Confronted by her own health and dietary limitations – gluten intolerance and Mastocytosis, a blood disorder causing reactivity to a long list of medications, air born allergens, food allergies and periodic debilitating fatigue –Patricia Harrington refused to opt out of the joys of food and healthy living. Instead, she wrote her own cookbook.
“La Petite Assiette” is the quintessential tool for those, albeit by necessity or desire, seeking a delicious, healthy alternative to a wheat based diet. Written by a lifelong foodie, homemaker, and self-taught cook and baker, Patricia Harrington is passionate about healthy, clean eating, local sustainability, family tradition and comfort food. Her emphasis on using heirloom varietals from local farmers is a constant theme throughout her gluten free recipes.
As a dancer, Patricia developed a keen awareness of the body and how it works. Suffering through a serious strain of the 1918 influenza in college forced Patricia to research the long lasting health effects of contracting this strain of flu. Eating healthy food and living a healthy lifestyle that nourishes the body and mind has been a necessity for her.
“Having to change your food preferences to accommodate a food allergy or autoimmune disorder can be confusing and discouraging. Hopefully, my cookbook helps the cook feel confident and encouraged to bake again,” Harrington said.
About the Author
Patricia Harrington is a gluten free cook and baker living in Portland, Oregon. She has worked for popular catering companies in Portland, Oregon and in Santa Barbara, California. She has been owner of several small catering companies, including an on-site food service for small film crews in the Portland area. Her most recent catering venture, La Petite Assiette – “the small plate” – came about while working at a wine bar; she paired food with the weekly wine tasting, with an emphasis on produce and cheeses from local farmers. Her travels thru France and Spain have influenced and inspired her desire to continue to blend the sophistication of city meals with the ease of country cooking and then making it all gluten free.
For review copies or interview requests, contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 317.602.7137
Plenty of Californians have been on the juicing party wave for years, so I was a little surprised to find that sunny San Diego was without a juice truck. At least, until Juice Wave recently opened up shop.
Owner, Chef Arleigh Rose, has worked in the food industry for over 1o years and has extensive farming and cooking experience from both US coastlines. While in Northern California, she worked at Quince, under Chef Michael Tusk, who opened her eyes to the abundance of beautiful food grown in Northern California, as well as how to properly navigate a farmers market. Now Arleigh is bringing the green from the Bay to just south of LA. Her bright blue, freshly-wrapped and converted ’91 Chevy offers seasonal selections of locally-sourced blended fruit and veggie juices using 100% unpasturized almond milk with Carlsbad alkalized water. Her intention is to “provide people with the best quality product using the freshest ingredients and raise awareness for supporting the food grown right here in our backyard of Southern California.” And don’t worry, if you need a little more sustenance to go along with your juice after a hard workout, you can grab a gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free Rickaroons cookie too!
Furthermore, to prepare each morning, Arleigh likes to get her ingredients as locally as she can to represent true farm-to-table sustainable practices. She will even go so far as to drive out to actual farms to pick up their produce if local farmers markets do not carry a particular product. And this girl knows her way around a farmers market. She described for me her past experience working for Chef Tusk where he would have her “try a strawberry from every single farm. Finally, [they] decided on the best one but he made sure [she] knew that the following week they will have to try them all again” in order to secure the very best product. Arleigh took this advice to heart, and after her time in the Bay, she worked with her Encinitas, CA WWOOFing mentor, Farmer Leo, under whom she notes she had “the absolute best experience [she had] ever asked for.” It was there that she was inspired to start a juice company using amazing, delicious fruits and vegetables. Arleigh has worked with a large variety of different produce and growing seasons but believes, “nothing compares to eating charentais melons from the Bay Area in the summertime versus delicata squash in San Diego in the wintertime.
