Tag Archives: mobile food

Q Burger being flame kissed on the Char Grille

Quiskee’s Kitchen

Quiskee’s Kitchen

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
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.

Quiskees-Kitchen-IMG_5033-Food-Truck-Connection

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
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
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
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.

Chf Q
Chf Q

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.

Quiskee's Kitchen Menu Board
Quiskee’s Kitchen Menu Board

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
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.

Quiskee's Kitchen Food Truck
Quiskee’s Kitchen Food Truck
Chef Q and Laura
Chef Q and Laura
Adding Cheese to the Q's Burger
Adding Cheese to the Q’s Burger
Quiskee's Kitchen Steak Pita Nachos
Quiskee’s Kitchen Steak Pita Nachos
Quiskee's Kitchen Meat Pockets
Quiskee’s Kitchen Meat Pockets
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!

 

 

 

Easy Slider - Mix or Match, they're all a catch!

Easy Slider – Casual Elegance on a Bun

 

Settle in for a Easy Ride Through the Easy Slider Experience

Let’s get this out of the way.

  • Yes, there is some Easy Rider influence in naming the Easy Slider Food Truck.
  • No, neither Caroline or Miley actually ride a motorcycle.
  • Yes, you may have seen both of them at House of Blues where they met and worked together before launching Easy Slider.
  • No, they didn’t win the contest by Mobile Food News for Best Truck Graphics in the Country but they did represent Texas proudly (and all good Texans know they shoulda won!)

 

Caroline (left) and Miley (right) combined their past food experiences to create a simple menu that offers up some of the most unique sliders you’ll ever find.  The flavors are influenced by Caroline’s Texas roots and Miley’s infatuation with all things Southern. The big smiles come with every order!

 

The menu at Easy Slider is simple, offering a variety of sliders from plain to insane.  The sliders, a perfect size to eat with just one hand, feature regionally raised meats and local produce.  The menu is primarily beef but there’s an occasional pork, chicken or seafood options and a regular vegetarian choice in the Baby Bella.  Side dishes are limited to Zapp’s chips; truck-made slaws and sauces top the slider patties; and they support their friends at Rockstar Bakeshop by offering Whoopie Pies fashioned as “sweet sliders” for dessert.  Rockstar has even created exclusive flavors for Easy Rider.

 

I was raised on a Midwest meat & potatoes diet.  Vegetarian is not normally in my menu.  But I recently gave in and tried the Baby Bella.  The fat, firm grilled portobello mushroom won’t be mistaken for an angus burger but paired with a slice of tomato, pesto and mozzarella cheese, this is one good slider!  It’s all in the seasonings, the sauce and the perfect balance of flavors and textures.  And let’s add this to the food lexicon:

Real Men Eat Baby Bellas!

 

The French Revolution.  The correct Jeopardy answer is, “What Easy Slider features prosciutto, grilled onions, cheese and Dijon mustard.”  One bite and before you know what happened, you’re asking “Pardonnez-moi, c’est que je Poupon Grist Gout?”  Whaaatt?? You haven’t tried the French Revolution.  Of course it means “Pardon me, is that Grey Poupon I taste?”  This is not only a gourmet burger; it’s a French Gourmet Burger.  They’d love Easy Slider in France!!

 

No one is fessin’ up so I’m not sure if someone was hallucinating from sleep deprivation or they just accidentally dropped one of their caramels on the grill, but the result was an “Off the menu” item you usually have to request aptly named The Sugar Derby.  Sea Salt Caramel and grilled red onions top a 100% Texas Angus Beef Pattie resting between a toasted bun.  This one you just have to try to believe!

 

As I write this, is it Hatch Chile season.  Everybody knows that everything is better with Hatch Chiles.  This ooey-gooey mess of Roasted Hatch Chiles, Provolone Cheese and Red Pepper Mayo tops the Angus Beef burger.  You might want to have a supply of napkins when you order this one.  The flavors burst across your mouth and, if you’re not careful, the juice and toppings will run down your chin!  And trust me, you don’t want that to happen because you want every drop and morsel of The Green Chile Cheeseburger.

 

Until there were specials, The Black & Blue was my personal favorite.  The truck-made fresh blue cheese slaw makes this unique from the traditional presentation.  You’ll pick out the julienne carrots, the cabbage and a couple of other secret ingredients all mixed up in rich, creamy blue cheese that’s more like a sauce than the typical crumbles.  Wow, this is GREAT!

