The Wood-Fired Blog

Undergrad Takes on Food Truck at Cal

From the San Jose Mercury News.

Koh may be the first undergrad to run his own food truck at Cal, but street food fever is taking over not only cities, but also college campuses from coast to coast. Schools in Southern California, Texas, Oregon and Washington have launched their own versions of Off the Grid street food fests, bringing fleets of food trucks on campus. A trio of students at Bowdoin College in Maine launched a food truck in February. And law students in Pennsylvania have begun holding workshops for anyone interested in starting a food truck business of their own.

Photo from D. Ross Cameron/San Jose Mercury News

Exciting. There sure weren’t gourmet food trucks when I went to college (all those years ago).

Check out DoJo Dogs list of Asian Fusion Hotdogs:

Ninjitsu: A Dojo Dog dog topped with shredded nori, flash-grilled cabbage, teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, in a hoagie-style bun.

Kendo: Bonito flakes, cabbage, soy paste and wasabi mayonnaise.

Wushu: Pork sung, cabbage, katsu sauce and Japanese mayonnaise.

Shaolin Monk: Lettuce, grilled cabbage and a miso glaze, wrapped in nori rather than a bun.

More Food Truck Numbers

From WCTV in Tallahassee—Food Truck Boom in Tallahassee.

They are riding the wave of the fastest growing business in Florida. According to Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, there are 60 food trucks registered in Leon County alone. That has more than doubled since 2008.

“It’s growing tremendously. Statewide in 2008 about 2500, now about 3,000 and we are seeing people embracing this new business model and they are reaching out, creating their dreams,” DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson said.

Have Food Trucks Gone Too Far?

I got a real kick out of this first-class rant by Los Angeles public radio commentator and performer Sandra Tsing Loh.

This comes from www.altadeno.patch.com. It’s just true and funny. It reminds me of the “beer flavored beer” ads that featured Denis Leary.

Tsing Loh’s radio piece, which aired on Pasadena’s KPCC station can be heard here, or you can read a transcript of the piece.

Her complaints included:

God bless my native city of Los Angeles, and its pulsing norteno reggaeton beat, but I think sometimes there can be TOO much hipness, TOO much multiculturalism, TOO much blending. Do we really NEED a Korean Mexican short rib minicrepe with mandarin oranges and coconut shavings with a side of jicama slaw marinated in Red Bull, handed through a tiny window by a tattooed Cal State Northridge student who’s reading a book on French symbolism and charging three dollars for smart water? I mean how smart is our smart water supposed to be? If it was that smart, I wouldn’t ALSO be trying the kimchi on a stick.

And:

Unfortunately, the welcoming visual mandala of food trucks will represent the height of your lunch experience. Because when you actually read DESCRIPTIONS of what is offered, now comes that familiar smoggy cloud of CONFUSION. It’s like attending an alumni REUNION of things you’ve never met. We have what the LA Weekly voted, in 2011, to be “LA’s most beloved Bacon chocolate” truck, hand-pulled venison sliders, kimchi on a stick, crazy uncle po’boy lobsterooni and those four simple letters, BOBA. I don’t know what boba is– I don’t want it– I want people to stop insisting on my getting to know it– I can barely run the SAFARI app on my Iphone– I want boba to go away.

You can read the entire article here.

Food Trucks by the Numbers

From BusinessWeek.

The new model being set by Porc Mobile in Washington and Rickshaw Dumpling Bar in New York has moved beyond hot dogs and ice cream to miso soup, lobster rolls and crepes. Mobile food- preparation businesses increased 15 percent over five years to make up 37 percent of the $1.4 billion of U.S. street vending revenue in 2011, according to researcher IBISWorld Inc.

“They’ve grown aggressively,” said Nima Samadi, a senior analyst at Santa Monica, California-based IBISWorld. “It’s at a heightened pitch at this point.”

Tuk Tuk Electric Catering Cart

I’ve been reading and writing about Food Trucks, and came across this.

From www.designboom.com, this is an electric vehicle designed specifically for cater and food vending. What a kick. I want one. Put an oven in the back, and I could deliver pizza to our neighbors.

Here is more from Design Boom.

The dutch company tuk tuk factory has developed ‘e-tuk vendo‘, a fully electric rickshaw-style van for foodtrucks and mobile catering.

More common in India, Asia, and Africa than in western countries, ‘tuk tuks’ are three wheeled cars typically used as novelty taxis and for public transportation, powered either by biking or fuel. tuk tuk factory produces some of the first electric models of the vehicles, to which the ‘vendo’ has just been added as the first craft designed specifically for food service.

