LEONIA — Hoda Mahmoodzadegan sees no reason why she can’t be a TV star.
“I’m funny and I make delicious sandwiches,” she said. “That should get me somewhere, right?”
The Leonia resident and Fort Lee native sells the sandwiches and other gourmet health food out of Molly’s Milk Truck, the Hoboken food truck she co-owns with Brian Keaton and Jason Avon (Their slogan: “F’in delicious, f’in nutritious”). And Mahmoodzadegan already has gotten herself somewhere, despite her tangle of a last name. (“I’m like the Middle-Eastern Schwarzenegger,” she says.)
Mahmoodzadegan will appear on “Supermarket Superstar,” a new series on Lifetime. The show gives food entrepreneurs and their products a chance to compete for $10,000 in prize money and $100,000 in product development from a food marketing company.
Mahmoodzadegan’s product is the AppleBomb, which is like a collapsing star made of apple pie. It’s a granny smith apple, hollowed out and stuffed with walnuts, agave, cinnamon and nutmeg, all wrapped in a pie crust.
The AppleBomb isn’t filled with “artificial crap” like some apple pies at the store, Mahmoodzadegan said. Debbi Fields, better known as Mrs. Fields, one of the mentors on the show, told Mahmoodzadegan the AppleBomb had the best pie filling she had ever had.
“That was a big compliment coming from the cookie queen,” Mahmoodzadegan said.
The decision of whether Mahmoodzadegan won the prize money fell to another person with a Bergen County connection: Tom Dahlen, the supermarket buyer for Montvale-based AP and the man who picks the winner of each episode. But Mahmoodzadegan wasn’t allowed to talk about the result of the episode before the air date.
She did say appearing on the show was a valuable experience.
“I think it’s going to be great for business and I got to see what it was like having the chance to present my product,” Mahmoodzadegan said.
Her business, Molly’s Milk Truck, started in 2011. Mahmoodzadegan said the food truck is known for its iced coffee and healthy takes on classic American foods, like the Guilt-Free Grilled Cheese ($6), made with reduced sodium cheese and seasoned beefsteak tomatoes.
Aside from appearance on “Supermarket Superstar,” Mahmoodzadegan and her partners plan to bottle and sell the Molly’s iced coffee in stores.
“Supermarket Superstar” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. The episode featuring Mahmoodzadegan airs Aug. 5.
NEW DELHI: The country needs to tap the huge potential of street food sector as it can provide employment and help growth of tourism, food experts said today.
At a national consultation organised by National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) here, street food advocates demanded that the government should formulate a national policy for encouraging street food vendors.
They also called for creation of food streets, trainings to street food vendors and support for entrepreneurship development of food vendors.
“FSSAI had notified Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations under which food and beverage firms, manufacturers and vendors, including companies in the unorganised sector, have to be registered and licensed and the regulations had helped street food vendors get legitimacy in several cities,” Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI) chairperson K Chandramouli said.
“A lot still have to be done…implementation is a huge challenge and multi-sectoral synergies are needed to professionalise the street vended foods,” he said.
Chandramouli also welcomed the recommendation of the parliamentary standing committee to create a ‘Retail Regulatory Authority’ to monitor the entry of foreign chains through foreign direct investment (FDI) and study the impact of FDI on medium, small and micro enterprises.
Delhi Food Safety Commissioner K J R Burman who extended support to street vendors said, “Professionalising leads to good advocacy. The food safety department is thinking over opening facilitation centres for registering street food vendors.”
Senior CII functionaries Deepak Mathur and Anju Bisht announced that the industries’ body would engage with NASVI in its new intervention project, which includes street food.
News of the Wandering Dago food truck being banned from Saratoga Race Course because of complaints that its name is offensive went viral over the past four days.
In addition to The Times Union’s Table Hopping blog, stories were written by The New York Times, the New York Daily News, a widely carried version by the Associated Press and even London’s Daily Mail.
“Most of the response we’ve gotten has been extremely supportive,” said Andrea Loguidice, who co-owns the Schenectady-based Wandering Dago with Brandon Snooks.
