Browsing articles tagged with " Foodies"
Sep 16, 2013
Terri Judson

SAN BERNARDINO: City slammed for its food – Press

 

In-N-Out

It’s rarely fun to be last.

Even if you claim you don’t really care about the contest, or that the judging isn’t fair, it’s a drag to be at the bottom looking up.

San Bernardino has had more than its share of that feeling.

But it’s happened again. And this time, it was a real punch in the gut. Or maybe it was a punch in the teeth. It was somewhere along the alimentary canal.

A little more than a week ago, Randy Nelson, an editor for the real estate website Movoto, published a list of the 10 worst cities for foodies in the country. And guess which city topped the list?

Lumped in with North Las Vegas, Nev., St. Petersburg, Fla., Detroit, Chesapeake, Va., and five cities in Texas – Garland, El Paso, Laredo, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi – San Bernardino came out first, or, in this case, last. The worst.

This is serious.

OK, we’ve been the nation’s murder capital. We’ve been listed as the second poorest city in the country. We’re bankrupt.

But if this gets out, people won’t want to come here to eat.

And look what they’d be missing. After all, the city has not one, but two – TWO – In-N-Out Burgers. That’s got to count for something right? How many cities can make that claim? OK, Riverside can. Well, and as it turns out, so can Corona and Ontario. But still, last place? Really?

“We don’t agree with it a bit,” said Carl Wright, 55, of San Bernardino.

Wright and his wife, Pam, 54, were sitting on a concrete picnic bench at Rosa Maria’s drive-in on North Sierra Way. Carl grew up in Virginia. The first tacos he ever tried there had pizza sauce on them. Maybe he ordered them someplace in Chesapeake.

The Wrights said they eat out two to three nights a week, usually in town. They cited such places as the Castaway and the Mexico Café in defending the city.

“Don’t forget the Mug,” Carl said. “They’ve got some really good pizza.”

“And he likes Bakers,” Pam added.

Movoto’s Nelson based his rankings strictly on per capita numbers for restaurants, bakeries, gourmet groceries, food and wine festivals, food trucks — and several other minor criteria – in the country’s 100 largest cities.

Well, that’s not so bad. That means there are really only 99 cities better than San Bernardino, by Nelson’s count.

Nevertheless, he’s upset a lot of people. Comments on the Movoto website called his survey “silly” and “arbitrary.” Others complained that it measured quantity rather than quality. They defended the city by propping up such places as Milta Café, the Lamplighter and Gazzolo’s German restaurant.

Others had a harder time.

“I was kind of in somewhat agreement,” said Veronica McHenry, 45, of San Bernardino, referring to the ranking. She, too, was at Rosa Maria’s eating a burrito. “When you go out of town, it seems there’s a lot more (choices).”

Randy Robles, 54, is one of the managers at the family-owned-and-operated Rosa Maria’s. He called the ranking “kind of crazy” saying it didn’t account for places such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden.

“The people that did the survey obviously have never been to San Bernardino,” Robles said. “We’ve got Les Rendez-Vous up the street.”

Not to be confused with the Route 66 event next weekend.

Robles said he’s never eaten at the French restaurant.

“But my son and his wife were there just last night for their anniversary,” he said. “She lived in Paris for a year. So, obviously, there’s something good there.”

And, if for some reason, escargot and coq au vin don’t excite your appetite, don’t forget: There’s always In-N-Out.

You can find reaction from area readers at http://bit.ly/1aO1XHY and the complete survey at  http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/worst-cities-for-food-lovers/

Reach Mark Muckenfuss at 9510368-9595 or mmuckenfuss@pe.com

Recommended Reading

Sep 14, 2013
Terri Judson

SAN BERNARDINO: City takes beating for its eating – Press

It’s rarely fun to be last.

Even if you claim you don’t really care about the contest, or that the judging isn’t fair, it’s a drag to be at the bottom looking up.

San Bernardino has had more than its share of that feeling.

But it’s happened again. And this time, it was a real punch in the gut. Or maybe it was a punch in the teeth. It was somewhere along the alimentary canal.

A little more than a week ago, Randy Nelson, an editor for the real estate website Movoto, published a list of the 10 worst cities for foodies in the country. And guess which city topped the list?

Lumped in with North Las Vegas, Nev., St. Petersburg, Fla., Detroit, Chesapeake, Va., and five cities in Texas – Garland, El Paso, Laredo, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi – San Bernardino came out first, or, in this case, last. The worst.

This is serious.

OK, we’ve been the nation’s murder capital. We’ve been listed as the second poorest city in the country. We’re bankrupt.

But if this gets out, people won’t want to come here to eat.

And look what they’d be missing. After all, the city has not one, but two – TWO – In-N-Out Burgers. That’s got to count for something right? How many cities can make that claim? OK, Riverside can. Well, and as it turns out, so can Corona and Ontario. But still, last place? Really?

