on an administration bill that would change the way food trucks operate in the city. The food-truck vendors told the Judiciary Committee they are concerned about new parking restrictions and other provisions in the bill, which would turn over turn over the supervision of food trucks to the city’s department of general services.

But they said their biggest concern was that the legislation was just too vague.

Christopher Cherry, who operates the Charm City Gourmet food truck, said the proposed rules don’t have enough details about the bill’s proposal for new food zones.

“It’s a mystery box,” Cherry said after the hearing.

The committee, in the end, agreed with the food-truck operators about the bill’s vagueness, and decided not to decide.

“This legislation is very generic in scope,” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke. “It doesn’t get at the devil in the details.”

After more than two hours of discussion and testimony, the committee’s chairman, James Kraft, announced that the hearing would reconvene on March 4, after interested parties have time to send in written testimony and suggest amendments to the legislation.

Under the proposed rules, trucks would only be able to operate in city-designated food-truck zones. The current rules allow trucks to park and serve food downtown, with certain restrictions, at any legal parking space.

No owner of a of brick-and-mortar businesses testified at the hearing. But Mackenzie Paul, who is in charge of retail development for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, which advised the bill’s writers about the location of food-truck zones, did testify in support of the bill.

After the meeting, Downtown Partnership president Kirby Fowler addressed the issue.

“We want to make sure the brick-and-mortar businesses survive and thrive. But great cities are embracing food truck culture as a way of creating a more active street-level,” Fowler said, adding that the proposed bill will provide a level playing field for food businesses. “Brick-and-mortar businesses have to pay property taxes and other fees. They’re at a disadvantage when it comes to food trucks.”

Fowler said his organization did recommend less rigid rules than the current bill under review. “We don’t need to solve every problem at this level,” Fowler said. “We want to insure that’s flexibility in adopting regulations that respond to condition on the field.”

Clarke said she was concerned that some of the new food-truck zones might end up too close to brick-and-mortar businesses: Current rules, which have been in effect since 2011 as part of pilot program, prohibit trucks from operating within 300 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants.

After the meeting adjourned, the food truck operators said they would begin taking their campaign against the new legislation to their patrons. They said the new rules were addressing problems that didn’t exist.

“There is no problem,” said Tom Looney, co-owner of the Gypsy Queen food truck.

Anne-Marie Langdon, who co-owns Gypsy Queen food with Looney, says she has established good relations with the brick-and-mortar businesses in Hampden, where her truck makes regular visits. Langdon said that she has even joined the neighborhood’s merchants association.

Chad Gauss, the co-owner of The Food Market in Hampden, said he didn’t see an unlevel playing field as long as food truck owners had the proper permits.

“Every business is different,” Gauss said.

But Gauss said he liked the idea of dedicated food zones, and he’d be happy to see food trucks move from their regular parking space in Hampden, on Elm Street, several blocks down to Falls Road, where they could help attract activity to Roosevelt Park, an under-used neighborhood facility.

“We got good feedback from [some] business folk who hadn’t had an opportunity to weigh in on the legislation,” committee chairman James Kraft said. “Had they not come today, we probably would have voted the bill out [of committee].”

Kraft said the committee would vote on March 11 on whether to move the legislation to the full council.

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