However, Loguidice and Snooks launched a poll Wednesday on the food truck’s Facebook page that asks people whether the Wandering Dago name should be changed. If the results skew strongly in favor of a new name, Loguidice said, they likely will do so, though the logistics and expense — for a new logo and materials, marketing, truck decoration, changes to incorporation papers and more — would be significant.
“We want to do what’s right, for us and for (the public), and we really didn’t expect any negative reaction” to the name, she said. Loguidice and Snooks are of Italian descent and said they chose the name as a playful nod to their heritage. They believed the term “dago” originated from Italian immigrants who worked as laborers and asked to be paid “as the day goes,” which became “dago.” The Oxford English Dictionary traces its roots to the Spanish name “Diego” and says “dago” became a catchall slur for people who spoke Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. Most other reference works says the word is considered offensive.
Loguidice said she and Snooks have not yet taken their case to an attorney or actively considered a lawsuit.
“We want to let the dust settle a little,” she said.
They are focusing on booking catering dates to fill a calendar that had been cleared to allow the truck to be at the track throughout the racing season. Three engagements have been finalized in the past few days, Snooks said, and a handful more are being discussed. The truck is the couple’s sole source of income; Loguidice left her job as an environmental attorney more than a year ago to help realize Snooks’ dream of opening a food truck, though she had hoped to go back to work in the fall if a successful Saratoga season allowed Wandering Dago to hire staff.
The poll will run for five days.
Wandering Dago was initially criticized online and in an email from the Order Sons of Italy in America, which posted the truck’s email address and phone number on Facebook and encouraged members “put the heat on” by complaining to media as well. Loguidice said the attack was taken down after she spoke with an organization official, and she and Snooks will be consulting with Sons of Italy officials about possible replacement names if the vote shows a desire for a change.
A New York Racing Association spokesman said it is “highly unlikely” that Wandering Dago would be allowed to return to the track unless the name was changed. He said NYRA received “one or two handfuls of verbal complaints from patrons” but none from state officials, as was alleged by Loguidice and Snooks.
They said their track-season contract with Centerplate, the company that runs food service at the race course, requires 30-day written notice of cancellation. A Centerplate spokeswoman has not yet replied to a request for comment.
While there are thousands of food blogs, not many specialise in street food. At least not the way Mohit Balachandran does through his blog, chowdersingh.
Mohit, who has always been associated with the food business in some way or the other says, “I always wanted to start a blog, but I never found the time.”
And, one day, just like that, he started writing. Mohit, doesn’t review restaurants. He says, “That’s not my scene,” instead, he visits places that have historic value, delves into their past, tastes the food and writes about the experience. “If a place has no story it doesn’t interest me.”
Mohit has been in Hyderabad only for six months but is better informed than an average Hyderabadi about the history of decade-old eateries.
And he disagrees that the street food culture in Hyderabad is not as great as other Indian cities. “It’s not true, you have to look properly,” he says, adding the warning, “What is someone’s delight can be somebody else’s disgust. Sometimes, when the food is great, the ambience is not that good, so I try to write about places that serve great food and have a decent ambience too,” he says.
Here are some of Mohit’s must visit places in the city:
Bawarchi, RTC Crossroads One of the most popular places for Biryani. There are many places that give Bawarchi competition, but the place has it’s loyal customers. The other dish to look out for is the Apollo Fish.
Iqbal Cafe It’s hidden away in a by-lane off Purani Haveli Road. If you’re looking for the best Irani chai and vegetarian Luqmi, this is the place to go to.
Hamidi’s Confectioners, Mozzamjahi Market The Jauzi Halwa (halwa with nutmeg as one of the main ingredients) at this 112-year-old eatery is to die for. According to the owners, the Nizam was so impressed with the dish, that he had his PM write them a letter that the eatery should be named after the Nizam’s son, Hamidi.
Famous ice cream, Mozzamjahi market This place is as famous as the market it is located in. Mohit says, “It’s not just an ice cream, but is a mix between an ice-cream and a sorbet.” The chiku and watermelon flavours are a must here.
Govind’s Bandi, Old City Probably the best place for breakfast. The Dosas and the masala are the secret to his success. Cheap and tasty and healthy, this place is a win-win.
Mahalaxmi Tiffins, Punjagutta The best thing is the Guntur Idli. It is not an ordinary Idli; a chutney powder is smeared on the Idli with ghee or oil.
