Archive for Alex Levine

Eat St Season 5 Menu Sneak Peek

James Cunningham Eat St host
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Whatever plans you may have on Thursday nights, CANCEL THEM. (Or fire up your DVR, that’ll work too.) The fifth season of Eat St premiers on Thursday (July 3rd) at 8/7c. Host James Cunningham has the best job on the continent, visiting 104 trucks this season. We will be livetweeting during the premiere. We’re giving away an autographed copy of the book during the viewing party!

First order of business: Can we all admit now we actually DO like puns? We *say* we don’t like them, but this season’s roster of trucks and certain menu items are stark evidence to the contrary. With episodes named Miso Hungry and trucks named Cod Squad and Rock-a-Belly, I fall deeper in love with puns. The Pretty Thai For a White Guy truck would wholeheartedly agree, we’re sure.

What to Expect

The biggest surprise was seeing not just one but THREE Jewish fusion trucks: 1 Chinese-Jewish, 1 Latin-Jewish trucks, 1 Soul-Jewish.Also, THERE’S A TRUCK WITH A DJ ON ITS ROOF AND FLAME THROWERS ENTERTAINING THEIR QUEUE OF FOODIES! ZOMG! Way to be, Pink Tank. Flame throwing food truck

One thing that, sadly, didn’t shock us? No Chicago trucks are on the list! Why? Chicago tends to get left out of shows or food truck features because legislation is so draconian it has (purposefully) stunted the growth of the industry. Remember the one exception, that one time we were featured on The Great Food Truck race? The one where Mayor Emmanuel was the focus? Remember that it was happening soon after the lawsuit against the city was advanced for implementing unconstitutional proximity bans? And right after the city charged food trucks 5% more commission than bricks-and-mortar restaurants to participate in The Taste of Chicago, then exiled them to a far-away field? That’s what we call fancy PR footwork. If there’s one thing Chicago politicians know how to do, it’s putting up smoke and mirrors. (End rant.)

About the absence of Chicago from season 5, Eat St said “We’re definitely aware of the great strides being made in Chicago and would love to visit in the future.”

Inside Scoop

We got to play 20 questions with James, and learned some interesting stuff:

  • He estimates food truck owners work 80 hours/week. This sure isn’t an industry for the sleepy!
  • The filming crew often has to cram into crevices and ontop of prep areas to get the footage
  • When asked what common traits James has seen in all the food truck owners he’s met, he said “You have to have a great concept…and be a little nutty.”

James cunningham gif

NYC Truck Tips

Since New York is our new stomping ground, I got expert advice from James about which trucks I need to hit. Cinnamon Snail was his top choice. The food truck gods smiled upon us as that truck was just blocks from me the next day! Obviously, I went and checked it out. It was as mind-blowing as promised.

The 3 NYC trucks featured this season are Taïm Mobile (Israeli cuisine), The Morris Truck (grilled cheese sandwiches), and Red Hook Lobster Pound (fresh lobstah).

What’s on the Menu this Season

I got my sticky hands on a list of where Eat Street goes and what James will be eating. This list reminds me why I love food trucks! The menu is full of interesting ingredients like caviar and bison. Fois gras poutine, anyone?

EPISODE 501 – TICKLED PINK (BOSTON, VANCOUVER)

  • Bone Daddy (Boston) Bison burger with habanero hot sauce & blue cheese
  • Street Meet (Vancouver) West Coast take on European cuisine, Tuna Nicoise Salad.
  • Cucina Zapata (Vancouver) Thai + Mexican fusion. Hot & Crispy Tilapia Burrito.
  • Pink Tank (Denver) All-day breakfast truck – Chicken and waffles with sriracha ice cream

 

EPISODE 502 – HUNGER IN A HEADLOCK

  • Guerrilla Ultima (Philadelphia) Pork Apocalypse burger with three cuts of pork
  • Mei Mei (Boston) Crispy poached egg sandwich
  • Crisp Creperie (Seattle) Smoked Chocolate and Bacon Crepe
  • Taco Justice League Slap to the Kisser tacos

 

Episode 503 – Miso Hungry

  • Mama’s Meatball Truck (Philadelphia) Bacon Blue Balls meatball sub
  • Mogu (Vancouver) Yakiniku Beef Sandwich
  • Gaufre Gourmet (Portland) Spicy Goat Belgian waffle with salami, chèvre, pistachios and Kelly’s Jelly Habanero Pepper jelly
  • The Morris Truck (NYC) Earth, Wind and Fire made with creamy Tilsit cheese and rich and delicious duck sausage. (Remember when Chicago’s Toasty Cheese won the Tech Week truck cook off with a similar sandy?!)

