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Cilantro

6 Sep

cilantro food truck columbus

Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Website
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614.899.2550

Cilantro is a Puerto Rican food truck that, as of now, can mainly be found in the Westerville area. It’s owner formerly ran Costelo’s, which was Columbus’ only Puerto Rican restaurant. Cilantro’s menu varies but includes a variety Puerto Rican dishes such as tripletas, pernil, empanadas, arroz con gandules. In addition to the Puerto Rican specials you’ll also find tacos, rice bowls, burritos and sandwiches. On the day we were there they were offering a chorizo and chicken (‘choripollo’) sandwich and their spin on a Cuban sandwich. Not offered on the day we visited was the tripleta, a Puerto Rican sandwich made with 3 different meats (usually pork, ham and beef).

puerto rican food truck columbus

We really liked the pernil special – tender, juicy Puerto Rican style roasted pork shoulder served with a generous side of rice and beans (arroz con gandules), salad and plantains. The plantains were served on the side and we were given both sweet plantains and tostones (savory plantain slices). All in all, a very hearty lunch for $10.

Cilantro food truck columbus

We also enjoyed the empanadas filled with a chorizo based filling (below) and the passion fruit juice.

puerto rican food columbus

If you are looking for Puerto Rican food in Columbus it’s definitely worth tracking down Cilantro, best done by following them on Facebook. The food is tasty and good value. The owner said that he can make other Puerto Rican dishes as special orders with advance notice.

Columbus Food Truck and Cart Festival 2013

14 Aug

Columbus Food Truck festival

This year the Columbus Food Truck and Cart Festival is bigger and better than ever. For the first time the festival spans two days — August 16th and 17th.

There will be 43 food trucks and carts as well as local bands, crafts and local businesses and non-profits and of course — beer! There will be lines at peak hours for the popular trucks, but there’s plenty of space to relax, find a space on the grass and enjoy your food and some local music.

The festival is Friday and Saturday at the Columbus Commons from noon – 10 pm. There’s a parking garage underneath the Commons and plenty of parking in the surrounding area.

Where:
The Columbus Commons, 160 S. High Street, Columbus, OH

What:
The festival offers over 43 of central Ohio’s best food trucks and carts, over 30 arts and crafts vendors, Live Music all day both days, onsite beer sales, games for kids and families, and raffle prizes with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Free admission for everyone and all ages welcome.

There are all kinds of foods to choose from. Some of our picks are: That Food Truck, Sweet Carrot, Los Potosinos, The Coop, Sublime Smoke, Paddy Wagon, Red Snapper and Dave’s Jamaican food. We’re looking forward to trying some of the newer and out of town trucks like Not Guilty from Athens Ohio.  Here’s the map to help you find your way around.

Columbus food truck festival map 2013

Columbus Food Adventures Food Truck Tour

15 Jul

food truck food tour

It’s obviously no secret that we’re big fans of good food truck cuisine, and it’s probably not a big secret that two of us are also the owner operators of a food tour business called Columbus Food Adventures.

So, it should come as no surprise that Columbus Food Adventures has introduced a Food Truck Tour. A really, really, good one, if we do say so ourselves… which is the type of thing we’re prone to saying when we’re working with partners we can be this enthusiastic about.

We’ve run our first couple of tours recently, and they went very well. We’ve never hit the ground running so completely as we did on this one, and that’s not a boast – it’s entirely due to the great food, friendly receptions, and consummate professionalism of the participating trucks.

Columbus has a lot of food trucks. If you’d like a worry-free overview of some of the best of them, we’d encourage you to join us for this tour. Stops on this tour include some of the best barbecue the city has to offer, fried chicken as you’ve never had it before (unless you’ve already been to this truck!), Korean street food prepared by a noted chef, and the surprisingly accessible and absolutely addictive flavors of a skilled Indonesian chef duo.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please see here. We also run a taco truck tour.

Here’s a video of the new food truck tour:

Challah!

10 Jul

jewish food truck columbus ohio

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Challah! debuted on June 30th and is Columbus’ first food truck specializing in Jewish cuisine. It turns out (from a quick google scan) that Jewish food trucks are popular in other cities, offering a combination of traditional favorites and Jewish fusion dishes (corned beef egg rolls!). Challah’s menu is predominantly sandwich-based, so far, with latkes also featuring prominently.

