The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook

7 Apr

 

columbus food truck cookbook

We love getting free Columbus food-oriented stuff in the mail, and what’s this? – we just received an advance copy of The Columbus Food Truck Cookbook, by Renee Casteel Cook & Tiffany Harelik.

This clear labor of love features a cool cover, great photography, and recipes from many of our favorite trucks. It also features a sizable Q&A style interview on local food truck matters with yours truly, not to mention notable food truck observers such as Jim Ellison and Nick Dekker.

We look forward to trying out some of the recipes in the book – Bethia has her eyes on Ajumama’s “D’duk ‘n’ Cheese” – and expect to report back on how it went.

One last thought – if you’re thinking about opening a food truck, we implore you to absorb the back 10 pages of this book. It features indispensable hard earned wisdom from some of the most successful food truck operators out there. It’s good, smart stuff that’ll go a long way towards easing the learning curve.

Horn OK Please

25 Jan

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Facebook:HornOKPlsFood
Twitter:hornokplsfood
(614) 446 4613

I have been waiting for mobile Indian food for a long time. Horn OK Please made a debut in the fall of 2015 and five visits to date they have never disappointed me. The menu focuses mostly on traditional Indian dishes but with a very practical twist. Most items offer a small (on a stick or in a boat) or large portion so those new to Indian food or mobile food or both can dip their ties in ethnic food waters with small monetary risk or create their own mini buffet by ordering several small portions. My favorite dish to date is Reshmi Chicken in wrap form: chicken marinated in almonds, ginger, garlic and cilantro chutney with some pickled onions on the side and of course the optional fried eggs
added.

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One fusion food that is a crowd pleaser is the Horn OK spin on Tater Tots:topped with chickpeas, tamarind, yogurt sauce and cilantro chutney!

You might be wondering about the name – well and explanation is included in the truck decor – see below.

Horn Ok Please

And the owners always have a book out for display which showcases many of the classic and colorful rigs of the Indian Highway (so you know what is up with the Horn and the color scheme).

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The menu is small but has enough depth not to get bored and you can usually count of a special of the day. Another interesting connection, the owners received some help in their build out from Johnny Oak – a long time Columbus BBQ purveyor and occasional mobile fooder.

Keep an eye out for Horn OK Please at local breweries and the usual lunch spots.

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Aloha Streatery

18 Jan

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Facebook:alohastreatery
Twitter:alohastreatery
Phone: (614) 943-3523

Aloha Streatery hit the streets of Columbus in the fall of 2015 bringing some welcome menu diversity to the mobile food scene. What many do not know is Hawaii was a mecca for food trucks before most of the mainland showcasing diverse menus in the islands of Aloha for decades. Aloha Streatery brings authentic flavors via a menu that hits the spot that is refreshingly simple and with price points that are refreshing.

Owner Sara Siv leads with a menu that is slider based and features the full on flavors of Hawaiian Street Food. The clam like home-made lotus buns (light, fluffy but a very firm base to pile on toppings) have just a trace of sweetness to them. Typical toppings include Hawaiian mainstays such as BBQ Chicken, grilled pineapple, Spam(!), pork belly or homemade tofu. (FYI: Hawaii is the largest per capita consumer of Spam in the world). Depending on the sandwich pour or pile on house made peanut sauce, sriracha mayo, house make pickled veggies, and add in an optional fried egg and you might you feel yourself transported to Maui.

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Other menu items include a spin on a Hawaiian icon Loco (No) Moco – sweet chicken with steamed jasmine rice, grilled pineapple, cilantro mayo and a dash of freshly chopped cilantro. Tater Tots and Fries with an island twist round out the main menu. Specials are well worth your time and attention as well examples include wraps and Banh Mi.

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Two things I really like about Aloha which shows this newcomer is savvy enough to go the distance. First price points – many menu items are under $4 which is appealing to first time visitors and regulars who want to explore the menu in-depth. The second inspired decision is having a menu ordering system that allows customers to text in their order without having to lose their seat or brave the elements.

Aloha.

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Angkor Asian Express

8 Oct

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Cuisine: Cambodian and Asian
614/795.7615
Location outside the car wash at Georgesville Road and Atlanta Drive.

Angkor Asian Express is a new food truck run by a friendly Cambodian family. It’s unrelated to Siem Reap, a Cambodian restaurant which recently closed on Georgesville. Angkor’s Asian Express’ initial menu is fairly limited but they plan to offer Cambodian specials at the weekend as well.

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The Asian sub is a banh mi sandwich made with cold cuts. It’s a classic version of the sandwich made freshly to order. The crepe is a banh xeo and lacked a bit in crispiness and flavor.

The truck is certainly worth a stop if you’re on the west side and craving a banh mi.  We’ll keep an eye out to see how their menu develops.

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Dog People – Franks and Frites

31 Aug

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Facebook:DogPeopleCbus
Twitter:DogPeopleCbus
Phone: (614) 772-1015

The name speaks for itself with this food truck so it is not too hard to figure out the menu is hot dogs (and other encased meats) and fries, sometimes in fancy poutine form. The business launched summer of 2015 and has been seen at Land Grant Brewing and Four String Brewing with some frequency. We talked to the owners to learn a bit more about their concept.

1) Tell us about your team / the owners.

We are a husband and wife team that moved to Columbus in 2011.

2) What inspired you to get started and why hot dogs and fries as your mainstays?

Nate worked in kitchens for years but was discouraged that the only interaction with customers was when people weren’t happy with their food. He was looking for a more direct relationship with his customers and wanted to see people enjoying what they were eating. Our plan from the beginning was to team up with local bars and breweries and we designed our concept and menu around something we were both passionate about and paired well with Columbus’s local craft beers.

3) Your name is great, how did that come together?

We thought for weeks about something that would rhyme with “franks” or “dogs” and nothing was inspiring us. One night we were sitting in our living room with our two dogs and it came to Nate- we’re not cat people, we’re dog people. It was a perfect fit for us as business as well as who we are as people.

4) What has been your biggest good and bad surprise starting into the world of Mobile Food?

The best thing has been the public interactions. People have been very receptive and we have developed great relationships with regular customers and have loved receiving feedback and suggestions from our customers. There haven’t been any of what we would consider “bad surprises,” but of course there is a learning curve and working our way through the hiccups and glitches that come along with any new venture.

5) Anything new on the horizon for you – new menu items, winter menu, etc.

We’re happy with our base menu but are always looking for fun new specials. Our beer brat with local beer has been very popular! Our specials board is constantly evolving while we like to keep favorites around.

6) What is the best way for people to find you out and about?
We are on Twitter and Instagram as DogPeopleCbus, and Facebook as Dog People Franks & Frites.

7) What did you do pre-food truck?

Jenn is still a manager at Starbucks and is able to work that schedule around food truck events. Nate’s history is in kitchens and has also worked in marketing for several years.

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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

trailer

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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