Gastro_Bomber_Picanha

Gastro Bomber – Dallas

 

The Gastro Bomber Serves up Traditional Pub Grub with a Texas Twist

“You’ll be back.  I know you’ll be back.”  If you’ve ever walked past Gastro Bomber, you know you’ve heard Robert Robbins call this phrase out to you.  And you know he’s talking to you, no matter how many other people may be walking by at the same time.  That’s just how engaging Robert is.

 

And, if you are like me, you probably walked on past to check out the other truck menus, but ended up coming back, Robert is always quick to greet you with, “I knew you’d be back!  What can I get ya?”  And I have been back – more than once.

 

The menu is never long but the choices are varied and interesting:  Shepherd’s Pie Croquettes, Fish & Chips, Irish Nachos, Picanha sandwich, Mushroom Sliders and with fall weather coming, soups will soon be added to the selection.  Robert describes the menu as traditional pub grub with a Texas twist.  If so, then I’ve got to start going to a better class of pubs!  Chef KT, Robert’s brother-in-law, puts his own twist on things.

Chef KT takes a moment to ‘pose’ for our camera!

 

Robert and Chef KT drew me in the first visit with their Shepherd’s Pie Croquettes ($8).  These lightly breaded balls of garlic mash potatoes are deep fried and set in a pool of gravy simply garnished with some chopped scallions.  Bite into the crunchy seasoned outer crust and then you hit the smooth, creamy potatoes and your taste buds scream out, “Oh yeah!”  Do me again!!  These gourmet delicacies are like no other pub grub I’ve had and the cardboard container really doesn’t do them justice.   It’s OK though, ‘cause these are truck food, where you pay for the food and not the fancy dinnerware.

Shepherd’s Pie – Croquette style!

 

Using extreme self-control, I limited my first impression to the croquettes.  That didn’t last very long and I hooked up with Gastro Bomber again.  The Picanha sandwich ($8) is a grilled beef steak marinated in garlic sauce served on toasted ciabatta bread and Chef KT dresses his up with roasted tomatoes, a little onion and chimichurri sauce.  KT loads it up and when you bite into it , the medley of flavors explode into the far reaches of your mouth.  Is this really that good, you ask?  Let’s just say the photo is the SECOND one I bought since the first one disappeared before we got a photo!!

The Picanha Sandwich

 

Sometimes I read the name of a dish and forget to go further.  Fortunately, Janice read the description on the Irish Nachos ($7) and added them to the order.  I tell you that only so you understand my surprise when the ‘nachos’ were French Fries.  Duh, Irish = potatoes!!  This is a huge container loaded with fries that are topped with Mexican cheeses, bacon bits, chopped green onions and a chipotle sour cream sauce.  The sauce provides a pleasant little kick and the experience is different, but reminiscent, of kimchee.  It actually took three of us (my son got the leftovers) to clean this platter!

Irish Nachos

 

The Gastro Bomber Truck reflects Robert’s military experience with a fighter bomber design.  The Tip ‘boot’ out front reflects Robert’s commitment to the men and women who serve in our military with all tips going to charities that support our veterans.

 

If you’ve not been ‘back’ to Gastro Bomber, you might want to put them on your list.  Robert is looking for YOU!  You can find the Gastro Bomber Truck by following them on Facebook or Twitter

 

 

 

 

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Eat! Mobile Dining – Cincinnati

EAT! Offers Refined Cuisine and Wholesome, Healthy Choices

 

Jason Perkins hit the streets of Cincinnati with EAT! in February of 2012. His truck is not your “normal Cincinnati” food truck.  Jason understands what Gourmet means and he put it on a truck. Jason offers a good variety of menu choices and uses quality ingredients. You can actually get a 3-course meal from EAT!.

 

 

We started our meal with an Appetizer a Trio of Assorted Bruschetta.

Trio of Assorted Bruschetta

On the right is grilled mushrooms, topped with cheese, then a grilled veggie melody, and a salad bruschetta. I mean really one was not enough for Chef Jason. He had to give my taste buds three different tastes to start my meal. I think the grilled mushrooms just might be my favorite, but the salad was a pleasant surprise.

Mixed Vegetable (right) and Salad Bruschetta (left)

 

Grilled Mushroom Bruschetta (left) and Vegetable Medley Bruschetta on the right.

