Browsing articles tagged with " street food"
Dec 17, 2014
Jim Benson

Umai: Food Cart Review

To get to Umai, you need a little faith. Turn down a
street that doesn’t look like a street, and behind the Hazel Room and
Red Velvet Parlour, facing a wall with quotes about murder, you’ll find a
tiny food-cart pod tucked away like an oyster’s pearl in a slab of
dead-end pavement. Nothing could survive here unless it was either
wonderful or desperate.

Well, it’s wonderful,
much like the Bundy’s boiled-bagel cart next to it. Never mind that
Umai has some of the best fried chicken in town, at a criminally low
cost. Chicken karaage—the Japanese take on an American mid-South
staple—is breaded just to the point of crispness and coated in soy,
garlic and ginger, lightly sauced in chopsticks-ready chunks, and almost
perfect for a mere $4. The kale and kelp salad ($3.50) is a lightly
vinegared love affair with all things green by land or sea, with bright
and deep flavors.

But you haven’t gone
down this rabbit hole for kelp. Umai serves terrific ramen ($10), with a
shoyu broth that wallops you with soy, and a shio (salt) broth that
mixes with the natural saltiness of the soup’s tender pulled pork
shoulder to create a sort of light-headed ecstasy amid probable brain
dehydration. But the real depth of flavor is provided by pickled
shiitakes, a just-so soft-boiled egg and a mess of scallions and steamed
greens, not to mention al dente, cart-made noodles with taste and
texture that announce themselves rather than recede into glutenous
limpness. The broths and meat are not tenderly smoky like Shigezo’s or
Mirakutei’s, nor do they reach the muscle-relaxant umami high of Yuzu’s
tonkotsu. But by the end of each bowl of shio, the only thing you’ll
want is more of the same.

  • Order this: Shio ramen, but (pro tip) try the veggie broth with karaage dunked in. Damn.
  • Best deal: That fried chicken is $4.

EAT: Umai, Southeast 33rd Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard, 502-4428, Noon-5 pm Wednesday-Sunday.

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Dec 17, 2014
Kim Rivers

New Jersey food truck to be staffed by ex-inmates: Restaurant Crawl

The Restaurant Crawl: A (somewhat) regular roundup of (mostly) national restaurant news, links, video and more.

Fallen stars: The Michelin guide was considered a problem in the past, forcing chefs into the French high-end mold, but now the issue is the diners. While Michelin has accepted the radical makeover haute cuisine has undergone in recent years, many consumers who use the guide expect it to prize a traditional style. (Fortune)

Second helpings: A new food truck venture from a former New Jersey Governor and Jersey City mayor will be staffed by ex-inmates. (Star Ledger)

Carrots in Spain: Gil Marks, the culinary historian of the relationship between Jewish food and Jewish culture and author of the nearly 700-page-long “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food,” died at 62. (NYT)

ICYMI: Here’s our list of Portland’s best new dishes, including plump Siberian dumplings, intense Thai curries and a dessert/nightcap cocktail that’s like a booze-spiked mint milkshake. (The Oregonian)

– Michael Russell

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Dec 17, 2014
Kim Rivers

Snowday Food Truck Handing Out Free Maple Grilled Cheese & More Tomorrow …

(Scott Lynch/Gothamist)

Because you’ll never again experience the joy of a snow day—even if you’re a teacher!—how about some free grub from totally awesome food truck Snowday? Tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon, the social justice-minded truck will be giving out their delicious maple-accented goodies in recognition of National Maple Syrup Day (yes, this is a “thing”) on 5th Avenue around 20th Street.

The truck will be partnering with Pure Maple from Canada to serve gratis maple cider, maple grilled cheese, maple bacon popcorn, maple-smoked pork sliders and maple taffy. It should also be noted that the crew won Rookie of the Year at the Vendy’s in September—and it wasn’t even peak maple season yet!

