The other day the Black Market Food Truck parked next to First Niagara Center, and intrepid reporter Ben Tsujimoto sallied forth into the storm to perform lunch sherpa duties.
He brought back a pork banh mi ($8), a spicy mortadella sandwich ($9), mirca gosht ($5), which is lamb chili with Indian spices, and a dish of gnocchi in miso-chile butter ($8).
For how it went down, check out the photos and details after the jump:
The mortadella sandwich was a staggeringly satisfying sandwich all by its lonesome, housemade Italian bologna studded with pistachios and peppercorns, cut thick, triple stacked and topped with caramelized onions between crusty bread stout enough to handle the load.
Then it came with an Alfredo dipping sauce for over-the-top funky-cheesy-creamy gonna-kill-me-but-I-don’t-care-no-more moments.
Yeah. This sandwich will swagger up and smack the bland right outta your mouth. A $9 sandwich that’s actually worth it.
One more, just for the whole cloves of sweet-cooked garlic amid the caramelized onions:
The banh mi, the truck’s version of the classic Vietnamese sub, was an excellent sandwich that’ll still short of a classic banh mi.
The fillings of pork and pickled vegetable were darn tasty but too wet. The bread was fresh but too tough. The combination sent filling squishing out with each bite. Because it was so tasty, all the escapees were coralled and devoured.
The lamb chili was excellent, a punch of Indian spices and lick of heat combining with the lamb flavor for a satisfying bowl of warm-me-up that made me wonder why I’ve never had lamb chili before.
The gnocchi in miso-chile butter had bacon, but it was still the weakest dish. Kudos for ambition, and a good saute to brown the outsides, before applying scallions and bacon and nuts.
Not so good: A couple of the fatter dumplings weren’t cooked all the way through, and the miso-chile flavor was puzzlingly faint.
All in all, though, I could see why this food truck cut to the head of the line. Look for Black Market Food Truck and others on the streets of Buffalo. The trucks that are out there in February need your love now more than ever. If you ignore them, they’ll go away.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Old man winter has hit Hoosiers hard this year, and one segment of the business community is really taking it on the chin.
The snow and frigid temps are making it nearly impossible for mobile food businesses to keep on trucking.
Chef Dan Carter’s Southern Comfort food truck did not expect any customers Friday. Bryan Monroe’s Der Pretzel Wagen didn’t expect customers either. That is because Der Pretzel Wagen and Chef Dan’s were parked in their owners driveways – it was too cold to open.
“It freezes the water line. Therefore, you can’t operate your water system so your stuck in for the day,” says Chef Dan, explaining why his truck is idled by the cold.
The water lines are needed to keep health department mandated sinks running.
Old man winter is freezing local food trucks out of their livelihoods. Usually on social media the trucks tell you where you can find them to enjoy their food. But on subzero days, you see tweets that let you know they have had to cancel.
“We’ve scheduled 23 stops this winter up to today, and we’ve cancelled. We’ve only done nine,” says Der Pretzel’s owner Bryan Monroe.
And when the trucks sit idle, the cash register doesn’t ring.
“This is basically the business. So, if you don’t go out, you don’t make money,” says Chef Dan.
And Chef Dan has actually spent extra money this year replacing the water pipes in the truck.
“It doesn’t freeze and crack. The water might freeze, but the line doesn’t crack,” he says.
Bryan has the same kind of pipes in his truck. But anything below about 25 degrees is just too cold to go out. So, the trucks sit and wait.
“This winter is really tough,” says Chef Dan.
“But you know, the demand is still there and we’ll keep plugging away until we can get out there,” says Monroe.
Despite the very slow season, both Chef Dan and Bryan say their businesses will survive. Bryan’s wife has a full time job and Chef Dan does catering and serves food in the atrium of the main library downtown. That, they say, will get them through until mother nature gives them a break.
A crowd of students turned out to a city committee meeting Wednesday to voice their support for creating more room for food carts to set up shop on State Street.