 

Next up for my dining pleasure was Sweet and Savory Rubbed Chicken on a multi-grain bread with Manchego Cheese and grilled veggies. This was a wonderful infusion of flavor with both the chicken and the veggies. A sure winner that everyone should try.

Sweet and Savory Rubbed Chicken Sandwich

 

The chunks of chicken are tossed with little bits of grilled onions and squash

 

If you can’t get enough of Chef Jason’s delectable but wholesome creations from the truck, he offers Personal Chef Services where he’ll prepare a freezer full of scrumptious and healthy easy to heat meals.  Perfect for the busy new mother, the busy executive or just because the food is so darn good!  Of course, then you’ll miss the friendly banter and fun of ordering at the window!

 

Look for the blue and white truck on Fountain Square some weekdays and stop by to give EAT! a try.

 

You can learn more about EAT! Mobile Dining at the website or find out where they will be by checking Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Meet Yellow Belly – Dallas’ Newest Food Truck

Yellow Belly Makes Yellow the New Red

Updated 10/27:

Some ideas take longer to mature than others.  Chef Jason Tolleson, Cordon Bleu grad and Four Seasons Resort/Austin vet, created a yellow tomato salsa to enter in a competition 10 years ago.  The idea to create an entire menu based on a line of sauces made from yellow tomatoes stayed with him.  Thanks to a partnership with friends Nathan Short and Matt Saunders, the Yellow Belly Food Truck was born.  The truck will make its Dallas debut on October 27th at Cedars Food Park at Dallas Heritage Village.

Friends, family and total strangers all came out to welcome Yellow Belly to Dallas

 

Dallas Food Trukkies, get ready for a totally new experience.  The descriptions may sound familiar but the look and taste is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.  I was the lucky and proud Customer #1 at the soft opening Sunday night, October 21, 2012, behind the Granada Theater.  Kept the receipt to prove it!!

 

The menu offers up a couple of sandwiches:  The Yellow Submarine – meatballs with yellow marinara, smoked provolone & goat cheese on a toasted bolillo roll.  The yellow marinara is slightly sweet and (no offense if my description is off) the goat cheese adds a touch of tangy that is surprising and entertaining.  The Smoked Provolone melts to a gooey goodness.  After this, you’ll never order a meatball marinara anywhere else.

The Yellow Submarine is meatballs in yellow marinara topped with melted Provolone cheese and Goats cheese, sprinkled with a dash of cilantro.

 

Bring napkins – the Yellow Submarine is a messy one!

The BLYT (Bacon, Lettuce, Yellow Tomato), is Yellow Belly’s version of a BLT:  sourdough stuffed with fried yellow tomatoes, leaf lettuce and candied bacon.  No personal testimonials or photos (yet!) but the comments I heard from others is that it’s great.

 

If you prefer your meal without bread, go for the yellow-sauced pork wings called Flying Swine or the Beef Brisket Link topped with Yellow Belly Barbeque sauce, Pear/Jalapeno Slaw and dried cranberries.  We opted for the Flying Swine.  Ooooohhh, roll your eyes back in your head tender, succulent pork on a short bone nesting in a bed of mixed greens.  This is what a Chicken Wing wants to be when it grows up!

Flying Swine

 

The menu is so intriguing, we lost control.  Janice ordered the Yellow Tomato Salad.  As healthy as it sounds, Chef Jason combines mixed greens, goat cheese, almonds and (of course) yellow tomatoes drizzled with a Yellow Tomato Vinaigrette and dried cranberries for a light and refreshing meal that comes with a little kick included.

The Yellow Belly Salad is great as a side (shared) or an entree

 

The sweet potato fries are unlike any I’ve ever had anywhere, anytime.  Sliced thin and wide, they are tossed in lime zest, fresh garlic, herbs and sea salt.  The savory seasonings are a perfect complement to the sweetness of the fry.  They’re served with Yellow Belly’s signature ketchup; yellow, of course.   Yellow tomatoes are naturally sweeter than red tomatoes and just a hint of sweetness comes through along with something (I’m not the chef, I just like to eat!) with a tiny little bite to it.