You can click on the article to read more. Or you can go straight to the Tuk Tuk company web site.

Sew Hungry in Ottawa

From the The Spectator in Ottawa.

It’s the second incarnation of Sew Hungry, a food truck and restaurant rally sponsored by the Ottawa Street BIA. They say it will be the biggest such rendezvous ever held in Canada, with 15 trucks from all over southern Ontario in one place at the same time.

And yes, wood-fired pizza from a truck.

Sew Hungry takes place May 4 along Ottawa North between Barton Street and Dunsmure Road, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until trucks run out of food, which in some cases could happen before the final gong). You simply show up, line up, buy up what you want direct from the window, then eat up.

More on Pizza Amore in Buffalo

Here is a follow-up article on Pizza Amore (that’s a portable Forno Bravo oven) in BuffaloNews.com. They are getting some good press, and, as the article is quick to point out—the line was 10 people deep when the reporters go there. That’s nice.

Though I have to agree with the reporter—the pizza could have stayed in the oven for a couple of more seconds to get a better char (and they didn’t say this, maybe a nice bubbly, brown crust on the mozzarella). Still looking good.

Food Truck Economics

I listened to a good Podcast on Food Trucks in NYC today from NPR’s Planet Money. Did you know that 3,000 food trucks converge on the city every day, each jockeying for the best positions—and that a good parking spot can be the difference between success and failure. And with all the different zoning and land use laws, it is basically illegal for a food truck to park just about everywhere. Planet Money rides in a red Asian bun truck in search of the perfect spot.

You can find the Podcast Here.

 

Pizza and Food Trucks

There was a nice article on a Food Truck with a Forno Bravo oven the other day, it is got me thinking about Food Trucks, pizza, France, rolling pins and the feudal system.

PIzza Amore in Bufalo.com, April 19, 2012

Food trucks are hot. The best foot truck companies have loyal customers who track their movements on Twitter and follow them where ever they go. There are food truck maps on the Web that will tell you exactly where your favorite food truck will be at lunch and dinner today and where you can find them this weekend. You can search by food type and chef, and the food trucks have great names—like Shrimp Pimp Truck, Curry Up Now, and Chairman Bao Bun Truck.

Of course food trucks and pizza are a match made in heaven.

It is one of those moments that reminds me that there is nothing new under the sun. Takeout food was a staple in ancient Rome (though I don’t think there is any evidence of food trucks, or any type of truck for that matter), and there are numerous medieval wood blocks and prints of portable wood-fired (of course there weren’t any alternatives) bread oven carts. Don’t you think that fresh baked bread out of a wood oven rolled up to your house in 1412 would have been a lot nicer than a loaf of Save Mart bread in 2012? haha.

Pizza ovens and food trucks are a perfect fit. We’ve been lucky enough to have had a number of summer vacations in Provence, and you see Renault vans outfitted with wood pizza ovens all over the place—at the daily rotating markets in the mornings and for lunch, and then in popular town squares in the afternoon and early evening. While the pizza isn’t as good as real Italian pizza (haha again), it’s the thought that counts. Interestingly, french pastry techniques—such as rolling pins—are not good for pizza (in that case it is actually bad), and the flour is different. You see a lot of pizza with Comté, a traditional French cheese that is similar to Swiss Gruyere, which is very nice.

Once, we really wanted flatbreads to go with the appetizers and wine we had collected during the day, and I had the hardest time convincing the chef that I really just wanted a flatbread with olive oil, salt and a little oregano. If you tried to do that in Italy, it would have been simple! I did get there in the end (but even the dough isn’t up to Italian standards).

There are many Forno Bravo ovens installed on either trailers or in Food Trucks all across the US and Canada (hundreds of them). We maintaing a list of Portable Wood-Fired Catering ovens through the Forno Bravo Via directory, but the number of companies using our ovens for mobile catering is growing so fast, our directory is well behind.

Our partner for mobile catering ovens is the Fire Within. We have been working with them on portable ovens for years, and they do a great job. They sell beautiful trailers and trucks, and moreover, they provide training, seminars, classes and publications on how to run a successful (and profitable) wood-fired catering business.

With spring upon us, we are looking forward to hearing about more new wood-fired catering companies, and to reading lots of fun newspaper and web articles on where wood-fired trailers and trucks are popping up at markets, fairs and festivals.