Dallas has its share of Irish restaurants but you couldn’t experience the tastes of Ireland on the go until now. Kieron Go Braugh, Traveling Irish Café is one of the latest additions to the North Texas Food Truck scene. Operated by Christine Finnegan, a red headed Irish lass with a big smile, the friendly greeting paired with the simple but tasty food feels like you’ve been invited to dinner by a good neighbor.
Let’s dispel any misconceptions. The food is inspired by the tastes of Ireland but not necessarily presented in the traditional way. Take The Irishman, for example, a pair of Shepherd Pie Sliders that combines ground beef in gravy with peas & carrots and mashed potatoes between a sliced dinner roll.
You can’t think ‘Irish’ without thinking of Corned Beef & Cabbage. The Michael Finnegan presents this classic taste of Ireland as a sandwich.
The Leprechaun is another Irish staple, the Banger, served up with kraut and a spicy Guinness mustard. Despite the reference to little people, there is nothing little about the size or the taste but it might just make you feel a wee bit mischievous. I restrained myself and settled for a wee little smile as I ate it. You know, the one that makes people wonder what you’re thinking!
I showed a little restraint, too, by not ordering The Molly Malone (a grilled cheese) or The Reuben that were on the menu when I visited. It’s not that I needed to save something for a reason to go back. But if you need another reason to go, November is just around the corner and a hearty Guinness Stew will be added to the list of menu options.
As you can see, restraint didn’t include stopping before everything was gone! (Spoiler: I had help!)
First impressions suggest Keiron Go Braugh may have the competition seeing ‘green’ and regretting their failure to take Irish fare to the streets. If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a bit o’ your green, you can look them up on Facebook, Twitter or the schedule posted on the website.
After trying a single entrée from Quiskee’s Kitchen on a recent hot summer Sunday, I thought I’d pair them with Chez Flo, another newcomer where I’d also only had a single entrée and start a new feature, Quick Takes. Things did not turn out as planned.
Faced with a choice, I decided to have lunch from Chez Flo (more to come about this new truck) and order from Quiskee’s ‘to go’ because a Rice Bowl would travel home better than a fresh crepe for supper. After getting descriptions of the menu options from Chef Q, I settled on the Steak Rice Bowl with Cilantro and the Cucumber Cream Dill sauces. To be fair, I tasted the rice bowl fresh and hot right off the truck. The marinated steak was tender, juicy and flavorful with just a moderate bit of heat that will be just right for most folks. The rice was perfectly cooked. But the sauces …. WOW! In response to the question, “Was it good?”, let’s just say none of it was left for Janice to try except the sauces.
Quiskee’s Kitchen Beef Rice Bowl
And that’s where the plan began to fall apart. One taste of the sauces and Janice wanted to know where I got them. And then, she wanted to know when we were going back. And it wasn’t long. And very shortly after arriving, the plan began to evolve again.
Chef Q is really, really proud of his ¾ pound Char Grilled Q’s Burger. Most of the time at a food truck, they holler your name out the serving window and you come to get the food. Not so with Chef Q. When we arrived, he was … there’s no other word for it … PRESENTING a Q’s Burger to the customer at the table. There it sits, a regal 4 inches or more high, with layers of yumminess on display and accompanied by seasoned fries. This looks like a real Man vs. Food Challenge. We had to have one. And once I ratcheted my jaw open wide enough to take that first bite, I knew exactly why Chef Q is proud of this burger.
I don’t know about you, but this is what I want to see when my burger is cooking – flame kissed, char grilled goodness.
Q Burger being flame kissed on the Char Grille
And as I write this, is Janice around to help? Heck no, she’s taking a friend to the Quiskee’s Kitchen Food Truck Experience. They went for the burger but it didn’t stop there. There’s new stuff on the menu today.
On this day the menu includes your choice of Chicken or Steak Pita Nachos. They chose steak (of course!); the same succulent marinated beef bites that you get on the Rice or Salad Bowls blended with melted cheese, onions, and jalapenos over fresh pita chips. With the Nachos, the pita is obviously better fresh & crispy but the steak, cheese, veggies and seasonings continue to meld the longer it sits. The ‘heat’ level seems to rise over time, too. I thought it was pretty killer the next day.
Steak Pita Nachos the Quiskee’s way
Another new item on the menu are Meat Pockets. These smaller treats, about 4” in diameter, use a crisply crust to contain a blend of marinated steak, potatoes and vegetables. Janice, who knows all of the culinary terms for tastes or flavors responded simply “yumminess” when I asked her to describe the taste. These are definitely on my must try list the next time.
