Hawaii’s distinctive culinary culture will be on full display at the 12th annual Waikiki Spam Jam on May 3.
Among the Aloha State’s most anticipated food festivals, the one-day event draws about 25,000 people to Kalakaua Avenue, where officials shut down Waikiki’s main drag for live music and performances, a crafts market and, of course, a variety of food booths featuring Spam dishes.
“Each restaurant has to have at least one Spam dish,” explained event organizer Karen Winpenny. “We’ve had Spam french fries, Spam tacos, Spam ice cream and Spam cheesecake.”
Hawaiians buy 7 million cans of Spam annually, more than any other U.S. state.
Asked about folks who don’t think Spam is worthy of such hoopla, Winpenny replied, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Some of these recipes are fabulous.”
Proceeds support the Hawaii Food Bank. Visit www.spamjamhawaii.com.
A City Council committee considering new regulations for Baltimore’s growing food truck industry plans to hold work sessions as members evaluate more than 50 proposed amendments.
Councilman James B. Kraft, chairman of the committee, said he’s been inundated with letters as major parts of the legislation remain undecided. During a meeting Tuesday on the legislation, Kraft told a crowd of vendors that he received a pro-food truck petition with 700 signatures from across the country. He said he plans to throw the document in the trash.
“It’s absurd,” Kraft said, noting that many of those weighing in weren’t from Baltimore. “Call the people off. It’s wasting our time. It’s wasting their time.”
The Rawlings-Blake administration has proposed setting up zones for the food trucks, which sell hamburgers, tacos, cupcakes and other items. The legislation was written to encourage the vendors while also limiting where they operate to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants.
But some truck operators have expressed concern that the limits would hurt their business, and the city’s proposal has been in flux. A city official said Monday that the administration plans to ask the council to allow trucks to operate outside the zones.
Some truck owners have criticized the plan as vague. They point out that the city has not established where the zones will be and has not released the rules of a proposed lottery to determine which trucks can go where.
Kraft and Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said Tuesday that they want the administration to establish the zones before the council votes on a bill.
“Could you start figuring out where the zones are going to go?” Clarke asked.
Rawlings-Blake spokesman Kevin R. Harris said the administration has worked collaboratively on the legislation and that the new rules would be subject to a public comment and review period.
The legislation is the city’s effort to adopt comprehensive regulations for the industry, which has operated under temporary rules since 2011. Under those rules, the trucks can operate throughout the city. They are prohibited only from selling within 300 feet of an existing restaurant.
Kraft said dates for the work sessions have not been set. In the meantime, Kraft asked food truck operators to “build a better relationship” with restaurants in their area.
In January, the Baltimore County Council passed rules barring food trucks within 200 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants. The county has set up food truck parking zones near the County Courts Building in Towson and Towson University.
This lunch you’re going to read about was another testament to the fact that you should stroll through our Mobile Munchies Twitter feed before heading out to lunch. You never know what Daily Specials food trucks will have.
Domo Taco generally serves tacos, burritos and quesadillas with Japanese-influenced meats and sauces, but we read on Twitter that the special of the day was tonkatsu with curry rice for $8. They had chicken or pork. We chose pork, and eagerly headed back to our office.
For the uninitiated, tonkatsu is a pounded pork or chicken cutlet, kind of like a Japanese version of schnitzel.
Of course, the breading is different from schnitzel, with panko bread crumbs used as the coating in tonkatsu.
In this case, you can see they left the cutlet in the deep fryer a little too long. The breading was much darker than it should be. Tonkatsu should have more of a golden color.
The meat still tasted good, especially with the curry sauce, but less time in the deep fryer would have been better.
The yellow curry sauce was exactly what you would expect. It was thick, with a nice curry flavor, and was not spicy.
There was a little bit of a second sauce in the dish, which was darker brown, and had a slightly sweet, vinegary flavor. It worked well as an accent, and would have been too strong as the main sauce.
This was a more traditional Japanese dish than what the rest of their menu looks like, and we enjoyed it.
Tacos at Cha Cha Chow, our pick for the best food truck of 2013. | Jennifer Silverberg
UPDATE: This post has been updated with a comment from Sauce.