 

 

Episode 504 – Claws for Celebration

  • Red Hook Lobster Pound (NYC) Fresh Maine lobster rolls
  • Yolk (Vancouver) Braised Shortrib Breakfast Sandwich with a poached egg
  • Kargi Gogo (Portland, Oregon) Georgian cuisine, meat dumplings known as Khinkali
  • Nosh (Seattle) Crispy fried rabbit, meatloaf sandwiches

 

EPISODE 505 THE PERFECT PLOYE

  • Koja Truck (San Francisco) Korean-Japanese fusion, sake and soy short rib slider on garlic rice patty buns
  • Landry & Filles (Montreal) smoked salmon and caviar served on a buckwheat pancake
  • Cod Squad (Montreal) Lemon herbed swordfish kebab
  • Grilled Cheese Grill (Portland) Apple and brie melt on cinnamon swirl bread

 

Episode 506 – FUNGUYZ ‘N FUN FOOD

  • Fins on the Hoof (San Francisco) Crawfish and Andouille sausage poutine
  • Mainely Burgers (Portland, Maine) Le Eiffel Burger with a tower of housemade crispy onion strings
  • Funguyz Food Trolley (Seattle) Cajun & Asian comfort food
  • Hey PB&J Truck (Denver) The Figgy Piggy PB&J with fig jam, almond butter and goat cheese

 

Episode 507 – FALAFELLY GOOD

  • Dougie Dog Diner Truck (Vancouver) Dragon Dog with Kobe beef and Lobster
  • Taïm Mobile (NYC) Israili cuisine, green falafel sandwich with fresh mint, cucumber salad and garlic tahini
  • Fugu Truck (Boston) Korean bulgogi beef roll with cucumber and pickled radish
  • Camion Au Pied De Conchon (Montreal) Fois gras poutine

 

 

EPISODE 508 BUON APPETITO!

  • Frankie’s Fettuccini truck (Toronto) Braised Veal and fried gnocci poutine with Quebec cheese curds
  • That Food Truck” (Columbus, Ohio) Big Bad Wolf sandwich with slow-smoked pork shank, pork belly and bacon.
  • Quiero Arepas (Denver) Venezuelan-style arepas
  • Adam’s Grub Truck (San Francisco) Ultimate Adam Bomb: a tower of pork, egg and cheese topped with a dinosaur chicken nugget

 

EPISODE 509 FOOD FIT FOR THE GODS

  • The Spartan Pizza (Austin) The Zeus pizza with spinach, bacon and fresh mozzarella
  • St. Viateur Bagel (Montreal) Smoked salmon and capers sandwich, spicy eggplant and goat cheese
  • Garden Creamery (San Francisco) Raspberry mousse ‘n oatmeal cookie sandwich
  • Paddy Wagon (Columbus, OH) 15 to Life Barbecue Brisket Sandwich with grilled peppers ‘n pineapple

 

EPISODE 510 B-EGGING FOR MORE

  • Urban Smoke (Toronto) Swiss and mushroom beef brisket grilled cheese
  • The Old World (San Francisco) “Jewish soul food” Fried chicken schnitzel-wich with pickled chili slaw
  • Chaud Dogs (Montreal) The Wu hot dog with Indonesian chili sauce and seasoned crispy chicken skins
  • The Coop (Columbus, Ohio) Turducken Taco: turkey, duck and chicken with ancho chili sauce and pickled veggies

 

EPISODE 511 A SIDE OF GROOVY

  • Cosmic American Voodoo Van (San Francisco) Voodoo Cakes with bacon ‘n brie wrapped up in a whole wheat pancake
  • Ajumama (Columbus, Ohio) Bulgogi Cheesesteak with sesame beef sirloin smothered in kimchi cheese sauce
  • Karma Chameleon (Hamilton, Ontario) vegan Jamaican Jerk taco with papaya ‘n guava salsa
  • Biscuits and Groovy Trailer (Austin) for fresh made biscuits ‘n gravy, at the funky and fabulous. Here, far out favorites include biscuits with brown ale gravy, pork sausage and jalapeño