 

Your choice of two sliders is a meal when paired up with a bag of Zapp’s in the Easy Slider Basket.  Funny thing, I rarely hear anybody order two of the same.  It’s just too hard to resist the variety available!

 

Here’s a pair to share.  The Classic (behind) is just as advertised:  A savory, juicy beef pattie topped with melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.  Simple, sumptuous and satisfying!  The Sweet & Low Down (front) takes the humble slider uptown.  I have no idea what they were thinking when they put strawberry jam on a burger but boy, am I glad they did.  Just enough jam for the surprising hint of sweetness combines with the distinctly different taste of the goat cheese, the crispy bacon and those savory juices from the beef pattie to keep your taste buds surprised as the flavors slide across your palate.

 

The Texas influence from Caroline shows up in The Roadside.  This little buckaroo comes with beef, bacon, cheddar, grilled jalapenos, fried onions and extra special truck-made BBQ sauce. Bursting with down-home goodness, this one is sure to make just about everyone smile!

 

Somebody must’ve been having a craving when they came up with The Nutty Pig.  Peanut Butter on a burger?  You bet!  I don’t know how they do it, but they always get just the perfect amount of the unique topping to make its presence known but never to overpower the rest of the slider.  Another beef slider, garnished with bacon, lettuce, tomato and grilled onion. Where does the “Pig” come from?  That, my friend, comes from you cuz you can’t eat just one!!

 

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve eaten my way through the entire menu and a couple that aren’t even on the menu (but us insiders know to ask and now you’re an insider!).  You’d best get to it and look Easy Slider up on Twitter or Facebook to find out where they’ll be today.  Good luck on catching up with me.  I intend to be back soon.

 

 

Potato-Potahto_Pecan_ Smoked_ Brisket 960

Potato Potahto

Potato Potahto

 

On a holiday food truck binge, I caught up with Potato Potahto at the first annual Float Concert Series on the shore of Lake Lewis.   I admit I’m a little late to the party since Chic Henderson’s had his truck, the only one serving baked potatoes, on the streets for a couple of months now.  On the other hand, I bet there’s a bunch of you out there that missed the news so I’m here to tell ya.  This truck is unique and worth looking up.

 

 

If your idea of a “loaded” spud is butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon bits it is time to expand your horizon.  If that’s the way you like it, you can get it that way.  But understand, that recipe comes from the ‘ simpler’ Potato side of the menu.  The Daily Double offers you a pair of Pick Two’s, two items from each list.  Take a look at the menu and you’ll find 15 different toppings offered to assure you get your spud just the way you want it on your choice of Russet or Sweet Potato.

And contrary to popular opinion, baked potatoes are not a diet buster.  If you like your potato simple or you’re watching your calories they offer The Two Hundred, a baked potato with Salsa, Onions and Chives that will cost you approximately 200 calories!  Really!  My Russet potato was HUGE!!  What a caloric bargain.

If you are more adventuresome, wander over to the Potahto part of the menu where a Special of the Day gives you a gourmet spud loaded with surprising and delightful toppings.  You can get the Pecan Smoked Brisket with Pickled Red Onions or a serving of Rains County Chili everyday.  In order to get the other specialty spuds, you’ve got to pick your day of the week to track down the potato wagon.  Somehow, I’m pretty sure the Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy, Blue Cheese Buffalo Chicken or the Shrimp Jambalaya will make it worth your while.

Smoked Brisket with Pickled Red Onion

Looking for some dessert to finish off the meal?  Leave room for what else at a potato truck – a piece of Reba’s (that’s Momma to Chic) Sweet Potato Pie!  That’s definitely on the menu next time I visit them, even if I have to take it home for later!

If that wasn’t enough reason to support this truck, Chic supports local growers by serving regionally grown ingredients whenever possible and donates any unused food to temporarily homeless families residing in Family Gateway’s Annett G. Strauss Center.

 

Website:     www.potatopotahto.com/

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pages/Potato-Potahto/239145082838682

Twitter:      @potato_potahto

Cost:             $5.50 – $6.50

TruckStock_May_Pano 1

Truckstock – The Movie

Truckstock – The Movie

What if you scheduled an event and nobody came?