Sweet Potato Fries and Yellow Ketchup

 

I’m rarely tempted by any drink offerings, preferring cold water or beer, but we had to try the YB Mocktails.  The YB Iced Tea is fresh brewed and served with frozen tea ice cubes to keep it from getting watered down.  There’s sweetened lemon syrup offered if you prefer your tea sweet.  It was good, but the winner is the Cucumber Fojito.  This is a carbonated, non-alcoholic Cucumber Mojito that is sensational.  And, you can drink ‘em all night and never worry about a cop pulling you over!

The Cucumber Fojito is a non-alcoholic faux Mojito

 

Pricing ranges from $7.00 – $9.25 for entrees and $4.50 for sides but this food is truly gourmet.  Top quality ingredients, unique recipes and perfectly prepared make it a good value.  [Disclaimer:  These were the soft opening prices.  Pricing is subject to change.]

Like all of the food trucks, you can find out where they’re going to be by following Yellow Belly Food Truck on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Well, it’s official – I ATE THE WHOLE THING! Yes, every item on the menu as of 10/27/12.

This is one of the few trucks in Dallas that I can say that Scores a 10 out of 10. Let’s face it, menus are created so that everyone can find something they like and sometimes they have ingredients you just don’ like. While the item may be prepared to perfection, personal tastes come in and no not for me.

So here you go with the rest of the menu…

Southern Gold-cilantro fried yellow tomatoes served with a side of chipotle aioli. These fried YELLOW tomatoes are JUICY! Lick your fingers juicy. I recommend using a fork unless you want delicious juice running down your arm :) Spread the fried tomatoes with the chipotle first then eat every bite.

Of course what goes better with tomatoes than bacon? Yellow Belly offers a BLYT.  Cilantro Fried Yellow Tomatoes, Candied Bacon, Leaf Lettuce and Chipotle Aioli on a Bollio Roll, I am amazed at the amount of flavor that came from this sandwich, but you could still taste each ingredient.

 

And last but not least…

Beef Brisket LInk. Yes I said link. Beef Brisket stuffed inside a link, then topped with slaw and fried onions. YUMMMM!

 

That is it and because they are all so good, I am not going to tell you which one is best. My plan is to rotate, and have a different item each time I go. MMMM, I wonder where they are today…FIND YELLOW BELLY

Rockin_Ricks_ Shirmp_poboy

Rockn’ Rick’s Food Truck – Forney, TX

 

All American Cuisine from an All American Family

 

 

Ask 10 people what makes a food truck a ‘gourmet’ food truck and you will likely get 10 different answers.  If your vision of ‘gourmet’ is small portions and big prices, then Rockn’ Rick’s may not be what you expect.  That’s OK with Rick and Mary Minter, owners and operators of Rockn’ Rick’s food truck.  They just want you to end up happy and satisfied.

 

Rockn’ Rick’s has been rolling for a few months now and, to be honest, it took me several visits to get a handle on what makes Rockn’ Rick’s tick.  The truck features a crayfish logo and other stylistic references to New Orleans that makes me think Cajun.  But that crayfish is rocking an electric guitar, there are people dancin’ down the side of the truck and even some musical notes that make me think Hard Rock Café.  And then you look at the menu on the website and you pick up a distinctly Caribbean/Jamaican vibe.  But after several visits and spending time with the family, I have started to think of Rockn’ Rick’s as a hometown diner on wheels. The menu may lean toward Cajun but there is something to satisfy most cravings depending on your mood.  If you need any more proof, just keep reading.

 

I’m not a big PoBoy fan.  In my opinion, there’s too much bread and the flavor gets lost.  Rick offers several types of PoBoy sandwiches including Pulled Pork, Fish and Chicken but I chose the Shrimp.  I’m guessing maybe this is Rick’s favorite since the menu on the website, which has names for every dish, calls this one the De Rockn Rick!  The shrimp are big and fat and there’s a bunch of them.  They’re grilled and buttery and spicy, which in my mind is waaay better than deep fried, and the creamy remoulade sauce is spicy.  One bite and I begin salivating; heck, just thinking about that shrimp, I start salivating.  The bun is toasted and there’s a lot of it but not so much it overpowers the shrimp.  The fixin’s add to the texture and flavor medley resulting in a fairly complex mixture of sensations that still manages to come off light; well, light considering it is a sandwich.  I’m still not a fan but as PoBoys go, this one was really good in my opinion.