Quiskee’s Kitchen Meat Pocket
One of the keys to success in running a food truck is customer interaction. It’s a good thing when long lines keep the chef busy inside but on the hot summer day I was there, traffic was slower. The Brothers Al-Ghaziani, Chef Adbul-Qadir and Chef Azeez, have the customer interaction thing down pat. Chef Q greets every customer with a smile as big as his Q’s Burger! You don’t have to take my word for it. Just read the reviews on their Facebook page.
There’s no letting the customer simply read the menu when Chef Q can come out of the truck to describe the food to you, help you make the best choice for you and make your mouth start watering just from the description.
To borrow a line from Chef Q, passion drives him “to create the food of my imagination.” If you want to have your senses experience the “Food for the Soul” that his imagination dreams up, you can find the current location for Chef Q and the Quiskee’s Kitchen Food Truck on Facebook and Twitter.
Quiskee’s Kitchen – Feeding Souls
My apologies for exceeding my personal 600 word limit but 600 words just weren’t enough to tell you about Quiskee’s Kitchen. Way too much for a Quick Take and I’ve just scratched the surface in what I know will be a long and scrumptious relationship that will leave a smile on my face … every time.
There are food trucks that call themselves gourmet because they offer different cheeses or toppings on standard street faire like tacos or hot dogs and a few of them succeed in setting themselves apart. And then there are food trucks that offer truly unique, quality, locally sourced restaurant quality cuisine that, as Guy Fieri would say, are the ‘real deal.’ I don’t think Guy has found The Roasted Shallot yet (his loss) but when he does, you can bet somewhere in the visit he’ll talk about the food and say, “This is the real deal!”
I got to spend some time with Nathan Carel and Brooke Francis on a hot Phoenix summer day and, after a mouth-watering, palate satisfying meal, got a little bit of the story. Just two short months after opening the truck in October 2013, the truck caught fire and was totally destroyed. Some people might have been discouraged by losing the chance to start up during the cooler winter months but Nathan and Brooke saw it as a second chance. Nobody gets it 100% right the first time out and they were able to learn from the brief operating period and make changes when the new truck was built. Even the truck spoke to them. You see, the new truck started its life with a Fire Suppression company and the decals had a sprinkler system just about where the old truck caught fire!
It’s not enough to have a good design and a nice looking truck. It’s not even enough to have a good story. The key to success in a food truck is the food. First impressions are that The Roasted Shallot has nothing to worry about. The biggest problem I had with the menu was deciding what to try. The day I was there the menu included Braised Pork Street Tacos and Vegetarian Tacos, 3 sandwiches, 2 salads plus Southwest Popcorn, a Nathan creation.
The salad choices are opposites on the pendulum but both are exceptional. The Get Yo Greens Salad is fresh, cool and light but bursting with flavors and textures; perfect on a hot summer day. You can get a small size that’s complimentary to the sandwiches or a large one might be all you need for a light meal.
The Garden Slaw, on the other hand is cool and spicy hot at the same time thanks to the hatch chiles and tangy Siricha sauce. I’m thinking The Garden Slaw is the perfect companion to the tacos (and maybe even on the tacos if you can find any room to add it!) but it went down just fine with the B.L.A.T.
Speaking of Brookelynn’s B.L.A.T., this is a must-try for any BLT sandwich lover. The toasted sourdough bread brackets a unique blend of avocado, shredded greens, tomato, pickled onions and a roasted shallot aioli all in supporting roles to the apple wood smoked bacon on one side and Nathan’s own bacon jam providing the bacon punch on the opposite side. You gotta try this one!
On my visit, there was a choice of two specialty grilled cheese sandwiches, the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese and the Schreiner’s Ballpark Grilled Cheese. Since I’d been pretty ‘grown-up’ with my other choices, I went for the Schreiner’s Ballpark Grilled Cheese. This was an ooey, gooey hot mess in the most positive meaning of the phrase! Everybody knows how good Schreiner’s all beef hot dogs are but who puts ketchup, mustard and truck made pickles on a grilled cheese? The Roasted Shallot does and the combination is mouthwatering, especially since the toasted sourdough stays crispy.
The menu changes depending on what is available locally so be sure to check the menu before going out if you’re looking to have that item you loved on your last visit. An advocate and supporter of the ‘buy locally’ philosophy, Nathan says The Roasted Shallot always looks for local ingredients first and usually has up to 90% of everything he serves made up with local products and produce. That ‘buy local’ commitment means the menu sometimes has to change depending on what is available.
