There’s a new choice in downtown Beverly for a quick lunch or dinner – Mexican street food.
The owners of Cielito Lindo have opened a more casual restaurant practically around the corner on Wallis Street. La Victoria Taqueria opened last week. It is in the Odd Fellows Building, less that a block off Cabot Street and across the street from the Larcom Theater.
It is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The menu includes burritos, quesadillas and tacos – all Mexican food that’s well-known on the North Shore.
But La Victoria also introduces tortas, popular Mexican street food that is lesser known. Essentially, it is a Mexican sandwich.
See owner Alex Barrientos make a torta in the attached video.
Spring has sprung, and we Minnesotans finally can escape the confines of our homes and enjoy the great outdoors. In recent years, Twin Cities residents have enjoyed the innovative culinary delights coming from Minneapolis’ and St. Paul’s food trucks.
Now, Duluth has a chance to benefit from this exciting new trend — provided that Mayor Don Ness vetoes the City Council’s adoption of regulations that would put the entire scene into a deep freeze.
The food-truck craze that’s sweeping the nation took a while to get to Duluth. Last year, the first mobile vendor started operating in Duluth, and there are only a few trucks right now. But these few trucks are serving delicious gourmet sandwiches and fresh tacos made with local ingredients to Duluth residents. They are making the city a more vibrant and exciting place to visit. And they are giving people with big ambitions but little capital a shot at the American Dream by going into business for themselves.
So with all these benefits, why on Monday did the Duluth City Council pass an ordinance that would crush food-truck freedom and cripple this exciting new industry?
The regulations the City Council passed, among other things, make it illegal for food trucks to operate within 200 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants. This proximity restriction — which is almost half a city block by some estimates — would not just hurt the food trucks and their employees, but would force the trucks to stay away from where their customers want them the most: nearly all of Superior Street and most of downtown Duluth.
The sole purpose of the 200-foot restriction is to protect restaurants from competition. But competition is the American way, and there’s no reason for governments to choose winners and losers in the marketplace; that’s the job of consumers. No one, after all, would think it reasonable or right to prevent a Burger King from opening up within a certain distance of a McDonald’s. But that’s exactly what the proposed 200-foot restriction would do.
Those in favor of the new regulations argue food trucks have an unfair advantage over restaurants because of their mobility and supposedly lower overhead. But whatever cost savings food trucks enjoy come at a steep cost. Fixed restaurants have a host of advantages over food trucks: tables and chairs, bigger kitchens (meaning bigger menus), larger storage for inventory and the possibility of selling alcohol. Perhaps most importantly, brick-and-mortar restaurants are protected from the frigid Minnesota weather, a tremendous advantage in the North where the freezing temperatures mean food trucks cannot operate for much of the year. Restaurants shouldn’t be allowed to add to their many advantages the ability to have the government quash the competition.
Using government power to pick winners and losers in the marketplace is not just wrong, it is unconstitutional. That is why the Institute for Justice, a national civil liberties firm, launched its National Street Vending Initiative, which works to vindicate the economic liberty of vendors nationwide. As part of that initiative, the Institute for Justice sued Chicago last November because of a 200-foot proximity restriction that is identical to the one Duluth just passed.
Food-truck freedom is good for Duluth’s entrepreneurs, it is good for hungry Minnesotans looking for new food options this summer and it is good for the city. Mayor Ness, don’t give food trucks the cold shoulder. Veto the 200-foot proximity restriction, give the City Council the chance to rethink food-truck regulations, and embrace this hot new culinary trend.
Katelynn McBride is an attorney for the Minneapolis-based Institute for Justice (ij.org/streets-of-dreams-2). She wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune.
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Mobile food trucks will roll into Dearborn for the summer season at events hosted by the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority (WDDDA).
The WDDDA received approval from the Dearborn City Council at its meeting on Tuesday to move forward with its annual Food Truck Rallies.
The rallies will take place on six Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. beginning May 17.
Steven Guibord, a representative from the WDDDA, said event organizers are expanding the rallies by adding three more dates this year.
“Last year we had three rallies that were highly successful. The consensus from the public has been that we need to do more events like this,” Guibord said.
The events will take place at various locations in west downtown Dearborn on May 17, June 7, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 20 and Oct. 11.
The June 7 Food Truck Rally will be part of the West Dearborn Block Party, which takes place June 7-8.
The July 12 and Aug. 9 rallies will take place alongside concerts as part of the West Dearborn Concert Series, held behind the Bryant Library.
“We’ll have some of our popular vendors back again this year,” Guibord said. “All of the food trucks have expressed excitement about the rallies in Dearborn.”
Food trucks are mobile catering restaurants serving “street food”—ranging from hamburgers, to pizza, tacos and salads.
