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Exciting New Food Trucks Spring 2014

5 Mar

March magic is in the air Bostonians! We’ve been hibernating for far too long, and March marks the beginning of our hopeful, eager transition to Spring. While the actual warm weather may still require more waiting, it’s not too early to at least make plans for when those rays of sunshine finally strike us.

This blog has had some frostbite throughout the winter, as cold weather isn’t exactly prime time for the mobile food business. But fear not – the Boston Food Truck Blog is back and gearing up for an exciting spring in the city!

I’ve got a list of new food trucks I can’t wait to try….

Moyzilla: Offering up dishes like yakitori and gyoza. Make way for dumplings!

moyzilla


Latin Spoon:
 Cone-shaped plantains with fillings like chicken, veggies, chorizo, rice, beans, etc. Empanadas too *drool*

latinspoon

KO Catering and Pies: Savory meat and vegetarian pies – aussie style! As one who studied abroad for a year in Melbourne, Australia, this truck is a must-visit for me as I miss those meat pies.

KO_catering

Meng’s Kitchen: Meng’s specializes in Northern Chinese cuisine, and they’ve grown famous for their one-dollar steamed pork buns, which students go bun-anas over.

mengs-kitchen

Courtesy of Boston Magazine

Cameo Macaron: A delicious desert truck serving the anytime treat, macaroons!

cameo-macaron

Rhythm ‘N Wraps: Serving up gourmet veggo wraps.

rhythm-n-wraps

The Pasta Pot: Your favorite pasta dishes on wheels, plus their famous Meatball Mac & Cheese!

pasta-pot

What food trucks are YOU most looking forward to for the spring? Let us know in the comments!

Free Burgers This Summer from Amstel Light & Boston’s Baddest Burger Truck

24 May

Hey food truck fans, I’ve got some good news – starting May 24th, Amstel Light is teaming up with Boston’s Baddest Burger Truck to give out free burgers throughout the summer. Don’t tell the hamburglar though…he’s a creepy one.

Boston's Baddest BurgersAMSTEL LIGHT

The promotion is taking place between May 24 – July 5. This delicious duo will be traveling around Boston to dish out some free traditional American cuisine on the weekends.

Here are the current dates when and where you can snag a free burger:

Confirmed Stops, Times and Locations:

  • May 24: Weymoth, MA at Curtis Liquors (486 Columbian St.) 3-5 p.m.
  • May 24: Cohassett, MA at Curtis Liquors (790 Chief Justice Cushing) 6-8 p.m.
  • May 25: Attleboro, MA at Yankee Spirits (628 Washington St.) 12-2 p.m.
  • May 25: Swansea, MA at Yankee Spirits (207 Swansea Mall Dr.) 3-5 p.m.
  • May 31: Sturbridge, MA at Yankee Spirits (376 Main St.) 3-5 p.m.
  • May 31: Fitchburg, MA at Kappy’s (220 Whalon St.) 6-8 p.m.
  • June 1: Springfield, MA at Winn Liquors (1038 Wilbraham Rd.) 3-5 p.m.
  • June 1: W. Springfield, MA at Table & Vine (1119 Riverdale St.) 6-8 p.m.
  • Follow @Amstel Light for more locations throughout the summer

Looks like a lot of liquor marts – what goes better with a free hamburger than a cold frosty brew? Maybe some Bud Light Lime?

bostons-baddest-burger-truck-05

More dates will be added throughout the summer, so follow @Amstel Light for more dates and locations as they become confirmed.

All this free beefy goodness culminates in the Battle of the Burger competition in August, during which Amstel Light will be judging the best burger in Boston. Exciting stuff!

Do you have a favorite burger joint in Boston? I’m partial to Eagle’s Deli myself.

Making the Magical Kale Salad

25 Feb

Hey food truck fans! So a couple weeks ago I was invited over a friend’s house for a dinner party. I was assigned to bring a salad, and after happening upon Mei Mei Street Kitchen’s recipe for their Magical Kale Salad, I decided to give it a go!

Today I’ll be giving a play-by-play of my experiment cooking up Mei Mei’s Magical Kale Salad. You can find the recipe in fabulous haiku form on Mei Mei’s site and try it yourselves!