Barkas The city is thriving with haleem now but this neighbourhood is probably the only place where you get haleem all year around. And if you want an out-of-this-world experience, Barkas is the place. Close to Shamshabad, not many are aware of this tiny Arab settlement and the food culture here has been untouched by the Hyderabadi influence. One should try the harees, a sweeter version of haleem, but prepared with a different set of spices. However you won’t find biryani here.
The must-haves here are:
Mandi, Kabsa, Majboos and Bukhari, different types of rice dishes.
Aseed. An Arabic halwa.
The chicken haleem at Lajawab Haleem is worth a try.
At today’s New Orleans City Council meeting, council members passed an update to the city’s mobile vending laws to allow for more food trucks and less strict regulations.
The current laws, first drafted in the 1950s, cap active vendor permits to 100, limit operating time to 45 minutes, and prevent trucks from operating within 600 feet of restaurants and schools. Stacy Headheld a public meeting in October 2012 to kickstart discussions about what a food truck friendly ordinance would look like. The New Orleans Food Truck Coalition joined the discussion to help draft legislation to promote those businesses.
In January, Head wanted to increase permits from 100 to 200 and shrink the “no vendors” zone to 50 feet while a restaurant is open. She introduced her measure January 24, and a Food Truck Coalition petition to update mobile vending laws gathered hundreds of signatures — meanwhile, restaurant owner Reuben Laws gathered signatures for another online petition to halt any new mobile vending legislation.
In February, the measure went before council’s economic development committee, where coalition attorney Andrew Legrand said its opponents in the Louisiana Restaurant Association are running a “fear-based campaign” about food truck health and safety while it’s more afraid of possible competition from mobile vendors. City health commissioner Karen DeSalvo said she fears changing legislation outpaces health code updates. Head called the health concerns a red herring — she produced a letter from state Department of Heath and Hospitals that said, “Our office will continue to inspect all food establishments and enforce the state’s sanitary code, regardless of business model.”
In March, council members held yet another public meeting on food trucks, and council considered “restroom requirements” and questions of Equal Protection clause constitutionality over proximity restrictions on where trucks can operate.
In April, Head responded to Clarkson’s request for the state Department of Health and Hospitals to continue random inspections, and Head admitted to working on parts of the measure to accommodate her opponents, including restroom requirements and a 100 feet proximity restriction. The following day, on April 18, and after considerable debate, the measure passed the full City Council.
A few weeks later, Mayor Mitch Landrieu vetoed it. In a letter clerk of council, he wrote, “Both the author of the ordinance and its principal proponent have publicly stated their belief that elements of the adopted ordinance as amended may be unconstitutional. … Further, the City Attorney has raised Equal Protection concerns and opined that this ordinance would not withstand a legal challenge. It would be unwise to sign this ordinance into law in its current form when it appears certain that it will be invalidated by the court. … My veto notwithstanding, I strongly support Councilmember At-Large Head and the City Council’s efforts to update the City Code regulations pertaining to itinerant vendors, including those governing frozen seafood, vegetable and fruit, and food trucks. … Accordingly, I have directed my staff to work with the Council to immediately address this issue and develop changes which will result in mobile food vending laws which are legal, fair, enforceable and best serve the industry and the people of New Orleans.”
Yesterday, council members held a special economic development committee meeting to review Landrieu’s proposed ordinance, which does not include any proximity requirement. At the meeting, Clarkson asked members of the Landrieu administration if removing the proximity requirement would be fair to brick-and-mortar restaurants. “What about economic protection of the largest industry in our city? Are you concerned about that as a lawsuit?” she asked. Landrieu’s cultural economy advisor Scott Hutcheson reminded Clarkson that food trucks are a part of that industry. Clarkson replied, “I know, but are we prioritizing?”
At today’s full City Council meeting, Clarkson proposed an amendment to include a 100 feet requirement, but she withdrew it, finding no support for the amendment from other council members.
The new ordinance also allows 100 food truck permits. The current cap is 75. Council members also passed an amendment for food truck operators to post public notices of their permit application, so neighborhoods could “weigh in” on their approval, Clarkson said. It also creates a “franchise ” permit requiring additional fees and City Council approval to allow trucks into previously prohibited areas, like the Central Business District.