“We don’t agree with it a bit,” said Carl Wright, 55, of San Bernardino.

Wright and his wife, Pam, 54, were sitting on a concrete picnic bench at Rosa Maria’s drive-in on North Sierra Way. Carl grew up in Virginia. The first tacos he ever tried there had pizza sauce on them. Maybe he ordered them someplace in Chesapeake.

The Wrights said they eat out two to three nights a week, usually in town. They cited such places as the Castaway and the Mexico Café in defending the city.

“Don’t forget the Mug,” Carl said. “They’ve got some really good pizza.”

“And he likes Bakers,” Pam added.

Movoto’s Nelson based his rankings strictly on per capita numbers for restaurants, bakeries, gourmet groceries, food and wine festivals, food trucks — and several other minor criteria – in the country’s 100 largest cities.

Well, that’s not so bad. That means there are really only 99 cities better than San Bernardino, by Nelson’s count.

Nevertheless, he’s upset a lot of people. Comments on the Movoto website called his survey “silly” and “arbitrary.” Others complained that it measured quantity rather than quality. They defended the city by propping up such places as Milta Café, the Lamplighter and Gazzolo’s German restaurant.

Others had a harder time.

“I was kind of in somewhat agreement,” said Veronica McHenry, 45, of San Bernardino, referring to the ranking. She, too, was at Rosa Maria’s eating a burrito. “When you go out of town, it seems there’s a lot more (choices).”

Randy Robles, 54, is one of the managers at the family-owned-and-operated Rosa Maria’s. He called the ranking “kind of crazy” saying it didn’t account for places such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden.

“The people that did the survey obviously have never been to San Bernardino,” Robles said. “We’ve got Les Rendez-Vous up the street.”

Not to be confused with the Route 66 event next weekend.

Robles said he’s never eaten at the French restaurant.

“But my son and his wife were there just last night for their anniversary,” he said. “She lived in Paris for a year. So, obviously, there’s something good there.”

And, if for some reason, escargot and coq au vin don’t excite your appetite, don’t forget: There’s always In-N-Out.

Reach Mark Muckenfuss at 9510368-9595 or mmuckenfuss@pe.com

Mark Muckenfuss

Recommended Reading

Sep 5, 2013
Terri Judson

San Bernardino named worst city for food lovers



San Bernardino resident Hank Luna, left, treats his parents Marina and Henry Luna, to lunch for the first time at the Iron Horse Cafe inside the Santa Fe Depot in San Bernardino on Wednesday. (Photo by Rachel Luna / San Bernardino Sun)






FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Movoto.com has chosen to rank cities’ on the prevelence of certain kind of eateries per capita. Then, the blog put all that criteria into a formula that spit out a “Big Deal Score” for each city. San Bernardino had the highest — or worst — score of 90.3 for its lack of restaurants.

Here’s how the blog broke it down for San Bernardino:

Restaurants per capita – 87

Bakeries per capita – 95

Food Trucks per capita – 88

Ice Cream Shops per capita – 98

Candy Shops per capita – 96

Food and Wine Festivals per capita – 75

Caterers per capita – 94

Gourmet Grocery Stores per capita -75

To many in San Bernardino, a new online survey ranking the city as the nation’s worst place for foodies is unpalatable.

“They don’t know what they’re missing,” said Rudy Robles, an owner of Rosa Maria’s Authentic Mexican Food, a San Bernardino staple since 1975. “It all depends on what you like.”

There’s plenty to like, restaurant owners and customers said, despite Movoto.com’s ranking released Wednesday, with San Bernardino as the No. 1 “Worst City in America for Food Lovers.”

Just ask Carol Mascetti, who lives in Yucaipa and goes out of her way to eat at the Sierra Way Rosa Maria’s.

hard to swallow

Top 10 worst cities for foodies:

1. San Bernardino, Calif.

2. Garland, Texas

3. North Las Vegas, Nev.

4. El Paso, Texas

5. Laredo, Texas

6. Fort Worth, Texas

7. St. Petersburg, Fla.

8. Corpus Christi, Texas

9. Detroit, Mich.

10. Chesapeake, Va.

Source: movoto.com

“I think San Bernardino has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten,” she said.

Still, as word got around Wednesday in a city that has felt the sting of unflattering firsts, the news was hard to swallow.

San Bernardino, once the kingdom of fast food — the place where McDonald’s was born — was rated the worst city for foodies on a list of 100 of the most populous U.S. cities — based on per capita dining options.

To be sure, the results should be taken with a grain of salt, according to Nick Johnson, Movoto spokesman.

City hall favorites

(Not in order of preference/All in San Bernardino)

Le Rendezvous, 4775 N. Sierra Way

Miyagi Sushi, 228 E. Baseline St.

Pho Mai, 433 S. Waterman Ave.

