Fry Captain DC

Food Trucks & More!

TacoFino

Food trucks are a great way to sample the local offerings of a city. You’re guaranteed in most cases that the food you are receiving out of a food truck is fresh and uses local ingredients. Often times even, food trucks provide a look into the culture of a city, even if a bit skewed. An example of this is ‘Tacofino,’ out of Vancouver Island, BC. Although their main menu items are essentially Mexican, the ingredients used are very much local and the menu items have a local flare associated. You might be ordering a “taco,” but the fillings are locally sourced and use seafood which are available in the local area such as salmon or other seafood options.

Introducing Craft Beer!

The food truck movement however has created a much larger movement which includes beverages as well. As food truck festivals are becoming increasingly more popular; offering multiple food truck options, shared seating and beverage options. Often times these beverage options include micro-breweries who will join the festival to provide festival attendees a cold beer to be paired with their food truck purchases. In Vancouver, this is especially significant as the city itself is home to over 50 individual micro-breweries.

The addition of the micro-breweries provides the festival a great atmosphere and on our most recent visit to the Vancouver Food Truck festival, we were excited to try a variety of local offerings. For those who don’t know, craft breweries AKA micro-breweries are becoming increasingly more popular. Typically, the same type of person who enjoys the local offerings of a food truck are also interested to support a local brewery.

One of the vendors we met at the festival actually provides its customers Vancouver brewery tours wherein they take a group of people to a variety of breweries around the city to both sample a variety of beers and learn about the brewing process. Providing safe transportation, we were excited about the idea of a company who wants to show off local breweries and helping people to understand the hard work that goes in to creating a quality local product.

As food truck festivals continue to become more popular, it’s great to see other local business getting involved to provide local offerings to attendees. Micro-breweries in particular provide a great atmosphere at these festivals as well which ultimately creates additional business for the food trucks as well.

French Fries – Food Truck Special!

 

food truck fries

Thanks to Caribb for this pic of food truck fries!

Nowadays every dish is going through the phase of innovation and modernization. So why eat French fries in the same old traditional style? We eat with our eyes – to taste good it is a must that the food appears good! Pale yellow colored French fries can never reach the ultimate goodness of crisp and flavor. The traditional (delicious, yet borderline boring) recipe of fries was given a completely new flavor by food trucks when the surge of new trucks hit the streets. It is just amazing to witness the most delicious French fry creations made by food trucks.

With the addition of different ingredients and their flavor, you can also elevate a simple plate of French fries to something more appealing. With ideas from the many food trucks across the country, you can also create your very own street style French fries (shhh, don’t tell them we told you this!). If you don’t have a top deep fat fryer yourself, or are conscious about cooking with oil, you can also make oven-baked fries.

Things you’ll need for GOOD fries

  • Sea salt – as required
  • Peanut Oil/ Vegetable Oil/ Canola Oil – 2-3 liters
  • Russet Potatoes (scrubbed) – 4

Note: You can either peel off the skin or leave it and get more flavor, visual appeal and nutrition.

Recipe for Street Food Inspired French Fries

Wash 4 potatoes (peeling is a personal choice). Cut them from the middles, then into oval slices and sticks for frying. When cut in thick fry-sticks, dip them in a cold water bowl and leave them to soak for half an hour to get the starch out.

Dab them with a piece of clean towel to dry them off completely.

Heat a deep pan (or your fryer); pour in 2-3 liters of peanut oil (a lot of people pick fights about the best deep fryer oil, but there are more people behind peanut oil than anything else). Place the pot on the stove and let it heat until the temperature is 350-400 degrees F (or let your fryer warm up to this temperature).

Make three parts of chopped potatoes. To fry the first batch, let them simmer in oil for three minutes. Take them out as soon as they get brown or become crispy.

To drain off excess oil, place them on paper towels later, or use the scoop/basket in your fryer.

Repeat the same with remaining two batches of chopped potatoes.

Place all fried potatoes on paper towels and add salt to taste.

Different flavors and Add-ons!

This is where you get the chance to give the fries your personal touch and flavor them with creativity. Dipping sauces, seasonings and toppings all play important roles in giving them that signature food truck look and flavor. Here are a few add-ons you have to try:

  • Top your freshly made crispy fries with caramelized onions and pulled pork. To top up flavor, drizzle a little BBQ sauce. Consume. Enjoy.
  • Add on chili con queso, cilantro, pico de gallo salsa and sliced jalapenos. Much Mexican!
  • Sprinkle with sliced green onions, bacon bits and cheese crumbles. Baked potato style frites.
  • You can also create a unique garnish with fresh diced roasted garlic and parmigiano reggiano. Top it up with fresh parsley. Such intense flavors, wow.
  • Toss fries in garlic salt and chili powder. Add pepper cheese, a layer of cheddar cheese (grated) and chili. Kick it up a notch with black olives and tomatoes. Serve it with sour cream for the full shebang!

So there she be, some really slick ways for you to harness the innovative nature of food trucks in your own kitchen. Let us know what ones you try and give us a sample of your recipes!