The Magic Begins: Kale Salad Creation

Here is my kale, all chopped and washed with my fancy new salad spinner. I was making a salad for a (honorary) family of five, so I used two piles of fresh organic kale.

kale salad

Next I mixed together my lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Mei Mei’s says you can use one part rice wine, vinegar, or lemon juice, combined with three parts olive oil. I chose lemon juice because I’m nuts about it. For my quantity of kale, I used 1/4 lemon juice mixed with 3/4 olive oil.

kale salad recipe

The combination is poured onto the kale, massaging it as you go along, getting it nice and coated. Apparently massaging kale is really the way to go – I hear if you spend a good chunk of time massaging kale, a lot of the bitterness comes out. I forgot this piece of wisdom so I didn’t spend much time relieving the kale’s excruciating back pain, but if you can, massage that kale and let me know if you taste a difference!

As the Mei Mei gang notes, don’t use so much that it pools at the bottom – just enough so that all of the kale is properly coated.

Add kosher salt and mix it all in with your oily hands. Keep going and taste now and then. As Mei Mei’s notes, it’s ready “when it tastes so delicious/ you don’t want to stop.”

The next step is to heat up some canola oil on the stovetop and add a couple chunks of garlic. I grabbed my garlic from my lower cabinet and look what I found! Monster mutant garlic! Gah! It looks like what I’d imagine to be an armadillo or gopher paw with nasty long toe nails. Thankfully I just cut off those bad boys and the garlic was fine….or was it!?

IMG_20130207_174912

Next is breadcrumbs time! Measure out around a cup of panko (OK, I cheated and used normal breadcrumbs).

bread crumbs kale salad

Breadcrumbs get all nice and mixed up with the canola oil and garlic in the pan. I accidentally poured waaay too much canola so I had to add more and more breadcrumbs….I wasn’t too beat up about it. I tossed it about until it was nice, brown, and crispy.

IMG_20130207_180241

Final product time! The breadcrumbs were sprinkled and mixed in with the kale. Then I added a poached egg, feta cheese, and pecorino cheese. Mei Mei’s suggests a wide assortment of toppings: pine nuts, cranberries, bacon, chicken chips, whatevs! “This is your salad now” they say. I think they are putting a little too much faith in me.

mei mei kale salad

The Results

I’m not much of a chef, so I was worried how this would turn out. It was a big hit and got completely devoured. My result definitely wasn’t as good at the original cooked up by the Street Kitchen gang, but still incredibly drool worthy. I made a lot and was hoping I’d have some left over to take home, but NO WAY!

The fact that the folks at Mei Mei are nice enough to share their recipe with the hungry masses is proof of just how superbly awesome they are. Thanks for filling empty, kale-less bellies everywhere.

Will you try your shot at preparing the most magical of salads? If you do, comment and share your results!

Did you like this post? Want to see me attempt to cook up another food truck specialty? Let me know!

4 Tips on Opening a Food Truck Business

15 Nov

Last month I got an e-mail from a sushi restaurant owner aspiring to open a food truck. I was asked, as someone who writes about food trucks, if I could offer any sage food cart advice.advice-for-starting-a-food-cart

I started asking myself, what sets certain food trucks apart from the rest? Which food trucks seem to be more successful, and why? After mulling this over a bit, I came up with a couple factors that can have a major impact on the success of a food truck.

Below are my four tips for opening a mobile food cart business.

Starting a Food Truck Tip #1: Lookin’ Good

Any kindergartner will tell you: you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. And yet, let’s face it kids, people do.

You can serve the best food cart grub this side of the Mississippi, but if your truck doesn’t look appealing, you’ll be missing out on a large contingent of the population.

We’ve been taught from a young age to be wary of unmarked trucks ripe for kidnapping, so that automotive mistrust is deep seeded. You can’t really blame people for being cautious about food being served out of a glorified mini-van.

If you have a sketchy looking truck with great food, you’ll still get a small, loyal fan base who enjoys the hipster-esk thrill of being a regular at a dive truck. But you’ll be selling yourself short and will get boat loads more customers with a more spick and span looking vehicle.

Check out Staff Meal’s transformation from dangerous-alleyway darling to pink and fashionable mobile food eatery!

Staff Meal Food Truck

original Staff Meal

staff-meal-food-cart

new Staff Meal

When it  comes to food trucks, cute goes a long way too – something fun and colorful won’t go unnoticed by the masses.

How to Decorate a Food Truck:  There are a couple different approaches you can take here. You could dish out the big bucks for a fancy truck decal, and boy do those look great! Or can pretty up your truck DIY style and paint something – check out Compliment’s process on their Facebook album, “How to Build a Food Truck.”

Starting a Food Truck Tip #2: Use Social Media

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, social media is a pretty big deal these days.