El Rico Pollo, 2013 Dinner Ct.

Taste of Thai, 1180 E. Highland Ave.

SOURCE: Jim Morris, chief of staff, son, of Mayor Pat Morris

The real estate blog crew sat around and decided what makes a diverse food city, using a mix of dining-related criteria.

“We created the blog based on city life — ultimately, we are creating a conversation to have some fun,” Johnson said.

The Top 10 cities after San Bernardino were Garland, Texas; North Las Vegas; El Paso, Texas; Laredo, and Fort Worth Texas; St. Petersburg, Florida; Corpus Christi, Texas; Detroit; and Chesapeake, Va.

Needless to say, the survey leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many San Bernardino residents.

“If you like that New England stuff, you’re not going to find it here or in Laredo,” Robles said.

At its base, the survey looked at the number of establishments per capita: Restaurants; bakeries; food trucks; ice cream shops; candy shops; food and wine festivals; caterers; and gourmet grocery stores.

The data about businesses and events within city limits comes from the crowd-sourced reviews website Yelp, with the exception of food and wine festival data, which originates from the “scouring” of online resources, according to Johnson, who grew up in Highland, attended Cal State San Bernardino and said he is fully aware of fastfood’s roots in San Bernardino, as well as the “awesome Mexican food” in the city.

“But outside of that, I think I agree with the rankings,” he said.

You might agree with the rankings, but don’t mix the numbers with quality, said Jim Morris, San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris’ chief of staff, and his son.

“The survey ranking was all based on statistics and not on the actual quality of the cuisine,” he said.

“The bottom line is that San Bernardino offers a diverse array of restaurants aligned with middle class demographics. We have great ethnic restaurants,” that people drive to from many miles away, he said.

“You can drive a few miles from the downtown area in any direction and find a great range of affordable restaurants that I’d say can stack up well against any place in Southern California.”

Lola Reid-Denham, owner of the Iron Horse Cafe, which opened in March in the city’s historic Santa Fe Depot, prides herself on making fresh artisan sandwiches, salads, soup and pastries from scratch for both the cafe and her catering business.

“We wanted to offer people special sandwiches they wouldn’t see at a train station,” said Reid-Denham, whose cafe is tucked into one end of the renovated 1918 train station.

“We have great food in San Bernardino.”

Hank Luna of San Bernardino agreed.

On Wednesday, Luna was enjoying a sandwich with his parents who were visiting from Los Angeles.

“This is my third or fourth visit this month,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised — the vegetarian sandwich is very tasty,” Luna said.

In recent years, the overall economy compounded by San Bernardino’s financial woes have taken their toll on most city businesses, particularly restaurants.

But Reid-Denham is optimistic.

“Hopefully, as we recover as a city, we will have more businesses opening up,” she said.

Since 1938, one San Bernardino eatery has withstood the test of time, including a world war.

Mitla’s Cafe on Mt. Vernon Avenue is the city’s oldest restaurant.

MaryLou DeLaTorre, a longtime Mitla fan, said the cafe will always be a place that reminds people of home.

“Their food is made from scratch, with no preservatives, and is very flavorful. The salsa is fresh,” DeLaTorre said.

Her husband, Manny DeLaTorre, said that people love to gather there for the cameraderie as well as the excellent food.

Nick Johnson of Movoto said the lists the company compiles always start people talking.

The bloggers even did a list of worst-dressed cities, with Indianapolis coming out on top.

Recommended Reading

Aug 30, 2013
Kim Rivers

Is The Food Truck Revolution Slowing Down?

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

It’s HERE AND NOW.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE”)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Every other team right now is sitting in their truck thinking, well, what are the Philly guys going to do?

UNIDENIFIED MAN #2: Oh, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: They can’t make a geoduck cheese steak.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: We got three to start.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Two gooeys(ph).

HOBSON: That is from the Food Network’s “Great American Food Truck Race,” now in season four. The show features a bunch of foodies who are challenged to cook with surprising ingredients like, as we just heard, geoduck clams, trying to win the keys to their own food truck.

Now food trucks are not new but they remain trendy. They’ve been springing up everywhere for the past few years. But not all of them work. Jonathan Gold is the highly respected food critic for the Los Angeles Times, and he’s with us now from KPCC in Pasadena. Jonathan, welcome.

JONATHAN GOLD: Glad to be here.

HOBSON: So what is the story of food trucks in 2013? Are they on the rise? Are they – have they arrived? Or are they on the decline?

GOLD: They seem to be following the classic arc. When they first arrived here – I’d say 2008, 2009 or at least the modern breed of food trucks – a lot of people, including me, thought that they were the second coming. They solved a lot of problems that we were seeing young chefs have, the first of which being, of course, capital. You can open a food truck without that much money. You don’t have to raise, you know, $2 million from investors and get a decorator and get somebody to be the reservationist and the maitre d’. You can just put a truck out on the road.