DC Food Truck Infographic

Infographic’s are one of my favorite ways to share information. And what better information to share then an infographic dedicated to DC food trucks

DC Food Truck

This handy little image will show you the locations of where the trucks will setup, as you can see a lot of them setup downtown DC. If you’re hungry consider skipping out on the traditional restaurant (which is explained in this article) and come down enjoy some grub from the side of a truck and maybe make some new friends along the way. Food makes people happy, what better time to talk to co-workers, friends or even complete strangers then when you’re grinning from ear to ear with a fresh taco in your hand?

Why are food trucks so popular?

Food truck Festival 2011 026

Imagine a restaurant unlike any other, where you walk in the front door and are often met with a long line-up which is self-managed by the customers waiting. No ‘Wendy’s’ style turnstyles maintaining the line-up order, just a long untamed line-up of hungry people including yourself. In the restaurant itself, there are no tables or chairs to sit at; people who have ordered and received their food are standing awkwardly holding a paper plate trying to quickly finish what they have ordered before scurrying back off to work or to their next errand.

Imagine as well that this restaurant has zero climate control. If it’s cold and blustery outside, it seems as if the cold wind has found its way inside; no need to take your jacket off here. And vice-versa, if it’s the hottest of days, you can feel the sweat dripping off of you as you wait in that long line-up to order some food. Once you arrive up to the counter, you are greeted quickly by the same person who appears to also be helping cook the food, and are forced to order off a limited menu. When you have decided on your order, you must pay cash and wait patiently until whatever you ordered is yelled out to the crowd of hungry customers where you must make your voice heard to collect your meal.

Does it sound like somewhere you would like to eat? Probably not! However, in reality the food truck trend is exactly what is described above. Limited customer service, limited seating and a wait to receive your meal which can sometimes compete with the wait of a fine dining restaurant; only instead of sitting sipping wine, you’re standing in the elements sipping whichever non-alcoholic beverage is available.

So what makes food truck dining so popular? Personally, I love food truck dining but when I reflect, it’s hard to believe it has taken off to be so popular. As I reflect on this phenomenon, I come to realize that it is the ‘experience,’  and the food which makes the food truck so popular; not the customer service.

It is unlike anything else really. Unlike a restaurant, customers are encouraged to hangout and engage. Food trucks in reality help to build a community unlike a typical restaurant would. It diminishes the barriers that normal restaurants build between the actual creation of your meal and you enjoying it. Every thing that you could possibly order is prepared so as you order it, and the limited menu’s that food trucks have to provide, ensure that every item offered is brilliant.

Furthermore, food trucks have done a great job of working together to create food truck festivals and markets where a common seating area can be shared by the customers of an assortment of food trucks. Some food truck festivals even have live music, local breweries and other entertainment to bring the community out and enjoy the freshest possible food.

Food Truck Fest Move North!

Food truck festivals have been popping up in recent years all across the United States with overwhelming success. It seems that mixing great local food with live music and comfortable seating  is just what the doctor ordered as the festivals are often times selling out due to such high demand. As the food truck craze has swept most of the United States, the same thing has being happening north of the border in Canada. We geared up with our winter jackets to see what a food truck fest north of the border may look like and were we ever impressed.

The festival venue we attended was in the downtown core of Vancouver in a beautiful square outside of the historic city art gallery. There, 23 food trucks, live music and an abundance of seating was set up each day for 5 days, offering people both living and working in the downtown core an abundance of fresh, local and delicious dining options.

The Vancouver food truck festival which is in its third year is conveniently called ‘Street Food City III’ and has been a huge success for the past couple of years. The festival was open from 11-3pm Wednesday thru Friday while remaining open from 11am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Part of the festivals success has to do with the awesome location which is right in the heart of the downtown core in Robson Square. Lots of space for seating and live music gave the festival a fun and vibrant atmosphere as the smells from the parked food trucks oozed over the hungry crowd.

On the first day, we treated our taste buds to the highly anticipated Tacofino Food Truck which offers it’s diners a west coast take on tacos. Offering everything from traditional beef and chicken options to a variety of seafood selections, it was easy to sample a wide variety of different deliciousness. Our favorite were the seared tuna tacos which were served on a bed of seaweed salad and wrapped up with a light and somewhat crispy flour tortilla. Top it all off with a wasabi aioli and you have perhaps the most tasty taco we have ever had.

The next day, we sampled the offerings from Vij’s Railway Express which is an Indian fusion food truck offering items based off of their extremely popular restaurant simply called ‘Vij’s.’ On the menu they have everything from spot prawn curries to lamb Kebobs. They also offer a variety of fresh beverage options which are truly amazing including the Lemon Ginger drink which was our favorite.

Among the other notable vendors which we enjoyed was ‘Mom’s Grilled Cheese,’ which; you guessed it; serves a variety of grilled cheese options. Another of our favorites was the ‘Reef Runner,’ which had a fantastic take on a traditional Canadian dish offering a Jerk Chicken Poutine. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and one we will look forward to attending next year!