Durty Laundry and Sylvan Thirty planned to reprise their very successful original Truckstock event in March by teaming up with The Texas Theatre to bring Truckstock the Movie.  In addition to a projected 25 food trucks and music by the Beat Breakerz, the night was capped off with an outdoor showing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

 

 

The food trucks held up their part of the deal but by the time this writer arrived about 6 PM, four trucks had already left and several more left while I was there.  Why?  Because there just weren’t enough customers to make it worthwhile to stay around.  This was unfair to the trucks that need sufficient traffic to turn a profit and unfair to the fans and supporters who did attend but not in time to find their favorites trucks there as expected.

I stayed until almost 8 PM and unless there was a rush after I left, I’d estimate the crowd hanging around for the movie numbered no more than 150-250 people.  I hope I’m wrong and there were more.

From my viewpoint, there are a number of reasons for the low turnout:

  • The original Truckstock was heavily advertised by the promoters, local media and the food truck community.  I didn’t even hear about Truckstock the Movie until a couple of days before and wouldn’t have heard of it then if it wasn’t on the Weekly Schedule of Events from SideDish.  A Google search doesn’t provide any returns about the May event until the last entry on page 2 for information posted PRIOR to the event.
  • Scheduling on a holiday weekend, when many people travel or have other plans creates huge competition.
  • The temperatures in the 90’s are much less conducive to lingering outside compared to the 70’s we were experiencing in March.
  • Since the original Truckstock, there are a number of new Food Truck Parks in Fort Worth and Dallas along with several recurring smaller pop-up gatherings on a regular basis and regular places.

Don’t take me wrong.  Kudos to Sylvan Thirty and Durty Laundry for supporting the Dallas food truck movement. And kudos to The Bomb Fried Pies and all the trucks who held out until the movie got going.

We have some terrific food truck options and some restrictive city ordinances that make it harder than it needs to be for the courageous, creative entrepreneurs that are bringing the food truck experience to Dallas.  As a fan myself, I want every food truck event to be a smashing success.  But there are lessons to be learned from Truckstock the Movie and I truly hope that these guys look at what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again the next time … and I truly hope the series goes on.  When it does, you can count on me to be there with anticipation of writing nothing but glowing reports about how great it was to attend.

 

 

 

 

Crazy Fish_Eye of the Tiger_feature

Crazy Fish: a new fish in the Dallas Food Truck Pond:

Crazy Fish

 

I had the pleasure this weekend of running into Crazy Fish Food Truck, not once, but twice.

The truck is beautiful! Adorned with great graphics and color, how could anyone resist.

The force behind Crazy Fish is Tenielle Powers (on the left) and her little fish Cheryl  Reedy. Tenielle  has spent some serious time getting her truck up and going. The menu is marvelous. The food is great! Tenielle has put a lot of effort into finding the vendors with the freshest fish, and for Crazy Fish is must be wild, no farm raised fish here. Don’t worry if you are not a white rice fan, they offer brown rice or soy paper if you so choose.

Tenielle Powers (on the left) and her little fish Cheryl Reedy

Since my husband is not a fan of Sushi, I knew I was on my own. It is hot and I know it has to be consumed quickly I ordered just one roll. My first pick was a TNT roll. The TNT is rice, spicy tuna, cream cheese, jalapeno, cucumber, and syracha sauce. Mmmmmm, fresh, full of flavor, but not spicy hot.  Words cannot describe how great this tastes. I will be sure to have this one again.

TNT Roll

It looked so good, even my husband asked for a taste.

 

TNT Roll

 

He said that Tenielle might convince him to eat sushi, because “It tastes pretty good for sushi!”.  And it must have, because he asked for a taste of my second roll the next day!

 

My second roll was an Eye of the Tiger. Eye of the Tiger is rice, smoked salmon, cream cheese, green onions and red bell pepper. It was absolutely perfect. Once again super fresh ingredients.   You could taste each item in the roll, which is just how I like it. I shared one bite with my husband and he said it was good but not as good as the TNT. He really liked the hint of spicy to that one.

Eye of the Tiger
Eye of the Tiger

 

Now if you want sauce you can add it.  They have 6 different sauces, Tangy Ginger sauce, Zesty Orange Sesame, Sweet chilli shallot, Dark Ginger Sauce and Siriacha, Spicy Tuna mayo, Sesame mayo plus ginger to add to your rolls.

 

I have two rolls down, only 10 to go! I would never have expected to have sushi from a food truck. The experience was great and I can’t wait to try them all. Maybe by the end we will have a convert with my husband.

I had an organic experience at Crazy Fish, what can I say?