Whether you’re hooked in to Facebook or Twitter, businesses all over the world have implemented social media to reach new audiences, develop brand awareness, and foster a richer relationship with customers.

For a mobile food truck, social media can be one your best assets. Since food carts lack a brick & mortar location and are always on the move, it’s essential to be able to broadcast to foodie fans where your current location is.

New customers might feel lazy – if it isn’t easy for them to find where you are, they’ll probably just pass you up. Even regular customers might not remember your exact hours at different locations. If you are running late (which you should do your best to avoid), it’s crucial that you don’t leave people waiting around for you.

Besides keeping folks up to date on your whereabouts, using social media helps customers get to know you better. It’s your chance to show your fun side – let’s face it, if you are in the food truck biz, you are probably a bit of a personality (not just anyone dives into such uncharted, risky land of entrepreneurship). Use your wackiness to your advantage – share photos of your latest food cart creations on Facebook, tweet funny comments by customers, and Google+ whatever the hell you want. No one ever goes on that thing anyway.

Starting a Food Truck Tip #3: Friendly Staff

A great staff is extremely valuable in many businesses, especially food service. A smiling face on the other side of the counter can make a customer’s experience, and even just exchanging a few polite pleasantries can set your truck apart from the sandwich shop down the street.

Make an effort to hire an amiable staff, and make the extra effort to chat up customers. They’ll remember you for it.

Starting a Food Truck Tip #4: Rotating Menu

Mobile food carts tend to have pretty limited menus, since one food truck can only hold so many supplies. This isn’t a bad thing at all – as one plagued by indecisiveness, I greatly appreciate a pithy menu.

However, customers can sometimes get bored when you only offer three menu items and they’ve tried them all. One great technique I’ve seen many food carts implement is a rotating menu.

Many food trucks will alter food offerings depending on what is in season. Some food trucks will scrap some menu items completely and develop entirely new creations.

Having a rotating menu not only gives customers some variety, but also lets you experiment as a chef. Let your culinary creativity run wild and try something new!

Experimenting with new menu items also lets you enter into a great social media dialogue with customers – ask them what they want to see on your menu, or what regulars think of the new dishes. If a dish doesn’t do so well – no problem, you can just try something different.

Advice on Starting a Food Cart Business: Interview Series

While these tips on how to open a successful food truck will help those looking for advice on starting a food truck, I’ve realized that despite my time with Boston food carts, I still don’t know all that much about the business side.

That’s why I’ve decided to start a new series in the upcoming months on how to open a food truck, or rather, things you should know before you take the plunge and go professional food truckin’.

I’ll be asking popular food trucks in the Boston area about their trials and tribulations in the food truck business, and what advice these mobile food experts can offer for food cart greenhorns.

What did you think of the tips on opening a food truck? Do you have any additional advice to offer those wanting to start a mobile food business? Leave your suggestions in the comments section!

More Food Trucks Coming to Boston this April!

29 Mar

Good news food truck addicts! More food trucks are coming to Boston!

Starting April 1st, more food trucks will be appearing in classic spots like City Hall Plaza, Boston Public Library and Clarendon Street, as well as new sites and new vendors.

There will be a number of brand new food trucks in Boston such as Mei Mei Street Kitchen, creative Chinese food made with local ingredients, and Boston Speed Dog (what could be more American in the city of patriots?)

You naturally know what food truck I’m extra psyched about – the critically acclaimed Chicken & Rice Guys of course!

Boston’s Mayor Menino is super excited about the progression of the food truck program. Who wouldn’t be? Menino notes:

“My administration has worked extensively across City departments and with food truck operators and residents to create a program that continues to give opportunities to small businesses, enliven public spaces, and promote access to fun, interesting, fresh food across the city.”

What’s also cool is that there is a new program in place to hookup Boston’s new Hubway bikes to mobile food sites, so you can eat on the go. Then again, eating food while riding a bike sounds pretty dangerous. Isn’t eating and driving a car tricky enough?

Some new and improved spots to nab that delicious mobile food we love so much:

  • Financial District. This is the City’s 3rd food truck cluster site, located on the corner of Milk & Kilby and accommodating 2 food trucks.

Since last summer, when Boston’s food truck program first began, the city closed three food truck sites. The addition of new food trucks and more food truck locations around Boston is a good sign that the food truck industry is on the rise.

Get all the details about more food trucks coming to your favorite locations, and new trucks in brand new spots as well.

I’ve posted some schedule information below. Looks like the Momogoose truck and Lobster truck will be outside of my office building. So much for pre-summer diets.