 

Red Beans and Rice was on the early menu, then took a break during the Summer heat, but with Autumn here and cooler temperatures, Rick brought it back.  I’m prefer really spicy foods but that’s why there’s hot sauce.  These Red Beans and Rice are a mellow blend of pinto beans, red beans and HUGE chunks of sausage.  The rice is on the bottom so you want to stir it up to get everything in one bite.

 

Another Cajun standard is Gumbo and you can get that at Rockn’ Rick’s.  Again, you get huge chunks of sausage, tender pork and chopped celery, onions and traditional seasonings.  Most of the gumbo I’ve had in the past is a darker, stronger flavored roux but I found the lighter roux, almost a broth, on this dish a nice change.

 

The last Cajun item from Rockn’ Rick’s that I’ve tried is the Jambalaya.  If you are lookin’ for a little of that Cajun kick, the Jambalaya offers enough to tease you and not so much it will offend the ‘spicy averse’ diner.  Jambalaya can be made with just about any type of meat or fish but Rick’s is made with Andouille Sausage, long white rice and blended with tomato, onion and secret seasonings.

 

But what about the choices other than Cajun, you ask?  Rick serves up his version of a Philly Cheesesteak, piled high with thinly sliced beef and topped with melted cheese and sliced onions on the same bun he uses for the PoBoys.  There’s a lot of debate about what constitutes an authentic cheesesteak sandwich, and Rick’s is clearly his take on this Philly favorite, but the flavor is robust and the quality ingredients carry the day.

 

Head southeast from Dallas about as far northeast as Philly and you end up in Jamaica.  The Jamaican Burger gives you a total smorgasbord of flavors:  sweet, savory and spicy.  A quarter pound custom blend beef/bacon patty is topped with jerk aioli, pineapple and more bacon and garnished with tomato, onion and jalapeno (or habanero depending on the day).  It definitely has that Caribbean vibe going on.

Take a little side trip to Jamaica Mon for Rockn’ Rick’s Jamaican Hamburger

 

The menu fills out with diverse offerings including a Fried Bologna PoBoy, a couple of salads and French Fries with your choice of Cajun, Jalapeno or Rosemary Sea Salt and, if that’s not enough, you can get ‘em with chili & cheese.  Whew!

 

Remember how I said that eating at Rockn’ Rick’s is kinda like going to a hometown diner?  The truck is a joint effort by Rick and Mary, his wife, and on the weekend or summertime, you’re likely to find their daughter, Cassie, or even grand-daughter, Taylor, out front taking orders.  They’ll greet you with a smile, make you feel welcome, ask to be sure everything is OK and when you go back to visit, there’s a good chance they’ll call you by name.  Just think of Rick and Mary as friends you haven’t met yet.  Yep, feels just like going to my hometown diner!

The Rockn’ Rick’s truck with the whole family out to help!

 

I apologize for goin’ on so long and I apologize to Rick and Mary for takin’ so long to get it done.  I’m telling you, if you haven’t tried Rockn’ Rick’s (or if you haven’t even tried this new food truck thing), you need to get yourself out to meet them.  You can find out where they are setting up by following them on Facebook or Twitter.  And while they are proud of their hometown of Forney, they get around the DFW area so they’re likely to be somewhere not too far away.

And when you go, how about helping me get out of the doghouse a little and tell ‘em Food Truck Connection sent you!!

 

 

 

 

Chef Dan served up Southern Comfort food of Rib Tips, Mac 'n Cheese and Collard Greens

Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort at Triton Brewery- Indianapolis

Chef Dan Pairs with Triton Brewery for Beer and BBQ

This experience is proof positive that a little effort can reap big rewards.  On our recent food truck odyssey, we found ourselves headed from Cincinnati, OH to Terre Haute, IN to spend the night with good friends.  Indianapolis has a growing food truck community and we’d hit town just about dinnertime.  Calling up a food truck junkie’s favorite tools, Google and Twitter, we found notice that Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort would be parked outside the Triton Brewing Company and they were just a few miles off our route!  Program the address into the nav system and we’re off!

Chef Daniel Carter and wife, Allison, are Mississippi born and bred and they know something about southern comfort food.  The menu reflects the ‘feel good’ food found in the south. This is just the tip of the turnip.

Tonight’s Menu – space limits what can be offered at one time but the full menu covers the whole range of southern comfort food. Check it out on the website.