Find the truck with the #ILoveMaple hashtag between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. and again from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

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Dec 17, 2014
Kim Rivers

White on Rice a Traverse City Food Truck

After years in the food industry, husband and wife team Eric and Amy Kolden wanted to bring their passion for Japanese food to the Traverse City food scene. For the entire month of December their truck, White on Rice, is the LTO (limited time offer) pop up food truck inside the Little Fleet in downtown Traverse City.

The name comes from the saying “white on rice” and is a whimsical way to introduce Traverse City to sushi and beyond. The name was the result of multiple brainstorming sessions and “is perfect because the two of us go together like white on rice,” Eric says.

Right now because White on Rice is a food truck and not a brick and mortar, the main focus for Chef Eric and Amy is to bring classic and delicious sushi rolls to the Traverse City food scene. Eric is passionate about every aspect of the food, and prides himself on the care he takes with rice production, which is in itself a craft. Eric creates what he considers to be “standard sushi” and that means simple is better.

“A spicy tuna roll is tuna, spicy, rice done,” he says.

Eric has been rolling spicy tuna rolls and beyond for more than a decade now, after coming home from Cincinnati one summer and discovering his passion for sushi at 310 (now Firefly) in Traverse City.

“I had seen the real deal sushi bar [at 310] and I was like, ‘that’s exactly where I want to go.’ As soon as the summer was over I went back down to Cincinnati and I had seen a posting for a position at a Japanese restaurant so I went in, applied and I got it.”

For the next two years Eric trained as a sushi apprentice, starting out as a roller and working his way up to the sushi bar.

“There I was on the sushi bar rolling California rolls for the first time, so scared I was going to have to talk to somebody and so scared I was going to cut myself,” he says. “And then all the sudden it became second nature, my coworkers grew to understand what I was after and they nicknamed me “the machine” because I could roll like a machine. Just pump out the rolls, one after another.”

After two years in Cincinnati, Eric returned to his hometown looking for a place to apply his newly developed skills and started working at Red Ginger. Shortly after the restaurant’s soft opening Eric was hired on as the sushi chef at Red Ginger where he worked for seven years. Now, he says, the time has come to do his own thing, which in this case comes in the form of a food truck.

Although White on Rice will be in the Little Fleet only for the month of December, Eric and Amy are planning on having a truck in the lot for summer 2015 and from there they are looking towards a brick and mortar establishment. Not only is the food truck a good way to get exposure, it also provides an opportunity for people to get comfortable with sushi.

“I think a food truck makes it a little more approachable for people because the accessibility of sushi needs to be there,” Eric says. “I am just saying get your hands dirty a little bit with the sushi, get into it. Don’t be so afraid or intimidated.”

For now White on Rice only offers sushi rolls, but with creative twists, like taking a salad and making it into a roll. He and Amy are also offering “Izakaya” which translates to “Japanese pub.” Japanese pub style dining and food is what Eric calls “the future” of dining.

Izakaya usually offers pub style food like deep fried shrimp balls, onigiri’s, yakitori, tempura and octopus balls all in addition to sushi. Eric wants to take the ideas from a Japanese pub and apply them to sushi.

The husband and wife team created White on Rice and run it together, but they’ve also received support from the restaurant community. Simon Joseph at Harvest, Jen Blaskeslee and Eric Patterson of the Cooks’ House and Short’s Brewing have all reached out to express welcome and gratitude for White on Rice opening.

“Most important the community’s response has been so supportive,” Amy says. “Patrons, other chefs, and business owners have offered to help to make White on Rice a permanent fixture in the Traverse City dining scene.”

“The idea is that we want people to eat affordably, eat well and then learn,” Eric says.

Visit White on Rice in the Little Fleet in downtown Traverse City for the month of December. They are open every day for lunch and dinner. For hours and the menu check their Facebook page. Keep an eye out for White on Rice in summer 2015.


More Northern Michigan Food

Make A Perfect Holiday Roast

Sicilian Wine Dinner at Pepenero

Happy Hour Hot Spots Around Petoskey

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Dec 17, 2014
Kim Rivers

Students need help bringing new food truck to Utah County

UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) What do you get when you add two guys with a dream, a love for Pho and a 70s RV. You get Phofilled. That’s the name of a new local food truck. Lucas Larson and Cody Swenson are the guys behind it.

