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Sobremesa Street Kitchen

29 Jul

 

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Facebook: Sobremesa
Instagram: Sobremesa
Twitter: Sobremesa
Phone: (614) 401-6372

Food trucks are often associated with over-the-top, gluttonous creations, and Columbus is no exception to that rule. More healthful options are slowly making their way onto the scene, however, with one of the more promising being Sobremesa Street Kitchen.

This relative newcomer to the Columbus food truck scene (starting up roughly during the winter of 2016) features Venezuelan Rafael Simo, who escaped the corporate world to follow his dream of “making good food that would be worthy of a conversation between old friends, family, lovers or even strangers”, and touting itself as “Columbus’ first Latin-infused, plant-based mobile food service”, as described on its main website.

Based on the menus I’ve seen at Sobremesa’s stops, Simo is following through on that dream in spades. Sobremesa’s main dishes that are most definitely plant-oriented with a Latin flair, with nary a hint of meat in the ingredient listings and following the familiar bowl/wrap formula, with a bevy of sides and sauces.

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You might worry about these dishes to be a bit bland compared with those incorporating meat, but I’ve found Sobremesa’s creations to be not only quite flavorful, but also spot on in terms of texture and freshness.  The Black Bean creations such as the wrap are most definitely filling, while the Crispy Tacos and Jerk Tofu Bowl offer a slightly more manageable portion size.

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One thing I’ll be looking for in the future is their horchata, which is said to be quite good but I haven’t thought to ask for it yet during my visits.

According to their website and the graphic on the food truck, “Sobremesa” refers to the time spent with people after you shared lunch or dinner, savoring both the food you just ate as well as the company. While you may not have a table available at some of their food truck stops, the catering side of their business decidedly gives you that very opportunity.

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Originally published on the 614ortyniner blog site.

 

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Nothin But Nadas

13 Jul

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Facebook: Nothin But Nadas
Twitter: Nothin But Nadas
Phone: (614) 226-8961

Other than perhaps the burrito/wrap, the hand pie/empanada is the most perfectly portable food item in the mobile food arsenal. The empanada for the most part refers to those versions with a Spanish or Portuguese influence, but the variations from country to country or even region can differ quite a bit.

The Nothin But Nadas food trailer offers up Puerto Rican-styled empanadas to diners (the owners of the business are self-proclaimed Nuyoricans i.e. New Yorkers with Puerto Rican heritage.) These neatly crimped hand pies, emblazoned with the business name on the edge, offer a bubbly, almost flaky crust. In a way, the exterior in my mind splits the difference between two of my favorite grocery store treats from years back: Pepperidge Farm Apple Turnovers and a Hot Pocket.

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The crimping may be the most fancy things about these empanadas – the fillings are fairly basic, but do a good job of making these pies a heartier option than most. Size-wise, three of these pies would satisfy all but the biggest appetites.

We personally like the meat-based filling options the best, but at least one non-meat choice such as Buffalo Mac and Veggie is typically offered.  A basic cilantro sauce is typically offered with your order, but a slightly more spicy sriracha version is also available.

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(Note: originally posted in the “The 614ortyniner” blog.)

El Rinconcito Pupuseria

27 Jun

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El Riconcito
Salvadorean
2400 E Dublin Granville Road
614.254.1739
Open Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm

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Pupuserias in Columbus have come and gone, often quite quickly, but we have more confidence in the longevity of El Riconcito because the owner Betty is a long time employee of veteran taco truck Taco Nazo. We also anticipate they will do well because their food is very good. The menu has four main dishes pupusas, enchilladas Salvadorenos, pasteles Salvadorenos and carne a la plancha.

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The pupusas come in several variations – pork, chicken, cheese, beans or a mixture (revuletos). Loroco is a flower that is often added to cheese pupusas. The pupusas were well cooked (as you can see from the picture) and are served as typical with curtido, a slightly spicy pickled slaw and a tomato based hot sauce (mild or hot).