 

EPISODE 512 PRETTY THAI FOR A WHITE GUY

  • Super Truck (Montreal) Green papaya salad with crispy pork belly.
  • Pretty Thai For A White Guy (Austin) Sweet Chili Peanut Chicken with crispy banana and Brussels sprouts
  • Taceaux Loceaux (New Orleans) Mexican cuisine with a little Louisiana flair
  • Curbside Bliss Cupcakes (Toronto) has flavours like chocolate stout with candied bacon, red velvet whiskey with chocolate pretzel, and cayenne chocolate with candied hot salami

 

EPISODE 513 YOU DON’T KNOW JAK

  • El Ñosh (Los Angeles): Mole brisket burritos with black bean slaw and even a smoked whitefish torta sandwich with fried plantain and cilantro
  • Muiishi Makirritos (Houston) Saki ‘n Soy pork belly rice plate with slow poached egg and kimchi
  • Delta Bound (Nashville) featuring a barbecue chicken waffle combo with kale chips
  • Saffron Jak (Phoenix) Chinese BBQ pork flatbread pizza with jalapeño & spicy cabbage; Cheeseburger pizza with housemade pickles

 

EPISODE 514 VIVA LA WAFFLE!

  • Viva La Waffle (Lafayette, LA) Crawfish & smoked sausage grilled cheese; wonton waffle with spicy cream cheese, blue crab and crispy chow mein noodles
  • Johnny Blonde (Hamilton, Ontario) Peachy Blonde flatbread sandwich with grilled chicken, peaches and a red pepper piri piri sauce
  • Challah (Columbus, OH) Modern Jewish cuisine
  • El Toro The Tot (Denver) Spanish Blue Burger with blue cheese and smoked paprika aioli

 

EPISODE 515 SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF CHEESE

  • Rock-a-Belly (Phoenix) Chubby Checker: a Philly cheese steak loaded with ribeye, peppers ‘n onions and spicy white cheddar sauce
  • Hungry Rooster (Victoria, BC) The Slapdown, a pierogi grilled cheese with bacon and onions
  • Boîte à Fromages (Montreal) European comfort foods
  • Biscuit Love (Nashville) “The Princess” with triple spiced fried chicken, honey, and white wine mustard on a biscuit

 

 

EPISODE 516 PLANET OF THE CREPES

  • Flip ‘n Patties (Houston) Beef and Pork sausage burger with fried egg and banana ketchup aioli
  • Moe Deli (Los Angeles) Jewish and Chinese fusion, braised beef brisket & chili mango slaw in the form of an egg roll
  • Braz-BQ (Philadelphia) Hamburgao with bacon, ham ‘n eggs
  • Planet of the Crepes (Tucson) Fresh made pesto, mushroom & goat cheese crepe; asparagus, prosciutto with a soft poached goose egg

 

EPISODE 517 DEAD BEETZ

  • Frank Truck (Phoenix) Lobster mac and cheese dog, The Bandit with housemade bourbon barbecue sauce and smoked Spanish onions
  • Micklethwait Craft Meats (Austin) Sixteen-hour-smoked beef brisket with jalapeño aioli and avocado
  • Deadbeetz truck (Victoria, BC) Ribeye steak sandwich with housemade chimichurri sauce
  • Lagniappe Today (San Antonio) Crawfish étouffée pistolette (Cajun crawfish stew) served in a fried roll

 

EPISODE 518 SERIAL GRILLERS

  • Kurbside Eatz (Houston) Triple cheese curry beef burger with a fried egg
  • La Cocinita (New Orleans) Latin-Creole fusion, Venezuelan slow braised beef pita with cilantro avocado sauce
  • Bite Into Maine (Portland, ME) Fresh lobster rolls
  • Serial Grillerz (Tucson) The Psycho cheesesteak with melty pepperjack cheese and jalapeño

 