City Hall Plaza:
Breakfast/lunch 7 a.m.-3 p.m., lunch/dinner 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Monday: breakfast/lunch Go Fish; lunch/dinner Go Fish, Anthony’s Catering, the Dining Car
Tuesday: lunch/dinner Savory Food Truck, the Froyo Truck, M&M Ribs
Wednesday: breakfast/lunch the Chubby Chickpea; lunch/dinner Staff Meal, Boston Speed Dog
Thursday: breakfast/lunch Bon Me, Paris Creperie; lunch/dinner Staff Meal
Friday: breakfast/lunch Clover Food Lab; lunch/dinner Grilled Cheese Nation, Lobsta Love

Financial District (Milk and Kilby):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: lunch Chubby Chickpea, Lobsta Love; dinner Lobsta Love
Tuesday: lunch Cupcakory, Go Fish; dinner Kickass Cupcakes, Go Fish
Wednesday: lunch Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Momogoose; dinner Froyo, M&M
Thursday: lunch Momogoose, Redbones; dinner Cupcakory, Boston Speed Dog
Friday: lunch Bon Me, Kickass Cupcakes; dinner Froyo, Cupcakory

Chinatown (Boylston in front of China Trade Building):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: breakfast and lunch Paris Creperie
Tuesday: breakfast and lunch Paris Creperie, dinner Boston Speed Dog
Wednesday: breakfast and lunch Paris Creperie
Thursday: lunch and dinner Anthony’s Catering
Friday: lunch Go Fish

Boston Public Library:
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: lunch Froyo, dinner Boston Speed Dog
Tuesday: breakfast Clover, lunch Dining Car, dinner Frozen Hoagies
Wednesday: breakfast Clover, lunch Mei Mei Street Kitchen, dinner BBQ Smith
Thursday: breakfast Clover, lunch BBQ Smith, dinner Frozen Hoagies
Friday: breakfast Paris Creperie, lunch Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, dinner Kickass Cupcakes
Saturday: lunch Clover, dinner Kickass Cupcakes
Sunday: lunch the Chicken & Rice Guys, dinner Kickass Cupcakes

Back Bay (Clarendon between Newbury and Boylston):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: lunch Momogoose, dinner Froyo
Tuesday: lunch and dinner Grilled Cheese Nation
Wednesday: lunch Redbones, dinner the Cupcakory
Thursday: breakfast Cookie Monstah, lunch Savory Food Truck, dinner Lobsta Love
Friday: lunch Cupcakory, dinner Mei Mei
Saturday: lunch Froyo, dinner Bon Me
Sunday: lunch and dinner Bon Me

Back Bay (Trinity Place on Stuart Street):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: lunch Staff Meal, Mei Mei, Redbones; dinner Mei Mei
Tuesday: lunch Staff Meal, Mei Mei, Chubby Chickpea; dinner Mei Mei
Wednesday: lunch Cupcakory, Grilled Cheese Nation, Go Fish; dinner Lobsta Love, Mei Mei
Thursday: lunch Chubby Chickpea, Dining Car, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese; dinner Mei Mei, Grilled Cheese Nation
Friday: lunch Chubby Chickpea, Redbones, Staff Meal; dinner Cookie Monstah
Saturday: lunch Chicken & Rice, Bon Me; dinner Chicken & Rice

Prudential (Belvidere Street adjacent to the Christian Science Center’s
Children’s Fountain):

Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: lunch Bon Me, dinner Kickass Cupcakes
Tuesday: lunch Bon Me, dinner Kickass Cupcakes
Wednesday: lunch Bon Me, dinner Kickass Cupcakes
Thursday: lunch Go Fish
Friday: lunch Chubby Chickpea
Saturday: lunch Kickass Cupcakes
Sunday: lunch Kickass Cupcakes

Fenway (Hemenway and Forsyth):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-9 p.m.
Wednesday: dinner Frozen Hoagies
Friday: lunch Mei Mei, dinner Boston Speed Dog

South End (Harrison and East Concord):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-9 p.m.
Monday: lunch Savory Food Truck
Tuesday: lunch Savory Food Truck
Wednesday: lunch Savory Food Truck

South End (Tremont and Berkeley):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-9 p.m.
Tuesday: lunch Momogoose
Wednesday: lunch M&M, dinner Redbones
Thursday: lunch Savory Food Truck
Friday: lunch Savory Food Truck, dinner BBQ Smith