And if your food is good, theoretically, it could be as good on a truck as it would be on a restaurant where the kitchens are often as cramped as they are in some trucks.

HOBSON: The Daily Meal recently voted the 101 top food trucks in the country and 16 of them were in Los Angeles. Is L.A. the center of food truck America?

GOLD: I think you would have to say this is the center of food truck America. The modern food truck was more or less born here with the Kogi truck. A guy called Roy Choi, who had cooked at Le Bernardin and who had run large hotel kitchens, dropped out of that business and opened a food truck. And apparently the skills that it takes to feed 1,500 people at a banquet of the Beverly Hilton are transferable to working at a food truck and feeding 1,500 people waiting in line for your Korean tacos.

HOBSON: And we think about food trucks as trucks, but usually they just stay in one place, right? They’re not moving around all that much.

GOLD: Actually it depends on the truck. I mean, in Los Angeles, there are two separate groups, I guess, two different schools. I mean, they have their own trade associations. They tend not to share garages. One of them would be the old-fashioned the luncheros, the Mexicans who have had trucks in Los Angeles since the ’60s. Some of them are extraordinarily good. For example, there’s a place called Mariscos Jalisco that has a sort of like shrimp and cheese tacos that comes from the owner’s hometown. And it’s fantastic. There’s no better taco to be had in Los Angeles. But the only time the two kinds of trucks come together are at festivals. And the luncheros tend to stay put.

On the other hand, you have the new breed of trucks who are mostly, you know, not Latino who, I guess, like old-fashioned lunch wagons but they tend to go around. They’re not in the same spot all the time. And if you’re interested in them, you’ll probably follow the truck’s Twitter feed to tell you where they’re going to be doing lunch or dinner that day.

HOBSON: Before we go any further, I have in front of me a basket of rosemary fries, which were picked up from Clover, which is here in Boston. It is number 50 on The Daily Meal’s list of 101 top food trucks in the nation. So I just want to eat one of these while we chat about this. And the rosemary in the fries. So tell me this, Jonathan, why did they – they so frequently have two things that are put together that ordinarily would be on their own? I’m not saying that you have rosemary all by itself, but I can think of one in Austin. It’s called the Peached Tortilla.

GOLD: It’s funny that way. I think it’s because the one that had such overwhelming success and such a big national profile right away was the Kogi truck, which did have the Korean tacos. One of the best French chefs in town in Los Angeles, in addition to his, you know, wonderful regular restaurant has a truck that serves French Southern fried chicken.

HOBSON: It’s a little more inventive than what you would find in a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

GOLD: Usually. I mean, that’s what they have. That’s their currency. And if there’s a concept that doesn’t work, you know, they just retool their concept and they’re out on the road again within a week.

HOBSON: Can you think of one that you have tried that did not work? Somebody trying to put a couple of things together that just were not right together.

GOLD: Probably too many of them.

HOBSON: While you’re thinking about that, I’m going to munch another fry here.

GOLD: Sure. Oh, yeah, there was one truck who did a sort of Tokyo-style hamburger in which instead of buns, they used sort of compressed patties of sticky rice.

(LAUGHTER)

HOBSON: That probably didn’t hold together very well.

GOLD: It did not. They also served sushi. And I think the level of trust has to be pretty high before you’re going to eat something like Tirashi sushi from a truck.

HOBSON: Yeah. I mean, I will remember back to my days in high school. There was a food truck down the street that everyone used to call the roach coach.

GOLD: Yeah. That was the sobriquet for them until pretty recently. And a lot of the truck guys sometimes will use that among themselves.

HOBSON: I hate to say this because I just had a couple of these fries, but this truck, Clover, that I was talking about was, at one point, shut down with a little salmonella scare. How do these food trucks keep their health stuff up to code?

GOLD: There’s a pretty widespread assumption that trucks aren’t inspected and that they are somehow inherently less sanitary than brick-and-mortar restaurants. And I don’t think that’s true. They – they’re required, at least in Los Angeles, to be tethered to a brick-and-mortar space. Taquerias will – you usually have a Taqueria that’s the mother ship and open as a regular restaurant but will also have a fleet of trucks, and they’re inspected pretty rigorously and they’re cleaned really rigorously. And they’re looked at, at least as much, if not more, than the restaurant that you would open the door and walk into.

HOBSON: Jonathan Gold, you say that L.A. is the capital of food truck America. What’s the emerging center of it? Who is going to come up and nip at L.A.’s heels?

GOLD: I’m not sure if they’re coming up. I mean, Portland – and I’m talking about Portland, Oregon though I guess there’s also trucks in Portland, Maine – really embraces their food truck culture in a way that we don’t even hear. I mean, here they’re hassled by authorities or hassled by, you know, cops. Doing $150 parking ticket is almost written off as a cost of doing business.