EPISODE 519 SEOUL FOOD

  • Sushi and Seoul On A Roll (Orlando) Holy Goat Roll with seared yellow fin tuna, tiger shrimp and goat cheese
  • Big Kiwi’s Gourmet Eats (Denver) New Zealand cuisine, pancetta ‘n beef burger with beet chutney and fried egg
  • Peached Tortilla (Austin) Southern style sliders and tacos with an Asian flair
  • Steel City Sandwiches (Los Angeles) Sandwiches stacked with coleslaw and fries

 

EPISODE 520 RULE BRITANNIA

  • Feisty Jack (Toronto) Crispy scotch egg made with a quail’s egg and lemon sage ground pork
  • Crepe A Diem (Nashville) Duck confit stuffed apple, flambéd in cognac with toasted pecans
  • Luncha Libre (Phoenix) Bacon sausage beef burger with serrano peppers, served on French toast
  • Lola Deux (New Orleans)! Hot Mess sandwich with housemade pimento cheese, baked ham and creole mayonnaise

 

EPISODE 521 THE SPICE IS RIGHT

  • Frencheeze (New Orleans) Angus beef sliders with serrano pepper, bacon and 3-cheese sauce
  • Spice Sea (San Antonio) Seared scallops with pomegranate and sambal chili sauce
  • Street Eats (Denver) Fried green tomato BLT with candied bacon
  • Crazy Carl’s (San Antonio) Smoked turkey caprese with 8 hour hickory smoked turkey breast and housemade pesto

 

EPISODE 522 MIAMI MIA

  • Il Fiorentino (Miami) Potato ravioli with Parmesan fondue and sautéed radicchio.
  • Treehouse (Orlando) The Hot-Ness burger: a habanero packed beef burger served with cilantro and sour cream
  • Mister Canteen (Knoxville) Egg Banjo sandwich with fried egg, hot pepper relish and a side of handcut fries
  • Chocollazo (San Antonio) Choklava: a crispy filo pastry with chocolate hazelnut spread, cinnamon infused honey

 

EPISODE 523 MONSTER TRUCKS

  • Curbside Chef (Orlando) Filipino-inspired citrus baked tilapia with basmati rice Burger Monster (Orange County, CA) Mighty Melt, a bacon cheddar burger loaded with tempura fried onion rings
  • Vegan Nom (Austin) Vegan tacos: maple-miso glazed sweet potato with salsa verde and avocado
  • Wheelie Gourmet (San Antonio) Moroccan sandwiches with saffron & lemon chicken and a spicy ground beef Kefta with tzatziki sauce and feta

 

EPISODE 524 HOUSTON, WE HAVE A FOOD TRUCK

  • Eatsie Boys (Houston) Lamb and feta burger with fresh greens and soy vinaigrette
  • Savoury and Sweet (Knoxville) Cinnamon pumpkin ravioli with candied walnuts
  • Cafe Rouge (Orlando) Shepherd’s pie made with a slow-cooked, red-wine infused black angus beef filling, topped with cheesy mashed potatoes
  • Orange Crunch (Denver) Filipino cuisine, Bison empanada with shredded papaya and fried egg

 

 

EPISODE 525 SWEDE AS CAN BE

  • Bernie’s Burger Bus (Houston) The Field Trip burger with a gorgonzola and bacon-stuffed beef patty topped with prosciutto arugula salad
  • Aji Mobile (Phoenix) Tripleta sandwich with grilled steak, pulled pork, ham and spicy Peruvian Aji pepper sauce
  • Green Meanie (Columbus) Chicken and spinach croquette sandwich served on fry-bread with avocado and wasabi ranch dressing
  • Swede Dish (Orlando) Mashed potato and crab salad hot dog wrapped in fresh-grilled flat bread

 

EPISODE 526 FOODIE CALL

  • Miso Hungry (Los Angeles) Sake and Chili infused Ramen noodle burger with shiitake mushrooms and egg
  • Foodie Call (New Orleans) Roasted porchetta sandwich topped with creamy apple arugula salad
  • Ladybird (Houston) Tokyo Dog with house-smoked goat cheese spread, Japanese mayo and Bonito fish flakes
  • Bem Bom (Orlando) Portuguese cuisine lamb burger with housemade jalapeño tomato jam and lemon feta compote

Spongebob Patrick Cookie Gif

 


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Eat Street Season 5 Viewing Party & Giveaway

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Since you guys have liked the giveaways we’ve done in the past, we talked to the fine

Eat St Cook Book

folks at Eat Street about doing one in conjunction with the new season premiere. Host and chef James Cunningham is happy to give one happy winner an autograph copy of the Eat Street cook book, including recipes like Orange Cream Dream cupcakes and Nacho Grande Poutine.