Co-owners Catie Randazzo and Shoshanna Gross recently moved from NYC to Columbus to open the new truck. They plan to use local ingredients whenever possible and everything (except the bread) is made from scratch on the truck. You can read more about the background of the truck here.

We visited them during their (absolutely mobbed) opening on June 30th and again for lunch when the duo were much calmer (if not cooler – food trucks can be brutal in the summer!).

challah menu

Pictured above is Challah’s lunch menu. Their late night menu adds a few more items:

Challah-loo-yah……………….………………………………………..…….…….$6.00
Brined chicken breast dredged in cornmeal and deep-fried. Servedwith pickled red
onion, cucumber and an herb mayo on a toasted challah roll.

Challah Back……………………………………………………………………………$5.00
Fried Egg and potato latke with mayo on a challah roll.
Add Corned Beef for $2.00

Fried Pickles…………………………………………………………………………….$3.00
Beer battered spicy pickles served with a sour cream and dill dipping sauce.

Sandwiches are made with either challah (surprise!) or rye breads, depending on the filling. You can also substitute bread for seasonal greens to make for a gluten free salad option. So far we’ve sampled full sized versions of the corned beef sandwich and the smoked whitefish sandwich as well as some mini samples of some of the others.

The corned beef sandwich comes with a homemade Russian dressing and smoky, vinaigrette-based coleslaw. It was a delicious, with one possible point of contention – the fattiness of the corned beef itself. To be fair, this is an entirely debatable point – there are definitely those who feel that the fattier the better, as far as corned beef goes.

jewish street food

The smoked whitefish sandwich (pictured below) is as appealing visually as it is tasty. Beets (no, they’re not tomato slices) may seem a surprising sandwich topping, but we thought they worked brilliantly with the whitefish. There’s a good balance of textures with a nice crunch from the latke contrasting the soft tuna salad-like whitefish. The whitefish is not overly strong in flavor and also not too heavy on mayo, a plus in our book. We also liked the added dill.

IMG_8058

Latkes are also available as a side and, as alluded to before, they have a nice crunchy exterior. The inside was tender and silky, and onions and potatoes were well balanced. I thought they’d be even better with some kind of dip or sauce, a little sour cream perhaps.

Challah! is a great new debut, and we’re looking forward to both seeing how they evolve and trying out their late night menu.

Aromaku

23 Oct

indonesian food truck columbus

Cuisine: Indonesian

2200 E Dublin Granville Road (161). Next to Taco Nazo.
614.843.8803
Open daily 11am-8pm
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Street Eats and alt eats come together in this brand new truck focusing on Indonesian cuisine. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Hendri and Vivi Hasan, they view their operation as their first step on a path to opening a restaurant. From our point of view, it’s a good one.

As of our first visit, Aromaku offers three distinct dishes. We started with the bakmi ayam – egg noodles with ground chicken. Indonesian food in Columbus is limited and this is a dish that we’ve not come across before. Served with some greens and bean shoots, the chicken is surprisingly flavorful with a noticeable amount of black-pepper. The noodles were nice and springy. Overall, a winner – especially at $6.95.

indonesian chicken and noodles

Next we tried the classic Indonesian dish rendang, a spicy beef stew made with coconut milk and strongly flavored with lime leaves. In many respects, Aromaku’s rendang sauce reminded us of a concentrated Thai tom kha - and that’s not a bad thing at all. Rendang is, by it’s nature, fairly rich, so the modest portion was just right and the salad (or achar) is a great accompaniment. Rendang is offered with either rice or a roti (shown below).

indonesian food in columbus ohio

A quick elaboration on roti – they’re a flat, pan cooked bread, made to order. Aromaku offers them either plain or with green onion. We liked both but would give the edge to the green onion. Although they share the name with the Indian (whole wheat) roti, they’re quite distinct – white flour-based, pan fried, and much flakier. And, they’re perfection when paired with the rendang.

Lastly we tried ayam goreng (fried chicken) which is marinated in a complex spice mixture and has a crispy but un-breaded skin. A typical order would be two leg and thighs or four wings. This pleasantly flavored fried chicken is served with achar, lightly pickled vegetables.

aromaku food truck

The drinks selection is extensive and includes several tropical juices (mango, guava), a couple of  ice teas and the more obscure soursop, white gourd and sugarcane juice. The white gourd (aka winter melon juice) was particularly interesting and unexpectedly tasted of nuts and caramel. The teh kotak was an enjoyable jasmine tea drink.

indonesian food truck drinks

Suffice it to say that, overall, we’re fans. Indonesian cuisine can, on occasion, be a bit challenging to the American palate, but the offerings from Aromaku struck us as being both faithful to their origins and well selected for wide ranging acceptance. Check ‘em out.