Arleigh’s passion for Southern California’s fruits and vegetables and sustainable practices shows in her truck ethos and menu items. Juice Wave has a simple menu of drink options, but all, including the Beet It – beet, apple, carrot, ginger, lemon – are sure to be vibrant, fresh, and nutritious. And just in case what you’re craving isn’t listed, Arleigh welcomes special requests as well. Juice Wave is a great, convenient outlet to help those who want something quick and nutritious or don’t have the time or money to blend and press their own juices. Be sure to pick up one of Juice Wave’s customized 16oz. mason jars so you can bring it back every time you want a refill!
Yet again, (sigh) gas prices are reaching record highs in California and thousands of its food trucks are feeling the sting of the pump. However, there are many food trucks from California to the East Coast that are now seeing (more of) the benefits of our favorite 2012 catch phrase, “going green.” Two of the biggest eco-cons for trucks are the amount of fuel needed and powering a large generator for on-board kitchen equipment. There are several ways trucks can help ease these costly and environmentally-detrimental concerns: alternative fuel use, harnessing wind and solar-power, cooking large batches elsewhere to preserve energy, recyclable and biodegradable packaging, and general mindfulness. Even mobile food bikes, powered completely by young ambition, have started growing in numbers in larger cities, like Chicago and San Francisco. Its one thing to serve high-quality, fresh and local ingredients, but doing so while also manning the wheel of an eco-conscious truck is a beautiful beautiful thing. Keep an eye out for our top green machine trail-blazers.
Sweetflow Mobile – Washington D.C.
Sweetflow Mobile is well-known for its locally sourced, organic frozen yogurt with an eco-friendly pulley system that replaces a gas powered generator. The pulley system reduces their emissions by 80-90%. You’re welcome Al Gore.
The Sustainable Kitchen – State College, PA
Like many other trucks on our list, The Sustainable Kitchen only brings organic, chemical-free meats and produce from the farm and garden onto its truck. However, what sets it apart, is the sustainable cooking classes Chef Andrew Monk gives while he’s not catering to his event and curb-side customers.
Fresh Local – Newington, N.H.
“Hello neighbor, might I borrow a cup of sugar for today’s featured menu items… oh, and also 30 dozen eggs?” The name says it all. Every menu item, down to every ingredient, is fresh and sourced from local farmers they’re proud to call their neighbors. Their truck runs on biodiesel and all disposable items are compostable. And the scraps go to the chickens!
Green Truck - Los Angeles & San Diego, CA
Both trucks cater to the green, eco-friendly gourmet foodie. The trucks utilize solar-power for their kitchen and alternative fuel to keep on rollin’ through their congested city streets. Every little bit (of less pollution) helps.
On the Fly – Washington, D.C.
Hooray for the SmartKart! These on-the-go green carts are designed specifically with mother earth in mind – zero-emissions and plug-in capacity.
The Brew Hub – Chicago, IL
This leg-powered caffeine machine is a pioneer of Chicago’s food bike trend. As owner Sara Travis puts it, she likes to “utilize the bike lanes without using electricity or gas to serve delicious things,” like cold-brewed iced coffee and home-made grapefruit soda. Look ma’, no hands!
Liba – San Francisco, CA
This Middle Eastern falafel joint is commendable for its compostable packaging and innovative use of its used oil that eventually gets turned into biofuel. What comes around goes around.
Oh My! Pocket Pies – Houston, TX
Sustainable comfort food at its best. But Oh my! Pocket Pies is also quite notable for its recycling regime – all packaging is biodegradable and waste is either recycled or composted.
By Roaming Hunger:
We’ve all been there: you’re confronted with half a dozen trucks with yummy looking menus. You think to yourself: “the food could be mind-blowing from that crazy international fusion truck, but man, I’m really craving some comfort food right now.” Choices, choices. So we come to the million dollar question plaguing hungry folks and food truck menu designers alike: How gourmet do you go?
Welcome to the Nostalgic vs. Exotic Throw Down. Roaming Hunger taps new Wicked Kitchen chef, Justin Campbell, to discuss the merits and risks associated with both strategies.