Who: You, silly!
What: Autographed cook book giveaway during the premier of Eat St season 5
When: Now through July 3 9pm ET
Where: The internets
How: See the Rafflecopter box below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be announced at the end of the  viewing party! Tune in to the premiere on Thursday (July 3rd) at 8/7c. I’ll be livetweeting during the show and may even add a way to gain additional entries live during the show. wink wink 


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Review: Cinnamon Snail

 

 

 

Cinnamon Snail food truck reviewI caught up with the Cinnamon Snail near Union Square on a sunny Saturday afternoon. After learning I recently moved the NYC, James Cunningham (host of Eat Street on the Cooking Channel) made me promise I’d check it out stat! In a fun twist of fate, they had a planned stop just blocks from my apartment the day after James and I chatted.

I saw award stickers on the truck and, based on their website, they’ve gotten accolades and/or awards from:

  • Yelp (#1 place to eat in NYC, #4 in the US)
  • Mobile Cuisine (2012 and 2013 best vegetarian food truck)
  • BuzzFeed (Top 5 Most Popular Food Trucks of 2013)
  • New York Times, HuffPo, Gothamist
  • Vendy Awards, Veggie Awards
  • The list goes on and on and on!Raspberry Cheesecake Donut Cinnamon Snail Food Truck

Once at the front of the line, I asked for their 2 most popular items. For $6 I got 1 Vendy Award-winning creme brûlée pastry, and 1 raspberry cheesecake pastry.

These aren’t just delicious for vegan food (don’t lie, you know what I mean omnivores), they’re ridiculously delish no matter what scale you’re weighing them on. The

creme brûlée pastry was the best sweet thing I’ve had (ever in life). No matter how hard I try, I can’t put the deliciousness into words. You think you’ve had fluffy yet decadent pastries, but you haven’t had one of these babies. My favorite part of the creme brûlée was the crunch on top with a smoky flavor from being browned. Neither was overly sweet (great for a savory-preferring palette like mine).

I am definitely going to start stalking this truck so I can explore their menu even more!

Creme Brulee Donut Cinnamon Snail

 

Food Trucks: Want to Start a Restaurant? This TV show wants to help.

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RS2 Flyer w email

Often times when chefs start a food truck, it’s a stepping stone to a bigger dream: starting a restaurant. CNBC contacted us in search of food trucks who have that dream. They have a new show, Restaurant Startup, that they’re casting for and hoping to get some stellar food truck talent on board.

We really hope food truck chefs apply so we can cheer them on and see what it takes to go from food truck to bricks-and-mortar.

To apply, e-mail restaurantstartupcasting@gmail.com

 


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Review: Bob & Jo Truck

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How can you see the super hero-reminiscent logo and NOT stop to check out this truck? Bob & Jo Truck is describes themselves as Korean fusion cuisine. I stumbled upon them on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, on 22nd St. right off 5th Ave. Bob and Jo's Food Truck

As I browsed the menu, I was offered a full cup of steaming hot delicious soup. Though the sun was out, it was still a chilly day and this was a welcome warm treat. The soup was brothy with substantial amount of fresh corn, large slices of mushrooms, and rice. After enjoying that, I was excited to see what else these gents had cooking.

I got to the truck around 2pm when they were wrapping up, so many items were sold out and when I ordered chicken and rice platter he asked if it was okay to add half portion of chicken (all that remained) and half portion of beef. In fact, that sounded even better! I wanted to try both. Bob & Jo’s “special sauce” was drizzled on top. It’s a creamy sriracha with some smokiness, and I believe a hint of curry? Whatever it was, I’d buy it in a bottle if they sold it!

