Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Food Carts & Trucks

O.C. Foodie Fest tix still available -- for now

What are you doing this weekend? How about hitting the first ever O.C. Foodie Fest? It's Saturday from 11:30 to 7 p.m. at The Honda Center of Anaheim.

Among the gourmet food trucks that will be there for the kid-friendly event: Longboard's Ice Cream, which shapes their handmade ice cream pops like a surboard, dips it in Ghirardelli chocolate and then piles on the toppings, above, because there's no such thing as too much of a good thing.

And, as if you need another reason to get out there on Saturday: the event benefits St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, among other chariites.

--Rene Lynch
Twitter ./ renelynch

Prize-winning street food for sale at event to raise money for food truck

Since Nina Garcia won the Vendy Awards a few weeks back for the Mexico City-style quesadillas and pambazo sandwiches she serves on the street in Boyle Heights, she hasn't found the victory to be all sweet.

“All the added attention just made life as a vendor on the streets of L.A. more difficult. She’s being rousted by the police several times a day,” Evan Kleiman, the chef-owner of Angeli Caffe and a judge for the awards, said on her KCRW blog.

Garcia is vulnerable because for years she has sold her food not from a licensed truck but from a couple of tables she sets up. She was among the vendors who worked nightly on Breed Street until last year, when the authorities shut down what had become an informal -- and illegal -- food fair. Some of the vendors dispersed throughout the neighborhood.

“After Nina won the Vendys, she was hassled more,” said Bill Esparza, a food blogger and musician who has championed Garcia’s food. Garcia has a licensed truck now, but it’s a temporary arrangement, he says.

So Kleiman is holding an event at her restaurant on Melrose on Sunday to raise money for Garcia to lease a licensed catering truck. She hopes to raise more than Garcia needs and to use the additional money to create a fund that would provide small loans to other street food vendors. The money will be administered by the Loncheros Assn., a street-vendor advocacy group.

The fundraiser is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Garcia will be cooking her pambazo and quesadillas, along with pozole. Prices run $3.50 to $6.50. Also on the menu is a selection of beer, soft drinks and aguas frescas.

There’s also an address for donations on Kleiman’s blog.

The first L.A. Vendy Awards were held in May and attracted more than 100 people to MacArthur Park. The awards began in New York six years ago, as away to raise money for the Street Vendor Project, begun by a former vendor named Sean Basinski, who thought street vendors were ill-treated by policy and city officials.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo: People gather to eat street-vendor fare on L.A.'s Breed Street. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

This food truck's for charity: Cart for a Cause launches today

CFAC-Truck-Wrap-005 At long last, the food truck craze has made its way to charity. Today marks the launch of Cart for a Cause, a gourmet food truck administered by St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to home-bound senior citizens in L.A. The truck will rove the city every Tuesday through the fall serving $10 meals prepared by a host of popular and talented local chefs who are set to donate their time and skills to this worthy cause.

Chefs include Alex Becker (Nobu, West Hollywood), Susan Feniger (Street), David Myers and Dong Choi (Comme Ça), Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (Animal), Josef Centeno (Lazy Ox Canteen), Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose), Jean Francois Meteigner (La Cachette Bistro), Nicholas Peter (Little Door) and Sal Marino (Il Grano).

The truck's inaugural lunch service will take place at United Talent Agency from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Nobu West Hollywood is cooking for the the event and will be on the truck next Tuesday as well.

Nobu Matsuhisa's menu includes either four pieces of sushi and two pieces of black cod with butter lettuce; a salad option featuring five pieces of shrimp, mixed greens and spicy lemon dressing; or four pieces of sushi and two chicken skewers with anticucho or kushiyaki and rice.

9650 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly HIlls. Follow Cart for a Cause on Twitter at @CartForACause or find out more on Facebook.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: St. Vincent Meals on Wheels

Who let the bus out? World Fare Bustaurant rolls onto the scene

Bus Los Angeles got its first “bustaurant” as World Fare, a restaurant on a vintage double-decker bus, rolled into Hollywood this week. Chef Andi Van Willigan, formerly an executive sous-chef for the Michael Mina group, is in the kitchen turning out the restaurant’s signature “bunnys” — hollowed-out bread filled with a variety of savory ingredients like braised short ribs with horseradish creme fraiche.

This certainly adds a needed twist to the oversaturated gourmet food truck scene, and the roof-deck dining sure does beat eating on a curb. It'll be interesting to see this rolling restaurant around town and even more interesting to see what kinds of innovation it inspires. Maybe fine dining in a Winnebago or a table for two on the back of a flatbed truck. 


-- Jessica Gelt 

Photo: A double-decker bus travels across Waterloo Bridge in London. Credit: Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images

Downtown L.A. food truck lot schedule announced

Km0oaync Last week, Matt Geller, vice president of the SoCal Mobile Food Vendors Assn., told us he'll be opening up a mobile food truck lot in Little Tokyo at 216 S. Alameda St. The project is on schedule, and the mobile food court will open Thursday for lunch service.