 

http://crazyfishusa.com/

Cost: $6.50 a roll or 2 for $10

The Toby Style Dog

Short Leash Hot Dogs: Sit … Stay

Sit … stay! may make you think of puppy training but this time Sit …stay! is a warm invitation from Brad & Kat Moore, owners and operators of Short Leash Hot Dogs, to join them on Friday nights at an inviting, comfortable location tucked away off the alley northwest of the intersection of Camelback and Central.  After being instrumental in starting the food truck phenomenon in Phoenix, they’re again leading the way by offering a consistent location every Friday night that makes them easy to find.

 

 

Trees along the western edge provide a shady place to sit until the sun goes down.

Sit …Stay! isn’t something normally associated with eating at a food truck.  But Brad & Kat have created a cozy, comfortable outdoor café on a vacant lot, complete with spool tables, patio chairs, and festive overhead lighting.

We’re claiming to be the official ‘came the farthest’ winners to experience Sit … Stay!  OK, we came to visit our daughter who turned us on to the opportunity but we did plan our schedule to make sure we arrived in time to experience Sit … Stay for ourselves.

Like most food trucks, the menu is limited but, come on, where else can you actually place your order by starting, “I’ll have one of everything!”  If there’s at least 3-5 in your group, you can do just that.  With only 5 items on the menu, and one of them designed like an appetizer sampler, it’s easy to make your selection.  The ‘theme’ changes each week but the offerings generally include a Nosh plate, a couple of entrée’s and a couple of designer dogs.  A variety of drinks including Mexican sodas, bottled water, Izze Sparkling drinks and even a Faygo ginger ale are available and the dessert changes every Friday night, too.

Our menu included a Nosh Plate of kettle chips served with a spicy Cream Cheese dip, fried pickles and assorted sausages. The sausage was great and the fried pickles light and yummy.

The Nosh Plate is the perfect starter for a group or lite snack if you're not that hungry.

 

My daughter ordered the Savory Waffles & Sausage that made her eyes roll on the first bite!

Savory Waffles and Sausage

 

The wife claimed the Flatbread Smash loaded with house made Fig Jam, Arugula, Italian Smoked Sausage and Brie Cheese between grilled flatbread and served with a salad.  It was, in her words, “a very unique dish that was very enjoyable.”

 

But I’d come for the signature hot dogs.  Tonight, I get the Igby Style (fresh coleslaw and crumbled blue cheese drizzled with a tangy BBQ sauce and the Toby Style (diced hot pickles, Fresno peppers and jalapenos blended in cream cheese and topped with Pepperoncinis and toasted pecans.  All of the hot dogs are served wrapped in a warm Indian Naan “bun”.  I have to admit, I wasn’t entirely truthful when I said we ordered one of everything since you can have your choice of “dog” from All Beef, Chicken, Spicy Beer Sausage, Bratwurst – even a vegan option.  And the kids aren’t left out.  Their less discerning palates can enjoy a top quality dog plain, or with your choice of ketchup or mustard.

The Iggy Dog
Toby Style Dog

 

We passed on the delicious looking cookies offered for dessert and opted for coffee from Dutch Brothers Coffee just down the alley at 4 West Campbell.  Okay, so they’re not a food truck but serving from a drive-up window only they definitely serve mobile food.  The crew there will fix you up with your choice from a variety of hot or iced coffees.

Short Leash Hot Dogs can be found in a variety of locations during the week but serving a pretty stable menu.  In contrast, you always know where to find them on Friday night from 6 PM – 8 PM but they mix up the menu every week.  Come on other nights and you’ll get options made from 24 different gourmet toppings like mango chutney, chipotle cream cheese, sautéed onions, fried pickles, and fresh cilantro.

Check out the weekly menu for Sit … Stay! on their Facebook page and make plans to visit them soon.  You can find them during the week by following them on Twitter.

 

BUT DO REMEMBER SIT & STAY ONLY HAPPENS ON FRIDAY NIGHTS!!!

Architecturally inspired?  I just know it tasted great!

Coolhaus Gets a Warm Welcome to DFW

Conceived and created by Natasha Case and Freya Esteller, a couple of creative and ambitious Los Angeles entreprenuers, Coolhaus was born in Los Angeles in 2009.  The idea of an ice cream sandwich with an edible wrapper was introduced at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival.  Since launching in LA, they’ve expanded to New York, Miami and Austin.  How cool is it that Texas gets another Coolhaus truck in Dallas Fort Worth!  Coolhaus DFW made their local debut Saturday at StrEATs Frisco and a warm welcome it was!