And in Portland, every neighborhood will have its, sort of, dedicated food truck lots where they get together and you know that you’re going to see a certain truck at a certain place. And the variety of trucks in Portland is great. Seattle has great trucks. I’ve been hearing a lot of really good things about Chicago lately. I know there’s a big cluster of pretty good ones on the University of Chicago campus that people just rave about.

HOBSON: I would love to see if they can come up with a deep-dish pizza-hotdog combination on a Chicago food truck.

GOLD: That would be fun. I think the hour-long cooking time on a deep-dish pizza might just defeat a truck…

(LAUGHTER)

GOLD: …but you never know.

HOBSON: Jonathan Gold is the food critic for the Los Angeles Times, talking with us about food trucks. Jonathan, thanks so much.

GOLD: Thank you. It’s been great.

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

And, Jeremy, we asked listeners to tweet us their favorite food trucks. We are hearing from you. John Book says his all-time favorite truck is Tsukenjo Lunch Wagon in Honolulu. But now he’s in Portland, Oregon so his favorite is – let’s see if I – how shall I do this — the Big A** Sandwich.

(LAUGHTER)

YOUNG: And Brian Zelip(ph) says Nineveh Assyria in Olympia, Washington and Cracked in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

HOBSON: My hometown.

YOUNG: There you go. Robert Drake casts his vote for the Border Grill in LA So tweet us your favorite food truck. I’m @hereandnowrobin.

HOBSON: I’m @jeremyhobson. You can also reach us @hereandnow. From NPR and WBUR Boston, I’m Jeremy Hobson.

YOUNG: I’m Robin Young. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Recommended Reading

Aug 25, 2013
Tina George

Mmm, festivals appeal to area’s foodies – Wilkes Barre Times

Several Luzerne County food festivals served as hotspots of activity, crafts and entertainment this Saturday, but the real highlight was, as always, the food itself.

Attendees were not disappointed, as the smells of ethnic foods filled areas of Plymouth, Edwardsville and Drums.

The 10th annual Kielbasa Festival in Plymouth overflowed with area residents. The Ethnic Food Festival at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Edwardsville and the Hot and Stinky Garlic and Herb Festival at Zanolini Nursery and Country Shop in Drums also drew foodies.

“The festival is an opportunity to welcome our parishioners and members of the community to sample our unique ethnic food,” said Ed Morgans, publicity coordinator at St. John’s. “It is also our major fundraiser of the year.”

Many attendees said they made a special trip to Edwardsville to partake of the menu, which included potato pancakes, halupki, pierogies, goulash, haluski, paguch and a variety of baked goods.

“We take pride in presenting unique Eastern European foods,” said Kathy Harmanos, church council president. “Our food is made from scratch, and we buy from local organizations.”

Organizers of the festival credit the hard work of parishioners in preparing food and staffing the booths.

At the Kielbasa Festival, a large swath of Main Street was dedicated to the event. Terry Womelsdorf, event coordinator and president of Plymouth Alive!, said this year’s festival attracted almost 100 vendors, an increase from previous years.

“We have something for everybody,” said Womelsdorf, “from food items to accessories, novelties and household items.” A parade, which took place Saturday morning, was a favorite of youngsters.

“I came so that the kids could watch the parade. It really holds their attention,” said Lenny Shovlin, father of Nicholas, 2, and Katelyn, 10 months. “They really love it.”

“Everyone is welcome to participate in the parade and it has a diversity and fun,” parade organizer Clyde Peters said. “Every year it gets longer with more people lining the street for a chance to watch.”

The highlight of the event was the kielbasi competition. (See attached list of winners.)

In lower Luzerne County, people also gathered to celebrate food at an end-of-summer bash. The Garlic Festival provided an opportunity for area vendors to sell homegrown items and have fun. In its 15th year, the event includes activities such as a garlic-eating contest, corn roast, pottery-making demonstration, musical offerings and sale of a variety of homemade foods.

“We anticipate about 1,000 attendees a day,” said festival manager Paula Willis. “It’s a great opportunity to enjoy food and family in a wonderful setting.”

The Garlic Festival continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the garlic-eating contest, touted as “the best part of the festival” at noon.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Recommended Reading

Aug 19, 2013
Tina George

Rockland Hosting Spice-Inspired Food Fest And Culinary Competition

The first-ever Smoke-N-Fire
Food Fest will blend specialty foods
from hot sauce and spice companies with dishes from local restaurants, produce
from area farms, a culinary competition and spicy foods eating contests. A
portion of ticket sales will benefit Baking Memories 4 Kids, a Valley Cottage based charity that
allows terminally ill children a chance for a dream vacation. The event planned
for foodies and families takes place at Provident Bank Park in Pomona on Saturday, Oct.
12

Smoke-N-Fire organizer Kendall Brenner
said the event will include Rockland County’s first ever culinary competition
with a $250 prize, The Best Spicy Dish in the Hudson Valley,” open to high school and college culinary
students who live in New York State and Hudson Valley chefs. The day’s events include
live music, a fire juggler, face painting and children’s activities. Visitors can also test their spice tolerance in the “Take-the-Heat Pepper Eatin’ Contest” and “Ghost
Pepper Cookie Eatin’ Contest.”