Guibord said in addition to the food trucks, live music and entertainment will be offered to attract visitors to downtown Dearborn.
For more information about the upcoming truck rallies, visit http://www.dearbornwestonline.com/
At present, Toronto’s street food culture is stuck between a hotdog and French fry. Meanwhile in cities like New York, where hungry pedestrians have grab-and-go options like falafels, tacos, waffles and soups, the competition has led to a booming black market for vending permits.
Today is National Shrimp Day and to celebrate we are sharing a fantastic shrimp taco recipe from Taceaux Loceaux, a “Crazy Good”, New Orleans food truck.
Tequila Shrimp Tacos
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Yield: 4 tacos
2 lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined
3/4 c olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 oranges
1 shot quality tequila
3 cloves garlic
2 chipotle peppers
1 1/2 tsp salt
Skewers (if grilling)
Combine ingredients except shrimp and pulse in blender until garlic and chipotle peppers are fully blended.
Pour mixture over shrimp and marinate for 30 minutes.
If grilling, skewer shrimp and grill 1-2 minutes, each side.
If sautéing, heat pan to medium-high, add shrimp and cook 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with warm corn tortillas, cilantro, sour cream, lime and your favorite salsa
LEWISTON — Food on the go may be changing forever in the village.
Christian Willmott, owner of The Black Market Food Truck — and a Lewiston native — approached the Lewiston Village Board Monday in hopes of finding a way to bring his brand of convenience to the village in the future.
He sees the village as a perfect new market for his food truck, primarily because he and his contemporaries simply don’t venture north to the Niagara County suburbs. He said the growing exposure Lewiston has been receiving recently make it potentially lucrative.
“Every year, it seems, Lewiston is becoming more and more a destination people are visiting,” Willmott said. “It was recently named one of the best small towns for food.”
Food trucks have become a chic aspect of society, with local attention focused on the reception they’ve received in the region’s population hub in Buffalo. Franchises like Lloyd’s Tacos, Roaming Buffalo and Willmott’s Black Market have, in some opinions, developed innovative ways to deliver tastes otherwise not available in the area.
But backlash has come against them as some have questioned the food truck industry’s business plans, how they could have a negative effect on the sustainability of brick and mortar establishments and even the sanitation issues surrounding cooking in a moving vehicle.
Willmott said the presence of food trucks shouldn’t affect the business of the typical restaurants, though.
“I’ve used this argument before myself, but if I’m going to a restaurant and see a food truck along the way, I’m not going to say ‘I’ll eat at the food truck instead,’” he said.
Bringing a food truck to Lewiston, which has an established restaurant industry, could be either a blessing or a curse. It’s unknown how the area would treat the visiting trucks.
Willmott said he’s teamed with established restaurants in the past and would look to do the same if he’s able to bring his sandwiches to Lewiston.
Though conversations are still early, Willmott said the plan could involve bringing his truck into the village for a lunch, dinner or even late-night stops. Though the first two options could be feasible, late-night availability could be a lucrative future, especially if he can team with a restaurant like The Lewiston Village Pub.
He said the sheer size of the late-night crowds at The Pub, with a contingent of Niagara University students often packing the place, could make for a tasty partnership.
“In Buffalo, we’ve worked with Vera Pizza on Lexington Avenue,” he said. “And we’ve worked with Blue Monk and Acropolis on Elmwood Avenue. We don’t do long periods of time.”
While there are no laws exclusively prohibiting or allowing food trucks in the village, Mayor Terry Collesano said there are required permits any outside business needs to obtain in order to operate.
The village board has a lot of factors to consider and won’t be making any decisions soon, he said, adding the village attorney, current Lewiston restaurants, residents and the food truck operators themselves will all have a chance to make their cases in the coming weeks and months before any final decisions are made.
“We have to look much more in depth at the issue,” Collesano said. “We’ll need to seek legal counsel, and we’ll need to find out how the brick and mortar restaurants feel, because those guys are big-time taxpayers and we love our restaurants.”
Giordano’s Unveils New Food Truck
‘Salsa Truck’ Gets City’s First License for Onboard Cooking
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When it comes to heat, Dan Salls is one chef who knows how to stand it in the kitchen.
Salls quit his day job less than a year ago as a financial adviser to take his amateur cooking skills on the road and open The Salsa Truck, the first licensed mobile food preparer in Chicago.
“When I left my job we were in my apartment every night with culinary textbooks,” Salls said. “This is how you make mayonnaise, this is how you bake bread. So we really started from the ground up because we wanted to cook with purpose.”
The Salsa Truck provides more than the name implies, though the menu certainly spotlights salsa. Various tacos and quesadillas, as well as soup, rice, beans and chips, are all offered curb-side.
It’s the authentic kind of food Salls imagined making, and though he hopes to expand the menu, this is the cuisine he always had in mind.
