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At times it seems like all the great food trucks in Orange County, California are overshadowed by the sheer number of great trucks in Los Angeles. Orange County has it’s own health regulations and requires separate permits from Los Angeles County, as a result the assortment of trucks roaming Orange County is very different from the LA scene.
Barcelona On The Go specializes in Spanish bistro cuisine, including tapas. We recently ran across the Barcelona On the Go food truck in Irvine, CA and ordered up the lead item on the menu board: Churrasco con Chimichurri! For those of you that don’t speak Spanish that means “Premium-Angus Top Sirloin with Chimichurri Sauce”, and it is served over fresh and crisp french fries. We were blown away by this dish, with all of us agreeing that if we were served this item in a fine-dining restaurant we would not be suprised. The Angus beef was cooked to perfection, and was juicy tender. The fries were outstanding. But what really impressed us was the freshness and full flavor of the Chimichurri sauce. Outstanding! We recommend bottling the sauce and selling it, it was that good.
The rest of the Barcelona On The Go menu all use fresh ingredients and are prepared to perfection. Other patrons stopped by in search of Barcelona’s Paella Valencia na (seafood & chicken paella). While this dish is not available every day those that have had it raved about it, and considered it one of the best food truck items that they have every had.
Spanish sandwiches are popular and include the Bocadillo de Pollo con Salsa Romesco (chicken breast with romesco sauce), Bocadillo de Serrano (Serrano ham sandwich) and the Catalan sausage sandwich.
Also available is a great Lentil Soup (with smoked ham), egg/potato frittatas, chicken turnovers and Manchego cheese croquettes.
There is no question you will not only enjoy the food at Barcelona On The Go but also appreciate the freshness of the ingredients and the care used in the preperation of true Spanish cuisine.
For those of you in the Los Angeles area (and beyond) it is worth the drive south for a visit to Barcelona On The Go!
Barcelona On The Go – Orange County, CA
First off they start their burgers with a choice of two quality types of meat. Either grass fed angus, or wagyu american kobe. Combine that with quality bread products like a brioche, potato-onion or sesame seed bun and you are starting off just fine! With base quality ingredients like this most would expect to pay $15 for a burger, at Frites “N” Meats the grass fed angus burger is $5.50 and just $2.00 more for the american kobe.
When it comes to cheese the choices are also top of the line. Gruyere, goat, brie, cheddar and blue cheese are all available. Class up your burger with additional toppings like onion, tomato, mesclun greens, onion jam, guacamole, bacon and oven roasted tomato.
Generally the Frites ‘N’ Meats burgers are cooked medium-rare to compensate for the time it takes to get the burger back to your desk or home. The burgers are wrapped in insulated material so your burger will actually continue to cook while it’s transported. But Frites ‘N’ Meats is happy to cook your burger your way. (Hmmm, is there a jingle in there somewhere?).
Once you have created your perfect burger, you must have perfect fries or frites. The fries at Frites “N” Meats are belgian-style, this means that the fries go through the Belgium double-frying process that ensures that your fries will have the perfect golden color, fabulous crispness on the outside and wonderful potato creaminess on the inside. Perfection. If you must… ketchup, mayo, mustard, and a variety of aioli’s are available.
The Frites ‘N’ Meats menu is supplemented by several tasty soups (also perfect for a cold and gloomy day) and Lena’s homemade dessert treats (pefect for any day).
Frites ‘N’ Meats – New York City, NY
Every time I go to San Francisco I treat myself to the famous ice cream sandwiches called It’s-It. They are made by sandwiching vanilla (usually) ice cream between two oatmeal cookies and then dipping them in dark chocolate. In the 70’s they could only be found in mom and pop stores. Now their distribution area is larger, but I find I only have the craving when I am in San Francisco.
It’s-It started me out on a path to find the very best ice cream sandwiches. I still like It’s-It, even if they are mass produced. But I have a new all-time favorite, it’s the ice cream sandwiches from the Coolhaus food truck.
Coolhaus offers gourmet all-natural ice creams in a variety of flavors ranging from traditional (vanilla, strawberry) to extravagent ice cream flavors like balsamic fig/mascarpone, carrot cake, bananas foster, cabernet, green tea, coffee toffee, brown butter with candied bacon and many more.
Any of the available ice cream flavors can be sandwiched between two chocolate, chocolate chip, apple fritter, peanut butter banana, oatmeal, ginger molasses, snickerdoodle or brioche cookies.
Between the great ice cream and cookie flavors you can let your creativity run rampant with an unbelievable combination of tastes!
And the greatness doesn’t stop there. Each Coolhaus ice cream sandwich is then wrapped in an edible wrapper that has been printed with edible ink.
Coolhaus owners Natasha and Freya take pride in their Coolhaus creation and provide a high quality, gourmet artisan ice cream sandwich that bursts with flavor and creativity.
If I had to write a slogan to promote Coohaus it would probably be – “Eat the ice cream sandwich, eat the wrapper – there is no waste, just great taste!”
Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches are also available in Austin, TX and coming soon to New York City / Long Island.