“Back in my small Florida hometown,” Justin reminisces, “there’s a little hole-in-the-wall place called the The Shake Shack. Now there are better restaurants, there are cheaper restaurants, but it’s such an institution that everybody just goes there. Grown men go fishing and then stop there afterwards for a strawberry shake.” Campbell continues, “Nostalgia can be a powerful economic force.”
But a food truck is not an institution. Typically, it’s a new truck serving a new community in an industry that is still showing exponential growth. So, how does a new truck build a sense of nostalgia into their brand to capitalize on this powerful economic force and to appeal to a broader audience? Justin thinks it’s predominantly through their menu.
“A grilled cheese truck is such a great example. It’s just such a universally enjoyed food and not just in the U.S. – almost every country has it’s own version of grilled cheese.”
Nostalgic vs Exotic
There’s a catch though: unlike grilled cheese, most comfort foods are not universal, they’re regional. The same truck that would evoke nostalgia in one area could be risky in a different part of the country. Or, alternatively, a truck might run the risk of being too safe for a particular market and face brutal competition from other trucks serving the same food.
“Put your own spin on something classic,” suggests Campbell. Be willing to build a relationship with the diner by providing a gateway dish that’s familiar and delicious. “That way, they can have the safe choice this time and maybe next time they’ll try something riskier.” It’s about building trust.
Campbell just debuted a new dish for Wicked Kitchen, playfully called “The Banana Hammock,” that reflects this exotic vs. nostalgic argument. Chilean sea bass encrusted with ground homemade banana chips and then steamed in banana leaves. It’s a succulent packet of banana-y joy complimented by crispy fried rice with deep spice and dried fruit flavors.
“It’s a dish reflective of my Flori-bean roots,” Campbell explains, “recombining nostalgic flavors and preparations from my childhood to create something fresh for Angeleno eaters. I thought this style of savory, fruit heavy cooking would be everywhere in L.A., just like in Florida. The climate is similar and people are so health conscious, but it’s totally not here… like… at all.”
So what’s the takeaway? Ultimately, people’s perception of food falls on a spectrum: nostalgic, regional comfort food on one side, and exotic innovation on the other. The most successful menus thoughtfully combine elements of both extremes to appeal to a wide audience while still offering something unique to keep foodies coming back.
By: Katriel Rotramel | Roaming Hunger
To find the Wicked Kitchen food truck in Los Angeles, visit www.wickedkitchen.com or on social media:
About Roaming Hunger:
Roaming Hunger started in 2009 as a way to connect foodies to food trucks. The website and iPhone app provide real-time food truck locations for over 4,000 trucks across the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia. Need a fun way to feed your event? The site also helps people book a food truck for catering.
Photo by Edsel L via Flickr
Your food truck most likely offers a specific type of fare and minimal menu. Hence, your truck will also have a theme, which is the equivalent of a business’ brand. The theme of your food truck is like your truck’s concept and distinctive characteristics, and the logo serves as a symbol that instantly conveys those things. It should be good, and look professional. Not only will it brand your truck, it’ll brand your Facebook page, menu and any kind of marketing material you create—tangible or digital. The design of your logo is so instrumental to the prosperity of your business, try to imagine your truck as your arm and the logo as a tattoo. Would you ink yourself with it?
Heck Yeah, I’d Tattoo My Logo On My Arm
Great, but before you tattoo your logo on your arm for life, account for design flexibility and consistency. A logo should attract an in-person or online customer equally. It serves as an eye-catching token that represents your business’ identity on all mediums, from a taco wrapper to a mobile-friendly website. Once your food truck becomes more established, returning customers will turn into foodie loyalists and start to create a relationship with your business. Identifying the logo in any form will trigger an emotional response that could result in a sale or even a recommendation. For those of us in a relationship, we all know how powerful and inflicting an emotional response can be, better make sure it’s a positive one.