“We knew we had to do something special,” Salls said. “We didn’t want to be the food truck that went out there and started doing twists. We try to keep it as authentic as possible.”
“We do everything from scratch. Nothing comes from a can.”
The food truck has been Salls’ foot in the door. He plans to open his own brick-and-mortar restaurant, The Garage, in the next few weeks. The restaurant offers a sort of lunch-counter atmosphere, and he plans to let other food trucks serve some of their items on his menu.
When asked if his food business is worth leaving his job for, Salls doesn’t hesitate.
“We are out here every day living our dream and making people happy, so what’s wrong with that.”
A lamb curry taco from Grumman ’78 in Montreal. Not a bad start, but it can’t be the end if Montreal’s street food project is going to get real. Photo via 514 Eats.
As those who are attentive to gastronomic rumblings in Canada are doubtless already aware, a few weeks ago it was announced that Montreal is finally lifting its 60-odd year ban on street food, although it is doing it in a way that is as perversely overregulated and ass-backward as la Belle Province can muster (Quebec, I mean, not the fast food chain). The city will be granting a small number of permits, exclusively to pre-existing restaurants and caterers, and apparently only to those that will provide food that showcases the “highly respected and renowned” gastronomic excellence of Quebec. Vendors will be restricted to food trucks (no carts, wagons, etc.), and the majority of the food preparation will have to occur off-location, i.e: not in the truck itself.
What all this amounts to is that Montreal’s recently self-identified foodies will finally get to enjoy the opportunity to stand in line for 20 minutes to pay $9 for a pork belly sandwich, thus catching up with the rest of Western civilization in realizing the ineffable and irreplaceable gastronomic qualities of “something that was in a truck at some point.” Don’t get me wrong, I myself have doubtless at some point or other uttered the meaningless statement “I LOVE STREET FOOD,” unconsciously attempting to meet the social expectations to be agreeable without bothering to take a minute and a half to figure out what I was actually saying. For there is an important distinction between “liking Street Food”—as code for the current obsession with tacos and banh mi—and actually being interested in supporting the culinary space opened up by the permission of public, mobile, food-vending.
And this is the point that is completely missed by Montreal’s approach to food trucks. Arguably, what is important about street food is the opportunity it provides for people who don’t have the resources to open up a full-scale restaurant to make some kind of a living through food (important in the “big picture” sense; it is also important because of how vastly it improves the quality of life of wasted people, obvs). What is interesting about street food is that, partly due to the lower overhead, a greater flexibility is allowed—street carts can afford to cater to the specific and sometimes obscure culinary inclinations of particular neighborhoods, communities or cultures, and the material and logistical constraints of how to prepare and serve food on the fly can produce mutations and innovations in local culinary practices, even if it’s as simple as “Fuck it, let’s put it on a stick.” In this way, street food comes to constitute a lively and often idiosyncratic part of the foodscape of a city.
Montreal’s food truck plan explicitly precludes the former, which—if one is even remotely sensitive to questions about cultural appropriation—constitutes a pretty undeniable symbolic “fuck you” to the poor people and immigrants upon whom street food has depended, basically forever. And even if you’re completely indifferent to that side of things, the idea that the vendors are going to be selected on the basis of some city wonks’ idea of what the culinary identity of Montreal is supposed to be should give anyone pause. The city is supposedly proceeding with due caution in light of the colossal failure of Toronto’s similar A La Cart pilot program, but what is truly creepy is the consonance of this with the project of asserting a particular Québecois identity that must be carefully tailored and maintained, protected from threats both internal and external by an elaborate scaffolding of regulation and legislation.
Toronto’s shitting of the bed notwithstanding, they at least still have street meat, and similar projects started in Calgary and Vancouver have met with some success in recent years, in spite of the attendant profusion of puns and extreme spelling (Perogy Boyz, Feastro Urban Bistro, Fasttrac Fusion, etc.). While both cities have a pretty restrictive licensing and regulatory apparatus, the number of vendors and the locations in which they are permitted to operate continues to expand, with Vancouver’s food carts growing to nearly 100 since the pilot was initiated in 2010. Of course, it is still to Portland and Williamsburg that these look for inspiration/administration, rather than Bangkok, Mexico City, or Kerala, the grand dames of eating on the street.
So it’s hard to predict exactly where this Montreal thing is going to go, but it already has the earmarks of a bad tourism venture, with a bunch of administrative yahoos trying to manufacture a cultural identity and say “this is Montreal” instead of opening things up and actually finding out what the place is all about. I mean, big ups to the Grumman ’78 folks for fighting the fight to at least get the bylaws changed, but it’s got to go farther than this, which as it stands threatens to be but a precious and privileged promotional exercise, and a nullification of what makes street food a vital and relevant force in the culinary life of a city.