They will be serving Vietnamese Pho and they need help converting their RV into a food truck. With a small chunk of money and a small line of credit PhoFilled was born.

Lucas and Cody searched for the future home of PhoFilled. They looked at a few trucks but decided they wanted to convert an old RV. They felt like it would give them a unique look as well as ample room.

The pair began the process of converting it from an RV to a food truck. Everything inside had to go: beds, tables, an oven, refrigerator, furnace, counters, and a bathroom.

Once the RV had been totally cleared out of all the preexisting structures Lucas and Cody went to work on creating a kitchen that met all of the health department requirements. They installed a new floor, new wall material, new ceiling panels, a service window, as well as all the certified equipment such as a a range, refrigerator, sinks, and a ventilation hood.

Besides the installation of the ventilation hood, all of the work they did themselves.

What remains is installing new propane lines, finishing up the plumbing of the sinks, installing lighting, paying for the PhoFilled logo to be applied to the exterior of the truck, and purchasing their first inventory of ingredients, bowls, silverware, etc. On top of all of that, they still need to need to pay for various licenses and permits in order to get on the road. Don’t forget that first tank of gas!

The guys behind PhoFilled have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the remainder of the money. If you would like to donate, click here

Check out PhoFilled on Facebook

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Dec 17, 2014
Tim Lester

Be a beef ‘street food’ hero

From January, entries will be showcased on the Beef Australia 2015 Facebook page where the public can show their support for their favourite dish.

From the most popular entries, the winner will then be decided by Beef Australia.

More information is available at the Beef Australia 2015 website.

To enter, submit your recipe and a photo of your dish to Beef Australia 2015′s email address.

Shane Bailey’s beef brisket burger

with spicy chilli chutney and mustard mayonnaise.

  • Take 1 marbled beef brisket, take the point end deckle off but leave fat on.
  • Rub the brisket with pepper and a little sea salt (just a touch), a good slash of red wine and place in oven fat side up for 3 hours at 90 degrees Celsius. Drain off any excess fat.
  • Heat 2 litres of veal or chicken stock, with ½ cup smoky bbq sauce, ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce, 50g brown sugar and ½ bunch of thyme and add to the brisket. Cover and continue to cook for 7 more hours or until meat is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
  • Once cooked, shred the meat, season and add enough of the cooking liquid (fat removed).
  • Mustard mayonnaise:

  • To 100g good quality mayonnaise add 20g Dijon mustard.
  • Tomato chutney:

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes, 1 onion finely sliced, 2 cloves garlic, a small piece ginger finely chopped, 2 red capsicums finely chopped, 100g sugar, 80g brown sugar, 1 cinnamon quill, 2 red chillies finely chopped, 60ml red wine vinegar, and a good splash of olive oil.
  • Heat oil, garlic and ginger for 30 minutes, add tomatoes and then the remaining ingredients and cook slowly for about an hour and season. This can be made in advance, and will make more than enough.
  • Other ingredients:

  • 10 x 60g brioche buns.
  • Assembly:

  • Warm buns and cut in half, smear bottom with mayonnaise, add some iceberg lettuce, add a good amount of brisket, top with some chutney, put the bun lid on and enjoy!
  • More recipes are available at Beef Australia 2015.

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    Dec 17, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    Food truck vendors complain of crushing regulations

    Food Truck

    Food Truck

    Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 5:09 pm

    Food truck vendors complain of crushing regulations


    SARASOTA Fla. — The Sarasota Food Truck Alliance has been battling for months to raise awareness about Sarasota city and county regulations that they say keeps them from being profitable.

    “It is hurting our business!” says Tracy Shenkin, operator of the Southern Smoke BBQ food truck. “We live in Sarasota, our children go to school in Sarasota, but in order to make a living for ourselves we have to go to Tampa, St. Pete, and Largo. Currently Sarasota has the hardest laws in the country for food vendors.”