Photo by Gamma Man via Flickr
I think It’s Positive…
Do passers-by seem intrigued by your truck? Are customers not frowning or crying? OK, people are responding well, so that’s good. A customer’s positive experience with your product and service is related to a positive connection with your logo. A compelling logo accurately depicts the experience a company creates, explains San Antonio-based Web design firm Bold Perspective. Let’s be honest, looks matter, right? Anyone who says they don’t judge books by their covers grows their nose Pinocchio-style. Create a high-quality logo that is aesthetically engaging and reflective of your theme. Distinguish it from your competitors and ensure it targets your niche market.
Photo by ricardodiaz11 via Flickr
If You Build It, They Will Come, Hopefully
Your niche market will be at your target locations, such as an office park or shopping district, but keep in mind they’re also online. Sure, passing customers hungry for lunch may make an impromptu stop at your truck, but you need to be proactive and put in effort on your side of the relationship. Even if your truck’s parked at a people-dense location, you also need to build a website, build out a blog, create a strong social media presence and grow a following. Creating logo-branded digital and social spaces where customers can learn more about your business provides credibility and relevancy—and shows you’re hip with the trends.
Photo by Edsel L via Flickr
Don’t forget, these customers are glued to their phones. Ninety-six percent of mobile customers have researched a product or service on their phone, and 81 percent will share a positive experience using social media (safely assuming on their phone), according to mobile customer engagement statistics gathered by Parature. Optimize your website to be mobile-friendly and make sure it’s easy to navigate on the latest smartphones. Also, respond to Facebook posts and engage with your Instagram followers who are essentially your word-of-mouth marketers. Turn your current customers into engaged fans and captivate potential customers with a hot logo? Your breakfast burritos are about to conquer the world.
ABC’s Shark Tank’s first winner Mr. Tod, will bring his famous mini pies and desserts to SOHO this weekend. Mr. Tod will have his converted Mercedes Sprinter Mobile Bakery parked on the sidewalk of West Houston Street between Thompson Street and Sullivan Street. This will be the first time his pies are being sold in NYC.
The Marketplace at St Anthony’s will be open from 10am till dusk. In addition to mini pies, coffee, espresso, muffins, 10” pies and slices of cake will also be available
Mr. Tod’s Pie Factory specializes in making pies and other baked goods from scratch, using only the finest spices, butter and other natural ingredients.
Their personal size pies are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but the taste is big enough to satisfy the sweetest of sweet tooths. Most pies come in either a 4″ or 10″ size. Whether for the house, office, catered events, fundraisers, or simply as a tasty gift, Mr. Tod is ready to serve you one of his delicious pies.
Mr. Tod’s industrious spirit can be credited to his mom who often worked several jobs to provide for him and his two brothers. She married his stepfather, a military man, when Mr. Tod was 7 years old. His stepfather reinforced the notion of a good work ethic and discipline, already instilled in him by his mother. With dreams of becoming an FBI agent or a lawyer, Mr. Tod majored in Criminal Justice and Political Science at the University of Richmond, where he also played football. He was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college.
Prior to entering college, Mr. Tod spent his summer as an intern with a local baker in Northern New Jersey. After college, he worked for Metropolitan Life as an account representative where he learned the corporate structure, how to build client relationships, and to hone his sales skills. After a brief stint with MetLife, Mr. Tod went onto to become one of the largest distributors at the same bakery he interned for. As his customer base grew, Mr. Tod saw the need for a speedier, more reliable way to meet the expanding demand for his products. Now Mr. Tod is in total command of manufacturing, quality control and distribution.
Mr. Tod’s long-term goal for Mr. Tod’s Pies is to make the company’s name as household as Sara Lee and Entenmann’s. Though all his pies are tasty and delicious, the main seller by far is the four-inch sweet potato pie. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but the taste is big enough to satisfy the largest of appetites. All pies come in either a four inch or ten inch size.