Brenner, a New City resident and local
business owner, began planning the Smoke-N-Fire Food Fest in 2009 and hopes it
will become an annual food festival offering smoked and fiery food samples, BBQ
sauces, salsa rubs, artisanal chocolates, mustards, spices, and jams. 

“Food festivals that have a focus on hot
and spicy are fun and exciting, and they have done very well in other areas,”
said Brenner. “Next year the Smoke-N-Fire Food Fest will be a larger, two-day festival,
with even more food, more entertainment and a BBQ competition.” 

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 7
p.m. Admission costs $5 per person with free onsite parking. More information
and updates on the Smoke-N-Fire Food Fest can be found online at www. facebook.com/NYSmokeNFire. Vendors
can participate in hot sauce and sweet-n-spicy taste tests. Interested companies
can download vendor registration materials at www.nyfoodfest.com.

Brenner, a culinary instructor at the Rockland County Career and Technical
Education Center in West Nyack, owns Chefs2Be,
a culinary learning center for children. He and his nine-year-old son Jordan, recently
launched Jordan
Brenner’s Hot-Cha WAA-Cha™ Sauce Spice Co    

Recommended Reading

Aug 15, 2013
Tim Lester

The politics of street food

Tags: , , , , ,

Montreal has the right idea, but the wrong approach

Become a Troy Media
member.
It’s FREE and gives you access to all of our Premium Content, including Troy Media columnists, and Special Reports.

August 14, 2013

charlebois-sylvainLOGOGUELPH, ON, Aug 14, 2013/ Troy Media/ – Foodies in Montreal got a taste of foie gras poutine and gluten-free sautéed gnocchi this summer served by food trucks for the first time since street food was outlawed in the city in 1947.

Like other cities, such as Ottawa and Toronto, Montreal is running a pilot program for the next two summers to evaluate whether Montrealers can stomach a drastic revolution in the city’s foodscape: the addition of the often lively and idiosyncratic food trucks. While the pilot project clearly intends to showcase Montreal’s gastronomic excellence, some are questioning the socio-economic value of the pilot and the bureaucratic immensity behind the whole approach.

On the surface, the project seems to be very successful. Not only are people lining up and waiting for 20 minutes, but some trucks are occasionally also running out of supplies. There is even a conveniently-designed website allowing consumers to know when and where their favourite trucks will be.

Similar to their counterparts in other North American cities, foodies in Montreal are uniting and embracing the food truck movement. But after two years of public consultations, recommendations to allow food trucks to roam Montreal streets are once again fraught with administrative constraints.

Food trucks are regulated by a city hall-driven bureaucracy with a vast array of rules and regulations. Some trucks may cease operations even before the pilot ends due to the nightmare of red tape. The licencing process is so lengthy and thorny that it is almost as if the city wants this initiative to fail. Montreal’s high taxes are also a challenge for many of these businesses.

This overbearing bureaucracy may have something to do with high prices as well. One thing is for certain: these food dispensers will not survive with the current price scheme. For example, the price of a somewhat sophisticated grilled cheese sandwich is $8, and a single small taco can be purchased for $6. Patrons are currently asked to spend considerable amount of cash for what should be conveniently-located, reasonably-priced food. A family of four could easily pay up to $50 for an arguably unhealthy meal on their way to a show or movie. These prices are prohibitive for the common but affordable for the elitist foodies. For consumers with less means, this option doesn’t do much to address urban food security concerns faced by many in a city like Montreal. This is particularly pertinent considering that downtown Montreal is the home of many itinerants.

Economically, food trucks have been considered as democratic instruments to support capitalism at the core. This business model offers a more accessible path to business ownership for aspiring restaurateurs who are often unable to find enough capital to finance a brick-and-mortar storefront. However, the program in Montreal is anything but open to the ambitious entrepreneur. Granting licenses to trucks which intend to only partner with well-established restaurants is a form of capitalistic discrimination.

This licensing strategy was obviously instituted to serve a pre-existing business environment. The entire project’s underlying objective involves not increasing competition for current restaurants. Understandably, restaurants don’t like competition, but our economy needs it, and consumers want it for better variety and prices. Besides, a good restaurant serving great food to its patrons shouldn’t worry much if it sees a food truck parked in front of it. But under the current program, food trucks are not allowed within 60 meters of a food service establishment. Nonsense.