    County official admitted the ordinance governing food trucks is out of date. The county did meet with Food Truck Alliance officials on Tuesday in hopes of updating some of the rules, but the alliance says the proposal on the table would require them to pay more than $280 every time they stop — it’s a permit fee the vendors say they can’t afford. 

    County official say they are still in the early stages of the process.  


    Tuesday, December 16, 2014 5:09 pm.

    | Tags:

    Food Truck Vendors,

    Sarasota Food Truck Alliance,

    Tracy Shenkin,

    Food Truck,

    Food Vendors,


    Ordinance Governing Food Trucks

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    Dec 17, 2014
    Tim Lester

    Real street food: Mongolian Khuushuur

    What is the dish?

    Khuushuur – Mongolia’s version of a handheld meat pastry. It’s a circle of wheat flour dough folded in half around a filling of minced or ground mutton, sometimes beef, and pan- or deep-fried. The meat is seasoned with onion and salt; some cooks add garlic and pepper as well. It’s possible to get versions with a mix of potatoes, carrots and/or cabbage as well, but these are far less popular. (Vegetarians beware: the veg versions can taste strongly of mutton from the cooking oil.)

    What’s the history?

    There’s some reluctance here to acknowledge good things that have come from China, but Mongolians traditionally were nomads, not farmers, and did not grow wheat. Khuushuur and its dumpling siblings, buuz and bansh, are localised versions of Chinese dumplings.

    What does it taste like?

    Just like meat in fried dough! Seriously, it doesn’t vary much: better-quality meat or lower-quality cooking oil make some difference, but it’s a simple, straightforward dish. For westerners, there is sometimes more fat included with the meat than we’re used to.

    How is it served?

    At its most basic, khuushuur comes on a plate with paper napkins or tissues to pick it up. In a restaurant it comes four to an order with a lettuce leaf and gherkins on the side, carrot salad if the place is a bit more posh.

    Anything extra?

    Some people eat khuushuur with ketchup or Maggi sauce, less often with mayonnaise.

    Why should someone try it?

    It’s tasty, cheap, filling and very Mongolian. Khuushuur are also strongly associated with the summer festival, Naadam, and it would be very sad to come all the way to Mongolia without trying such a typical dish.

    What’s the bill?

    Khuushuur cost between 800 and 1500 tugrik (30-50p) each, though many restaurants won’t let you order by the piece; they will give you four.

    Where can you get it?

    Anywhere in Mongolia that sells Mongolian food. In a central business district this means restaurants; outside of town people sell khuushuur from little stands or their gers (Mongolian tents) as well.

    Can you make it at home?

    Yes, every home cook knows how to make khuushuur, and patting the dough into circles is considered restful after a busy day. Home cooks chop the meat themselves for better flavor, buying pre-ground meat is considered inferior.

    What does this dish say about Mongolia?

    Mongolians love their meat, and khuushuur are simple, hearty and practical.

    Homemade khuushuur recipe

    (Makes around 16)

    250g flour

    150ml water

    400g fatty lamb or mutton mince

    1 small onion, finely diced

    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    Salt and ground black pepper

    1 tbsp caraway seeds

    750ml vegetable oil, for frying

    1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. To make the dough, put the flour in a large bowl then gradually add the water, mixing to a firm dough. Knead lightly for a minute or two, then wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge while you make the filling.

    2 Mix the mince with the onion, garlic, seasoning and caraway seeds, then take the dough out of the fridge. Divide into 16 pieces, then roll one out to a 10cm diameter circle. Place a couple of heaped tsps of the meat mix in the centre, then fold one side over the meat. Press the edges together, then fold the sealed edge over again, crimping as you go. Repeat with the remaining meat and dough.

    3 In a wok or frying pan, heat the vegetable oil to around 180C, or when a piece of bread sizzles and turns golden in less than a minute. Gently lower the khuushuur into the oil in batches of 3-4, then cook for around 4 minutes until golden. Once all the khuushuur are cooked, place on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes in the oven, then serve.

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    Dec 17, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    Why Does ConAgra Own A Trendy LA Food Truck?

