The Weekly Rant – Episode 1

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If you follow me on Twitter you probably know that I like to speak my mind on various topics. Usually my opinions fuel some heated debate and sometimes it gets downright ugly but at the very least it gets people talking/thinking about issues that affect our daily lives. This post is the first in a new series of weekly posts intended to bring these issues to a wider audience. This is going to be fun.

Topic number 1, food trucks in Steveston. Over the weekend I saw that the Le Tigre food truck was at the Steveston Farmers Market. I know that food trucks are staples at other farmers markets around the Lower Mainland but I don’t agree with food trucks operating anywhere near Steveston. Steveston is an extremely seasonal area for restaurants and they have to stick it out through the slow fall and winter months relying on summer business to make ends meet. To have a food truck pull into town on a sunny summer day and take customers away from these businesses doesn’t sit well with me.

Steveston, home of the worlds tamest Seagulls...
Steveston, home of the worlds tamest Seagulls… Photo WFLBC.com

Le Tigre has done nothing wrong. They have the required permits, they’re great people and they make great food, it just shouldn’t be happening in Steveston. Sorry guys, I love you but… you know. I have the same opinion about food trucks at White Rock Beach so if a food truck shows up there I’m not going to be happy about it.

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Norgate as seen from International Plaza – Photo WFLBC.com

Topic number 2, Norgate residents complaining about noisy trains. Norgate is located in North Vancouver just east of the Lions Gate Bridge and south of Marine Drive, so basically right beside the CN rail yard, also right behind the beautiful sulphur piles along the shores of Burrard Inlet. Norgate was developed in the 1940’s to house shipyard workers and is mostly small bungalows with an average selling price somewhere near $650,000. The rail yard has been a part of this neighbourhood for FAR longer than the current residents have lived there. For them to complain about the noise is ridiculous. There were similar complaints in New Westminster a few years ago and they met with the same public reaction. It’s like moving in next to the airport and complaining about noisy planes. If you can afford a $650,000 house you should be smart enough to buy something that isn’t right next door to noisy industry.

Two polarizing topics, feel free to add your thoughts to the comment section. Let’s keep it clean though, ok?

Scott.

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Vancouver Food Cart Fest 2013 – I feel like I’ve been punk’d

Well you guys, I haven’t had a really good rant in a while and I was starting to think I was losing my edge. Never fear, Food Cart Fest to the rescue!!  The plan was to head down to False Creek with Hayley and meet up with some local foodies (@mhchipmunk, @yvrbcbro and @foodgays). I got to the Athletes Village just after 12 and parked under Legacy Liquor Store. The parking ticket machine there never works and it seems like no one cares so free parking! Off to a good start.

You can sort of see Food Cart Fest in the distance.
You can sort of see Food Cart Fest in the distance.

I wandered over to the big empty parking lot where the festival is being held this year and saw a really long lineup of people along the walking/bike path. That couldn’t be just to get in could it? Yep, it was. There was roughly (and I’m under exaggerating) 400 people lined up to enter Food Cart Fest and this isn’t even the first weekend. I decided to see WHY the lineup was so long and discovered that it was because you have to pay an ADMISSION FEE to even get in??!! Last year The event was held in the parking lot at The Waldorf on Hastings all summer and there was no admission fee. Were there lineups at the trucks? Yes there were but that is totally acceptable. Yes the admission fee is only $2 but that makes the line so slow that someone with a young child >>>ME<<< has to stand in the heat for 30-45 minutes? This is the part where I lose all the non parents… Talk to you later. But it’s not just the parents, it’s EVERYONE!

This year you have to line up to pay to get in, to line up to pay to eat. Stupid. Vancouver’s food truck newbies envision a city that looks like Portland with food trucks parked on every corner and dedicated parking lots filled with amazing food and brimming with atmosphere. That happened organically for Portland, it wasn’t forced like they’re trying to do here. Why would I pay to have the privilege to eat at a food truck when I can eat at a food truck any other day of the week and just pay for the food? I love Vancouver’s food trucks. I love the people that run them, the people that own them, the food they produce and the choices they offer to the people of this city. This city is Vancouver, it is not Portland, it will never be Portland. Stop trying to make it Portland! Portland has become what it is without producing “events” like this contrived joke.

