Browsing articles tagged with " Local Food"
Mar 21, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Brewery Ommegang Announces Lineup for Third Annual HopChef Beer and …

COOPERSTOWN, New York – With a firm and passionate belief that great beer deserves great food, Brewery Ommegang is tapping into local food scenes by expanding its HopChef Competition nationally as it starts its third year. Today the Cooperstown, NY-based, Belgian-style brewery announced the schedule for the 2014 competition, which will bring it to the West Coast and Southeast for the first time ever. Once again, Ommegang will have food-industry stalwarts SAVEUR Magazine and StarChefs as its partners, all-working together to bring the hottest up-and-coming chefs together in a top-notch demonstration of culinary talent.

Brewery Ommegang’s HopChef events will take place in the following cities with confirmed dates and locations to be announced a later date on

“More and more people are discovering that beer, more so than wine, is the perfect accompaniment with fine fare,’’ said Bill Wetmore, Marketing Director for Brewery Ommegang. “There are so many more flavors to explore and so much more versatility.  I am truly amazed each year at the clever concoctions the HopChefs create and just how well they work alongside our beers.”

In each city, a line-up of six to eight hand-selected chefs from leading restaurants will create one dish showcasing their imaginative beer and food pairing skills. The dishes, all paired with Ommegang ales, will be served to a panel of judges and attendees, to taste and score. The judging panel, made up of sponsors, chefs, restaurant owners/managers and local celebrities will base their ratings on HopChef’s 5 Pairing Principles:

5 Pairing Principles:

  • Simple Pairing– direct interaction of taking a bite of food and a sip of beer
  • Incorporation– use of beer in cooking process
  • Mimicking– matching the flavor profile of dish with the flavor profile of beer
  • Story Telling – beer has lots of history – how it was made, where, by whom, and why­– tell the beer’s story with the dish
  • Experimental – making beer into the star of a unique dish

The HopChef winner from each city will be invited to the Grand Finale to compete against winners from Miami, Boston, Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia at Ommegang’s annual Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival on Aug. 9, 2014.The 2014 Grand Prize winner will receive a spotlight position on the SAVEUR Tastemakers board, a spotlight in SAVEUR Magazine editorial, a showcase with Brewery Ommegang at the International Chefs Congress and a showcase station with Brewery Ommegang at the SAVEUR Summer BBQ, both in New York.

Tickets for each city’s event will include samples of each chef’s signature dish and accompanying Ommegang beers as well as a commemorative Brewery Ommegang glass. Tickets will be available for purchase on

About Brewery Ommegang

Brewery Ommegang, located on a 136-acre farmstead in Cooperstown, NY, is regarded by many as the most beautiful brewery in America. The company opened in 1997 to brew fine Belgian-style craft beers, which are now distributed in 45 states. The brewery offers daily tours and tastings as well as a 100-seat café and an annual calendar of events, concerts and beer festivals. For more information, visit Follow Ommegang on Twitter @BreweryOmmegang,, and on Instagram @BreweryOmmegang.

Brewery Ommegang

656 County Hwy 33
Cooperstown, NY 13326
United States

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Mar 19, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Queen Jolene Mannina Relishes Her Next Challenge

Photo by Zack W.

Photo by Zack W.

Last year was a big one for Jolene Mannina. The former waitress who had previously revolutionized the local food scene with her pop-up dinners, food-truck gatherings and cooking competitions was put in charge of the culinary lineup for the inaugural Life Is Beautiful festival.

“Life Is Beautiful was really rewarding,” she says. “I met so many people and so many amazing chefs, and really got to experience something I’d never seen. The production was massive.”

So why won’t she be on board for the festival’s second year?

“My end goal,” she says, “is to be able to spread my wings and do a bunch of different things over the entire year as opposed to working on one event for 12 months. I’m definitely a person who likes to run around and be a part of things and constantly move.”

To do that, Mannina has launched her own company, Relish. And the name has nothing to do with the condiment.

“It’s a reference to the things that I love,” she explains. “I relish life. I relish food. I relish booze. I relish food trucks. I relish Vegas. I relish chefs.”

Relish, the company, will be an umbrella concept that will handle all of the smaller projects that Mannina loves. She’ll be managing events, hosting dinners, consulting for other restaurateurs and providing food for various festivals.

And, of course, it’s impossible to think of Mannina without thinking of food trucks, and her famed Back of the House Brawl cooking competitions held late Saturday nights in the parking lot of Tommy Rockers. Every two weeks or so during the warmer months, chefs from top Strip restaurants climb on board food trucks and try to create the best dish using an often bizarre basket of mystery ingredients.