Coolhaus – Los Angeles
Greetings, gentle readers. The more astute among you may have noticed that the amount of time since my last post has been right around a year. I’ve posted in the past the reason for the long gaps and what was true then remains true now: I just don’t have the luxury of the time required to write this blog on a consistent basis. So what brings me (temporarily) out of retirement today? A troubling tale I am prepared to tell, involving a food truck, squishy Italian hoagie rolls, and a blatant disregard for the safety of customers.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about food trucks on this blog. Some of them, including The Orange Truk, Wholly Frijoles, Zydeco Bistro, and Boca Loca Burrito Factory have set out and accomplished the main goal of a food truck: to be unique and serve quality, freshly prepared food to the people for a reasonable price. The best food trucks seek to recreate the same food experience one would find at a great restaurant (at least in terms of the food). Of course, I suppose you can’t have the best without having the worst. While I want every restaurant (and food truck) to succeed, real world studies indicate that nearly 60% of restaurants will fail over a three year period. Today’s visit to the Nacho Mama Food Truck out of Kent, Ohio proved exactly why this is the case.
Being a lovely sunny day in the low 70’s was too much of an allure to stay indoors. Coupled with the announcement I saw by one of the many food trucks I follow on Facebook, I discovered that there would be a “round up” of seven trucks at the Home Depot in Cuyahoga Falls. When I got to the round up around noon, I was relieved to find that the lines were fairly short. After getting my camera equipment set up in the back of my car, I walked around to survey the goods. While I enjoyed the crepe I had at Premier Crepes at a past round up, I wasn’t really in a crepe kind of mood today. Surveying my other options, I finally settled on Nacho Mama Food Truck. I had seen it at other round ups, but had yet to try their food. Today was as good as any to give it the college try.
I approached the truck and began to read the menu. The first red flag was that the chorizo dog they were offering was misspelled as a “chirizo” dog. Thinking the misspelling might have been done on purpose as a marketing gimmick, I asked the woman taking orders if that was indeed the case. When she stared back at me blankly, my question was answered without her having to actually say anything. Other menu items for today were nachos (as the name of the truck would imply), burritos, and a few other things aimed at children. My philosophy when trying out a new restaurant (or truck) is generally to buy two or three items, photograph them all, eat one and take the other(s) home for later consumption.
After ordering my chorizo dog topped with the spicy slaw, I set about attempting to order the tequila lime chicken nachos. This was where things started to get a little dicey. While people like to claim that they want choice in their lives, when faced with too much choice, the average human being becomes paralyzed with fear over having to actually make said choice. And with some fifteen toppings from which to choose, it took me a minute to get my bearings. Nacho Mama might be better served by offering a “standard” – beans, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and salsa – and then allow customers to modify it to suit their taste. For whatever reason I was feeling in a nacho cheese kind of mood, so I added it as one of the toppings.
After paying the $15 for my haul (I included one of the Pepsi products as well), I walked to the other end of the truck to wait for my food. Within a minute or so, the woman inside the truck handed me the chorizo dog. While waiting for my nachos, she helpfully informed me that the chorizo link was actually from a place with which I am quite familiar, Dumas Meats in Mogadore, Ohio. That, to me, was a good sign. The bad sign, sadly, was the white squishy Italian hoagie bun on which the dog had been served. More on that later.
Some food trucks don’t more, they stay in one spot and kick-out some huge (most would say “big ass”) sandwiches. At SW 3rd and Ash Street in Portland is such an establishment.
A husband and wife team are serving a small menu with big sandwiches such as the PORK HAMMER featuring ham, bacon, sausage, home-cut fries and home-made coleslaw. That’s the priciest sandwich on the menu at just $9. It’s a meal!
The namesake “Big Ass Sandwich” gives you a choice of slow-roasted turkey, beef or ham, piled high with home-cut french fries, covered with Bechamel cheese sauce and served onto a ciabatta roll. Spend an extra fifty cents and add some pickled jalapenos!
Big-Ass Sandwiches uses local ingredients whenever possible including their break (baked daily and locally), as well as meats from Northwest family owned stock yards and locally made sauces.
Part of what makes Big-Ass sandwiches so huge is that most sandwiches include french fries on the sandwich. Adds to the taste and the convenience!
Portland has a large vegetarian commuity and Big-Ass Sandwiches serves their needs with veggie fare.
304 SE 2nd Ave.
Kamala is one of the owners of one of Seattle’s most popular food trucks – Marination Mobile She is originally from Hawaii, and has a little bit of Korean in her as well.
Her partner is Roz. She is Chinese and Filipina by blood, born in Greece, and raised by a Japanese mom. She lived in Romania for a while as well.
Together Kamala and Roz dish out some amazing dishes inspired primarily by the flavors of Hawaii and Korea. They obviously share a lot of ethnic knowledge about most of the world so they are experts in creating great international flavor. As Kamala says about Marination, “it’s the melting of Korean heat and aloha love together in a corn tortilla.”
It’s clear Marination’s marinades are top notch. The tacos are stuffed with either pork, ginger-miso chicken, tofu or kalbi and topped with a saucy, tangy slaw. Kalbi is a traditional Korean dish; tender short ribs marinaded in soy, garlic and citrus. It’s salty and sweet! The pork is sliced super thin and marinaded in a rich red pepper sauce.