    ConAgra is a mega-conglomerate that produces brands like Slim Jim, Orville Redenbacher, Hebrew National, and Healthy Choice. You can add “trendy Los Angeles food truck” to that list, because, though neither the truck nor ConAgra is really advertising it, ConAgra owns Wicked Kitchen, a global-cuisine food truck you might find at your next music festival or surf spot.

    One question: why?

    ConAgra is one of the biggest packaged-food sellers in America, ranging from processed meats to non-dairy dairy-like items to cooking sprays to frozen meals. If you’ve spent more than a year in this country, you’ve eaten a ConAgra food product. Plenty of words come to mind when you think of ConAgra, some good, some bad, but one that’s unlikely to make that list would be “trendy.” And yet TakePart’s Willy Blackmore discovered that a newcomer to the Los Angeles food truck scene, a truck called Wicked Kitchen, is actually owned by ConAgra. What the hell?

    Wicked Kitchen is an exceedingly Los Angeles food truck; its cuisine is global, with the current menu boasting classic dishes from Italy, Mexico, Korea, and Morocco. The dishes aren’t particularly inventive — there’s nothing new about Korean fried chicken with gochujang, or enchiladas with guajillo sauce — but they all boast names like “Don’t Lose Your Tempura” and “I Pity The Tofu’l.” Chef Justin Campbell, formerly a private chef, heads the kitchen, which has been seen at nearly every event a food truck could conceivably be seen at since the truck’s launch in 2012: the LA Street Food Fest, the E3 videogame conference in Las Vegas, the Coachella music festival, SXSW in Austin, and more. All this for a two-year-old truck with middling Yelp reviews.

    That’s because the truck is owned, entirely, by ConAgra. I contacted Wicked Kitchen to find out how and why ConAgra got into the food truck business, and got this response: “The inspiration behind the truck actually came in the form of a few foodies from ConAgra Foods who were just very into the food truck scene, traveling around and tasting the unique flavors and combinations that are so typical of this experience.”

    Essentially, ConAgra realized food trucks are trendy, and contacted Roaming Hunger, a sort of food truck directory and marketing firm run by a guy named Ross Resnick. ConAgra and Roaming Hunger collaborated on Wicked Kitchen. Says Ryan Carlin of Wicked Kitchen: “ConAgra Foods owns the truck and operates with its resources. Roaming Hunger and its chefs operate and manage the entire experience on-the-ground – the prep, cooking, service – you name it.”

    The inspiration behind the truck actually came in the form of a few foodies from ConAgra Foods

    But why does ConAgra want to operate a food truck, a business with razor-thin margins? And why does Roaming Hunger, an independent-minded organization, want to hook up with a massive conglomerate like ConAgra? I asked Carlin if Wicked Kitchen was using ConAgra foods, and he said they aren’t. “The Wicked Kitchen food truck operates like any gourmet food truck in LA. All ingredients are bought locally in LA,” he wrote in an email. “We look for the ingredients that we need; we don’t intentionally purchase ConAgra products.” So what’s ConAgra doing with a food truck? “ConAgra uses the Wicked Kitchen truck as a test kitchen to better understand the world of street food – what ingredients, flavors and experiences are driving food trends today,” Carlin writes.

    Why ConAgra wants to understand the world of street food is still a bit of a mystery, but perhaps they’ve got an eye to shipping frozen “Don’t Lose Your Tempura” chicken meals sometime in the future. In the meantime, diners at Wicked Kitchen vary from pleased to disappointed by the food, but it seems like the ConAgra connection isn’t a total secret. “You don’t realize the corporate food giant ConAgra is behind this “little” food truck until you do a little bit of research on the internet and find out you’ve been duped!” writes Yelper Jason E. “Stay away! It’s corporate food giant ConAgra trying to take a bit into the food truck market!”