Readers of our last post expressed hopes that there would be more than the three to four trucks per service Geller had planned, but their preliminary posted schedule shows that the lot is currently sticking to those numbers. Here's the lineup at present:

Thursday, 11 a.m.

  • Kabob N' Roll
  • Tasty Meat
  • Vesuvio

Friday, 11 a.m.

  • India Jones
  • Komodo
  • Slice Truck

Friday, 5 p.m.

  • Flying Pig
  • Fresser's
  • Grilled Cheese Truck
  • Sweets Truck

Saturday, 5 p.m.

  • Barbie's Q
  • Frysmith

-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

Photo: Let's Be Frank hot dog cart. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Sampler Platter: L.A. street food festival, giant lobsters, Bar Keeper wants liquor license and more

Vintage bar signs on the wall at Bar Keeper

Gargantuan lobsters rising from the seas and enslaving the human race... It sounds preposterous, but it's a potential and very real downside of global warming, which is building bigger lobsters without increasing the world's butter reserves. Perhaps someday, when the age of peak butter has passed, we'll look back at bread baskets and flaky, golden tarts as the harbingers of doom for a society on the brink of collapse. Until then, I salute our crustacean overlords.
-- Giant lobsters from rising greenhouse gases? NPR
-- Bar Keeper in Silver Lake is looking to get a liquor license by June. Food GPS
-- Palm oil production devastating Sumatran forests. CNN
-- Salami and Parmesan cheese used as weapons in supermarket battle. Telegraph
-- The search for the world's perfect stove. New Yorker
-- Arrowhead water bottles reduced by 21% (from 1 gallon to 3 liters). LiveCheap
-- Learning to appreciate cognac in Cognac. Los Angeles Times
-- L.A. Street Food Festival scheduled for Valentine's Day weekend. LAist
-- Vertical Wine Bistro changes it up with new chef Doug Weston. Eat LA
-- Roaming Hunger food truck tracking site goes live.
-- Tootsie Roll goes kosher. Palm Beach Post
-- Greek, Indian, Chinese and more: Vancouver's many cuisines. Los Angeles Times
-- Spicy kettle corn and more recipes from bigLITTLe. Goop
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Vintage bar signs on the wall at Bar Keeper. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Follow Friday madness: LA restaurants, food trucks and chefs on Twitter, version 3

Potatochampion We periodically update our roster of Los Angeles bars, restaurants, chefs and food on Twitter. Now you can follow them with the click of a button, because we recently migrated these lists to Twitter.

The biggest growth has been in our food trucks list, which had barely a dozen trucks six months ago and now has 58 meals-on-wheels.

Recent additions include: Asian Soul Food Kitchen (a fusion of Japanese cuisines and African American soul food); Little Spoon Desserts; the Sweets Truck; Mandoline Grill (traditional and vegan-friendly Vietnamese food); Komodo (fusion burritos); Fressers (hot pastrami and other deli sandwiches); Grill 'Em All (upscale burgers); Umami (upscale burgers); Vesuvio LA (Italian food) and more.

Sadly, we still lack a poutine truck like Potato Champion in Portland.

--Los Angeles restaurants and bars on Twitter
--Los Angeles food trucks on Twitter
--Los Angeles chefs on Twitter

We update the lists constantly, so let us know what we've missed.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: The Potato Champion food truck in Portland, Ore. Credit: Kathy M.Y. Pyon / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: 15-year-old cheddar, pudding cloth, McCall's meat coming to Los Feliz, Google map for food trucks

Hook's 15-year-old cheddar chees Old cheese, new butchers, old school Scotch, nouveau tamales and more in today's food news roundup.
-- Foie gras and chanterelle tamales from John Sedlar of Rivera. Los Angeles Times magazine
-- Upscale butcher McCall's Meat & Fish Co. to open in Los Feliz. Food GPS
-- An appreciation of pudding cloth, whatever that is. British Food in America
-- Hook's unveils 15-year-old cheddar. NPR
-- Florida woman allegedly attacks boyfriend with uncooked steak. The Smoking Gun
-- Eggnog martinis at Lola's in West Hollywood. Banana Wonder
-- Food swaps are catching on. The Globe and Mail
-- New Zealand police reward good drivers with licorice logs. Stuff
-- A Google map that tracks food trucks. Finally! Food Maps
-- Win a Scotch whisky aroma nosing and tasting kit from the Balvenie.
-- Pix from the "Eat: Los Angeles" book party at Traveler's Bookcase. Blackburn + Sweetzer
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Hook's 15-year-old cheddar cheese. Credit: Mark Hoffman / Associated Press

Food Truck News: Yum Yum Bowls, Umami truck, Grill 'Em All, the Sweets Truck roll out