The Roasted Shallot does a great job of posting the menu weekly. You can find the Menu on their website along with their locations. You can find them on Facebook or Twitter and at many Phoenix Food Truck Coalition events. Just be warned, after eating at The Roasted Shallot you may want to invite them to your place for lunch or dinner. Oh yeah, they cater and you can have them all to yourself!
I admit it. I am a terrible note-taker. As a result, I like to research the ‘digital footprint’ on the trucks I visit to refresh my memory and to sometimes learn stuff about a truck I didn’t think to ask. After all, it’s really about the food, right? So when I was putting together an update on my list of active food trucks so I could figure out who I needed to track down, I didn’t find much about Top Nosh. So I sent a message to Chef Matt Thomas and told him he needed a bigger digital footprint. Apparently, he listened. Now you can find Top Nosh Truck on Facebook, Twitter and even a website.
I caught up with them at Fort Worth Food Park on a gorgeous day. The menu wasn’t much bigger than their digital footprint but the quality more than makes up for any shortage of options.
I realize it’s almost sacrilegious to live in Texas and not be a fan of BBQ. I have lived in famous BBQ towns like Kansas City and visited ALL of the big BBQ meccas but it took moving to Texas for me to figure out, BBQ is not my favorite way to prepare meat. That said, the Braised Brisket Sliders lived up to their advertising as AWESOME! Tender, juicy, and spicy without being hot are the result of the brisket being perfectly prepared. The bun was fresh and the portions balanced, even the bonus goat cheese that is part of this compelling reason to eat BBQ and to like it …. A lot!
“The” Top Nosh Steak Sammy goes a completely different route that leads to the same smile when you bite into this overstuffed delight that features grilled hangar steak and onions, lemon-thyme mayo, grape tomatoes, Pepper Jack and Feta cheeses and for a little color and flavor splash, flash fried spinach. My partner-in-crime on this culinary adventure told me it was ‘really, really good’ and she loved the flash fried spinach. But then, I knew that from the two little bites I got to try and the fact I only got to try two-little bites!
The Shut-Yo-Mouth Tater Tots go to prove that it’s not what you start with but what you end up with that counts. Ours were fried perfectly and covered in an assortment of cheeses. If you want yours prepared with truffle oil, you can have ‘em your way, too.
The Fruit Boat was as pretty as it was cool and refreshing. The Lemon Marscapone really sets off the citrus in the pineapple but it’s just as great with the strawberries, blueberries, kiwi and banana. What a fabulous way to end the meal.
Afterwards, there was a break in the crowd and we got to spend a few minutes with Chef Matt. It’s clear that he’s passionate about food and creating items that are interesting, fresh and, as it says on the website, “lovingly doted on one order at a time.” And as much as we liked everything we tried, Chef Matt says the Tacos Chinos will become your favorite item no matter how much of a ‘beef’ guy you are!
A couple of things jumped out at me as I ‘researched’ the background on Top Nosh Truck. First, his website is simple but well done; just like his menu and food. And second, unlike a lot of other Facebook Pages I visit, I was amazed by the number of photos that had four, or five, or even six items in the photo. Now I don’t feel so bad about how much I ordered. It wasn’t my fault, Chef Matt made me do it!
If you want to find Top Nosh, check out the now ‘expansive’ digital footprint you can find on Facebook, Twitter and even their website. But if you really want to learn more about Top Nosh Truck and Chef Matt, just go out and eat with Chef Matt and Top Nosh Truck.
Anybody over 30 or so probably remembers the 80’s Wendy’s commercial that made Where’s the beef? one of the most famous catch-phrases of the day and Clara Peller everyone’s favorite grandmother. The newest place in Collin County to answer this question is the Kelly Family Farm Food Truck. I literally just got back from their soft-opening and couldn’t wait to spread the word.
Ask anyone who’s been in the food truck business about the formula for success and almost everyone will agree:
Keep the menu simple and focus on consistent delivery
Fresh, good quality ingredients combined to make great food
Acceptable wait times
A friendly staff that engages every customer like you are their best friend
The folks at Kelly Family Farms check every box already. Before we could even place our order, we were met by Channin Kelly and promised the best burger we’ve ever eaten. Those are bold words and we promised to let her know what we thought after we ate. Let’s just put it this way. I think I said 3 times in the 15 minute drive home, “that was a good burger!”
The menu is about as simple as it gets: You can have anything you want as long as it is a burger but you can have your burger just about any way you want it. Pick your size, choose your fixins and the combo includes a drink and chips.