Proposed changes would include the reconfiguration of locations in which late night vendors can park. Seventy spaces have been proposed to the committee as possible vending spots.
Students showed their support for local food cart businesses at the meeting by holding up signs that said “food cart freedom” and “we heart freedom.”
The concerns expressed about food carts included noise and crowd concerns, issues with restricting the fire lane at the area between the Statesider and Towers apartment buildings on State Street and problems with trash from food cart waste.
In response to the argument regarding noise issues, multiple students stood up and said the downtown area is not “serene” at all. The noisy and lively atmosphere has more to do with the bar scenes and UW’s “party school” status than because of the food carts, they said.
Jacob Beckert, a UW student, said as a triple major, straight-A student, he does not feel the need to be protected from food cart disruptions. The area is already “ridiculous” as it is, he said.
“I have one message. Stop it, just stop it,” he said. “They’re delusional by thinking this area is serene and the only thing keeping these hoards of students from mobbing downtown and being loud is a lack of food carts.”
Rachel Berman, a UW student who lives in Statesider, said the food carts give her a sense of security when walking home after a night of going out. She said they create populated areas and provide sober eyes on the drunken crowds of State Street.
“I would still much rather go to State Street to get to a food cart than Broom street. It’s scary and dark. It is unsafe,” she said.
Jessica Wartenweiler, owner of the Curd Girl cart, said the current ordinances cramming food carts onto Broom Street are not working. There are often frustrations that she and other food cart owners come across when it comes to parking, she said.
Steve Lawrence, owner of Fried and Fabulous, spoke in support of food cart interests and was met with applause from the large amount of UW students in the room after arguing that food carts create safer environments.
Lawrence also addressed the concerns about keeping fire lanes clear and said the proposed food cart sites would not interfere with squad cars or fire trucks.
“You could drive two squad cars side by side in the fire lane even if all five of the spots were being used,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence said the concerns about food cart trash was a solvable problem and he proposed a $1,000 fine as a reprimand.
“To deal with trash and regulate the trash, the solution to all the trash is perhaps more garbage cans, not banning food-to-go,” Lawrence said.
Final decisions will be made at Vending Oversight Committee meeting in February.
Throughout the month of February, many of Washington, DC’s museums and venues are offering deals that cater to an array of interests. If you’re looking for a date idea for Valentine’s Day weekend, or just an excuse to do some traveling, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some events exclusively taking place on Valentine’s Day weekend:
If you’re into film and photography, check out the World Traveler Date Night. It’s the perfect culture and cuisine package for you and/or the film-loving traveler in your life. This February 14-16, the National Geographic Museum is rolling out the red carpet to all attendees for an Oscar-nominated foreign film with after-hours access to the museum, as well as drinks and dessert. Be sure to use promo code “NatGeoNightOut” to get the special $16 rate per person.
You’ll need your drinking shoes for the Drink the District President’s Day Beer Festival at Dock5 at Union Market. For only $30 per person, you and your date could sample more than 50 different types of beers. The festival will also have live entertainment and tons of food available from local food trucks. It’s a must-attend for any beer lover in your life. Be sure to get tickets in advance as there are only four sessions: one on Friday, February 14 starting at 6pm and three on Saturday, February 15 starting at noon.
Already booked up for Valentine’s Day weekend? Here are a couple events that are taking place all February long:
Start off by taking in the world-renowned art collections at The National Gallery of Art, and then enjoy a special dessert deal from the world-renowned chef, Michel Richard. You and your date will be treated to chocolate truffle cake and two glasses of wine for $20 at Garden Café Francais.
Stay Classy at the Newseum’s latest addition, “Anchorman: The Exhibit!” which features props, costumes, and footage from the hit comedy. If you and your co-anchorman or woman mention “Anchormaniac”, you’ll receive a free mustache with the purchase of your tickets!
For all these February event details and much more, please visit here.
Local food truck owners battled to reserve prime times and spaces to park their mobile restaurants in a food truck lottery held at Las Vegas City Hall.