Panangcurry Bangkok native Tommy Buratarat, who co-owns the restaurant House of Thanon in San Diego County, soft-launched Yum Yum Bowls last Wednesday, making it the first Thai food truck in Los Angeles (at least as far as we know; if you know otherwise please drop us a line). Yum Yum offers chicken satay, spring rolls, egg rolls, deep-fried tofu, panang curry, green curry, yellow curry, pad thai, drunken noodles and barbecued pork over rice. The curries ($5.95) and noodle dishes ($5.50) can be made with your choice of chicken, beef or tofu, and they come with a salad and dressing. Appetizers cost $2.50 to $3.50. Drinks include Thai iced tea and fresh coconut juice in the coconut ($2.50). Look for desserts like sticky rice with mango to be added to the menu in the near future. Buratarat says the truck will run Tuesday through Sunday, hitting the Wilshire corridor for lunch and roving to other hot spots such as UCLA and Abbot-Kinney. Watch the Twitter feed for more details. (Twitter: @yumyumbowls)

Umami200 Two new competitors, Grill 'Em All (Twitter: @grillemalltruck) and the Umami truck, wade into the gourmet-burgers-on-wheels battle, a niche that previously belonged to Baby's Badass Burgers (Twitter: @babysbbs). Grill 'Em All promises high-end burgers with a heavy metal vibe. We'll see what that means after the truck gets wrapped today and starts rolling later this week or next. Umami, which has been on a furious expansion kick with recently opened outposts in Los Feliz and Hollywood, will roll out a truck devoted to its upscale burgers. The launch, which was supposed to happen last Friday and then today, has been delayed, reports Eater LA.

Sweetstruck150 The Sweets Truck will offer some competition to recently launched Little Spoon Desserts. Both use the same business model of curating and selling desserts made by a variety of local bakers and caterers. The Sweets Truck features cookie sandwiches from Xtreme in North Hollywood: red velvet cookies with sweet cream cheese frosting, chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter frosting and maple pecan pie cookies with pecan pie filling. Other featured items include pecan shortbread squares, triple chocolate fudge cookie bars and coconut walnut bars from Cookie Casa in West L.A.; various brownies from Embrace Sweets in Hollywood (you can specify whether you prefer a corner, a middle or a side, when you order); dipped chocolate treats from Madame Chocolat in Beverly Hills; and gourmet Rice Krispie treats from Milk & Krunchies. The Sweets Truck also boasts a full espresso bar that serves lattes, cappuccinos, brewed coffee and espresso from Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena. In the summer, look for Italian sodas and fresh sparkling lemonade.

The Sweets Truck made several test runs last week without Tweeting its locations, and it plans to go live this week with full Twitter updates. (Twitter: @thesweetstruck).

-- Elina Shatkin

Photos: Top: Panang curry with chicken (Yum Yum Bowls). Middle: Umami Burger (Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times). Bottom: the Sweets Truck (Kyle Ahlgre).

Better than a food truck: the Kogi BBQ Scion xD Mobile at the L.A. Auto Show

Kogi truck

If you’ve always dreamed of having the Kogi Korean BBQ truck permanently parked outside of your house, soon you can. With Scion's help, you will be able to put Kogi in your driveway and, even better, in your garage.

Imagine a customized Scion xD Mobile with an aluminum grill in the pop-out trunk, cooking utensils and sauces in the pop-out taillights, and a sink to clean up in one of the rear-passenger doors, all retractable by remote control. Arm yourself with good meat and good company and you’re ready for a tailgate, a fantastic outdoor party or a family dinner of Korean BBQ tacos on the front lawn. Awesome.

The auto company teamed up with Mike Vu and his MV Designz shop in Santa Ana to create the customized Scion xD officially for the Korean BBQ truck (whose dedicated foodies follow the truck around by its Twitter updates), but also to spark the imagination of car buyers about ways they can customize their own xD. It debuted at an auto show in Las Vegas last month and is now at the L.A. Auto Show; after its tour, the customizable xD will be available for sale (and is planned to be adopted by Kogi and used just like its trucks).

See more photos of the mean, lean Korean BBQ machine and read the full story at our Money & Company blog here.

L.A. Auto Show: Kogi BBQ Scion, with working grill, to hit the L.A. streets after auto show tour

Food truck profile: Little Spoon dessert truck rolls across Los Angeles

-- Kelsey Ramos

Photo: Scion Kogi xD Mobile, customized by MV Designz, on display at the L.A. Auto Show. Credit: Nathan Olivarez-Giles / Los Angeles Times


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts
5 Questions for Thi Tran |  August 6, 2012, 8:00 am »
SEE-LA hires new executive director |  July 31, 2012, 9:34 am »
Food FYI: Actors reading Yelp reviews |  July 31, 2012, 9:16 am »
Test Kitchen video tip: Choosing a bread wash |  July 31, 2012, 6:04 am »



About the Bloggers
Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.