Food Truck Festival September 28th

20 Sep

columbus commons food truck festival

If you enjoyed the food truck festival at Columbus Commons in July, you’ve got another opportunity to try new trucks and find your favorites. Free Admission, access to over 30 of central Ohio’s best food trucks and carts, and over 20 Arts & Crafts vendors. A portion of the proceeds benefit Music Loves Ohio and live music will be provided by Sound Playground and Travelers by Dawn. You can also buy beer and enjoy games for kids and families.

El Conquistador

7 Sep

dominican food truck columbus

Campus Pit Stop at Lane and Kenny.
Monday-Saturday 11am-3pm (may start opening earlier for breakfast when OSU starts).

El Conquistador is a Dominican owned truck, run by a lovely woman called Belkis, who is sometimes helped out by her kids at weekends. Her menu includes some Mexican dishes (tacos, burritos) and you’ll also find Dominican and some Puerto Rican dishes, especially at weekends when she often has specials.

dominican food in columbus

Here most popular dishes are the ‘plantain’, fish tacos, and the chimichanga. The plantain dish is similar to the Venezuelan dish patacon that you’ll find at El Arepazo. It’s a whole ripe plantain flattened and fried and topped with lettuce, pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro salsa, meat or fish of your choice and (optionally) cheese. It can also be served as a vegetarian dish. It’s a great dish with a mixture of sweet, spicy and savory flavors.

patacon columbus food truck

The addictive cilantro sauce (again, think El Arepazo) is available in mild and hot and is also served with empanadas. The empanadas are available in different flavors and are cooked to order.

latin street food columbus

One of our favorite specials at El Conquistador has been the pollo guisado (chicken stew) with moro (rice and beans) and tostones (savory plantain chips). You’ll also find carne guisado, which is a beef stew, and sometimes the Puerto Rican dish arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). The cilantro sauce also goes well with the tostones.

dominican food in columbus ohio

One thing to note. Although ceviche is listed on the menu, we’ve never found it to be available. If there’s enough demand Belkis might consider bringing it back.

Local Foods Week 2012

13 Aug

local street food week

Local Foods Week kicked off on Saturday. This annual celebration, organized by Local Matters, offers some great events for mobile food fans.

Tuesday through Thursday, Columbus Food Adventures offers Local Foods Week tours that includes a stop at That Food Truck as well as Brothers Drake Meadery and several restaurants who focus on local sourcing.

Dinin’ Hall have declared it ‘Local Street Food Week’ and are encouraging their resident trucks to include menu items with locally sourced content. On Tuesday and Friday they will be hosting Local Matters educators who will be offering advice on gardening and cooking, and will also have activities for kids aged 5-15.

Here are a few of the Local Foods Week special menu items at Dinin’ Hall:

•Sweet Carrot: Fried green tomatoes on corn cakes (Sweet Carrot will be at Dinin’ Hall on August 20)
•Earth’s Crust: Plain cheese pizza with garden tomato sauce, cheeses from Kokoborrego cheese company, and Ohio Farm direct’s grass-fed cheeses.  Also, pepperoni pizza with Bluescreek farm’s all-beef pepperoni. (Earth Crust will be at Dinin’ Hall on August 17)
•Freedom a la Cart: tomato and basil salad, gazpacho (Freedom will be at Dinin’ Hall on August 16)

columbus local foods

On Friday evening, August 17th, The Food Fort at ECDI will be celebrating the Grand Opening of its new commercial kitchen with Food Fort Fest from 5-9pm. Food Fort will be showing off their new incubator kitchen spaces in the Eddie Grayson Culinary Lab with tours and samples from some of their kitchen clients. Guests of the Food Fort Fest will have the opportunity to enjoy signature dishes from several of the resident mobile vendors including Pitabilities, Ajumama, OH! Burgers, Per Zoot, and Kenny’s Meat Wagon. There will be kids activities and a DJ. The Food Fort at ECDI is located at 1655 Old Leonard Avenue in Columbus.

We’d also like to give a shout out to some of the trucks that try to source locally as much as they can all of the time. We’re sure this isn’t a comprehensive list, so we welcome other trucks to add comments about their local sourcing cred.