West End (Blossom and Emerson Place):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-9 p.m.
Monday: lunch Savory Food Truck
Tuesday: lunch Redbones
Wednesday: lunch Savory Food Truck, dinner Grilled Cheese Nation
Thursday: lunch Lobsta Love, dinner Redbones
Friday: lunch Savory Food Truck

BU East (Comm. Ave. in front of the Morse Auditorium):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: breakfast and lunch Clover, dinner Frozen Hoagies
Tuesday: breakfast and lunch Clover, dinner Bon Me
Wednesday: lunch Dining Car; dinner Bon Me
Thursday: lunch Mei Mei, dinner Bon Me
Friday: lunch Dining Car, dinner Frozen Hoagies
Saturday: lunch and dinner Mei Mei

BU West (Comm. Ave. by the BU Bridge):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Wednesday: all day Clover
Thursday: all day Clover
Friday: breakfast and lunch Clover, dinner Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
Saturday: dinner Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

Cleveland Circle (Cassidy Park parking lot):
Breakfast 6-10 a.m., lunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 3-11 p.m.
Monday: dinner Bon Me
Tuesday: dinner Clover
Wednesday: lunch Clover, dinner Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
Thursday: dinner Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
Friday: dinner Clover
Saturday: lunch Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, dinner Clover
Sunday: lunch Mei Mei, dinner Chicken & Rice

New Boston Food Truck: Chicken & Rice Guys on the Horizon

6 Mar

Food Trucks make way, a new addition is rolling in to Boston:

Chicken & Rice Guys

More lovingly known as C&R, this new Boston food truck will be featuring a Middle Eastern chicken dish that has been all the rage in New York City. Sounds awesome!

Sources day that the Chicken & Rice Guys food truck will only be open on weekends. Hmph. That sounds a little lame. Maybe that will change once they get situated.

Finally Boston is getting its own chicken and rice cart. These halal carts have been getting a lot of attention in NYC, and finally we Bostonians can join in on the delicious excitement.

Just check out the incredible Yelp reviews of the Chicken & Rice Guys Halal Cart on 53rd and 6th in NYC. Sounds out of this world guys! Can’t wait!


Hurrah for Food Trucks! And welcome C&R.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…. of Food Trucks!

10 Feb

This blog is a Boston Food Truck Project.

The Goal: To sample, document, and review the delicious food trucks available in the Boston area

Let’s begin our blog with a look at the history of food trucks and their recent rise in popularity within the US.

A History of Food Trucks

Food trucks have recently gained an enormous rise in popularity, but the concept of mobile catering is no modern phenomenon. The concept of mobile catering has existed in America for quite some time. The origins of the modern food truck can be traced back to the mid 1900s, when the chuckwagon was created by Charles Goodnight. Goodnight (Good morning!) recognized how difficult it was to feed cattlemen a decent meal, seeing how they were on the  move constantly, driving herds of cattle across the West to bring beef to areas that were without railroads.

Being the clever fellow that he was, Charles spiffied up an old Army Wagon and stocked it with dry preserves, salted meats, and silverware. And so, the invention of the chuckwagon.

Mobile food venues grew to be available mostly for construction workers or other blue collars. You had your ice cream trucks, taco trucks, and hot dog vendors, but eating from “roach coaches” was usually thought to be a dangerous endeavor – the trucks were believed by many to be riddled with health violations. You’d see some trucks at sporting events or outside college campuses and bars (a hungry drunk usually isn’t concerned about contamination when crazed by 2am munchies).

Since 2008, the food truck industry has been completely revolutionized, increasingly more gourmet food trucks arrive on the scene. The upsurge in food truck popularity originated in NYC and LA, but has continued to move to other parts of the country. With tough economic times driving many chefs out of work, some have taken the initiative to get creative with their food venues.

The modern food truck is no roach coach of yesteryear – instead, you’ll find fine ethnic cuisine and specialty dishes at reasonable prices.

Why Food Trucks Work:

Whereas a brick and mortar restaurant might offer a wide array of food selections, food trucks have limited resources at their disposal, meaning they can only specialize in a few dishes. This allows for numerous food trucks with varying niche specialties. This setup also allows chiefs to ensure that their limited selections are excellent, concentrating their focus and efforts on those few individual dishes.

Food trucks also have the benefit of being able to travel wherever business is good. If you’re losing business at Faneuil Hall, simply truck on over (aren’t puns lovely?) to the financial district.

Check out this awesome Mashable infographic documenting the rise of the food truck:

History of Food Trucks Infographic by Mashable

History of Food Trucks Infographic by Mashable

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