    (Image courtesy Wicked Kitchen)

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    Dec 17, 2014
    Tim Lester

    The Hits Keep Coming At This Filipino Street Food Smorgasbord

    At about 10 p.m., a small-of-stature woman sitting behind a table that’s in front of a large, white food truck turns around and picks up a huge microphone that’s attached to one of those Aiwa stereo systems, like the one gotten before you went to college. You know, with the detachable speakers on each side, a 3-disc CD player and an ominous red glow, like undercarriage lighting on a tricked out Honda? One of those.

    She picks up the microphone and begins making an announcement in a high, sweet voice over the crowd of people on the sidewalk. The reverb is turned up so much, though — who knows, maybe it’s on purpose — that you can’t really make out but every other word. “[LOUD INAUDIBLE] DOLLAR HITS [ECHO ECHO] EVERYTHING’S ONE DOLLAR [ECHO ECHO].”

    Dollar Hits 2

    Dollar Hits has been serving traditional Filipino street food for just over a year now. Everything on the menu, mostly skewers, goes for the low, low price of — you got it — one dollar. The popular truck has a carnival atmosphere about it on weekend nights; music playing from the stereo or a neighbor kid who brought his guitar and a plug-in amp is noodling around, families mill about, waiting to pick up trays of meat and fishball skewers, friends laughing and talking around the big communal charcoal grills that are set up on the sidewalk, cars jockeying in and out of the postage-stamp-sized parking spots in the small lot in the mini-mall.

    Dollar Hits 3

    Dollars Hits 4

    Dollars Hits 5

    [Fish balls, balut, pig ears, and pig blood]

    Step up to the table, grab an order sheet, and mark the items you’d like to try. Hand the sheet to one of the ladies behind the table, and she’ll smile and ask your name. If you’re Asian, she may ask you if you’re Filipino. If the answer is “yes,” she’ll be very happy. If the answer is “no” (Author’s note: I’m part Chinese), she definitely won’t be unhappy, but she may look slightly concerned.

    She definitely won’t be unhappy, but she may look slightly concerned

    You also might notice that everyone there is calling her “Auntie.” Does that mean everyone there is literally her niece or nephew? Nope! In Filipino culture, sometimes you just call women who are older than you “Auntie” as a term of endearment/respect.

    Dollars Hits 6

    Outdoor chillin’ and grillin’

    Pretty much everything at Dollar Hits is a skewer, and it’s mostly non-vegetarian. The food is pre-cooked but comes cold — it’s then up to you to mosey over to one of the grills and GYOS (grill your own skewer). Don’t make the mistake I did the first time I went, and immediately shove the food in your maw when it’s handed to you from the truck. Cook it first. If it’s busy, you may have to wait a bit for some free grill space to open up. Also, as you might guess, everything costs a dollar — with the exception of a few items. The pares bowl (beef stew) is $3. The nightmarish balut (partially-formed duck embryo, still in the shell. Google it. Well actually, don’t Google it.) is $2.


    Fish balls, lobster balls, BBQ pork and BBQ chicken — perennial Filipino favorites — are all on the menu. The rest of the selections lean heavily toward organ meat and offal. If that’s not your thing, let’s just say that Dollar Hits may not be the place for you. No part of the animal goes to waste. The names of the items are, generally speaking, pretty fun to learn. Some are onomatopoetic, others merely awesome: kwek-kwek is breaded quail egg, enrile is a chicken head, adidas are chicken feet, and betamax is pork blood.

    Grilling Hits

    Pork isaw (intestine) you’ll want to let sit on the grill for awhile, and once it’s got a nice char, it tastes just like a piece of maple-glazed bacon. Fish balls and fried lumpia (egg rolls) go perfectly with a homemade sweet sauce mixed with spicy vinegar. Betamax comes as a skewer of three or four cubes of congealed pork blood. If you can mentally get past what it is, it’s quite enjoyable, tasting like a firm, iron-rich tofu.

    Sodas and water are $1, as is a bottomless styrofoam cup of sweet, icy cantaloupe juice, ladled from a communal barrel on the front table.

    Dollar Hits is located at 2422 Temple St. (at Carondolet) in Historic Filipinotown. They are open from Thursday-Sunday, 6:30 to 11 p.m.

    Photos by: Matthew Kang

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