Twenty-one food truck owners signed up for spaces in downtown Las Vegas from February through July.
Food truck owners were assigned numbers at random. The numbers defined what order they could reserve spots and times to do business.
“There’s no preferential treatment. Everybody has an equal chance, as long as they registered,” said Cheryl Jolly, owner of Bake My Day Cupcake Truck. She said the lottery is the perfect way for her to expand business and gain a new customer base.
“It’s a $50 fee to register and every six months you have to re-register, but the profits will far outweigh cost,” Jolly said.
The mobile restaurants have to be 150 feet away from brick and mortar restaurants.
The lottery on Tuesday had five more food truck owners compared to the first lottery last July.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One local food truck had residents busting out their kilts in order to receive a free pasty.
London Calling, a local food truck in Springfield, is celebrating Robert Burns Day Jan. 25 by having local bagpipe musician Beau Buffington play some Scottish classics for the crowd.
“I’ve played the pipes 26 years or so,” said Buffington “It’s a primitive instrument when it comes down to it, so I think that people have a feeling and have a reaction because it is very evocative emotionally.”
The food truck is offering any customers who come out to enjoy the music and celebrate in a kilt today a free pasty.
A pasty is a hand-held pot pie from England.
“I like the slogan (for the food truck) Take a Bite Out of Britain, what that represents is the desire to bring the best of British cuisine to the Ozarks, said Buffington.
With a couple of weeks where I didn’t have a lot of events, and my New Year’s Eve calendar that I successfully set up to self-update, I had some time to go through my calendar and pick out the big craft beer events we can look forward to in 2014. Those that have a specific date attached are already scheduled and have websites up. Approximate dates for other fests are my guess, based on last year’s date, and my certainlty that they will be brought back for another year..
Events with a checkmark (actually a square root icon) (√) are now selling tickets. For big events like Dark Lord Day, watch their websites or my Facebook page for quickest notification of ticket sales.
(Early 2014) Lagunitas Brewing Opens Lagunitas is currently hiring for both its brewery and tap room at 18th Rockwell. As with any new brewing operation, an anticipated opening has been pushed back by this, that, and the other thing, including founder Tony Magee’s last-minute decision to increase brewing capacity to 250,000 barrels per year (the original plan of 150,000 barrels was already twice the capacity of all Chicago’s brewers combined). Test batches should be running through the lines as I type this.
January 25: Lincoln Square Winter Brew
Once again we are taking the Chicago Street Festival scene indoors for Lincoln Square’s third annual Winter Brew! Join the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and the Square Kegs Home Brew Club for a day and night of local beer and local food! Local breweries from around Chicago will set up shop on the 5th floor ballroom of DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western Ave., to showcase what great beers Chicago has to offer. Sessions are 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Check lincolnsquare.org/pages/WinterBrew/ for updates and ticket sales.
√ February 8: Cider Summit Chicago
Advance tickets are already available for the second edition of this cider-only event, taking place at the Lakeview Terrace Room at Navy Pier. Sessions will be at 11:00 am-3:00 pm and 4:00-8:00 pm, with 90 ciders from throughout the U.S., England, Scotland, France, Spain, and even New Zealand. Each $25 ticket gets you 8 tasting samples, with the opportunity to buy more on site. Chicago Brew Bus will provide shuttle service. Check cidersummit.com for info and ticket availability.
√ February 22: Naperville Winter Ale Festival
The Naperville Winter Ale Fest will be Naperville’s first outdoor winter beer festival. The inaugural festival will take place on Saturday, February 22 at 12:00 – 4:00 pm. Situated on the frozen tundra of Naperville’s Frontier Park (SE of US 59 and 95th St.) the festival will feature over 120 unique beers from craft breweries around the country. Pull out your long-johns and parkas, it’s time to experience winter’s best craft beers. The festival will also feature food from some of Chicagoland’s favorite food trucks. General admission is tickets at $45 are available at napervillewinteralefest.com
March 1: Day/Night of the Living Ales
One of the big events organized by the Chicago Beer Society, “DoTLA” was held in March last year at Goose Island Wrigleyville, 3535 N. Clark St. Attendees will get to sample from a vast array of cask-conditioned, gravity-poured ales, and cast their votes for Champion Real Ale of Chicagoland. Watch the CBS website for details, or their profile at Brown Paper Tickets.