Just opened and Cool Haus has long lines already.

 

Food trucks are always best enjoyed when you go as a group, whether friends or family, and share.  When I looked at the menu, only a sampling of all the flavors that have been created so far, I was really sorry I was here alone.  We’re not talking about ice cream sandwiches you had growing up or the sugary treats that come off the ice cream trucks in your neighborhood.  These are artisanal, hand crafted ice cream in a unique variety of flavors most of us would never consider sandwiched between your choice from a huge selection of cookies.   You can have a basic vanilla on a chocloate chip cookie ‘Sammich” if you’re not daring enough, but why go with the mundane when you have selections like:

  • Coconut Almond Cookie with Date Rum Pecan Ice Cream
  • Ginger Molasses Cookie with Mango Saffron Sorbet
  • Potato Chip & Butterscotch Cookie with Makers Mark Sponsored Ice Cream
  • Red Velvet Cookie with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Smore’s Cookie with Dirty Mint
  • Vegan Chocolate Truffle Banana Cookie with Bananas Foster

One word of warning:  Don’t go with any preconceived ideas.  The availability varies based on the day and location, generally offering 7-10 ice cream choices and 5-7 cookies.  You’re bound to find something interesting because you select the cookie, you select the ice cream and they put it together and wrap it up in the edible wrapper (which is cooler than it sounds, because while you can eat it, you probably won’t want to).  A choice of interesting cookies including vegan options, standard and unusual ice cream creations or sorbets – Coolhaus has you covered.

It was a tough choice but I settled on a basic Chocolate Chip cookie with Chocolate Chipotle ice cream.  Not the most daring selection but you gotta start somewhere!  It reminded me of the Chocolate Jalapeno gelato I sometimes find at Paciugo’s.  Next time I get more exotic …

Chocolate Chip Cookie with Chocoloate Chipotle Ice Cream - Sweet with Zing!

 

One of the volunteers for the event was kind enough to let me take a picture of the Coconut Almond Cookie and Date Rum Pecan Ice Cream.

Cool Haus Almond Coconut Cookie with Date Rum Pecan Ice Cream

These are a great way to top off a meal or an awesome snack by itself.  The sandwiches aren’t so big they fill you up but they’re not so small they leave you hungry — it’s just your mouth that wants more!  At $5.50 a pop, they’re a ‘special treat’ best reserved to celebrate … but let’s not talk about how much “celebrating” I’ll probably do in the coming months.  C’mon, it’s my duty to go out and try some of the strange and exotic flavors they offer and report back to you!

If you are interesting in learning more about the creation of Coolhaus and the ladies behind it, check out this interview done by laist.  It provides more insight into how Natasha Case and Freya Esteller link architecture and food, not only in Coolhaus but their ideas for future projects.
Oh and that killer photo on our banner is the most awesome ice cream. It is Brown Butter with Carmelized Bacon! the Brown Butter has a delicate flavor and then you get that little  “POP” when you hit a piece of carmelized bacon….mmmm.

 

Cool Haus Street Eats Frisco 019

Frisco StrEATs Rocks the Square

Blue skies, long lines and loud music greeted the mass of attendees that made the first, and hopefully annual, Frisco StrEATs a resounding success.  Whether attending as a curious first – timer for the food truck experience, excited by the local debut of Cool Haus DFW or simply to support the talent on display from the School of Rock, there was something for everyone at this family friendly event.

Normally, my plan for food truck events is to arrive early and with a plan.  This time, my plan was to follow the advice of Ernestine Ulmer who is credited with saying,

 

“Life is uncertain.  Eat Dessert First.”

 

With that in mind, I headed directly for Cool Haus DFW, a mobile gourmet ice cream truck that offers ice cream Sammies constructed to order using fresh baked cookies and some of the most unusual ice cream flavors you’ll ever find.  They weren’t hard to find since they were granted the featured location right next to the band and just off Main Street.

From Vietnamese to gourmet hot dogs and most points in between, Frisco StrEATs provided a variety of food sure to satisfy your hunger, no matter what you wanted.  Joining Cool Haus DFW for their local debut were area faves Nammi, The Butcher’s Son, Cajun Tailgators, Easy Slider, EatJoDawgs, SoCal Tacos, Zombie’s (all Vegan), Ssahm and Rockstar Bakeshop.  In addition to the beverage offerings from the trucks, there was beer and wine available.