The Cooplocal foods week columbus 2012
Sweet Carrot
Mya’s Fried chicken
That Food Truck
Freedom a la Cart
Earth’s Crust
Blu Olive
Swoop
Cheesey Truck

Mya’s Fried Chicken.

19 Jul

fried chicken truck columbus


Website

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3166 N. High Street (corner of Pacemont and High St).
614.209.9004
Friday-Sunday 12:00-8:00pm

When Ray Ray’s moved down the street to Ace of Cups, their newly vacant spot seemed a great food truck location left truck-less. But as food trucks abhor a vacuum, the void has now been filled by Mya’s fried chicken – a new truck offering fried chicken and comfort food sides. It’s run by a former executive banquet chef who left his job to start the business, named after his daughter.

fried chicken food truck

We went all-in and ordered a whole bird with biscuits and all of the sides. The chicken is sourced from a local distributor, is antibiotic and hormone free, and is all Ohio proud. It was certainly good enough to satisfy a serious fried chicken craving, with our preference leaning towards the juicier dark meat. The breast was a bit on the dry side on our visit. The breading and skin were crunchy in places with a little chewiness and there was a nice touch of rosemary – overall the flavor was exceptional. We ordered ours plain and tried the vinegar sauce and herbed honey drizzle on the side.

columbus food trucks

The warm house-made biscuits were very popular with our tasting team. They also go well with the herbed honey.

Columbus food trucks

Of the sides, our favorite was the smashed potatoes with pan gravy. The gravy was rich and meaty and it disappeared first. We’ve heard really good reviews about the mac and cheese from friends, and it was highly recommended by the staff, but on the day we were there the sauce was broken, so although the flavor was good the texture was grainy.

comfort food truck columbus

The lemonade was nice and refreshing, neither too sweet nor too tart.

Clintonville food trucks

Green Meanie

5 Jul

website
Facebook

Twitter @eatgreenmeanie
614.961.0516

Everything this truck makes has something green in it or on it, said their owner, Keith Smith, thus the name ‘Green Meanie’. He liked the name immediately, and everything else followed, including the hulk-like farmer logo.

That’s about as much of a conceptual handle as you’ll get from this truck – the menu is exceptionally eclectic, ranging from banh mi sandwiches to a spin on Native American fry bread to mac and cheese.

As of our last visit, the menu had four signature sandwiches and one rotating side.

green meanie food truck

Their signature ‘Green Meanie’ is probably the most unique sandwich offering. It consists of panko crusted chicken croquettes atop an adaptation of Native American fry bread topped with avocado, mixed greens, diced tomato, scallion, cilantro, signature green sauce and signature mean sauce. The chicken croquettes are rich and the filling, reminding us of a warm chicken salad (you may want to ask for some extra hot sauce to cut the richness). The fry bread was thinner and less greasy than we expected from previous encounters with it, and it works well as a wrap.

food trucks in Columbus Ohio

The ‘shiznite’ (their spelling) is a panko crusted dirty water hot dog on a New England roll with bacon and jalapeno cream cheese. It’s topped with avocado, onions, diced tomato, scallion, and cilantro and drizzled with ‘shiznite’ sauce. The one we had was a little heavy on the cream cheese but popular with our taste testers.

food truck banh mi sandwich

The ‘banh Meanie’ is probably our favorite Green Meanie sandwich, but it has a distinctly different flavor profile from a traditional banh mi. It’s made with hoisin and sriracha marinated pork tenderloin on French baguette with pickled carrots and onions, blanched beans, cucumbers, fresh basil, cilantro and creamy jalapeno aioli. The difference in flavor, relative to its namesake, comes mainly from the use of Italian basil, the aioli, and the green beans.

columbus street food

The vegetarian option is the Green Thumb which consists of a grilled portobello mushroom with fresh mozzarella served on flatbread and topped with avocado, mixed greens, diced tomato, scallion, cilantro, signature green sauce and signature mean sauce. We liked the flavors of this sandwich but found the portabello tough and hard to bite through.

Sides have included freshly cut french fries served with a scallion-olive oil aioli for dipping, macaroni and cheese topped with bacon and scallions and chilled tomato consomme.We’ve also seen them offering ‘puppy chow’ as a sweet treat.

You’ll notice that there are quite a few signature sauces. Keith’s wife works at Marzetti and has helped him to develop the sauces for the truck.

Prices for a sandwich range from $7-8. Green Meanie are at a lot of events and festivals. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook to see where they’ll be appearing next.

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