(March) Windy City BREWHAHA Last year’s inaugural event was held March 2nd at the Bridgeport ArtCenter, 1200 W. 35th St. No announcement of this year’s event yet at Windycitybrewhaha.com. With the state cracking down on festivals with unlimited beer pours, look for a change in last year’s $45 ticketing policy. While last year’s list of 30 brewers included some “crafty” brands like Redd’s Apple Ale and Third Shift, it also brought in some new or small brewers like Pig Minds, One Trick Pony, and Church Street, and also offered Destihl pourings before they made their move into the Chicago market.
(March) Goose Island Stout Fest At Goose Island’s Clybourn brewpub, 1800 N. Clybourn Ave. Over a dozen local brewers pouring their stouts. Tickets last year were $35 and sold out within minutes of going on sale in February.
(Early April) Kentucky Breakfast Stout Release Founders Brewing Co.’scalendar of 2014 beer releases shows KBS dropping in April. They have previously managed the release schedule with a pre-ticketed bottle pickup at their taproom, 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI. The pickup schedule last year rand for four days, culminating in an all-day draft release party, and then bottles will go out for retail distribution. If you can’t get tickets for the Grand Rapids pickup, be sure to check for local tapping in this area, and see if your friendly retailer can hold a bottle or two for you.
√ April 12: Tinley Park Brew Vine Festival
Returning to the newly expanded Tinley Park Convention Center, 18501 S. Harlem Ave. A $28 ticket includes admission, 12 tasting tickets, a tasting glass, and entertainment. Additional tasting tickets will be available on site. 20 beer vandors and importers were present in 2013, and there will be more capacity this year. Check tinleyparkbrewandvinefest.com, email Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Tinley Park Chamber office at (708) 532-5700 to purchase tickets.
√ April 24-25: Baconfest Chicago
The 6th Annual Baconfest Chicago is set for the UIC Forum, 725 W Roosevelt Rd. This year’s event expands from two to three tasting sessions: one on Friday the 24th, and two on Saturday the 25th. VIP tickets at $200 are now available through Eventbrite, while general admission tickets at $100 will be offered in February. The organizers are promising to expand Baconfest further with a “Chicago Bacon Week” promotion.
(Late April) Dark Lord Day Three Floyds puts its Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout on sale one Saturday at their brewery and tap room, 9750 Indiana Pkwy, Munster, IN. It wasn’t meant to be sold one day only, but it simply sells out as some 9,000 beer fans descend on the little industrial park. Tickets go on sale on a Saturday noon about a month before (the last few times have been on Easter weekend, to mess with anyone spending the holiday away from town with relatives). It’s Woodstock for beer fans (and likely more fun than any likely Woodstock 2014 concert). If you get your timed entry ticket, prepare to spend a few hours waiting in line, but you can while the time by bringing beer and trading sips with other beer geeks from around the world, listening to crunchy metal, and buying any of several guest drafts.And watch for some pre-DLD events the Friday before, especially at Flossmoor Station and Beer Geeks. Watch the Floyds’ website above, or DarkLordDay.com for updates.
There will be many other new brewers and brewpubs coming on line in 2014. Very few of them can expect to announce and commit to an opening date due to waiting for equipment and licensing.
Two local food vendors who dish up their wares from portable carts in downtown Naperville were given a head start this week on a happy and prosperous new year.
City Council members Tuesday night extended the current permits held by John Singleton Jr. of John’s Rib House and Joe Hornbaker, operator of Joey’s Red Hots, through 2014. Both had been scheduled to expire at the end of this month.