Based on the lines, there were no favorites.  By shortly after 3PM, there were more than 100 people in line for every truck and folks still arriving.  Finding the end of the food lines was harder than finding a parking space!  One of the volunteers for the event told me that people started arriving shortly after 2PM and the trucks opened as soon as they finished their prep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By all accounts, the inaugural StrEATs Frisco was a great success for the City of Frisco, the School of Rock and the participating trucks.  The trucks were well prepared and most had enough supplies on hand to serve until the scheduled end.  The attempt to plan and organize the event was overshadowed by one glaring error – you can’t cram hundreds of people and 10 food trucks into a single block!  In their defense, you can’t charge admission to a City sponsored event and you can’t limit attendance.  You can, however, ask those involved about what to expect and incorporate past experience into planning the event.  Projecting an attendance of 500 – 1000, a number exceeded in the first hour, was unrealistic for a 4-hour event given the rapid growth of the food truck community, both vendors and customers, in DFW over the past two years.  Hopefully, the City of Frisco (and the Collin County venues likely to jump on the bandwagon now) will learn from the experience and next year the planning will include:

 

  • More room for each truck and room permitting better separation of the lines
  • Separation of the entertainment and the trucks (the crying little ones with hands over their ears should be all the notice needed and the volume turned down!)
  • More Trucks to support the attendees and reduce the waiting time.

 

Frisco, congrats on being the first to bring the food trucks to an (obviously) hungry Collin County market.  Next time, don’t underestimate the success of the event.  There’s no reason, with just a few changes, you can’t make it bigger and better next year.

Tin_Star_Taco_Taxi_Back

Tin Star Taco Taxi Review

Tin Star Taco Taxi

 

The feature truck from Addison’s Thursday Night Bites this week is the Tin Star Taco Taxi.  A relative newcomer to the recent food truck scene in DFW, Tin Star rolled out from the brick and mortar Tin Star Taco Bar in Downtown Dallas.  Carrying on the vision of delivering great food at a good price – quickly – in a uniquely different approach that keeps the experience fresh, the Taco Taxi brings the food to the people.

 

 

 

You can’t claim to be the home of Notoriously Addictive Gourmet Tacos without making Tacos the premier item on the menu.  Tin Star doesn’t let you down, offering soft tacos in 2 versions of beef, 3 versions of chicken and pork and fish tacos grilled or deep fried.

 

Tonight we hit the trifecta with a Number 1 Grilled Steak taco, a Carnitas taco and a Grilled Fish taco.  There are no sides involved – just hot, moist, succulent tacos.

I found the grilled steak to be juicy and nearly melt in your mouth good but not what I was expecting from Grilled Steak.  The avocado, grilled onions and jack cheese were fresh and flavorful.

 

The Carnitas was tender and flavorful.  Simple, garnished with red onions and cilantro and a squeeze of lime.  It must have been good.  It disappeared before I got a bite!

 

First, the disclaimer.  I’m not a huge fish taco fan, but I keep trying them, hoping to be amazed.  My experience is that most are breaded and fried, then turn soggy in the taco.  Soooo, I went with the Grilled Fish.  The chipotle sauce had good spice but I found the slaw to be over used and over-powering, leaving the tortilla soggy.  Sorry, but this wasn’t the amazing fish taco I’m searching for … It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great.  Different strokes for different folks so you may get one with better balance on the ingredients that makes you happy.

 

I’m okay with the concept that fresh, high quality costs more resulting in higher costs.  I found the $3 per taco pretty steep for what I got (higher than prices on the website) and I’ve found tacos I prefer locally for less money.

I had a chance to sample the Street Nachos.  Available with Grilled Steak, Chicken or Seasoned Ground Beef, queso and jalapenos they are the quintessential Tex-Mex snack and these looked up to the challenge.  These are made with the Grilled Steak, the same buttery melt-in-your mouth meat on the tacos so how can they be anything less than great!

 

The competition between taco trucks is stiff and while I wasn’t blown away, I think Tin Star will remain a player.  Besides, keep in mind they’ve only been in business a couple of months and practice makes perfect.

And hey guys!  I don’t care if you need to raise prices to make a profit and stay in business …  but get the website updated so you don’t set expectations.  Clearly there were a bunch of people who didn’t mind paying $3 for a taco and $5 for Street Nachos but they’re just not as happy doing it when the website quotes lower prices.