Food Truck Fridays in Tower Grove have become a summer institution in St. Louis. What started in 2011 with just sixteen trucks and the help of Sauce Magazine has grown into an event that attracts thousands of people and delicious eats. More trucks are hitting the roads every year — there are currently 40 registered with the city of St. Louis — to match the demand.
See also: The Final Food Truck Friday of 2013
The St. Louis Food Truck Association is working to bring an alternate event to Food Truck Friday to downtown beginning this spring. We spoke to STLFTA president (and owner of Yo! Salsa food truck) John Lutgen about the ambitious plan and why it’s needed.
“We’re all independent business owners — one day a month isn’t enough to pay the bills,” Lutgen says. “So we’re looking at other avenues that we can export our business into rather than just setting up at Citygarden and selling lunch at Wells Fargo.”
With the help of Mayor Francis Slay’s office, Lutgen is working out a spot at Soldiers’ Memorial (Fourteenth and Chestnut streets) downtown on Thursday nights once a month, beginning in May.
“It’s just to promote the food trucks, promote downtown St. Louis and show it off. The food-truck culture in St. Louis is really growing,” Lutgen says. “For a city our size, it’s pretty incredible.” Lutgen says there are many events, like movie nights at the Saint Louis Art Museum and outdoor concerts in Chesterfield that have proven to be great venues for food trucks. But for many of those, including Food Truck Friday, the trucks themselves or the STLFTA have no say in who participates — SLAM or Sauce or whoever’s organizing it does.
Lutgen also says that many food-truck owners have been dismayed that the fee to participate in Food Truck Fridays this summer has gone up to $425 from last year’s $275. “There’s a percentage of trucks that that doesn’t work in their business model, especially the dessert trucks. They don’t generate the revenue to justify that expense,” he says.
Sauce publisher Allyson Mace says Lutgen is overstating the fees to participate in Food Truck Friday. She also notes that part of the fees go toward charity. “It’s expensive to put on these events and to give back to the community,” says Mace. “But we wish John the best of luck with his event.”
Although the city has been helping coordinate it doesn’t plan events, and there’s no budget for it even if the city did. Slay’s scheduler Josh Weise is the point man on food-truck issues in the city, so he’s been working with Lutgen.
“Sauce was the one that put this on the map. They busted their hump and got this all done. This is an overflow idea,” Weise says. “Don’t think of them as competing — think of it as small businesses being out there. It’s not a rivalry.”
Lutgen says the STLFTA is looking for sponsorship, and anyone interested should contact a member of the board. “It’s another avenue for us to promote what we do and who we are,” he says. “We’ve got some great trucks — 31 members that have a lot of really great products.”
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter.
14th St. and Chestnut St., St. Louis, MO
Elvis Serrano launched his popular JiBARO food truck three years ago, dispensing gourmet-style tacos, burritos, pulled pork and Cubano sandwiches to an adoring following ever since.
Starting January 6, he’ll become an easier target for his fans.
Serrano signed a one-year deal to take over the cafeteria operations at the Carl B. Stokes Public Utilities Building at 1201 Lakeside, where he’ll open Serrano Taqueria and More (216-258-6689). If it works out, he’ll stay on.
“It’s a cafeteria setting, but it’s nice and well maintained,” he explains. “We’ll add some color.”
The 50-seat space is open to the public and features large windows that offer views outside, unlike many basement-style cafeterias. The menu offers pulled pork, roasted chicken and shredded beef versions of burritos, tacos and quesadillas. The “and more” in the name refers to wraps, salads, paninis and other items not currently available from the rig.
“We’ll be there Monday through Friday, so people won’t have to hunt us down like they usually do,” Serrano adds.
As for the popular food truck — it’ll still be roaming the mean streets of Cleveland.
“That’s not going anywhere — it’s our baby.”
Komodo is taking its food truck roots to another location, this time in Venice, when the eatery opens its second sit-down location at 235 Main St. Monday, according to online reports.
La.eater.com reports that all the “old Asian-fusion favorites” will be offered, including blazin’ shrimp, loko modo and kimchi nachos. Los Angeles Magazine says the cuisine will also include the usual Komodo fare of rice plates, tacos and burrito-based dishes as well as miso-marinaded steak and a seasonal white fish with creamed corn sauce.
Komodo Venice’s interior is designed by MASS-Architecture and pays homage to its food truck roots with a ceiling installation heavily into hanging paper trays and a handwritten chalk menu board.