The meats were both delicious and perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy. The beef was my favorite of the two because it was seasoned with a delicious blend of seasonings. While the chicken was well-seasoned in that it was salted and not bland, the beef was infused with a variety of herbs and spices that made it equally delicious with or without the special sauce.

The meat came on a bed of rice and a side of very fresh salad, which was nice to offset the heavy meat. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of my meal here and will be tracking there whereabouts. They’ll also make it on my shortlist of must-try trucks in New York. Ya I just made that up right this minute.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

NOTE: Bob & Jo accepts CASH ONLY!


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Review: Sweet Chili Food Truck & Dub Pies

Honey chili pork belly with cilantro and sriracha. Green mango salad with jicama, chili salt, and nuoccham (wiki tells me that's a sweet, sour, salty, spicy Vietnamese sauce)
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Ahh New York! I felt like doing some exploring to get to know the city better. I’ve only been here for a couple months and have been SO busy at work I’ve barely had the energy to enjoy all the great things the city has to offer. Chief among them: food trucks!

I googled for some food truck lots and sure enough there is one in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo (which stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” according to the snippet printed on the underside of my hummus lid). It was a sunny and crisp day, perfect for a long stroll across the city, crossing the Brooklyn bridge on my way there, and the Manhattan Bridge coming back.

Once I got to the Dumbo food truck lot, I found my peeps! There were a lot of people waiting, and once I saw the Sweet Chili pork belly on the menu I lined right up with them. It combined so many of my favorite things (pork belly, sriracha, crispiness) with some things I hadn’t ever heard of or hadn’t recently had. Everything was amazingly delish, and I have since dreamed about the pork belly (no lie).

While I waited for my food, I mozied over to the Dub Pies truck. I ordered a sausage pie, then was offered a complimentary curry pie when the truck operator (owner?) saw me posting pics to Instagram. So cool! They give anyone a free little pie for posting to their a social channel about the truck. Smart!

What other NYC trucks should I hit up? Know of any other food truck lots or congregation areas around town? Leave the suggestions in the comments below! Smorgasburg is next on my lot list.

 


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Review: Valducci’s Original Pizza Truck

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Every now and then, we’ll get a spring-like day in Manhattan. When that occurs, the food trucks pop out of the woodwork! I was stoked to see a bunch of trucks near my house, and have since every nice day since (during the week). So, we now have a steady stream of food trucks to review while I gain my street food bearings here, guys! food truck, new york, manhattan, pizza

First up, let’s talk about Valducci’s. Obviously, New York is known for their pizza. When we think of a New York slice, however, we’re talking about a slice that’s: thin, doughy, face-sized, floppy, triangular, light in color (not charred), un-topped rim of crust left to grab the pizza from.

Sicilian pizza is a whole different beast, and is also very common around town. It is: square-cut, rigid, denser dough, buttery & crispy crust, very crisp crust pressed into the size of the pan like Chicago-style and all toppings go to the edge. It actually seems likely a hybrid of Chicago pizza and New York pizza to me.

Peppers and Onion Sicilian Pizza Slice

Peppers and Onion Sicilian Pizza Slice

I’ve had a few slices of Sicilian pizza while in New York, one of which was from Valducci’s Original Pizza Truck on a Monday while parking on 5th Avenue around 18th Street for lunch. I opted for the pepper and onion slice. They popped it into the oven behind them. I was surprised to see a full-sized pizza oven in the truck! The slice was fresh as can be, from being piping hot and crispy to the fresh and thick-cut veggies on top. The sauce was good; I prefer mine more robust but I can appreciate that this was an authentic fresh tomato Sicilian sauce. The mozzarella was fresh (as a sign on the side of the truck promised).

As far as authenticity goes, I can’t make a judgement call there as I’m no expert in Sicilian pizza (I’m barely even a novice). If this is a very authentic slice, which I assume it to be, it’s a bit too shy to be one of my faves. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious; however I was missing some butter in the crust or more oomph from the cheese or sauce for me.

Was it the BEST Sicilian slice I’d ever had in my life? Can’t say so. Was it the BEST slice of pizza I’ve had from a truck? Yes.


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Review: Midtown Empanada Cart

Beef empanada nosh
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Usually I write about gourmet food trucks, but in New York street food is unlike what we have in Chicago. Why? Because we don’t have street food in Chicago. Why?