Calling your event family friendly because you have a bouncy castle is almost as ridiculous as the lineup to get in. If I put a bouncy castle in a strip club would that make it family friendly? No, No it would not. No parent I know would wait in today’s heat with their kid. I saw parents in line… I don’t know what would make them want to wait that long with a child.

So, I didn’t get to hook up with my foodie pals, I didn’t get to eat any yummy food and now I’m at home wondering if I should’ve just stayed here and watched the NHL draft, it sounds like it was pretty entertaining.

Scott.

Pig on the Street – Food Truck Friday!!!

Every Friday, if I’m downtown, I try to have lunch at a food truck. This week I tried Pig on the Street which is probably the smallest food truck in Vancouver. It’s actually not a truck, it’s a Volkswagen camper van and it’s super cool. They make flatbread sandwiches, soups and delicious sounding (I didn’t have one) Bacon, Bourbon and Caramel Brownie Bites. Almost everything on the menu is “Pork-centric” with the exception of the vegetarian sandwich called the No Piggy. When you place your order you’re handed a small wooden pig with a pork related name on it, it works like taking a number but it’s way more fun.

I had The Porker which comes loaded with locally sourced double smoked bacon, sausage stuffing with apple and sage, goat Gouda, caramelized onion mayo and greens. $10 tax included is a pretty good deal for this epic lunch. I was FULL and very happy as I settled into my pork coma. The bacon is incredible and the smell wafting down the street from the little Volkswagen is intoxicating. The sausage stuffing is amazing, the goat Gouda is a unique but perfect choice and the mayo and greens finish things off nicely. Pig on the Street is the cure if you’re “achin’ for bacon”.

The Porker
You should make Food Truck Friday a part of your routine. It’s easy, fun, delicious and affordable. Download the free Street Food App for you smartphone HERE and get started!!

Twitter – @Pigonthestreet

Facebook – www.facebook.com/PigOnTheStreetVancouver

Web – www.pigonthestreet.com

 

Scott.

Tacofino!

I’ve had a lot of food from trucks lately thanks to my awesome location downtown during the week. My latest street food lunch came from Tacofino, the orange taco truck, parked on Howe street outside the Art Gallery. Tacofino also has a blue truck that serves burritos at Burrard and Dunsmuir and the original truck in Tofino.

I had the Tuna Ta-Taco, actually I had two of them. Seared sesame soy Albacore tuna, seaweed salad, shredded cabbage, wasabi ginger mayo and mango salsa on a fire roasted flour tortilla. These taco’s are among the best fish tacos I’ve ever had, seriously good. The tuna is delicious, actually I’m not going to bother going item by item here because this whole taco just works together. All of the ingredients work so well together that it’s hard to focus on one at a time, just take a bite and enjoy. It’s made even better by the toasted flour tortilla with its subtle crunch.

Street food rules. As always I use @StreetFoodApp to find great local food trucks and so should you!

Scott.

Off The Wagon Tacos

When I walk up to a food Truck and they’re playing Grizzly Bear I know I’m going home happy. I found Off The Wagon Tacos parked on Dunsmuir and Burrard in their cool little red school bus.  The tunes were pumping, the ladies inside were smiling and the tacos filled the air with with an intoxicating smell.

I had 3 tacos, 2 pork and 1 chorizo. I like the fact that Off The Wagon has such a small menu, they get the chance to do a few items really well and these tacos didn’t disappoint. The chorizo was may favourite, very rich with a little heat. The pork was seasoned well and of high quality and the toppings on all 3 tacos were fresh and paired well with the flavours of the meat. My only quibble is the use of double tortillas. I know that this is the traditional way to serve this type of taco and I know that a lot of other places serve it the same way but I’m not a fan. You end up with way too much tortilla compared to the amount of filling. That’s not to say that the tacos aren’t great because they really are, I’m just anti double tortilla.