 

It is dinner time so the Rib Tip Dinner flies to the top of the option list.  I pair the meat with Cajun Pasta and Collard Greens.  I am not disappointed!  The BBQ sauce is smoky, sweet and spicy and the rib tips melt in your mouth.  They fall apart when you bite into them and your fingers and face end up a mess – just the way great BBQ is supposed to be!  The Cajun Pasta is cool and a pleasant complement; creamy and tender with just a hint of Cajun spice.  The coup de grace that any true southern foodie wants is Collard Greens.  And Chef Dan’s Collard Green’s will stand above anybody’s – mild flavors, firm texture (not mushy) and ohhhhh, so delish!  A light, perfectly fried Hush Puppie to fill out the experience.  Oh yeah, I’m feeling really ‘comforted’!!

Tonight’s feature: The Rib Tip Dinner with Cajun Pasta and Collard Greens

 

The dessert menu tonight is simple.  You can have anything you want as long as it’s Banana Pudding.  This is about as simple as it gets for dessert – vanilla pudding and banana slices layered with Vanilla Wafers.  There are two camps on Banana Pudding – crispy Vanilla Wafers or softened cookies – and the make-ahead requirement means you’re much more likely to get soft (even soggy) cookies than crispy ones.  Regardless of which side of the argument you side with, who hasn’t been taken back to their childhood by this simple, sweet ending to a meal filled with favorite comfort food.

Banana Pudding the Chef Dan Southern Comfort way

 

I’m not sure what it is about food trucks and beer, but the synergy generated when you pair them up produces an experience greater than the parts.  Triton appreciates the benefits of rotating food experiences and schedules food trucks Wednesday – Sunday nights and lunch on the weekends.  Tonight’s pairing with Triton Brewing Company, gave us the added benefit of getting to experience the sampler from Triton.

The Triton Sampler – why limit yourself to one beer when you can experience six different brews?

 

Chef Dan, a graduate of the Paul Prudhomme Culinary School, has more than 30+ years of cooking experience that includes opening the kitchens in various casinos and the downtown Marriott, cooking as Executive Sous Chef for the Indianapolis Colts and even overseeing the meal preparation for President George W. Bush’s inauguration dinner.  Now, he and Allison are living the dream of working for themselves and bringing a creative ‘home cooked’ menu to the food truck.

Chef Dan’s Mobile Kitchen – it’s not big or fancy but the food is fabulous

 

Oh, coincidentally, today (October 20th) is the 1 year anniversary of Triton Brewing Company’s opening.  Why don’t you go out wish them a Happy Birthday.  You’ll miss Chef Dan, he was there yesterday celebrating my birthday.  Well, I was there celebrating in my thoughts!  But if you want to find out where Chef Dan and Allison will be setting up next to serve their amazing southern comfort food, you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Indianapolis is a great destination city for business or pleasure.  If you find yourself in Indy or traveling through, make the effort to sample their food trucks.  If Chef Dan is an indication, it will be well worth the effort to track ‘em down!  And if you want, tell ‘em that Food Truck Connection sent you!

 

 

 

Aji Mobile Foods – Phoenix

Aji Mobile Foods Bring Latin American Cuisine to the Valley of the Sun

 

Behind this food truck is Chef Giancarlo Alarcon and his father Joe.   Like many Food Truck owners, Chef Giancarlo was tired of working for someone else and his father was there for support.   I am so grateful, because now we can enjoy Chef Giancarlo’s own Latin American food on the streets of Phoenix. I love Latin food but it is hard to find anywhere.  On this evening, Chef Alarcon’s Father, Joe Alarcon, was running the truck. On tonight’s menu were 6 choices.  Don’t sweat the limited menu.  Aji changes it up by offering specials each week that feature a different Latin American country.

 

We chose the Gaucho. This big sandwich is made of steak, red onion, arugula, and a chimichurri aioli. The steak was tender and the chimichurri aioli was delish.

The Gaucho is a marinated steak sandwich big enough for a man sized appetite.

 

Next up was was the Hornado. Marinated, slow roasted pork with citrus marinated onions and aji serrano.  It hard to pick a winner between these two sandwiches.  The pork on the Hornado cooks up a little more tender and the aji serrano has just a little more kick that the chimichurri aioli on the Gaucho.  Let’s call it a TIE!!