NYC Empanada Cart

Because it’s prohibited by law and pretty much always has been. So, we don’t have the street food culture that cities like New York do. As the saying goes, though, when in Rome, eat from an empanada cart with a smiley empanada face on the side!

I was somewhere around 7th avenue and 39th Street (I’ll admit I was darting back from fabric mecca Mood Fabrics on a lunch break, so it’s near Mood). I peeked in the warming cabinet and saw ginormous empanadas that were flakey and seemingly fresh. So I got one. It was only $2!

The crust was flakey and crunchy, much more so than I would have expected for an empanada sitting in a warmer for who knows how long. It dripped with beef juices when I bit into it (though not as much as Nuchas truck).

I think I may just start checking out these little carts more often!


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First NYC Food Truck Stop: Nuchas Empanadas

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Sometimes the universe has a funny way of giving you a hug. The day I came to New York to find an apartment, that happened. I landed at LaGuardia around 9am, grabbed a taxi and was in the city by 10am to meet a friend who would be helping me with my hunt, and by 10:05a.m. I had a steaming hot empanada in my hands. Right at the intersection my friend and I had planned to rendezvous, there sat a shiny brown food truck!

Freshly baked empanadas from Nuchas Food Truck in Manhattan

Freshly baked empanadas from Nuchas Food Truck in Manhattan

I was stoked to stumble across Nuchas Empanadas. They had just parked and were setting up shop as I waited outside their window.

I noted a couple of things you don’t see in Chicago. First off, it was parked at a major intersection (on the main avenue, not the small side street!). Secondly, they had a pop out bar with utensils and room to dine. They also have 2 windows, ability to bake these hot little pockets on board, and plenty of room for several workers inside. One day, Chicago, one day.

The menu was organized by meat, vegetarian, and sweet empanadas. Given this was my first visit, I wanted to get the typical Argentine empanada with beef, onion, peppers, potatoes, and olives. I took my first bite, and it was surprised by how juicy, hot, and crunchy this little empanada was. The dough was substantial enough to carry the weight of the hefty stuffing without falling apart when I bit into it, while still being delicate and light in texture. The juiciness was the most surprising part; perhaps from the picture you can see all the gooey awesomeness. Again, I was surprised the bread hadn’t become soggy from all that liquid. It was piping warm, literally steaming on the cold New York morning.

manhattan new york food truck menu

There was a cool detail on each of the empanadas: each was marked with an letter embossed into the corner for easy identification.

nuchas empanada argetntine

So, all in all my first New York food truck experience was pretty awesome. As I’ve talked to new acquaintances here and we inevitably start talking about food trucks (obvi), I’ve compiled a few initial suggestions of food trucks and carts to start with. Up this week: apparently there’s a food cart that cannot be missed at 53rd St. and 5th Ave., just a short walk from my office on 42nd and Madison. The best part of this recommendation was I was specifically told not to be fooled by the other vendors who flocked to this intersection to piggy back on the success of the famous cart, which can be identified by their yellow shirts. I am quite intrigued.

If you have any suggestions of carts you want me to hit in the NYC area, hit me up in the comments below!

photo 3


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Food Truck Freak Does New York City

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Get excited for a brand new chapter of Food Truck Freak! I’m excited to announce I’ve moved to New York City for an awesome new job (can you find me on the roster?), and have already stumbled a bunch of great food trucks!

Due to the amount of food trucks in New York and the much more constitutional laws allowing them to park where patrons are, I will once again be able to blog regularly about the mobile noms. Yes, for those who have been readers for a bit, that WAS a snarky *shakefist* at Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city alderman who have failed to provide Chicago entrepreneurs the same constitutional rights to make a living without arbitrary government interference. The distance bans in particular make it tough for Chicago food trucks to reach their customers, which in turn made it super hard for me to continue blogging about them since I wasn’t at a hotspot like 600 W. Chicago or the lucky pants over at University of Chicago.

Rest assured, I will absolutely stay abreast of the lawsuit against the city. Heck, if it passes, I’ll come back and host a partay. Until then, I’ll be posting food truck #foodporn from Manhattan.

Know of food trucks in the New York City area I need to check out? Leave a list in the comments below and I’ll add it to my list!


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