“It’s the complete opposite [of Life Is Beautiful],” she says of the event. “Because it’s tiny and it’s raw. But I’ve gained so much from that—the relationships and everything.”

The Brawl’s third season will kick off March 22, and Mannina has already secured a new trophy. (The famed Pabst Blue Ribbon cup, which is decorated by each winning chef, is retired at the end of each season.) And chefs such as Wes Holton of Rose.Rabbit.Lie. are clamoring to sign up.

“The Back of the House Brawl, whether I make money or not, there’s a purpose behind it, and I always want it to succeed,” she says. And she may soon see it succeed on a larger scale than she ever imagined: On March 2, AE shot a pilot for a show based on the competition, and Mannina is “super fucking excited” with how it played out. “The producers loved it.”

Hopefully, if the network loves it as well, Las Vegas will soon be home to another reality TV show. But regardless of how any single project develops, Mannina is determined to give local foodies more things to relish.

“Every time I do anything, I ask the question: ‘Is this something that I would want to go to?’” she says. “So if I can create those experiences for myself, I figure there’s got to be some other people who would enjoy them as well.”

Given her track record, that seems like a pretty safe bet.

Follow Al Mancini via RSS.

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Mar 16, 2014
Kim Rivers

Greek Food Truck Opens in Waco – KCEN

Xristo’s Cafe is trying to bring food truck culture to Waco, but the journey to getting this restaurant on wheels wasn’t easy.

Stephanie Garman always wanted her own cafe in downtown Waco, but every opportunity seemed to fall through.

“We would always look and then something would happen or I’d have another child and it just never came to pass,” Garman said.

Six kids and several years later, she became inspired by the food trucks in Austin.

She thought it was the perfect way to showcase her Greek cooking, so Xristo’s Cafe was born. 

The truck opened for business on the corner of University Parks and Franklin last Friday, but she says it’s already taking off.

“We get a lot of people that say…somebody told me to come here or I saw this on Facebook,” Garman said. “It’s amazing.”

Customer say they love the handful of food trucks they find in Waco, they just wish there were more.

“I think it would keep young people downtown or even in Waco more if we had this kind of culture that they could enjoy,” Baylor graduate Sarah Picken said.

Jennifer Husak enjoys the convenience of food trucks.

“I think it would just be great for a lunch break to have more food trucks and it would kind of boost the economy,” Husak said.  

Getting one up and running isn’t easy.     

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District checklist says you have to operate from a central preparation facility, no storing or preparing food at your home.

Finding local restaurants with that extra space can be hard, but Xristo’s Cafe made it happen and Stephanie Garman is hoping more food trucks will too.

“I think Waco is ready to revitalize downtown,” Garman said.

If you want to try the local food trucks Waco has to offer, some of them are expected to be at Brazos Park East on April 5th for the “Movable Feast for Beasts” event.

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Mar 14, 2014
Tina George

Frank The Tank Set For 1st Birthday Bash at JJ’s Red Hots in Dilworth

Frank The Tank Set For 1st Birthday Bash at JJ's Red Hots in Dilworth

The King of the Queen City Still on Fire Going Into Year Two; $1 Hot Dogs and Free Cupcakes at Saturday’s Party

Frank The Tank Set For 1st Birthday Bash at JJ's Red Hots in DilworthCharlotte, NC  (  Frank The Tank is a big man, 13’ wide and a ton of Buffalo stainless, to be exact. He eats propane and breathes fire. Ladies and children adore him, and men want to be him.  He has a logo, a Twitter handle, and his own clothing and merchandise line. Quite simply, he’s the King of the Queen City. And he is set to celebrate his first birthday like no other one-year old could dare pull off: by dressing up in baby blue and setting everything that comes his way on fire. Because Frank, like any Renaissance man, ain’t afraid to show his sensitive side.

Frank The Tank is the catering personality of Charlotte’s reigning Hot Dog champion, JJ’s Red Hots, which has two Charlotte locations. JJ’s will celebrate their main man’s special day with a party this Saturday, March 15 in Dilworth. For one hour, beginning at 1’oclock, Frank the Tank will be grilling up $1 No. 1 Red Hots (Sahlen’s Smokehouse Hot Dogs). FREE Carmel Bacon and Red Hot (made with Firefly vodka) cupcakes, courtesy of Cupcrazed Cakery, will also be served.

“I am fired up for my birthday; then again, like the sweet North American propane that runs through my veins, I’m always fired up,” said Frank The Tank. “I was lying low this winter, but now I’m back – Who’s with me!?

Frank The Tank has become a Charlotte staple, popping up at local food festivals and schoolyards, where kids go crazy at the site of him. In fact, his favorite events are local school functions because his boss JJ’s Red Hots always donates a portion of catering sales back to the schools.