The Hornado is soft and spicy!

 

Then the Yucca Fries. Kudos to Joe, they were cooked to perfection – not greasy, crispy on the outside and tender and fluffy on the inside. If you’ve never had cojita cheese you gotta try it!  This aged Mexican cheese is the perfect garnish for the fries.  Twice as much salt as most cheeses it makes these Yucca fries perfect, just perfect.

Yucca Fries cooked to perfection and garnished with Cojita cheese for an extra salty kick.

 

Papa Joe and Giancarlo may be Ecuadorian by heritage but they bring a broad Latin food experience in the menu.  Their hard work and warm smiles have already won a place in the hearts and support of Phoenecian Food Truck fans. Aji Mobile Foods was named one of the top 15 Metro Phoenix food trucks by AZ Central.

 

 

 

If you’re ready to spice up your life a little, you can find out where Aji Mobile Foods is serving lunch or dinner today by following them on Twitter or checking their Facebook page.

 

Food Trucks Come to Forney, TX, For the First Food Truck Rally

 

Lady Rabbits Booster Club Sponsor the Forney Food Truck Rally Fundraiser

 

Hey Food Truck People!  Food trucks are coming to Forney, TX, to support a fundraiser sponsored by the Forney High School Lady Rabbits Soccer Booster Club.  Make a day of it.  The Forney High School Homecoming parade will follow.

Rockin Ricks is the hometown favorite but he’s joined by DFW favorites in supporting the Lady Rabbits Soccer Booster Club.

 

Rockin Ricks calls Forney home and he’ll be joined by Easy Slider, Four Seasons, Potato Potahto, Rock & Roll Tacos, Rock Star Bakeshop and Cool Haus.  It’s sure to be one Rockin’ party.  The Halftime Pizza trailer will be there to make sure there’s something for everyone.

What’s your favorite Easy Slider slider?

 

This is the first time there’s been a food truck rally in Forney and they lined up some of the best trucks from Dallas and Fort Worth.  The trucks are donating a percentage of their sales to the fundraiser so y’all need to come out and support the trucks so their donation is as big as possible!

Cool Haus has new fall flavors – making even more amazing cookie/ice cream combinations available!

 

Event Date:     October 20, 2012

Event Time:     11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  (Homecoming Parade to follow)

Location:         City Bank Plaza at 771 E. Highway 80,  Forney, TX

Map

 

What, not hungry yet??  Then maybe one of these will get to ya!!

That’s a totally loaded signature Smoked Brisket with Pickled Red Onion tater from Potato Potahto

 

Nothing like a Whoopie Pie from Rockstar Bakeshop to get you ready to WHOOP it up at Homecoming! Go crazy – take a six pack!!

 

Four Seasons will be serving up Bacon Burgers, Philly Cheesesteaks and more!!

 

Rock & Roll Tacos will satisfy the most demanding standards offering street tacos and specialty tacos like this Tijuana Taco with bacon wrapped shrimp!

 

Come on out!  I’ll be at Cool Haus … no Rockin Ricks … NO … I’ll be all over!!

 

 

Hey_Joe_Lumpia_Closeup

Hey Joe! Brings His Favorite Filipino Street Food to Phoenix Streets

Think of Hey Joe! as a Friend You Haven’t Met Yet!

 

“You have to go to Hey Joe! Filipino Food Truck, you will really like it” That is what our daughter said after her visit a few months ago. So, of course, “Hey, Joe!” was on the ‘must do’ list for our latest visit to Phoenix.

Hey Joe! was created by Brian & Margita Webb. You see, Brian is a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and he married the beautiful Margita, who is from Lapu Lapu, a small island close to Cebu in the Philippines. After a visit to Margita’s home and tasting the local food,  Brian knew what they had to do; they had to bring the street food of Lapu Lapu to the streets of Phoenix.

 

Hey Joe! Owners – Brian and Margita Webb

 

First up was the Valley Dish, which included Pork Lumpia’s, Pancit and rice. The Pork Lumpia is what most of us would call an egg roll. But here at Hey Joe!’ it is filled with local ground pork and fresh, crisp organic veggies. The Lumpia is smaller in diameter than an egg roll allowing the flakiness of the wrap to better balance the crispy, fresh veggie filling.  It was fried to a light golden brown and was not the least bit greasy.

