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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.)

Early Bird

15 Jun

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Early Bird
2141 Indianola Ave (corner of Norwich) by Tree of Life Church, parking in rear lot
Thursday-Friday 7am-1pm, Saturday 8am-1pm

Facebook: EarlyBird
Website: Fourandtwentybakeshop
Phone: (614) 715-0906

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Perched just north of OSU Campus, Early Bird Food Truck serves beignets (regular and filled), donuts, hand pies (they go quick), One Line Coffee and in the near future, perhaps a French style ham and cheese sandwich. The beignets can be dusted with powdered or cinnamon sugar. Fillings include custard, nutella, peanut butter and more. The menu is small, the concept is simple and for early risers, that simplicity can make the early morning rise that much easier. Owner Libby Glover is an accomplished and trained baker who managed the bakery at Hills Market in the past and has been a frequent farmers market purveyor.

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One my survey run I tried a variety of beignets. They were great – fresh with great flavor, just take the first bite of a filled beignet very carefully – or you may lose some filling. You can enjoy your food on site at a few tables under a tree or take them to go and see how long you can go before you start to eat your goodies in the car.

Por’ketta

12 Apr

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Por’ketta

Facebook: Porketta
Twitter: PorkettaCbus
Instagram: Porkettacbus
Web:porkettacbus.com
614 570 1107

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Por’ketta launched in March of 2015, serving to the last sandwich, ahead of schedule time and time again. The simple menu of pork and Rotisserie chicken with a few sides may mean limited choices but t is heavy on quality and flavor. The trailer may be a bit harder to maneuver than a food truck but you will see it most places that mobile food can be found. And on a historical note, the trailer has some back story, it used to be a Ray Ray’s Hog Pit Trailer. We spoke to owner Tony Layne to find out about this business.

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1) In a few sentences, what do you want people to know about Por’ketta.

I would want them to know that we are a family run business. We love Columbus and promote it shamelessly. Also that our family’s love of food, gathering and community translate into our food. It is also important to note that we searched far and wide within Ohio’s borders to source the best local ingredients that we could find simply prepared with passion

2) What is Porketta? How do you make yours?
Porchetta is the pig’s skin, belly wrapped around meat and layers of fat, usually with herbs and spices thrown in…all tied up around a spit. Usually roasted over an open fire..this is the traditional Italian method. My version is the belly piece with the loin attached, then we butterfly the loin, rub with salt, pepper, fennel, parsley, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, roll it up, tie it up and let air dry under refrigeration for at least 24 hours, then roast for four and a half hours in a high low temperature combination, let rest for thirty minutes and then ready to slice. Very labor intensive, but yields very moist pork…there are no shortcuts to the method.

3) What inspired your menu?
This is an easy one I love cooking with fire..whether it be a grill, smoker, camp fire, Meat and fire are primal and treated correctly yield incredible results. So that is the method I choose..we have a Rotisserie on the truck, The items I chose also easy..I am a pork fanatic…such a versatile animal…so many different cuts, tastes and textures…I chose Porchetta because it’s the belly and the loin and nobody is doing it, enough said. A great roasted chicken, was my other choice it brings back such comforting memories of cooking with my grandmother. For our salads and sides, we wanted to make sure they were tasty and let the ingredients speak for themselves. Our dishes are not hidden in mayonnaise or heavy dressings. We offer both the pork and chicken as sandwiches, meals, and bulk to go items.

4) What inspired you to get into mobile food?

Thirty years in commercial kitchens, always wanting to do something on my own, but with five kids I chose security and stability for my family over the opportunity of starting my own venture. Finally the planets started lining up …my youngest was a senior in high school in Hilliard. My job with Marriott was starting to feel like the movie “Groundhog Day”…every day felt just like ever other. I was losing passion for the craft, finding joy only cooking for our weekly family dinners. One day I snapped , quit my job cashed in my 401k and decided to go into business with my wife and children…Mobile food is hot in Columbus…a lot of great food coming off trucks. With a lower cost to entry than a traditional brick and mortar restaurant my decision and direction was made.

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5) What did you do before Porketta?
Before this spent the last thirty years doing the Chef thing around Columbus….Umberto’s, the Clock, Crowne Plaza, the 55 group, R.J. Snappers and Marriott hotels…from mom and pop shops to corporate and everything in between

6) How did you get ready to launch?
I left Marriott shortly before Thanksgiving, and basically took the winter, while the trailer was being built out, to come up with the menu, work on branding, build the social media presence, obtain all the proper permits and documentation, purchase equipment, test recipes, try and find spots to park and sell our food at…and the list goes on. They say the devil is in the details…everyday we worked task lists to shoot for a mid March opening. And here we are!

7) Porketta is a family affair – tell us about team Layne and what each person does in the trailer.

Team Layne consists of my son Conner…who is learning the craft and picking so much up. I so proud of him, my wife Michelle who is our backbone, she runs the window and is great with our guests. My other daughters float in and out as time allows. Basically we all do what needs done. I couldn’t be working with a better bunch of people. (Writers note: Michelle worked for Pitabilities for several years so she is no stranger to mobile food customers).

8)You source from Matt Swint (Matija Breads) – where else do you source from?

