Archive for the ‘Food Carts’ Category

Photo by: Courtney Hergesheimer - Columbus Dispatch

Profiling mobile eateries is becoming a more difficult task for us at Mobile Cuisine Magazine. With every passing day, we receive numerous emails and direct messages on Twitter. These leads and tips give us scoops about new trucks and new cities that food trucks and carts are being allowed to operate in. From Durham, NC to Portland, OR, street food vendors are opening up on a daily basis. The tough part is narrowing down who is to be covered. This is fantastic for us, since if we chose to, we could profile 5-10 trucks a day…every day.

With that said, some towns are getting more mention than others due to their fans, and our readers. One such town that is continually being referred to us is not one that jumps to the top of the list when you think about mobile food, but in our estimation, that is coming to a close very shortly.

Columbus, Ohio, home of “the” Ohio State University, is quickly gaining a name for itself within the industry and it’s community, and we have taken notice.  Although the city doesn’t have specific codes governing food trucks, mobile vendors must still obtain health department approval and a peddler’s license as well as licenses for any additional employees they may have. The Columbus traffic code states that a vehicle selling goods cannot park on the street for more than 15 minutes, thus trucks must operate on private property; pushcarts have to work by a curb and leave at least 5 feet of pedestrian sidewalk space between the cart and the adjacent building. “It’s a safety issue,” said Sharon Gadd, the city’s licensing manager.

To research for today’s profile we were able to get a list of mobile vendors from the Columbus Underground Discussion Forum. At the top of their list sat our choice for a vendor profile.

Photo from: columbusalive.com

Last year, James (Jamie) Anderson sent out an email to his restaurant (Smackies BBQ) followers, which included this snippet,I have opened three restaurants and I have closed them all. I couldn’t seem to get my blood pressure down and closing the restaurant I think has finally got me nice and calm and I think my blood pressure is right where it needs to be.

The restaurant biz will make an old man out of a young man really fast. So I have went back to my roots. ONE MAN – ONE SMOKER. I have no restaurant and no staff to babysit. Just me and my Pit, back to the basics.” And so was born Ray Ray’s Hog Pit.

The smoke coming from the corner of Pacemont and High Street, is not what you may think it is, rather, it is the smoke generated from the barbeque pit of Ray Ray’s. The pit is situated in a barbecue cart where, on a blustery day, the aroma of hickory smoked brisket carries for blocks. The cart is only open Thursday through Sunday but on those days, there is always a line. According to his fans, that is because nobody in town makes better ribs than this Pit Boss.

Photo from: columbusalive.com

Ray Ray’s orders their beef from a certified organic farmer raising Heritage cattle in Oklahoma, and smokes it with only a light seasoning of salt and pepper. Once the meat comes out of the smoker, it is rubbed with Ray Ray’s special seasoning (paprika, onion powder, and sugar) and doused with his homemade Dogfish Head Ale Barbecue Sauce, a  tangy South Carolina style sauce and is finally grilled. The menu consists of 3 meat options; ribs, brisket and pulled pork. If you make your way to this food cart on Sunday you will have the additional option of a lean grass fed beef brisket. Once you have made your selection, you have the option of three sauces, mild, hot and habanero.

The tasty side dish options are Southern style collard greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw. Any of these sides will help to compliment to main course. Should you have room after your meal, there is a desert offering which normally consists of banana pudding and fruit cobbler which are all made by Jamie’s wife.

Our suggestion is if you want to be sure to get your order filled, get there early, Ray Ray’s opens at noon but, according to Jamie, he almost always sells out of his daily 100 pound grass fed allotment long before his normally scheduled closing time of 8 p.m. The cart has no website, no tables and a posted warning about their inventory: When it’s out, it’s out. But one of his followers on Yelp may have said it best, “Ray Rays what can I say, you’re my BBQ crack heaven…”

You can follow Ray Ray’s Hog Pit at Facebook.

Ray Ray's Hog Pit on Urbanspoon

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As we previously reported, Los Angeles County supervisors were to vote on pending food truck legislation this week. On Tuesday, the supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the proposal, and in 30 days, the new law will go into effect.

The regulation authorizes health inspectors the ability to  now conduct two surprise field inspections and provide the same health board grades to food trucks as brick and mortar restaurants receive. The previous requirements provided for a single field inspection and one in the commissary in which the truck is stored overnight. Prior to Tuesday’s vote, there was no grading system in place. Now a truck will receive a county grade of A, B, or C and will have to post thier grade in an area visible to its customers.

According to Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Health Department, the new regulation will not result in any increases in fees the food truck operators are charged within the first year it is in effect.

We see this new law as a stepping stone for municipalities around the country to use as a guide in  assisting them in opening paths for food trucks to start providing services in areas where previously they had not.

If the rent is too damn high, try out the treat that proves that one dollar can, and in fact, buy you happiness.

Koo’s Sweet Rice Pancake Ho-tteok Cart sits parked outside a market in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. Koo is the family surname of this treasure’s owner. Although they have yet to enter the next generation of social media food truck/cart marketing on Twitter, apparently, word of mouth is spreading and the word is delectable.

The simple fact this cart has only a single item for sale should tell you something quickly. When asking Mr. Koo of your choices, he will politely answer, “There is only one thing.” They make nothing else; there is no need for a menu. They serve nothing with cheese or zest, nothing with foam and nothing laid out on fine china. When you order, you are handed a fresh ho-tteok wrapped in a standard Styrofoam container. Anyone should be able to appreciate the simplicity in this take on true street food.

According to the Koo’s daughter, her parents went to Korea to learn how to make these treats after they saw the lack of locations these items were sold, in the L.A. area. The family opened their first location at the California Market in Garden Grove, and then expanded to Koreatown in 2001.

Ho-tteok are a glutinous, moist, sweet Korean pancake that is filled with a nugget of molten syrup which is made from chopped peanuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. These pancakes are approximately five inches in diameter and are the perfect fare to grab if you are headed in or out of the market.

According to their fans, Koo’s ho-tteok ranks as one of the best snacks/desserts in the Los Angeles area. I believe one Koo’s customers put it best, “One dollar per pancake? One dollar for a slice of heaven? I would be outside this cart every day for every meal if I wasn’t worried about my waist size.”

Locations:

450 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020

8911 Garden Grove Boulevard
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Koo's Grill on Urbanspoon

Owners of smart phones, laptops and iPads need to mark their calendars.

A big thank you needs go out to BING!, who in August started providing Portland with the Bing! Food Cart Finder. The food cart finder is free to use and allows the people of Portland and their visitors to search the city limits for the various menus offered by their mobile food community and their locations.

Bing is following up the launch of this application with a huge food giveaway.  On October 13th at   7 am, 11 am and 4 pm, they will be adding golden sporks to this mapping tool. These markers will reveal the exact locations where breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided, free of charge to the first 500 patrons who show up to claim their prize.

For those of you who will be in or around Portland on the 13th, be sure to bookmark the website, and be sure to bring your appetite.

Disclaimer: Offer good to the first 500 people to respond to each “meal” location while supplies last. Limit one offer per person, per meal location. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer and is not redeemable for cash. Recipient is solely responsible for purchasing any other beverage or food item not specified in this offer.