Never one to back down from a challenge, we opted to tackle the Cattle Barron, a massive quad (that’s 4) patty burger bulging out of the toasted bun and dressed with cheese, mustard, mayo, onions and jalapenos. This juicy, tender, perfectly cooked creation melted in your mouth like buttah on the stove.
It’s almost not fair to ask a bun to handle that much beef but the toasted bun (my favorite way to prepare a burger bun) mostly held together and totally held its own in flavor, freshness and yummi-ness. It’s being picky but if I had any complaint it’s that the bun got all wrinkled up in the wrap and wasn’t very pretty. After the first bite, I didn’t much care.
In order to provide an equal opportunity test, we also went to the ‘lighter’ side of the menu for the Kelly Classic w/bacon, added cheese (of course!) and our preference on condiments. This single patty burger is much more balanced. Unless you’re just hankering for a bunch of beef, the balance on the Kelly Classic provided a more entertaining and complex sensation of flavors and textures. For you non-foodies, that means it tasted REAL good.
If there is any bad news, the plans are for the trailer to stay in place most of the time. But that’s good news for burger or food truck fans in eastern Collin County who generally have to drive an hour or more to find food trucks in the Dallas area. Maybe, if we ask nicely, we can convince them to join up with some of our other awesome food trucks in North Texas for a special event.
This truck can make a claim no other food truck in the area can make. They raise all of the beef used in the burgers and they proudly tell you 10 different ways grass fed beef is better for your than grain fed beef on the website. You can follow the comments of their satisfied customers on Facebook and hear about the appearances at special events on Twitter. They are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
I think I”ll lay awake tonight planning my next visit so I can confirm they’ve got down the ‘consistent delivery’ thing ….
DFW Food Trucks are well represented in the Eat Red. Drink Red. Save Lives. Campaign sponsored by Red.org. This non-profit foundation funds aids research and treatment for AIDS in Africa, where AIDS remains a major threat and treatment, that costs only 40 cents per day, is not commonly available.
This is the first year for a food industry specific campaign. Restaurants, bars, diners and food trucks all across the country have signed up to participate.
Each truck has designed a Red Menu item and donates a portion of the purchase price. You can help #86AIDS by visiting one of these participating truck:
@brunchtruckdfw @eatjodawgs @funkytownfoods @getenticed
@guavatreetruck @pompeiidfw and @sauzysfoodtruck
For more information, view the videos below and visit www.red.org.
I love to translate foreign words, especially foreign names, to see what they mean. The website says YimYam translates “smile.” Google a translation of YimYam from Thai to English and you find “[to be] sincere, honest, genuine.” I can tell you that spot-on, first impressions are that this translation applies equally well to the owners, Kham Phommahaxay and Daniel Hwi, and to their food. The menu is Thai inspired or, as the truck says, Thai Fusion. They deliver on their desire to serve delicious Thai dishes that are unique but still familiar to the taste buds.
We caught up with Yim Yam Truck in Cleburne, TX with several other trucks serving up great food truck fare at The Support the Sound Food Truck Bash. While the menu may vary seasonally, the menu today looked like this:
In fairness, YIMYAM caught the short straw because their food would travel so we took home dinner. Oh, we tasted it fresh and hot but trust me, this food travels home (even if it’s a few hours later) just fine! First impressions are that the portions are generous while the ingredients are fresh, high quality and prepared by someone who knows what they’re doing. And he does … The culinary genius behind YIMYAM is Kham, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, sometimes inspired by Daniel who brings a little of his Malaysian heritage.
It might not be true for everyone, but we split a Curry Porky and a pair of Fire Balls. Add a serving of Thai Slaw and we were completely satisfied.
The Fireball, a panko coated and deep fried rice ball, is crispy on the outside and moist inside, big as a handball (almost 2″ in diameter) and it delivers a progression of textures and flavors that’s sure to please. For a fire-eater like me, the name Fireball is overstated but there’s definitely some ‘heat’ in these tasty morsels. And while you might be able to stuff one in your mouth whole, DON”T! Take more bites and spread out the enjoyment!!
YIMYAM offers the Beefy Brisket and the Nutty Chick but today’s choice was the Curry Porky. It may not sound like fine dining but the Green Curry pork and Thai Slaw drizzled with a spicy mayo sauce served over perfectly steamed white rice would sell for way more served up on fancy white china. Personally, I prefer to pay for the food; not the plate!
I’m looking forward to eating with Kham and Daniel again so I can sample more of the menu. First impressions are important and my first impression was a good one. After a single visit, I have some new translations for YIMYAM:
YIMYAN means FRIENDLY, and Kham and Daniel are as friendly as you’ll find.
