Cruising for Customers – Food Trucks Find Hungry Mouths

While brick and mortar locations continue to produce the most consistent source of delicious meals, the food truck craze has taken over the US landscape. Some of the most unique and authentic cuisines can be found on these mobile kitchens that serve up affordable dishes in the most casual atmosphere… your local curbside. 

True, sometimes it can be a challenge to hunt down your favorite truck or maybe just flat out inconvenient as one day they are set up outside your office doors and the next day they are clear across town, many food trucks utilize social websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to let loyal followers know their culinary coordinates.

It can be incredibly expensive to open your own restaurant, sometimes in the six figure range, but food trucks allow the American dream to come true much more affordably. For a first time restauranteur that has some classic family recipes to share with the masses the cost of a truck with a kitchen inside and a giant sticker to enshrine it can cut costs by nearly 80%! Some that are successful will then take their profits to open a permanent location but many more are translating their success into multiple trucks to further canvas their market or even open up in new metropolitan markets. Some food trucks such as Coolhaus are serving up their delicious ice cream “sammies” in multiple cities like Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Dallas and Miami. 

In most major cities the trucks are so popular that local city councils, businesses, farmer’s markets and entrepreneurs  are coordinating groups of food trucks to all park at one place as part of a set schedule week in, week out. They are like a traveling mall food court that brings every kind of cuisine possible all to one location. These are big hits with families that can never decide on what to eat. Dad can have his Chicago style hot dog, Mom can get her chinese dumplings and little Billy can get his mac and cheese.

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We caught up with first time restaurant owners, Phil Leggett and Chris Menard of Burnt to a Crisp. They moved to Los Angeles from Houston, Texas for a dream of making up on the silver screen. When that didn’t pan out they realized there was a severe lack of mobile Texas BBQ and who knows how to cook it better than a Texan. With a small loan from their family and a few hometown recipes they were serving up their pulled pork, tender brisket and Frito pies. When we asked them, why a food truck and not a permanent location they said they simply wanted to test the market at an affordable bottom line. Six months after raising their door for the first time they sell out of their brisket sandwiches on a daily basis and book many catering gigs for special events. Leggett says, “catering is where the good money is. The daily parking in front of Universal Studios selling to employees and patrons of the park is fun because of the people we get to interact with but being bought out for a TV filming or backyard wedding is how we pay our bills.”

 

 

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Now You See them, Now You Don’t – Pop Ups Are All The Rage

If you have ever walked past your local coffee shop at 10pm and seen unsuspected diners feasting on meals that quite certainly were not prepared by the local barista, you have probably witnessed a Pop-Up restaurant. These restaurants often operate from locations that typically do not serve regular meal service but have a kitchen that can be rented out to an up and coming chef that can’t quite pull together the funds necessary to open their own brick and mortar location.

Similar to the food truck craze that is circling the globe, Pop-Ups are everywhere! Sometimes it can be tricky to find them or even know they exist but once you find one the food is usual unique, inventive, playful and delicious. They are usually manned by young, inspired chefs attempting to make a name for themselves.

We recently were invited by Chef Cyril Kabaoglu to experience his latest Pop-Up called Fork, Knife, Mic. In today’s culinary world, food isn’t just a means of survival but more a demonstration of arts and emotions. Fork, Knife, Mic combines the art and emotion of food with music. On this particular evening we were greeted by a Prohibition themed menu accompanied by classic jazz music.

Amaris Dupree & The Starlight Lounge Jazz Band

Amaris Dupree & The Starlight Lounge Jazz Band

 

Beef cheeks, toasted almonds, coffee roasted carrot, vanilla potato puree

Beef cheeks, toasted almonds, coffee roasted carrot, vanilla potato puree

Amaris Dupree and the Starlight Lounge Jazz Band entertained guests as they dined on dishes by Chef Cyril, Chef Jason Fullilove and Chef Eliot Pardo.

Smoked ginger pho, prawn gnocchi, lime foam, togarashi

Smoked ginger pho, prawn gnocchi, lime foam, togarashi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These masterfully made dishes by Chef Cyril really set the tone for the evening of the early 1900s themed club. Referenced as the Cotton Club after the famous Harlem, NY night spot from the same time period. The night continued with a lamb belly dish prepared by Chef Fullilove that was tender and rich.

Wheat smoked lamb belly, malted barley, bourbon glazed market vegetables, mint whip

Wheat smoked lamb belly, malted barley, bourbon glazed market vegetables, mint whip

The night concluded after a couple of gin cocktails and a classic chocolate dessert served up by Chef Pardo. We sure hope that this new trend of Pop-Up style restaurants catch on to this great combination of live music and inspired food. To find out more about Chef Cyril and his pop ups you can follow him at http://www.triptikla.com