Many people mark off the days until their birthday or Christmas or an upcoming vaca, but after last year’s killer San Francisco Street Food Festival, I’ve been counting down the days until the 2013 SFSFF. Yup, it really was that good.
And after attending last night’s media tasting of the treats in store for you this time around, I can attest to the fact that it’s going to be bigger and badder than ever, so come hungry.
Owner Binita Pradhan’s soulful Nepalese food can also be found at Off The Grid Fort Mason. Save a ticket for her mouth-watering Turkey Momo’s with Spicy Tomato Cilantro Sauce. (They also come in a veggie version.)
I actually was starting to get a little embarrassed when I went back for thirds of Guadalupes Guerrero’s scrumptious cactus and Picadillo (ground beef) sopes but she sweetly said I could even come back for fifths! Word is that her Pozole Verde is to die for also.
Anna Tvelova’s mother taught her how to bake sweet or savory piroshkis with the best of them, as well as many other traditional Russian favorites. It didn’t hurt that she accompanied her pickled herring samples with a shot of chilled vodka. Skoal! Keep an eye out for her new kiosk opening in the Haight.
Anna Tvelova’s Russian specialties
In case you didn’t make it last year (shame on you) you do not want to miss this year’s event. La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Food Festival brings all of the best food (and music) in the Bay Area to one street, once a year, to celebrate the talent, the taste and the entrepreneurial spirit of people who make a living doing what they love to do.
The Festival will take place, Saturday, August 17, from in the Mission District from 11 a.m until 7p.m on Folsom St. from 20th to 26th, 21st and 25th from Treat St. to Shotwell St., as well as the Cesar Chavez Elementary School parking lot, Parque de los Ninos Unidos and Jose Coronada Playground.
Passports (foodie tickets) are available in many different denominations (so you won’t have to waste precious eating hours standing on line) ranging from “Just Snacking” at $30 to the I can’t-believe-I-ate-the-whole-thing, “Picnic Basket” passport which includes: entry for one into the Night Market, a “Hearty Lunch” passport, entry to the Food Entreprenuership Conference Brunch and entry to the Food Entreprenuership Conference.
Find out about more ticket options on the website.
La Cocina is a non-profit incubator kitchen that provides affordable commercial kitchen space and industry-specific technical assistance to low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing food businesses.
You want some good marinara, you go get it from some guy’s
Sicilian grandma in New Jersey. If that fails, you get it from the guy
with a grandma in New Jersey. At Bones Bits, two lifelong friends
from Jersey cook up savory, rich, old-school tomato sauce stewed with
bone-in lamb, pork and chicken. The pork ($8.50) falls with heart-moving
tenderness off the bone, while the lamb ($9.50) is a bit tougher but
still rich and moist from the sauce. The sauce garners most of its
flavor, in turn, from the slow-cooked meat, rather than from zealous
overspicing. As with meatballs, the three-meat combo is pivotal. It’s a
type of rustic, East Coast Italian food one rarely sees on this coast,
let alone from a food cart.
Bits serves up a few other things rarely dished out of a cart
window, including a watermelon salad ($6) with goat cheese and arugula,
and a lemony tuna salad ($8) that is almost all tuna, save a scattering
of garbanzo and cherry tomatoes on a bed of arugula.
Still, the tuna salad
was a bit perplexing: It seemed better suited as spread for
bruschetta or filling for a sandwich. The polenta cake, served as a
side ($4) or free with a meat dish, was a bit dry, the kiss of death to
all polenta. Pasta was the preferred accompaniment, and a better sop for
all that lovely sauce.
Bones Bits has healthful, savory food unlike that at almost any
other cart in the city, and is run speedily and with considerable warmth
by its two owners. But make sure to show up early. The lamb runs out
quickly, followed by the pork and then the chicken. And by 2 pm? It’s a
total sausage party.
Order this: Lamb, pork or chicken, with pasta.
I’ll pass: Polenta.
GO: Bones Bits, Q19 pod at Northwest 19th Avenue and Quimby Street, 847-9492. 11 am-3 pm Monday-Friday. $.