Go check them out for yourself near the Bentall Centre or check them out on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/OffTheWagonTacos or on Twitter @OffTheTacoWagon.

Scott.

Street Meet Truck!

Have you ever had a bad meal at one of the many food trucks dotted around the streets of Vancouver? Looking back on the past couple of years I can honestly say that I’ve only had one sub par meal, and it wasn’t really “bad” it just could’ve been better. One of the newest trucks to hit the streets is the Street Meet Truck, this is one of the coolest looking trucks in town. It has a sweet chrome flying pig hood ornament, crazy graphics and sweet underside lighting but you’ll have to find them somewhere at night to check that out. Their truck is also a slightly different model than the ones used by other food truckers, it has a more “big rig” look to it, quite impressive.

Seeing as I decided to visit on the first really nice day of the year the line up was predictably long but the crew in the truck were upbeat and very friendly, pushing out food like a well oiled machine. The menu is described as Mediterranean food and it definitely is, with a decidedly Italian influence. Chef Alessandro Vianello and Chef Mike Carter say their goal is to bring addictive fine foods at an affordable price to the streets of Vancouver, let’s see how they did.

First up I had the Crispy Fried Risotto Balls with slow braised pork, green onions and truffle aioli. These are some tasty balls people. The crunch on the outside is just right and the rich warm goodness inside is very rich and full of flavour. Served on a bed of greens the left over aioli also makes a nice little salad to accompany the risotto balls. Very nice.

Next I had the Grilled Spicy Italian Sausage with stewed red peppers and Taleggio cheese served on a toasted baguette. The sausage is made from high quality local pork and it tastes great, just a little heat and not too salty. The casing has a nice snap to it as well. The baguette poses a challenge to those looking to stay clean, it takes some biting power to get through the toasted crust and you may end up with stewed red peppers on your shirt. The bun is great though, very fresh and airy inside. The Cheese is very soft and gooey and adds a nice creamy balance to the acid of the peppers and the heat of the sausage. There are also some scratch made potato chips with this dish that are really good.

So there it is, another great meal from one of Vancouver’s ever growing family of food trucks. To find out where the Street Meet Truck is at Follow them on Twitter @StreetMeetTruck, Check out their website at StreetMeetTruck.ca or use the uber awesome Street Food App on your iPhone (an Android version would be nice…nudge nudge)

Scott.

Kaboom Box with VANEATS.ca!! #KaboomInABox!!

The VANEATS.ca crew have done it again, a dining pass for a food truck? That’s my kind of package!! The Kaboom Box is located at the corner of Robson and Granville (beside Sears) and offers local and sustainable food including Oceanwise seafood and organic veggies whenever possible. This package is called Kaboom In A Box, search for #KaboomInABox on Twitter, and offers your choice of a fried oyster po’ boy or the hot salmon smoked “Salmwich”. It comes with an amazing poutine and a beverage all for $8.50? Yup, that’s a sweet deal!

I chose the Gulf Island Fried Oyster Po’ Boy sandwich. It’s made with locally sourced sustainable oysters that are panko breaded and deep fried. They’re nestled lovingly in a great whole wheat bun with some signature slaw and house made tartar sauce. Grab some napkins, this guy’s as messy at it is tasty. The oysters are full of oceany (yes that’s a word…) goodness and the flavour of actual oyster is still front and centre with the sauce, slaw and bun playing their backup roles perfectly.

The “BC Poutine’ is a nice departure from heavy animal based gravy poutines. The gravy is made with local mushrooms and the crispy fries and real cheese curds make up quite the threesome of flavour in your mouth. The green onions are a nice touch too, adding a little freshness and bite to the dish. I opted for water to drink as I did’t want any sugary drink messing with these great flavours.

