You’ve read our Ultimate Jersey Food Truck Showdown series (if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?), about all the great food trucks scattered around the state.
Now’s the time to see who wins our coveted Silver Spatula Award for Most Popular Food Truck in New Jersey. Voting ends this Friday at midnight; the winner will be announced on Monday.
More than 3,500 votes have been cast so far, and it’s a close race, with the Cinnamon Snail, The Taco Truck and Oink and Moo BBQ the top three vote-getters to date.
But anyone can win the award, so it’s time to cast your vote — and tell your favorite truck to get the word out to all its fans through Twitter and Facebook.
To vote, go here.
Did you miss the mouth-watering stories in the food truck series, including profiles of the top trucks, a list of the best truck dishes, and a won’t-find-anywhere-else directory of Jersey food trucks? Here is the complete series.
AUSTIN – Imagine a recipe never before seen or tasted. You may not be able to, but a computer can. It’s called Watson, it was development by IBM and it’s being used in a food truck debuting in Austin during SXSW.
You’ve seen it beat contestants on “Jeopardy” now IBM’s supercomputer is beating the world’s greatest chefs in the kitchen.
“This is an experiment where we’re going to take and go beyond what we did with the Watson computer that beat Jeopardy,” said Steven Abrams, IBM’s engineer and director.
Tucked between other food trucks in Downtown Austin for SXSW the sign next to IBM’s truck reads “Welcome to cognitive cooking” and that is what it is.
“Some people say that creativity is the crowning achievement of human intelligence, so the question here is can computers help people to be more creative,” said Abrams.
How exactly? Well it’s simple for a supercomputer.
“Essentially trained it by giving it a giant cookbook. Something like 30-35,000 recipes,” said Abrams
Now Watson the Jeopardy champion is Watson the recipe master.
Here’s how it works: you pick a key ingredient and cuisine, what you want to include and then Watson creates millions of recipes.
You can even customize the recipe for dietary needs.
“You can give it constraints like out the sugar, for example,” Abrams told KVUE.
The IBM food truck will be in Austin at 4th Street and Red River every day through Tuesday.
The chefs cook food based on what people ask for on Twitter.
To chime in just tweet #IBMFoodTruck.
All the samples are free.
Reporter- New York Business Journal
Would you trust a computer to make your dinner? What about diagnosing a strange illness?
Probably not by itself. But if you pair an advanced computer with a highly trained chef of doctor, then maybe we’ve got something.
They call it Cognitive Cooking, and they’re blending suggestions from Twitter with Watson’s supercomputing power to scour the universe for innovative flavor combinations. Some of its early computer-generated inventions? Indian Turmeric Paella and Italian Grilled Lobster.
Yesterday, IBM Research Vice President Mahmoud Naghshineh explained their thinking in a piece of sponsored content(content provided by IBM) in Slate magazine.
“There’s no better place to explore computational creativity than cooking,” wrote Naghshineh, who’s based here. “Great food can seem so mysterious. We tend to think of it as a product of art, of intuition. Yet, in fact, there’s a massive amount of chemical and neural science that helps explain why one dish is sublime and another isn’t.”
This makes a lot of sense, considering IBM Watson’s first big commercialization effort in health care. The stakes (steaks?) are different, but a chef is not unlike a physician.
Their crafts are both traditionally seen as a finely tuned art, a blend of expertise, intuition and training that’s sometimes difficult to quantify. But both also exist in a world with almost endless possibilities and data, when you think about all of the things that can possibly go wrong in the human body — or the quintillions of different combinations of ingredients that could conceivably end up in a meal.
Ben Fischer covers local and regional business in greater New York City.
The best food news in the past several years, for me anyway, has been the arrival of specialty food trucks on the Jersey culinary landscape.
I don’t mean the “grease trucks” of Rutgers fame, or the “roach coaches” of days past, but trucks serving high-quality food — sandwiches, seafood, pizza, salads, soups, ice cream, cupcakes and more.