Masarap! (Which is Filipino for delicious, delicate, savory or YUMMY!).

Lumpia – fresh, crisp veggies inside a light, flaky golden brown wrapper

 

Next is the Pancit, which consisted of thin rice noodles, carrots, celery, red and green bell peppers, onion and chicken. It is stir fried in their special sauce, which was very light, allowing the noodles and veggies and chicken to shine. And as with most Asian-influenced cuisine, a heaping scoop of seasoned rice accompanied the meal. I could eat this almost every day.

Pancit over Seasoned Rice

 

I am a pork lover and could not wait to try the Fried Pork Belly. I was not disappointed. This is killer!  Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and served with the most wonderful soy sauce blend.  I am in lust over this dish.  I am counting the days until our next visit to Phoenix!  I always thought that Fried Pork Belly was a Southern U.S. food creation but this street food has been in the Phillipines for generations.

Fried Pork Belly served with Hey Joe! special soy sauce blend, pickled veggies and seasoned rice makes a perfect symphony of textures and taste sensations!

My biggest regret, aside from not being able to take Margita (pronounced Mar-Jeetah) and Brian back to Dallas, is not arriving in Phoenix a week earlier.  Hey Joe! was selected to participate in the Dos Equis Most Interesting Food in the World promotion.  Their assignment was Crocodile Lumpia (featuring croc meat instead of pork, duh!), Sisig (grilled Burmese Python chopped with citrus and served over rice) and Siopao (think Steam Bun filled with Camel meat).  WOW, talk about opportunity lost!!

And just where did the name, Hey Joe! come from, you ask?  In the Philippines, American men are often called “Joe” when their real name isn’t known.  When Brian would walk down the street, people in the marketplace would call out, “Hey Joe!” to get his attention.  Besides, it sounds catchier than Hey Brian!.

The Hey Joe! truck – just look for the fake Crime Tape!

 

I have to admit I love Brian’s not so subtle dig at all the regulations limiting when and where the truck can park.  I totally agree – Street Food is Not a Crime!  If you want to support Hey Joe!’and his stand for food truck rights, you can find out where they’re setting up next by following them on Facebook or Twitter.  And to check out some neat photos of street food vendors in Lapu Lapu and other delectable menu items, check out the website.

Hey Joe! is a proud member of the Phoenix Street Food Coalition where every member pledges to use a minimum of 30% local produce and products in their menu.  The Coalition website publishes a Weekly Calendar for regularly scheduled events and locations.

 

MaryBeth & Tim Scanlon Are The Pizza People Phoenix

 

The Dough is the Secret Recipe for their Artisan Pizza

Domino’s Pizza promised your pizza in 30 minutes or it’s free.  MaryBeth apologized, more than once, when it took more than 10 minutes to get our pizzas cooked.  Forget that we were the first customers of the day and the oven needed to heat up – good things are always worth the wait and the pizza was definitely a good thing.

 

There were two menus – Build Your Own or Today’s Specials.  We went for the specials but look at those options on the Build Your Own.  Schreiner’s Sausage is a premier local supplier.  Vegan cheese option (Daiya).  Even a gluten free crust option!  And, in keeping with the commitment of the Phoenix Street Food Coalition, more than 30% of their products are locally grown.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Testosteroni (what a fun name!) featured that local Schreiner’s Sausage.  It came out steaming hot … and the first bite?  The crunchy crust bottom, something you can only get by using a pizza stone to cook on, gave way to softer, chewier dough.  Then the savory toppings and rich tomato-based pizza sauce completed the complex cycle of textures and flavors.  Pretty fancy words for a pizza, I know.  But this was a pizza that checked off all of the boxes.  The dough and the sauce are their own recipe’s, handmade fresh daily, and prepared with care.

The Testosteroni

 

We had to try the Popeye.  Our favorite pizza truck does an incredible Popeye pizza.  Could this one compare?  In the end, it compares like apples and oranges.  Or in this case, thin crust or the thicker, crunchy pizza stone crust from Pizza People that features a homemade, personal recipe dough that was developed by Marybeth and Tim.  There is nothing exotic about the ingredients but they were fresh and balanced – not too garlic-y, not too bland.  Even if you prefer a thin crust, you’ll still enjoy this pie.

The Popeye serves up fresh spinach, roasted tomatoes and mozzarella cheese with a hint of garlic for the ‘Popeye’ punch!