In the end, Montreal’s program to offer better food to people on-the-go has merit, but this is being overshadowed by the city’s tendency to make things much too bureaucratically-convoluted. If other Canadian cities want to offer something different for their citizens, they should consider this example from la belle province. But, as it stands, Montreal’s business approach is certainly not desirable.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is Associate Dean at the College of Management and Economics at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

This column is FREE to use on your websites or in your publications. However, www.troymedia.com MUST be credited.

© Troy Media


Become a Troy Media online contributor. Click here.


 

Welcome to the new normal in food safety

READ MORE
We should stop “horsing around” with food safety

READ MORE
Get ready for higher food prices in 2013

READ MORE
Food manufacturers’ input costs rising

READ MORE

Recommended Reading

Aug 13, 2013
Tim Lester

KERB need your enthusiasm to save their Gherkin street food

KERB, Gherkin

Keith Burrows tucks into a Ribman Roll at KERB Gherkin. Photo © Tom Bowles

If we’ve learnt anything from the London food scene in the last year or so it’s that food tastes better when it’s served on the street. Or if it doesn’t, we all think it does, because street food markets are the 2013 hotspot that wine bars were in the nineties. So goodness only knows why the City of London Corporation have called for the immediate closure of KERB’s weekly Gherkin market, which has been serving up treat lunch to the foodies of The City since last November. Apparently because it’s ‘unsightly’, which seems a bit silly in a Square Mile built from endless shades of grey. Do you want to help save KERB Gherkin? Just sign their petition to join the battle against the bland.

Sign the petition to save KERB Gherkin here, or read more about their King’s Cross market

Tags: , , , , , ,

Recommended Reading

Aug 8, 2013
Tina George

20 More Resources To Sell Your Handmade Crafts

selling craft homemade

The maker movement started to gain major awareness a few years ago, but it is a “movement” that has been going on for a long time. Most cultures have innovation and creativity in their DNA and making something by hand is part of how you solve a physical problem or need.

It’s been a while since I previously compiled a list of 29 places to sell your handmade creations. As the saying goes, time flies, and I decided it was time to revisit the topic by providing another 20 sites and resources for selling craft and homemade items.

A quick note: There are many general eCommerce platforms to help artists, crafters and makers, but the goal of this post is to share marketplaces and solutions that focus on this niche.  More clearly, I’m not profiling all of the eCommerce leaders like BigCommerce, Shopify, and others. (I’ve done that with 68 eCommerce and shopping carts for small business along with 19 new eCommerce additions. )

20 Places for Selling Craft and Homemade Items

selling craft

Meylah allows indie artisans to create a “social storefront.” More interesting is how they have built it with a community focus. Individual neighborhoods or marketplaces can build an online community with individual merchants in it. For example, the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce built one and it highlights the community first, then you can “walk” into an individual store or offer.

Another example of this community first approach can be found in almost every U.S. State. You can search for “handmade marketplace [michigan]” — obviously insert your state. You’ll get a great list and that’s how I found Handmade Detroit, which offers a Google Map that shows craft stores, resources and more for DIY types. West Virginia has The West Virginia Handmade Marketplace.

Foodies and farmers will want to do the same type of search “farmers markets [insert state].” Nearly every state has something to help you find farmers markets, food festivals and healthy food providers. Using Michigan as an example again: Michigan Farmers Market Association. Frequent contributor to Small Business Trends, Robert Brady, points out there are some specialty providers like the Grass Fed Beef Directory for consumers looking for organic or healthier meats. But you can also list your farm.

selling craft

Sourcing Handmade is a boutique consulting firm that specializes in helping artisans get their products into retail stores. And the reverse, to help retail shops find great new products that will become strong sellers.

Crafters Town lets you build your own store, but also curates shops into collections and storefronts so that consumers can easily browse.

ToSouk is similar to Crafters Town but adds the vintage and collectables focus alongside handmade items.

The Craft Star is a handmade boutique collection of indie storefronts. They offer a flat $5 per month fee (instead of a listing fee), but has a transaction fee.

Goodsmiths states that it is a marketplace for makers. They have no listing fees, but also charge transaction fees. The site is believable with store owner testimonials. There is a “free forever” version, then premium paid accounts.

The Indie Business Network is a great resource and membership site.  It offers a membership directory in addition to lots of education for indie artisans and product creators. I like their Pinterest board and pins which go direct to member sites.

Artulis is focused on helping the UK artisan, craftsperson and vintage product creator to market their wares. They have a craft forum and offer lots of advice to help their sellers succeed.

Jumping to the foodie front again, if you love indie, artisan-made food, then you have to visit Mouth. They started as “New York Mouth” to highlight locally made foods and then decided that “online local” could include many more local hotspots for good food. Great site and products. To be clear, they pick the products they will accept in their marketplace, so in that way they differ from most of these services. But if you have an established, stellar food product, you will want to consider sending in a sample. But you can also get ideas for how to market your own products by following their lead.