Make sure you say Hi to Andy, Brian and Matt, the Kaboom Box crew! They’re doing some great things out of that tiny food truck!

The #KaboomInABox pass goes on sale May 2nd at 7am and you can get it at VANEATS.ca!! I would also like to give a special shoutout to Kev and Billzzzz from VANEATS.ca for their support and for filling me with delicious food on a regular basis, you guys ROCK!

Scott.

Roaming Dragon menu launch at District 319

The Roaming Dragon is the rock star of the Vancouver food truck scene and has been on quite the roll since I first met the team a couple years back. They’ve recently brought Chef Tina Fineza on in a consulting role to update and relaunch their menu on both the street food and catering sides of their business. A bold move for something that was already a success but Jason Apple and Jory Simkin. Roaming Dragon co-owners, are always looking to improve and grow their empire on wheels.

The venue for this relaunch was District 319 on Main St between Hastings and Cordova, not a part of town I frequent but the space was super cool with Asian inspired décor that suited the event perfectly. The new food was a big hit as was their well known basil lychee lemonade with a shot of vodka added for adults only. This event really showed what an awesome job these guys do with their catering business.

It’s always great to see Jason and Jory, they’re really great people. Check them out for your next event! catering@roamingdragon.com

Scott.

Mom’s Grilled Cheese, Food Truck-tastic!

I have been blessed with a long term assignment that has me stationed smack dab in the heart of downtown Vancouver for the foreseeable future and I’m ecstatic. Why you ask? Well because of the food you silly little monkey!! My first visit was to a food truck I’ve been hearing great things about, Mom’s Grilled Cheese. I found them on Howe street right beside the Vancouver Art Gallery ( the VAG) which is their usual spot.

The menu is small but awesome and the obvious choice for a carnivore like me was the Meatloaf Grilled Cheese that comes with marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan all grilled around a delicious slice of meatloaf. It came with a slice of pickle and some nice kettle cooked chips. The sandwich was awesome, it kept me full through dinner time, no small feat for a sandwich vs. a big eater like myself.

The staff were awesome and very conversational with each other and the customers. It’s great to see people having fun while they work which is sadly not seen very often these days. I will visit Mom’s Grilled Cheese again, next time I’m taking on the Jackson 3 with bacon. Grilled cheese was also the subject of WFLBC’s April Fool’s joke last year so the timing of this visit was perfect! AND April is grilled cheese month, so, you kind of have to go with what the universe is telling you on this one. Get some grilled cheese!!

Scott.

Bada Bing food truck

I happened to stumble upon a food truck I had never tried the other day after my lunch plans fell through. Bada Bing, which was parked on Broadway just off of West Georgia, specializes in Philly Cheesesteaks offered with either chicken or beef. The truck looked pretty cool. lots of flames,  clever windshield signage and the smell wafting up the street was irresistible.

I ordered the beef cheesesteak with a side of fries.  They offer hot sauce and garlic sauce as toppings and of course I took them. The sandwich itself was big and fresh but the meat lacked any sort of seasoning and was quite grey and lifeless ( as one would assume a dead cow would be, I guess?). Luckily the garlic sauce and hot sauce were there to add some flavour. The bun seemed super fresh and the peppers and onions weren’t overcooked or mushy. The appearance of the sandwich in the picture isn’t a true representation of how it looked before it was wrapped in paper and carried 2 blocks to the HSBC building where I ate it.

The fries were actually outstanding, probably the best I’ve had from a food truck if not a close second to Fresh Local Wild. They were fresh, hot and crispy with great seasoning and a hint of garlic. Food truck fries seem to be a bit of an art form in terms of them actually being fresh. Most other vendors struggle with soggy, limp fries that are often cold. Whatever Bada Bing is doing is working.

Check them out at 655 Burrard street, outside of the Royal Centre/Hyatt Regency hotel.

Scott.