YIMYAM means YUM, at least that’s how I feel after my first experience with Thai Fusion the YIMYAM way.
And it may be taking some liberties, but I’m pretty sure you could also translate YIMYAM as Eat, Smile, Repeat … I did with each bite.
If you want to try YIMYAM, you can find them on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, check out their website.
It’s all about the biscuit! Anybody can offer you sandwiches on somebody else’s bread but Candace and Grant Lambdin serve up a host of delightful sandwiches served on scratch made biscuits.
When you walk up to the gleaming stainless steel trailer, your first glimpse of the creative spirit inside that came up with all the recipes are the menu boards hanging on the side of the trailer drawing you in to discover what tantalizing treats are to be found. Interesting, ingenious and practical – just take down the mini-blackboard when you run out of an item.
If you fall into the group that follows the mantra, “Life is short, eat dessert first”, then like me, your eyes are gonna naturally fall on the board that says Brandy Biscuit Bread Pudding first.
Brandy Biscuit Bread Pudding – Did I say Brandy? ‘Nuff said!
And that first bite is gonna make you want to order another one! But don’t, there’s lots more good stuff waiting for you on another board.
The wife and I quickly make a sandwich choice and my penchant for all things beefy and spicy make my choice easy -The Spicy Biscuit Burger.
The Spicy Burger Biscuit is a different take on the traditional burger. The biscuit is a little sweet, the patty substantial but fear not – it’s only a little spicy. I was curious about the candied jalapenos and happy to see that restraint is the order of the day. The candied coating is light and nicely contrasts with the ‘heat’ of the freshly sliced jalapeno. It’s obvious the ingredients are high quality and fresh.
The menu offers a number of othersandwich options, including the Fried Chicken Biscuit ATW (All The Way), and the FFL-FGT (a bacon and fried green tomato sandwhich with fresh arugala). I’ll try one of those on a future visit but today is a beef day. The wife being more appreciative of well matched ingredients less commonly found on a sandwich opted for the Chef Biscuit.
The Chef Biscuit ($8) is the most popular sandwich at Bite My Biscuit. It’s no wonder with juicy, tender Hangar Steak, Arugala, Red Onion and the special Balsamic Creme Fraiche sauce.
A meal needs more than a burger – it needs potatoes! And what better proof do you need that they’re incredible than the Sweet Potato Frites selling out just before we ordered ! The frites are shredded, deep fried to a crispy state and drizzled with marshmallow brandy cream sauce. I will be trying the frites on a future trip to Bite My Biscuit!
With the frites sold out, we had to ‘settle’ for the Potato Fries. Sliced super thin, deep fried to a golden color they make you think of potato chips. Ours came out a little less crispy than I expected but if you like your taters prepared this way, these are certain to please.
Here’s the whole meal. Plenty for two for about $22 bucks not counting drinks.
The family (of two) meal made our way!
Bite My Biscuit is a Tarrant County based truck that’s only been operating since March 14, 2014, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t tried them yet. You can find them at Weatherford “trade days” events other locations, mostly on the southwest side of the metroplex. They’re busy booking events so if you want hire them or just order from the window, check them out at Facebook or check for current locations on Twitter.
I am PSYCHED!!! The first EVER Mobile Food Conference is scheduled in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, September 14th, and I AM GOING!!! The plane tickets and room are booked, registration confirmed – We’re going to Portland! (Of course I’m taking my trusty sidekick, best friend and partner Janice)
Why should you consider going (besides all the awesome people who are going to be there and the fact this is historic event)??
If you are a new food truck owner or think you might want to become a food truck owner, START-UP BOOT CAMP is an all day program that will give you the fundamentals you’ll need to launch a successful business.
If you are already a food truck owner there is a smorgasbord of classes, lead by industry leaders and pioneers from across the land, to address your interests. Learn about the latest innovations in mobile vending, up your marketing with best practices for social media, online options and more, get valuable tips on how to gain the support of your city for mobile food vendors (I’ll be at that one for sure!), get information on how to grow your business or for an overview, take the Cliff Notes in Mobile Food Biz 101.
But why, you ask, am I so totally psyched?? Because I’m already hooked up with representatives from food truck organizations in Southern California, Portland, District of Columbia, NYC, Minnesota, Maryland, Phoenix, and New Orleans! I’ve got time scheduled to pick their brains about what works for them, their successes in creating a level playing field, and how each approaches their market uniquely.
There’s still time for you to join us in Portland. For information about the conference, special room rates and registration, go to http://roamconference.com/about/.