Although two other food purveyors were granted permits in spring 2012, for more than a year and a half John’s and Joey’s have been the only ones operating in the downtown. Singleton works in a spot on Chicago Avenue east of Washington Street, adjacent to the downtown parking garage. Hornbaker’s assigned location is a couple of blocks to the west, near the Riverwalk.
The much-discussed mobile vending program will remain with just the two food carts allowed in the downtown for now. Also, the necessary requests for qualifications, which solicit statements from bidders attesting to their fitness to receive a permit, will be issued every two years, rather than annually.
“We’ve been through this RFQ before, only two people took it, and it’s a lot of extra work on our staff,” said Councilman Paul Hinterlong, who called the issue “an ongoing headache” for city staff and proposed the guideline changes.
The Downtown Advisory Commission, which also has spent a lot of time talking about the matter, has been divided on whether to recommend continuation of the program. Some, particularly those with direct ties to downtown businesses, cite potential infringement on the customer base available to existing “brick and mortar” establishments. Others agree with a survey that found 84 percent of respondents consider the food carts an enhancement to the downtown’s ambiance.
Allison Laff, a planning operations manager for the city, said commission members have acknowledged the large amount of staff time demanded by the RFQ process, and she predicted that they would support the extension of the permits’ validity to two years. But Councilwoman Judith Brodhead, who is a commission member, didn’t think there would be consensus on that.
“It was not my impression that DAC really cared how much time staff was spending on it,” Brodhead said. “People who don’t like it don’t like it.”
Councilman Grant Wehrli stood firm in his opposition to continuing the program, saying he sees no benefit to the carts’ presence in the downtown before casting the sole council vote against extending the permits and the permitting process.
“The upside doesn’t (outweigh) the amount of work that we put into it, in my opinion,” he said.
Mayor A. George Pradel was among the majority of the council who disagreed.
“I love those carts because of the ambiance,” he said, directing his comments to Wehrli. “But I will tell you that you have a good point, because if we took all money we have spent (on staff time), we could buy everybody a hot dog in Naperville.”
Hinterlong also emphasized the protracted discussions around the subject, but additionally took issue with the claim that the carts cut substantially into the volume seen by the traditional restaurants.
“It doesn’t look like these guys are hurting” the brick and mortar establishments, Hinterlong said. “Either you’re in the mood for a hot dog or you’re in the mood for a steak at Sullivan’s or something.”
Councilman Bob Fieseler also agreed that the time to cut the conversation off had arrived.
“I don’t relish the amount of time we’ve spent on this, but we were in a pickle,” he said. “We needed to catch up to the reality of the situation, and I do think Councilman Hinterlong’s motion cuts the mustard, and frankly, we’re now on a roll, so let’s pass it.”
It’s too early to tell exactly what impact the regulations approved by the Birmingham City Council will have on the food truck scene in Birmingham, but so far the reaction from the community on social media has been negative.
The Nola Ice food truck (@NOLAIceBham) tweeted: “Anything good, anything that will move Birmingham forward – our city council kills. And we are to blame bc we voted them into office.”
The Dream Cakes food truck (@dreamcakesbham) tweeted at Fox 6′s Jonathan Hardison (@Fox6Hardison): “We are very concerned that we didnt recieve a copy of the revised ordinance before council voted today.”
Wesley Vaughn (@WesleyVaughn) tweeted: “Many cities have great food truck cultures AND amazing restaurant scenes. They are mostly complementary goods!”
Jessica Melton (@JessicaMColburn) tweeted: “This is embarrassing. I live in Austin, TX. We have amazing food trucks and incredible restaurants… Birmingham needed this.”
Food truck Cantina on Wheels (@CantinaonWheels) tweeted: “Friends, Bhm City Council approved the food truck ordinance that is kind of restrictive “
The ordinance approved today by the City Council requires fees of $300 for a general permit to operate, and $500 for a “premier” permit to operate within the city center, and also restricts a truck from operating within 150 feet of a standing restaurant, among other things.