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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Mya’s Fried chicken
That Food Truck
Freedom a la Cart
There are a lot of mom and pop food trucks out there but Blu Olive is a father-daughter operation run by Sarah and Steve Carmean.
Sarah has just moved back from Cleveland after 15 years up north where she’s been working in esteemed kitchens at restaurants including The Flying Fig and Lucky’s Cafe. You’ll see the Cleveland influence in some of their ingredients such as fresh pasta from Ohio City Pasta. Steve’s background is in graphic design.
At the moment they are keeping the menu short and simple. Their aim is to cook flavorful Italian food and serve homemade ice cream. Expect to find a couple of changing pasta dishes, some seasonal specials, and the addition of ice coffee to the menu as well. So far we’ve been impressed with everything we’ve tried but the stand-out dish has been the beet and ricotta ravioli with poppy seed butter. The beet flavor is surprisingly mild given the vibrant color of the filling and there’s a lovely sweetness that almost reminded me of sweetcorn. Great flavor and perfectly cooked.
The meatballs with capellini were also satisfying (they are planning to switch the pasta to rigatoni) – nice tender pork and beef meatballs with a pleasant marinara and a-touch-softer-than al dente pasta. We also enjoyed the salads – it’s always nice to find healthy options at food trucks as well as behemoth burgers and fried food. The finely shaved fennel is a nice addition to the mesclun greens and the lemon and parsley dressing is citrusy without being acidic. The bean salad with roasted marinated tomatoes was refreshing and made for a nice side dish.
We are looking forward to trying more of Sarah’s homemade ice cream. On our first visit we tried this gorgeous little float with vanilla ice cream, blood orange pellegrino soda and some raspberries.
You can find Blu Olive this Monday at the Columbus Museum of Art at lunchtime and at St James Tavern in the evening. For future locations, keep an eye on their twitter or facebook updates. This is one of our favorite new trucks of 2012 and we encourage you to check them out.