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Enchiladas Salvadorenos are similar to a Mexican tostada. At El Rinconcito they are comprised of a homemade tortilla topped with beans, chicken, lettuce, cheese tomato, cucumber and hard boiled egg.

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Our favorite item was the pasteles Salvadorenos which are small crispy empanadas with a corn based shell that are filled with chicken, rice and potatoes. They make a great snack. The pasteles and the enchiladas are both served with curtido. The last item on the menu is the carne a la plancha – meat cooked on the grill. It’s served with rice, beans, avocados, salsa and tortillas.

IMG_2044El Riconcito also serves horchata.

We are planning a meet up at the truck on July 8th at from 6-9pm.

 

Explorers Club Food Truck

6 Jul

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Facebook: explorersclubmv
StreetFoodFinder: Coming Soon

The Explorers Club Restaurant is about eighteen months past the day the doors opened. While other restaurants entered the mobile food world before Explorers Club, the team behind the wheel of this truck started preparing back in 2012.

Shortly after the restaurant opened, they started to rent a food cart to help get the word out about the Explorer’s Club at different community events. They did well with the cart and saw the advantages of going mobile with a truck including having extra kitchen space in a building where cooking quarters are tight as well as a much easier way to build out a catering business. The truck launched in late May of this year and has been keeping busy doing corporate lunches, events, late night and weddings.

Like the restaurant, the menu is eclectic. While it often has a southwestern / latin theme the sky is the limit for what one might find on the menu on any given day. A few examples are posted below.

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A few examples are shown below. Tots, one of the most sought items on mobile food menus, are frequently on the menu and in many of the Explorers Club Menu items. The example below is the Sloppy Jose Burrito which includes mac and cheese, Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), seasons tots and some saucy goodness.

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Tacos in various forms are frequent flyers on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, but always tacos with a twist of one sort or another.

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For breakfast, this truck has the best options in the business including breakfast burritos, chorizo sausage Biscuits and gravy and one of my favorites an egg sandwich on Cuban bread with Swiss Cheese, jalapeno mayonnaise and jalapeno slaw.

For vegetarians, there are typically one or more strong options on the menu. For fans of the restaurant, many of the menu items are based on core ingredients at the Explorers Club but this is not a recycling of menu concepts so you will find selections you won’t find elsewhere. The items on the food truck menu are meant to be served fast and are friendly to eating on the go.

Yerba Buena Latin Grill

27 Apr

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Yerba Buena is a Phoenix – it keeps dying and coming back to life. As of May 2013, it is back in operation.

614.228.4830
Website
Facebook

Current location: Clintonville
4490 Indianola Ave
Clintonville (about five blocks south of Morse Road)
May 17th update: Hours 3:30 to 8:30 pm, Wednesday to Saturday. Cash Only.

Yerba Buena is an offshoot of the popular Venezuelan restaurant El Arepazo located on N Pearl St in downtown Columbus. Interestingly, the roots of El Arepazo are in street food – their success in selling handmade arepas at the annual Latino Festival is what led to the restaurant in the first place. Now, six years later, they have a swanky new trailer offering a limited selection from the restaurant menu.

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We caught up with them on their first day of operation (at the Earth Day celebration in Franklin Park) so I’m guessing the truck menu may expand over the summer. They plan to be at the major festivals this summer and are looking into weekday locations. For the moment the El Arepazo Facebook page is the best place for information.

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We sampled the patacon – which was every bit as good as it is at the restaurant. A flattened and fried sweet plantain topped with your choice of beef, chicken or pork and then topped with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, avocado and El Arepazo’s famous cilantro salsa. Not the most graceful street food to eat but worth the effort.

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The fish tacos were equally satisfying: a flour tortilla with crisp breaded cod hidden under a mound of lettuce, corn, avocado, salsa and that fantastic cilantro sauce. Yerba Buena offers a selection of juices (and also Mexican Jarritos sodas) to wash down your food. I tried the ‘tomatoe tree’ juice (aka tamarillo or tomato de arbol), which has a slightly tangy, not too sweet and complex flavor.

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