CARLISLE — Falafel’s not on the menu for a July 31 Sustainability and Economic Development Committee meeting, but officials and food cart fans alike say the issue isn’t cooked.
Tim Scott, chairman of the committee, said he decided to pull what had been planned to be a roundtable discussion with business owners, food truck advocates and members of the council from the agenda.
The move was made to give the staff time to research model food truck ordinances to provide a basis for future discussions, Scott said. The issue could be back on the agenda in August or September.
Jason Turner of Unlawful Falafel, however, said opponents of food carts are using “backroom tactics and the old-boys network to shut this down.”
Turner said a few restaurants who don’t want food trucks to operate in the borough have “twisted the ears” of council members so council feels there’s no point in pursuing an ordinance at this time.
A restaurant owner who is afraid someone with a $1,000 bicycle is going to hurt his business should rethink his business, not a law, Turner said.
“There’s nothing going on behind the scenes,” Scott said. “I’m doing this so we can actually do something and have something rather than being shot down.”
Scott said he wants to meet with restaurant owners, council members and those who support food carts. Overall he wants to engage more people in the discussion; perhaps by putting together a working group to fine-tune an ordinance.
Turner has turned to social media for support, issuing a call to action on Facebook and Twitter. People have also been contacting him to find out where they can sign a petition.
“It’s encouraging that so many people are involved. The thing is I knew there was that support there beforehand,” he said.
Scott said his colleagues on council do lean toward upholding the prohibition, but that’s because they’re hearing from one side. They also need to hear from people who support a limited amount of food truck activity.
For example, an ordinance could be crafted to give food trucks room to operate late at night when many kitchens at downtown restaurants are closed, Scott said.
Scott said he has heard concerns from restaurant owners, but welcomes the input.
“I’m going to say, ‘How can I make this work for you?’” he said.
This week, Turner has been visiting food trucks in Providence, R.I. He’s been making connections to help him in his quest to legalize food carts in Carlisle and has been observing the strong food truck community there.
One of those connections is Eric Weiner, developer and owner of FoodTrucksIn.com, a website offering updates on the locations of 3,700 food trucks in the United States.
“When I heard that he (Turner) was coming up here, it was a great opportunity to introduce him to people I know to increase the chances of something good happening in Carlisle sooner rather later,” Weiner said.
Weiner said research shows people will travel to be part of the food truck scene, especially since the trucks often offer food not found in the community. People will come in for the food truck, but stay in the community and take advantage of its other resources.
Weiner offered the city of Raleigh, N.C. as an example of how restaurants and food trucks can coexist. He was there on a Sunday morning and the business district was empty. Restaurants were closed — until the food trucks rolled in for a special event that attracted 12,000 people.
People enjoyed the food trucks, but eventually got to the point where they were ready to go an air-conditioned building and enjoy a sit-down meal.
Turner said he also plans to contact the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm that does pro bono work. Their case work includes individuals whose rights, including that of economic liberty, have been denied by government.
“They’re basically the food carts’ version of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union),” Turner said. “Their stance is that not allowing food carts is unconstitutional.”
Despite the delay, Turner is optimistic food carts will be allowed in Carlisle so he continues organizing support and creating petitions.
“As it grows, more people are going to get into this,” Turner said. “It’s eventually going to tip.”
As food carts expand beyond points downtown, east and west siders alike are being treated to an eclectic mix of mini restaurants-on-wheels. The Soho Gourmet Cuisines food cart has the quality and imagination to make you think that the sky’s the limit for its chef and proprietor.
The Soho cart came highly recommended to me by friends who frequent the Tuesday evening cart gathering on Midvale Boulevard, so I went to check it out without knowing much about its specialties. The name is a bit cagey; it refers to the owner, So Pak Ho, rather than the style of food served in the NYC neighborhood. The basic concept is dumplings and salads, served separately or in combination with each other in meals with names like “So Right,” “So Sweet” and my favorite, “So Hungry.”