“Frank The Tank is a leader. One of our best employees – hardworking, dependable, handsome and rugged.” said JJ’s Red Hots founder and owner Jonathan Luther. “That said, we still have to light a fire under him every day.”

With Frank The Tank, JJ’s Red Hots catering business has boomed, experiencing a 1800% growth during peak season in 2013 before Frank went into hibernation, perhaps getting the necessary rest before his birthday bash.

“We have so much fun with this brand, but we take certain things VERY seriously,” said Brandy Newton, director of marketing and brand development at JJ’s Red Hots. “We basically live by two rules here: ‘Don’t Dis’ the Dog and Don’t F with Frank.’”

JJ’s Red Hots in Dilworth will host the birthday bash, beginning at 11 am in Dilworth, 1514 East Boulevard in Charlotte. Call 980-225-8880 for additional details.

About JJ’s Red Hots

Frank The Tank Set For 1st Birthday Bash at JJ's Red Hots in DilworthJJ’s Red Hots is the premier purveyor of “hand-crafted” char-grilled hot dogs and sausages in the Charlotte metropolitan area. The restaurant concept is built on solid, hardworking values and is modeled after venerable establishments like Ted’s in Buffalo, NY, Gene and Jude’s in Chicago, and many others. Still, JJ’s is true American original featuring house-made, scratch prepared sides and toppings served alongside time tested, revered American brands like Tabasco, Weber’s Mustard, Martin’s Rolls, Coca-Cola and Mt. Olive Pickles. Perhaps most proudly, JJ’s Red Hots serves smokehouse hot dogs from Sahlen’s Meat Packing Company in Buffalo, NY. Sahlen’s is a 143 year-old company that remains family owned and operated, and makes, in our opinion, the best hot dogs in the world.

Derek Farley
for JJ’s Red Hots

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Mar 13, 2014
Tim Lester

Get trucking on Toronto street food policy

Let’s be optimistic and hope, this time, Toronto council won’t screw up its food truck program the way it did its food cart program.

All of this stems from what is, one would think, the good idea of expanding the selection of foods available on busy Toronto streets beyond hot dogs, not that there’s anything wrong with the venerable tube steak.

But when the city tried a few years back to expand the food cart program to a more international selection of foods it loaded it down with so many restrictions that the program crashed and burned, while some operators lost their shirts.

This time, the city is looking at relaxing the rules to allow the growing food truck industry to expand on our streets.

Unfortunately, this is what the city is proposing after, it says, cutting the red tape.

The annual cost of a license would be $5,066.69, plus parking fees. (By comparison, in a city with a thriving food truck industry like Austin, Texas, it’s under $600.) Food trucks would not be able to park within 50 metres of a restaurant, wiping out the availability of huge sections of Toronto.

Beyond that, councillors and local Business Improvement Areas (local businesses) would be able to request banning local food trucks entirely, setting off a lengthy appeal process.

If there’s going to be this much bureaucracy, even after supposedly cutting red tape, we sense a looming food truck disaster comparable to the food cart disaster.

What’s the point of having a policy allowing food trucks to operate if it’s so restrictive no one can afford to operate them?

We understand restaurants not wanting food trucks parked right outside their doors and reasonable accommodations should be made for them.

That said, customers buying a snack or quick meal from a food truck generally aren’t looking for a sit-down meal.

Great cities have a great street life. Part of that is having a variety of great street food.

So let’s have a city policy that delivers that, rather than one that will see food trucks wandering the city like nomads trying to find a place to set up, until they run out of money.

Just like the food cart operators before them.

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Feb 18, 2014
Kim Rivers

Black Market Food Truck, voted best in Buffalo, dishes up gourmet lunch at …

Black market food truck lunch 018

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

When the local food truck guide asked readers to vote for the year’s best trucks, more than 3,000 people chimed in, and the winner was the Black Market Food Truck.

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. 

Black market food truck lunch 020


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:

Black market food truck lunch 006

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.

Black market food truck lunch 013

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.

Black market food truck lunch 017


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.

Black market food truck lunch 014

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.



Food and Drink

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Feb 7, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food truck business struggles in cold weather

Food trucks (WISH Photo/ DeAndra Taylor)

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.


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Jan 30, 2014
Jim Benson

Students voice support for improved late night snacking options

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.

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Jan 30, 2014
Freddie Kitson

DC Deals: World Traveling, Beer Festivals, Anchorman, Art Galleries, and More!


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 sessionsone 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.



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Jan 29, 2014
Kim Rivers

Owners battle for food truck parking spaces


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.

Interested vendors need to apply for a license on the City of Las Vegas website.

Copyright 2014 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights results.

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