Click here to see photos of Komodo’s Venice eatery on la.eater.com.
Komodo Venice’s hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, according to its website.
The lines have been out the door and down the street the last two nights at the new Torchy’s Tacos on West 19th Street and Ashland at the site of the old Harold’s in the Heights location. But tonight, the plan is to have lines all over the place as the Shop Heights 19th merchant association will have their semi-regular Food Truck Friday event.
Food Truck Friday will go tonight, Friday, from 5-9 p.m. and include offerings from eight trucks — The Golden Grill, Bernie’s Burger Bus, Happy Endings, H-town StrEATs, Texas Blizzard Shave Ice, Flip ‘n Patties, Koagie Hots, Coreanos Houston — placed up and down the block west of Yale and east of Shepherd.
Far from the old days as a sleepy street filled with antique stores and not much else, West 19th is now a diverse marketplace filled with, yes, antique shops, but also modern and vintage clothing stores (among the best in Houston according to many more knowledgeable about these things than me), more than a dozen full-time and award-winning restaurants (if you include Down House over on West 18th and Yale, and really, when it take two minute to walk there from West 19th, why not include it?), design shops, art galleries, gift shops and soon, the Heights General Store and Marketplace, sharing the Harold’s space with Torchy’s.
Oscar Martin Carter and D.D. Cooley, the original 19th-Century founders of the Heights, foresaw West 19th as the City of Houston Heights’ downtown, the center of the nascent town’s commercial life. Looking over the street these days, there are perhaps more alcohol sales than they might have wanted (Hey, they were 19th Century men after all), but it’s hard to deny that the bustling marketplace would not make them smile.
Perry, the voice behind New York Street Food, brings you his latest review on New York City food trucks.
This week’s new food truck is called Bo Dillaz. The truck’s name doesn’t offer any clues as to what is on the menu — until you actually see the menu, and discover they serve quesadillas.
In addition to the ‘dillas, they serve wraps, salads and even chicken wings.
We spent a minute looking over the menu, and decided to try the Happy Hawaiian. The name sounds like a Honolulu tourist trap, but being in the middle of NYC, we were pretty confident that was not the case.
All the quesadillas cost $7, and the salads and wraps are either $6 or $7.
We couldn’t quite put our finger on it, but something about this truck’s design gave it a prefab feel. Kind of like a fast food chain, but not exactly.
More Food Truck Lunch:Chorizo Quesadilla From Tacos y Quesadillas Mexico
Doing a little research, we found out the original Bo Dillaz is in Virginia, and they have sold a few franchises. That accounts for the feel of the truck. But the most important thing is the service and how the food tastes.
The quesadillas were made up fresh while we waited, in a large 12″ tortilla. There was grilled chicken, pineapple, jack cheese and bacon put onto the tortilla, it was covered, then grilled a little more.
When lunch was ready, he cut it into 6 large pieces and put them into a container. You get a choice of sauces, and we selected honey mustard for the Happy Hawaiian.
We must say, this was a pretty good quesadilla. There was plenty of pineapple, although the bacon was more like Canadian bacon, which is closer to ham. It was still tasty.
The chicken was a little on the dry side, but the pineapple and cheese helped rectify that situation.
Honey mustard was the right flavor for this sandwich, although the honey mustard sauce did have a premade, institutional feel to it. This was not what we get at home when simply mixing honey and mustard.
That said, we still enjoyed lunch, and it was quite filling too. The quesadilla had a lot of ingredients in the middle, easily keeping us satisfied until dinner.
It’s rarely fun to be last.
Even if you claim you don’t really care about the contest, or that the judging isn’t fair, it’s a drag to be at the bottom looking up.
San Bernardino has had more than its share of that feeling.
But it’s happened again. And this time, it was a real punch in the gut. Or maybe it was a punch in the teeth. It was somewhere along the alimentary canal.
A little more than a week ago, Randy Nelson, an editor for the real estate website Movoto, published a list of the 10 worst cities for foodies in the country. And guess which city topped the list?
Lumped in with North Las Vegas, Nev., St. Petersburg, Fla., Detroit, Chesapeake, Va., and five cities in Texas – Garland, El Paso, Laredo, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi – San Bernardino came out first, or, in this case, last. The worst.