Order a burger at a university-based food truck, then order one at a specialty food truck like the Outslider, and tell me you don’t taste a difference.
The Jersey Shore Food Truck Wars, held in 2012 and 2013 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, have become immensely popular events, spurring similar food truck events across the state. There was even a food truck gathering in Secaucus during Super Bowl week earlier this year.
So, it made sense to conduct our own Jersey Food Truck Showdown. It’s the first time anyone has attempted this, but who does food showdowns better than Inside Jersey? I visited 40 food trucks across the Garden State during my tour and sampled food from more than 20 others at the Monmouth Park events.
The road trip was tougher than it sounds. Specialty food trucks are scattered, with ever-changing hours of operation. Many do not have websites. Twitter is the food truck communication platform. It’s where you go to find the location of a food truck on any particular day.
There are about 70 specialty food trucks in New Jersey, and the number is destined to increase as towns start to relax regulations. The best food-truck scenes, as of this writing, are in Jersey City, Hoboken, Newark and Montclair. But the trucks are slowly making inroads in other towns.
Three food truck owners — Jason Cervone, of the French Quarter truck; Jon Hepner, of the Thai Elephant truck; and Carlos Serrano, the Empanada Guy — formed the New Jersey Food Truck Association late last year. The organization wants to be the communication and lobbying force for food truck owners, and it has enlisted the services of the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice.
Which means food trucks are here to stay, and I’m here to report that I not only survived, but thrived on my road trip. In fact, the food overall was superior to what I encountered during my search for Jersey’s best diners, chronicled in Inside Jersey’s August 2013 issue.
Here are the results of the Ultimate Jersey Diner Showdown.
Unlike the diner showdown, for which there was one grand prize winner and winners in various categories, I picked seven food truck winners. Their food was all over the map, er, menu. How do you compare ice cream to soul food to Asian food to salads to cupcakes? Thus, seven winners, not just one.
Hope you enjoy their stories and, when you go on a road trip of your own, their food.
Don’t forget to enter our Jersey Food Truck Warrior Challenge. The first 10 people to visit 10 different trucks win an Inside Jersey backpack and accessories.
And the first five people to hit 10 different trucks win a ride on the Munchmobile this summer!
Map note: Locations are approximate. Food trucks move. Click on a pin and contact the truck to see exactly where it is now.
View New Jersey Food Truck Directory in a larger map
COMING TUESDAY, MARCH 4: Read about the first three of our outstanding food trucks.
Staff Writer- Sacramento Business Journal
Food Truck Mania brings its mobile munchies to Woodland Sunday.
In the first of what will be a monthly lunch offering, some of the Sacramento region’s best-known food trucks are staging an event at First and Main streets.
It runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the city of Woodland plans to have the event on the first Sunday every month.
The event is put on by the city, the historic district, Mojo Lounge and SactoMoFo, which is the organization that puts on a lot of the local Food Truck Mania events.
As is their potential, groups of food trucks have been organizing trips all over the region for years. There have been food truck gatherings at wineries in the Delta, at the concert series at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and at Food Truck Mania events in Roseville, Citrus Heights, West Sacramento, Folsom and Elk Grove.
For more food truck event information, go to SactoMofo’s website.
Mark Anderson covers technology, banking and finance, medtech and biotech, venture capital, energy, mining, hotels, restaurants and tourism for the Sacramento Business Journal.
It’s been about three months since beloved food truck CapMac closed. Well, good news: The mac and cheese truck will be back on the road tomorrow under the new ownership of 22-year-old Montgomery County native Josh Warner.
Warner, who got a culinary degree at the Art Institute of Washington and worked stints in local kitchens, is no stranger to the truck. He helped previous CapMac owner Brian Arnoff with prep for a couple weeks and has long been a fan of the truck. Warner had thought about opening a truck of his own when he heard that Arnoff was looking to sell his. “The opportunity definitely came at the right time,” he says.