 

The visit to Pizza People was relaxed and enjoyable.  Tim and MaryBeth are really nice people who are passionate about what they’re doing.  MaryBeth is on the board for the Phoenix Street Food Coalition.  And, thankfully, Tim is mended from a bad motorcycle accident a few months ago.  In fact, my timing was terrific since we found them out for only the second day since Tim’s return.

Tim & MaryBeth Scanlon, proud owners of Pizza People and soon to be proud parents!

 

While neither MaryBeth nor Tim claim the title ‘Chef’, MaryBeth had worked in the restaurant business for 18 years and Tim, well, he worked for Little Ceasar’s when he was 18!

 

One of the challenges of serving made-to-order pizza from a truck is the cook time.  Recognizing that this can create a problem for folks on a lunch hour, they offer call-in orders that are ready to pick up when you get there!  That’s a first for me.  If you want to know if they’ll be near your workplace or neighborhood, you can follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

 

Cafe_de_Wheels_ Chicken_sandwhich

Cafe de Wheels – Cincinnati

 

 

Cincinnati’s First Rolling Café Continues to Pioneer the Cincy Food Truck Scene

 

There’s a Dallas connection with Cincinnati’s pioneering food truck.  Dallas resident Tony Acito moved to Cincinnati following a job offer.  Much to his surprise, the job offer fell through, and Tony decided it was time to pursue a dream.  Café de Wheels is the result – Cincinnati’s first food truck.  Café de Wheels introduced food trucks to Cincinnati and Tony worked with the Cincinnati City Council to create an ordinance/pilot program allowing food trucks to park downtown.  Being from Dallas, I had to eat at this truck.  I caught up with Café de Wheels at Fountain Square, a place food trucks get to park only because of the effort Tony made with City Council to make it possible.

The menu has evolved over time.  An early excerpt about the menu offered a daily fare of “burgers, pot pies, tortas cubanas, homemade desserts and coffee.”  When I visited recently, the menu featured burgers with a limited number of other sandwiches and supporting items like Steak Fries (regular or sweet potato).

 

I know you are supposed to go with the feature item but I elected to go with the Spicy Panko Fried Chicken sandwich and Steak Fries.  I admit I’m pretty spoiled by the unbelievably high quality food I get from home-based Dallas food trucks but, well …, based on this single experience I’m not sure Tony would be as successful in Dallas.  Clearly, this is one person’s opinion based on a single visit and maybe I hit an off day.  I spoke with some other diners and clearly Café de Wheels has a strong following in the Cincinnati market.

The Meal

 

The chicken sandwich was nicely coated with a crispy, albeit slightly greasy, coating and the chicken itself was moist and tender.  The bun was OK but did nothing to make the sandwich stand out.  The spicy mayo added an uptick in the flavor and the lettuce and tomato joined in for their contribution to the taste and texture experience.

The Panko Fried Chicken Sandwich

 

The Steak Fries were a real disappointment.  I love great steak fries.  The kind of steak fries that are big and fat — crispy outside, soft and comforting on the inside and spiced just enough you don’t need ketchup or other condiments.  Despite a 10 minute plus wait for the meal, the fries were undercooked and greasy, overpowering any of the flavors that should have come from the sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and granulated garlic posted on the menu.  Or maybe those gourmet seasonings have been dropped in favor of ordinary salt.  Sorry, but I didn’t finish the fries.

I really wish I’d had the time to re-visit Café de Wheels.  I hoped for more.  I wanted more.   And from other people that I talked to, I expected more.  Business will take me back to Cincy at some point and fairness demands I give Café de Wheels a second chance.

 

Regardless of my first impression, Café de Wheels is doing well.  In fact, Tony recently opened a fixed location – Base Camp Burgers & Fries.  Located at Dive Bar on Short Vine in Corryville, Café de Wheels will serve food from a burger window, about the same size as the one on the truck, from 11 AM – 11 PM during the week and late on weekends.  Tom will use this location as his commissary and plans to add new items to the menu at the bar including some breakfast items for late night bar patrons.  The Café de Wheels food truck will continue to go to Fountain Square, local events and other locations.

 

If you can’t hook up with Café de Wheels at Fountain Square for lunch, you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter (@theburgertruck) for the current location or upcoming events.