Yes Matt Swint and his incredible breads…the best in Columbus. Pork was a tough one…to find an Ohio producer of the exact piece I needed was a daunting task so I turned to THE MAN..Albert Thurn…if anybody could find it he could. And he did, sourcing a farm in Sandusky, Ohio. He is my pork connect. Chicken had to be all Ohio…so we turned to Vitale Poultry. Produce comes from Midwest for the time being as spring rolls into summer much more Ohio produce will be used. we like to park at local breweries and tap rooms, because these high quality local beers compliment our food. Even our T-shirts were printed by Traxler. Local was key to our business model, sometimes more expensive, but always the right thing to do.

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Food Truck Season 2015

16 Mar

All of a sudden it feels like spring in Central Ohio, and with the warm weather comes the rollout of new food trucks. We know that many hardy food truckers have been out all winter long and we tip our hats to them, but this weekend saw three new mobile food vendors debuting in Columbus. Food truck season, 2015, is on!

Hot Chicken Takeover has taken Columbus by storm and, as well as their North Market location, they now have a mobile operation. Their truck was at the Columbus Crew season opener on Saturday. They’ll mostly be doing festivals and private events but you can enjoy HCT at the North Market, Thursday-Sunday.

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Por’ketta’s trailer has what we have dubbed the drool window where you can watch their signature porchetta on a rotisserie. We’re expecting this to be very popular. You can find them this Thursday and Saturday evening (5-9pm) at Four String Brewing or at Staas Brewing in Delaware on Friday.

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Native Eats offers a local, seasonal menu with vegan and vegetarian offerings. In their own words “Native Eats is an all natural, organic, hormone free, and ethically honest food cart that sources all of its main ingredients locally, right here in Ohio.”  You’ll find them on Saturday lunchtimes at Seventh Son Brewery.

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Columbus Corn Dog

17 Aug

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Columbus Corn Dog
Fair Food Fare
2233 Morse Rd. (Near Morse and Walford, Mobile Mike’s Auto Repair)
614.258.2433
Open Monday to Friday, 11 am to 7 pm

It doesn’t seem fair does it? You love fair food but you can only get it a few times a year. Or maybe you love fair food but you don’t like the hassles of going to the fair. Whatever your fair food passion, Columbus Corn Dog has you covered with, yes corn dogs as well as Cheese on a Stick, Lemonade Shake-Ups, Popcorn, Funnel Cakes, Fresh Cut Fries, Deep Fried Oreo’s, Hamburgers, Kettle Popcorn, Carmel Apples, Iced Tea, Soft Pretzels, Mini Donuts, Cotton Candy and more. Coming soon – breakfast – which includes a sausage wrapped in a Belgian waffle, with maple syrup and a touch of powdered sugar (on request) deep-fried on a stick. Take a look below.

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One my first visit I tried their Strawberry Lemonade (big pieces of strawberries and lemons) shakeup and a corn dog. My corn dog was made to order and it was the freshest and definitely the best corn dog I’ve had. I’m also a lemon shake up connoisseur and found their version among the best I’ve had as well.

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Future plans include turning their spot into a food pod by partnering with a few other food trucks as well as some larger events paired with local charities. Columbus Corn Dog plans to be a year round business so if you need your fair food fix know that you have a good option in town.

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Bunny & Michelle’s Brats and Such

6 Apr

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Bunny & Michelle’s Brats and Such
2480 Brice Rd (Home Depot)
Reynoldsburg
614 899 1188
Monday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm
Other locations
6333 Cleveland Ave (Home Depot)
Columbus
Berliner Park for events

Let us take a moment to pop into the Columbus Street Food Wayback Machine. Mobile food as we know it occurred in phases and waves. Street Food 1.0 started on or about 2002, with the rise of Taco Trucks. Street Food 2.0 included the early adopters of Street Food: Ray Ray’s, Mojo Tago Tacos, Cheesy Truck, Short North Bagel Deli, Yellow Boy Polish Boys and a few others as well as several vendors that did not quite last a season. Street Food 3.0 started in 2012, with the large explosion of food trucks in Columbus with new and creative menus and a business model of hitting multiple lunch locations during the week and established bars and festivals on the evenings and weekends. This year we see how that model grows and evolves and we watch to see if owners crunch the numbers to see if they can make a profit and continue with a sustainable business.

Before all of the above, we had food carts and a few other mobile food vendors in the 1980’s and 1990’s. It is a tough business and many don’t make it past a summer. Bunny & Michelle’s has been serving for over a dozen years and they are still at it.

Bunny is the mom. She was out of work. She took what she had, invested it in a trailer and started to see if she could make a living behind the grill. She added her daughter Michelle to the mix and hit the road but did not get far. After a few years, they planted their trailer at the Home Depot in Reynoldsburg and have been there for about 13 years. They added a second trailer and set it up at another Home Depot. Now they are working on a third trailer to do softball tournaments and other events at Berliner Park.

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The menu is simple – hot dogs, brats, gyros and other simple fare all cooked on a giant flattop grill. They do a couple of extras which make a difference – the buns are lightly toasted, the hot dogs are split down the middle for cooking and to allow a cavern to hold coney sauce. They offer the same simple menu every day and aim for those that want a quick bite and consistency. They also jumped on board early to offer credit card sales years ago. So, to those that wonder if this is a fad, a trend or here to stay – over a decade of business indicates this can be a career for some.

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