Arnoff has given Warner his old mac and cheese recipes. “I’m not going to change a thing,” Warner says, although he may add a few of his own touches. He will also add weekly or biweekly specials that showcase his own cooking style, especially his love of Latin cuisine. Follow @CapMacDC on Twitter to find out its exact location tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Arnoff is helping to open a new cafe at 10516 Connecticut Ave. in Kensington called Java Nation, where he will be general manager. The 20-seat spot will serve Vigilante Coffee and a menu designed by Arnoff of sandwiches and salads (no mac and cheese). It’s set to open in about three weeks.
As for CapMac, Arnoff says he was glad to have someone carry on his former food truck’s brand. “Josh is a great guy,” he says. “He reminds me a lot of myself when I was at CapMac.”
Photo via CapMac
A strawberry cheesecake cupcake at Sarah’s. | Emily Wasserman
We’ve got good news for your sweet tooth. Sarah’s Cake Shop (10 Clarkson Wilson Centre, Chesterfield; 636-728-1140) is putting a second food truck out on the road sometime later this week. Manager Jill Umbarger tells us that the truck was just wrapped with graphics and Sarah’s logo yesterday.
The team at Sarah’s has been planning a second truck for about three months. Sarah’s Cake Stop (the food truck) couldn’t make all the dates people and companies were requesting, so it seemed like the logical next step. Sarah’s will be tweeting and posting locations for both trucks on the existing Cake Stop Twitter and Facebook pages.
One of its signature desserts, Glitter Bites, will also be available in the food trucks for the first time. Not only do we love the name, but they sound amazing: white cake filled with buttercream, dipped in chocolate and dipped in sugar.
“We’re gonna be offering some new things, so just stay tuned,” Umbarger says. “We’re working on some new recipes and new desserts — it’s a work in progress.” Look for the new food truck later this week!
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.
10 Clarkson Wilson Centre, Chesterfield, MO
Reporter- Baltimore Business Journal
Baltimore food truck owners say they’re worried a bill regulating where they can do business in the city doesn’t have enough specifics.
Food truck operators made a strong showing at a Tuesday hearing of the Baltimore City Council’s Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee regarding a proposal to regulate where food trucks can park, how they would report their business practices and who would enforce those standards.
Although the food truck owners indicated their willingness to work with the city — and with local brick-and-mortar restaurants — the biggest issues that arose surrounded where food trucks would be allowed to park and exactly how the regulations would be implemented.
While the bill proposes regulating where food trucks can vend, it doesn’t explain the nitty-gritty details of how that regulation will actually take affect — who will receive licenses, which trucks could park where, how zones would be established and other considerations.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, vice chair of the committee, recognized the bill was vague as it’s written. She said the City Council would hammer out rules and regulations with the Department of General Services, which requested the bill and will administer the program, in the 150 days following the bill’s passage — before it takes effect.
Vendors like Chris Cherry, who owns Charm City Gourmet, worried about passing a vague bill without understanding how it would affect his business.
“We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in the bill,” he said.
The proposed regulations would apply not only to food trucks, but to any mobile vendors, including Baltimore’s emerging fashion truck segment.
Sarah covers hospitality/tourism, minority business, marketing and new media
Staff reporter- Portland Business Journal
Jaime Soltero Jr., owner of Portland’s popular Tamale Boy taco truck, is opening a permanent restaurant.
The brick-and-mortar edition of Tamale Boy debuts March 14 at 1764 N.E. Dekum St. in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
The restaurant seats 184 with an outdoor patio and full bar providing meals, tapas and happy hour around fire pits.
The Tamale Boy menu features gluten-free, dairy-free GMO tamales made from locally sourced ingredients and family recipes. The business launched as Mayahuel Catering in 2011 and expanded to include a tamale truck in 2012.
The restaurant was designed by Skylab Architecture.
Wendy Culverwell covers real estate, retail and hospitality.
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.
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