Hungry? Watch Munchies:
The local street food scene is continuing to grow: Jim Masiella hopes to have his food truck, California Smothered Burritos, out on the streets sometime next week, and a Chattanooga couple is working to crowdsource funds to start an Italian food truck.
The street food scene in Chattanooga now includes Famous Nater’s, Southern Burger Company, Local Slice, Nana’s, A Taste of Argentina, The Missing Link cart, King of Pops, The Muenster Truck—which should hit streets this summer—and Rock N’ Tacos, which Nooga.com hasn’t written about before, but it’s been open for about a year.
Mountain Waffle Wagon is expected to join this summer, too.
And leaders with River City Company recently created a food truck court at the 700 block of Market Street.
California Smothered Burritos
A veteran entrepreneur who has operated several businesses in Chattanooga in the past, Masiella said his truck will stand out.
“My food truck is a little different from everybody else’s—I like to be different,” he said. “I have a little short red bus, and it’s got a surfboard on top with palm trees and a sombrero.”
He’s invested about $30,000 in getting the business started. He found the bus via eBay, flew to Nebraska to get it and drove it back. This week, crews are putting the finishing touches on it, he said.
Masiella said that in the ’90s, he owned several different restaurants here, such as Masiella’s Italian Restaurant, Chattanooga Juice and Java, and California Juice Bar and Eatery.
He also owned a Mexican restaurant in Denver, which is where he got the recipe for the green chili he will be serving with his products.
“Green chili is not that well-known in Tennessee,” he said. “People automatically think it’s going to be hot, but there’s no pepper in it at all. It’s the flavor, which is why people out West really like green chili. When you top the stuffed burrito with green chili, top it off with guacamole and sour cream—it’s really good.”
Menu items range in cost from $2 to $10.
California fruit bars cost $2; a bowl of green chili or guacamole and chips cost $5; and a burrito, chips and a drink cost $10.
The burritos are made with a large flour tortilla stuffed with seasoned ground beef, black beans, onion, lettuce and tomatoes. They are smothered with green chili, black olives, jalapeños and cheese; topped with sour cream and guacamole; and served with a side of salsa.
But Masiella said customers can personalize their orders any way they want using those items.
He also has a “naked burrito,” which means without the tortilla, and a “melt your face burrito,” which is so hot it lives up to its name, Masiella said.
There will also be a taco salad on the menu.
He said he wants to get in on the ground floor of the food truck scene here. He plans to join the food truck coalition, if they deem him up to their standards.
He has seen food trucks work in other places—in Los Angeles County, there are more than 1,000, he said.
“I think [food trucks] will be big here,” he said. “Tourists love these things. They feel like they are getting local products as opposed to the chain restaurants.”
Love, Italy and the food truck
In October 2003, Chattanooga native and Baylor School graduate Sarah Cate Patten met the man who would become her husband, Benedetto Scaduto.
She was studying abroad in Italy during her junior year of high school. He was a Sicilian soldier.
Ten years later, the couple is approaching their fifth wedding anniversary and working to raise money to bring authentic Italian and Sicilian street food to Chattanooga.
The couple is embarking on a food truck mission called The Saucy Sicilian, according to a news release.
“Crowdfunding allows supporters to give money to a startup, business or project in exchange for perks. Perks, in the case of FoodStart and The Saucy Sicilian, can include anything from lifetime discounts and free T-shirts to developing and having a menu item named after you, depending on which funding level you pledge,” according to the news release.
The couple will serve a traditional Sicilian specialty called arancini, which are crispy fried risotto balls stuffed with an array of different fillings, such as meat or vegetables.
“The Scadutos chose crowdfunding to raise capital because they want their truck being a community effort,” according to the news release. “The couple looks forward to joining the street food movement in Chattanooga and adding a little variety with their Saucy Sicilian fare.”
Proceeds from every meal purchased from the truck will be put toward feeding people in need. The menu is inspired by the Mississippi Delta. It features hot tamales, fried catfish and grilled pork tacos, po’ boys, sides, desserts, and drinks like fresh fruit agua frescas. “It’s not strict Delta recipes,” Fry said, “The pork is … almost like a banh mi taco,” and he’s also created a spin on a Chick-fil-A biscuit. It’s a pickle-brined fried chicken filet sandwiched between two Sublime doughnuts. Desserts include coconut cake, sweet potato fried pie, and banana pudding. The truck itself has a fryer, flattops, and a wood-burning grill.
The menu will change periodically, by season or as Fry checks in with the City of Refuge chefs to see what people want. Look for People’s at food truck parks later this spring, and catch more Ford Fry at his restaurants JCT Kitchen, No. 246, the Optimist, and King + Duke.
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