These are not your everyday dumplings. Although the owner learned his filling-wrapping craft from his grandmother, a Chinese dumpling chef, only the “So Authentic” variety looks like traditional dim sum. On my visit, the special was a mac and cheese dumpling: rich noodles and sauce contained in a gyoza-type wrapper and drizzled with more rich cheese sauce (all dumplings are 3 for $2.50 and 6 for $4.50). My teenage niece and I ordered six a la carte. They were a far more successful starch-on-starch pairing than Ian’s arguably overrated mac and cheese pizza, with enough salt and tang to save them from blandness. Mac and cheese as finger food is a stroke of genius, we decided.
The regular flavors we tried were likewise delightful. The “So Hot Chick” contained a zesty ground-chicken filling that was my favorite of all the dumplings I sampled, like Buffalo wings in a bite-sized package served with a side of zesty ranch sauce. The “So Beefy,” which the owner recommended as a good second choice, was filled with ground beef, Portobello mushrooms and aromatic seasonings. I’ve had beef dumplings that were basically meatballs wrapped in dough, but Soho is doing it right. Its dumplings hold together without being lumpy clods.
Soho’s fresh, vividly-colored salads make for a filling meal. My “So Sassy Peanut” ($6 for a full-sized serving) was a symphony of crunch, with crisp iceberg lettuce, chopped apples and a sweet and tangy peanut dressing. The Lemon So Balsamic was a classic green salad with pops of red and yellow from fresh peppers and tomatoes, all ingredients perfectly ripe. Don’t miss Soho’s specialty drinks ($3 with meal) – my strawberry cucumber was a cooling treat, and the coconut with little tapioca balls was sweet and tropical.
Soho Gourmet Cuisine is executing an eclectic concept with a great deal of panache. My $7.50 “So Hungry” combo, with two kinds of dumplings and a half salad, packed as much eye- and appetite-appeal as its clamshell container could hold. And the food was served with an infectious enthusiasm that made me think that the cart is just the beginning for this winning menu and its creator.
City health inspectors have fined 357 food-cart vendors in Brooklyn for using grimy bare hands, smoking by the cart and even selling mystery meats — and the worst offender is the hot dog guy in front of Woodhull Medical Center.
In 2012, street-food purveyor Matthew Ninos, 32, racked up 13 violations and was hit with $6,000 in fines at his stand at 760 Flushing Ave., tying him with two other vendors for the worst currently at work in the borough.
His offenses included serving “food from an unapproved or unknown source,” failing to keep his cart clean and even storing drinks in a freezer on the floor, records obtained by the Daily News show.
“They give us tickets for stupid, little things all the time,” he said, noting he was inspected 10 times in 2012, which is more than the citywide average.
A health inspector (left) writes up Bushwick food-cart vendor Matthew Ninos.
“One ticket can cost $1,000 and it usually takes one week at least to make up that money. The city is just finding different ways to suck out money from people like me,” he added.
City officials insist the rules are in place to protect bargain-conscious customers who rely on cheap eats — but critics of the system note that the city does not track illnesses tied to dirty street food and there have been no recent food-related health outbreaks.
“I eat here at least once a week and I’ve never gotten sick so far,” said Maritza Vasquez, 38, who has eaten at Ninos’ cart for 14 years. “I don’t see anything wrong with the way he makes the food.”
In 2012, inspectors wrote 1,285 violations against Brooklyn’s 357 carts for violations such as bugs in the grub, working with grimy hands or storing food at improper temperatures, records show.
Brooklyn hot dog vendor Shawki Eldin was hit with 13 violations in 2012, including dirty equipment and the absence of a required sink for hand-washing.
A halal cart vendor in Bay Ridge also got hit with 13 violations since the start of 2012. Over nine inspections last year, Imam Hassanain was fined with failing to cook the meat long enough, failing to keep cold food refrigerated and for not having a proper hand-washing station.
Another of the dirtiest carts is run by Shawki Eldin, 52, who sells hot dogs in front of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza.
He owes $7,480 in fines since 2012 for 13 violations that include use of dirty equipment, failure to keep his hands clean and leaving raw food out in the open.
“It’s so difficult already. I barely make $100 a day and they just charge me for anything they want,” Eldin said.
Unlike restaurants, the Bloomberg administration doesn’t grade the carts or let the public know how dirty they are by posting the violation information online.
The worst food-cart vendor operated a cart at Broadway and Halsey St., which was hit with 17 violations. But the operator of that truck, Ali Shaheen, has since left the business.