This is serious.
OK, we’ve been the nation’s murder capital. We’ve been listed as the second poorest city in the country. We’re bankrupt.
But if this gets out, people won’t want to come here to eat.
And look what they’d be missing. After all, the city has not one, but two – TWO – In-N-Out Burgers. That’s got to count for something right? How many cities can make that claim? OK, Riverside can. Well, and as it turns out, so can Corona and Ontario. But still, last place? Really?
“We don’t agree with it a bit,” said Carl Wright, 55, of San Bernardino.
Wright and his wife, Pam, 54, were sitting on a concrete picnic bench at Rosa Maria’s drive-in on North Sierra Way. Carl grew up in Virginia. The first tacos he ever tried there had pizza sauce on them. Maybe he ordered them someplace in Chesapeake.
The Wrights said they eat out two to three nights a week, usually in town. They cited such places as the Castaway and the Mexico Café in defending the city.
“Don’t forget the Mug,” Carl said. “They’ve got some really good pizza.”
“And he likes Bakers,” Pam added.
Movoto’s Nelson based his rankings strictly on per capita numbers for restaurants, bakeries, gourmet groceries, food and wine festivals, food trucks — and several other minor criteria – in the country’s 100 largest cities.
Well, that’s not so bad. That means there are really only 99 cities better than San Bernardino, by Nelson’s count.
Nevertheless, he’s upset a lot of people. Comments on the Movoto website called his survey “silly” and “arbitrary.” Others complained that it measured quantity rather than quality. They defended the city by propping up such places as Milta Café, the Lamplighter and Gazzolo’s German restaurant.
Others had a harder time.
“I was kind of in somewhat agreement,” said Veronica McHenry, 45, of San Bernardino, referring to the ranking. She, too, was at Rosa Maria’s eating a burrito. “When you go out of town, it seems there’s a lot more (choices).”
Randy Robles, 54, is one of the managers at the family-owned-and-operated Rosa Maria’s. He called the ranking “kind of crazy” saying it didn’t account for places such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden.
“The people that did the survey obviously have never been to San Bernardino,” Robles said. “We’ve got Les Rendez-Vous up the street.”
Not to be confused with the Route 66 event next weekend.
Robles said he’s never eaten at the French restaurant.
“But my son and his wife were there just last night for their anniversary,” he said. “She lived in Paris for a year. So, obviously, there’s something good there.”
And, if for some reason, escargot and coq au vin don’t excite your appetite, don’t forget: There’s always In-N-Out.
Reach Mark Muckenfuss at 9510368-9595 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Food trucks, those argumentative purveyors of epicurean travel fare, are staid for a lapse to a city core after a yearlong absence.
On Thursday, city planners will cruise a ask by a Grand Rapids Art Museum to horde food trucks on a Wege Plaza skill subsequent to Rosa Parks Circle, where a span of internal trucks were stationed final year for ArtPrize.
While a open conference comes only in time for ArtPrize 2013, a capitulation would concede a museum to horde food trucks adult to 200 days annually, effectively giving them plain change in a core of downtown for most of a year.
“We like a variety,” pronounced Randy Van Antwerp, emissary executive during a museum. “The food they move is food that is not routinely accessible downtown. It can be picked adult quick. People can squeeze it and go.”
The growth is a latest in Michigan’s flourishing welcome of food trucks. In a past few years, trucks offered all from tacos to squish tarts have seemed in cities like Detroit, Kalamazoo and Traverse City, a latter of that is home to a bar with a dedicated food lorry justice and some of a most truck-friendly manners in a state.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation even got behind a trend this year by awarding $77,775 in grants to assistance launch or enhance 8 food trucks via a state.
In Grand Rapids, a museum’s ask is a initial by a private landowner downtown given a city nice a zoning manners in Jun 2012 to concede food trucks on private skill in a downtown district bounds for extended durations of time.
Planners during a time chose a “lowest unresolved fruit” to promote food trucks downtown by opening adult private land to a mobile kitchens rather than perplexing to interpretation a several ordinances that demarcate them on open land and streets, pronounced Suzanne Schulz, city formulation director.
“We attempted to strike a balance,” she said. ”It’s not perfect, though we suspicion it was a reasonable compromise.”
Find a whole essay by Garret Ellison at MLive.com here
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