Hat tip to The Kitchn for a blog post that listed out a number of artisanal foodie marketplaces (some of which I included in my last post so I did not repeat them here).

selling craft

The GLCmall is a collection of craft stores. You can create a basic store for free with no monthly fees or commissions or setup fees (up to 12 items).

If you are a hatmaker or just love hats, then That Way Hat is a site you will enjoy. They offer a free listing in their directory and a premium = level listing, too. Flows in a Pinterest-like format.

ShopHandmade is a totally free marketplace based on members and buyers who want to contribute, as in donate, funds to keep the community venture going strong. Interesting model, for sure. Elegant website design, too.

ArtsyCrafters has an admirable mission: “To help our fellow disabled artisans present their work to a broader marketplace. We showcase their abilities and talents while also connecting them with others who share our special challenges.” The site promises to handle many of the day-to-day operational tasks of running a business so the artist/maker can focus on their craft.

BigCartel looks like a huge eCommerce provider, but they have a solid focus on the handmade indie shop owner. They have a light “free” plan that will probably work for most indie artisans. Worth a look.

Ruby Lane has a terrific name that makes you want to stroll through their shops. They have built their niche in vintage products and have a number of handmade makers in their midst, although you will also find vintage products from collectors as well.

FarmMade lets you buy and sell, well, products that come from a farm. Great niche focus and well designed site. It is $5/month and five percent commission on all products sold through the site.

You can create your own shop, what they call a showroom, on ezebee. The site is well-designed and captures the eye. They have several unique offerings, including their own “currency” modeled, it appears, after BitCoin: “We also offer BeeCoins, our internal currency. BeeCoins are easy to use and a great way to sell more easily to international shoppers.” Based in Switzerland, they operate in multiple languages, as you might expect.

Last item: If you are selling at physical markets in your local area, do not forget to look at  Square, Stripe or Intuit’s GoPayment card readers that connect to your smartphone or iPad. Some work with the Nexus 10 (I’m a huge fan of Google’s tablet). These tiny card readers allow you to process payments on-the-fly – and in the case of Square — it is pretty affordable with a flat-rate of 2.75 percent per swipe.

If you have been watching the maker movement, now is your time to start an indie business. Handmade products are in high demand. But perhaps not all of them, so do your research. There are many local physical marketplaces starting to shift their focus to handmade goods.

How are you marketing and selling craft and homemade products?

Crafts Photo via Shutterstock

About TJ McCue

TJ McCue
TJ is an entrepreneur who publishes Tech Biz Talk. TJ is a former Wall Street Journal columnist. He also writes for Forbes and American Express OPEN Forum. He loves learning about technology apps and software services – share yours with TJ.

Recommended Reading

Aug 1, 2013
Tim Lester

The street food mela

Parathas from Delhi. Ice gola from Mumbai. Jhal muri from Kolkata. All in one place. Sounds too good to be true. Hopefully not. Last year’s ‘Eat Chennai’ on Elliots Beach, which brought together famous street cooks from around the country, rapidly descended into chaos when it was swamped by about 67,000 people over the space of three days. This year the organisers, Red Chariots, are attempting it again. Only this time it’s at Island grounds, in an area designed for exhibitions such as these, and they’re armed with experience.

With a new name, Masala Kart and 160 food specialists from all over India, it certainly looks promising.

You have got to love the idea. The organisers scoured the country looking for India’s most famous street cooks. The result is a set of cooks, each known for a speciality, in their cities, or localities. Now, they are all cooking in one place. The list includes some familiar names for die-hard foodies: from ‘Ashok vada pav’ in Mumbai to ‘Gururaj Karnataka’ famous for his dosas.

It’s not just the cooks who have unusual monikers. The list of foods include ‘MLA pesarattu’, a variety of pesarattu served with upma, popular in MLA quarter restaurants in Hyderabad. Then there are small ‘coin barottas.’ And sweet, crisp, sticky tapeswaram khaja. For people looking for comfort food, there are all the old favourites: paneer tikka, chole-bhatura, aloo parathas. If you need a childhood memory fix, try the ragda pattice, jalebi and masala dhoodh. Dessert includes kulfi, rabdi and unni appams.

Spread over 200000 sq. ft. of space, Masala Kart will be showcasing more than 130 varieties of street food. The central kitchen, we hear, is already a happy pandemonium with cooks talking in at least seven different languages. Although the food is prepared in the central kitchens (divided into vegetarian and non vegetarian kitchens) the cooking is done right in front of you.

After all, there’s nothing like the rhythmic tak-tak-tak of a kotthu paratha in progress to get you in the mood for a snack.

(Masala Kart is on August 2, 3 and 4 at Island Grounds from 5.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.)

Recommended Reading

Pages:«1234567...21»
About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Service