The delightfulness of Mr. Tod’s Pies is only rivaled by the good nature of Mr. Tod’s disposition. With a smile that is contagious and a jovial laugh, Mr. Tod maintains a personal relationship with his ever growing list of satisfied retail customers, restaurant and shop owners. A determined, resilient attitude mixed with a quality product smells like sweet success for Mr. Tod’s Pies.
The Ryan Gosling of LA food trucks, Cousins Maine Lobster pulls – the boys of Cousins Maine Lobster have cracked the Angelino food truck scene by bringing the best of Maine to California. Company and truck founders, Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis, are friendly down-home guys that embody the ideals of their company – tradition, family, sustainability, and of course, the best fresh lobster.
It might be easy to dismiss a seafood truck for the questionable freshness of its catch, or rather, its banality in a location that can easily acquire its own coastal fare, but these cousins are the exception. Any Southern California native will shamelessly laugh at any Mainer who claims their state has the best tacos (although the truck does offer lobster tacos.) And most Mainers would laugh equally as hard at any Californian who claimed their state had the best lobster rolls… Its true, finding quality Maine lobster at an affordable price in Tinseltown is a tough undertaking. The Cousins Maine Lobster truck makes such an endeavor easy and delicious.
Its not uncommon to see lines snaking around corners and pilling up in front of the truck. And for good reason. Their lobster is sustainably caught, A-grade fare from Portland (the other one). The lobster is chilled to the proper temperature and customers are given more than adequate portions and good-sized lumps of lobster meat. No skimping here. Their thick, white bread buns also pair nicely with the density and buttery taste of the meat. Customers often opt for the classic Maine (chilled meat) and Connecticut (warm meat) lobster rolls but the menu offers items like New England clam chowder, Maine root soda, and shrimp as well.
Since Sabin and Jim struck a deal with Barbara Corcoran on Shark Tank for $55k and a 15% stake in the company, their sales quickly exploded to over $700k. Barbara took a gamble and has been seeing her investment pay off ever since. Cousins Maine competed in Tasting Table’s Lobster Roll Rumble WEST and picked up the number 1 spot amongst professional chefs and 5-star restaurants from Newport Beach to San Francisco. They claim the number 3 lobster roll in the nation and have been voted the 2012 and 2013 number 1 food truck in LA by the Los Angeles Hotlist. Their award-winning lobster and other seafood-based dishes, such as scallops, crab cakes, and lobster pot pie can be shipped overnight, “shore to door,” from their online selection of Maine meals.
The passion Jim and Sabin have for bringing the best of their state to California is very evident, both in the food selection, and customer service. I was provided the opportunity to speak with Jim and Sabin at First Fridays in Venice, but had to steal them away before Sabin started charming the crowd and talking up the customers in line.
How do you source your ingredients and keep the seafood fresh?
JIM AND SABIN
“We have our facility back in Portland, Maine right on the docks. We fly everything daily overnight, so then we get the fresh lobster meat over here… 99% of these trucks are cleaner than most restaurants and our guys take this very seriously… We ship all of our online products overnight as well.
What is your most popular menu item?
JIM AND SABIN
“The Connecticut Lobster Roll – fresh Maine lobster meat sautéed in lemon butter inside our buns we fly in from Maine too.”
In terms of your menu, do you prefer to stick to your guns with the lobster classics, or are there any specialty items customers can expect to see as well?
JIM AND SABIN
“We do some seasonal things, actually, we have Maine lobster ice cream – Maine lobster poached in butter, mixed in with a really rich vanilla bean ice cream – it’s a huge crowd favorite, but easier to get in the summer than winter… We’ll do some things where we’ll fly in fresh haddock, just for a day, which is a white fish from Maine, and we’ll do specials with the lobster too, like lobster grilled cheese and mac n’ cheese.”
Earlier you mentioned, “each truck probably serves around 200 people a day, 6 days a week,” so I would imagine you cater many events as well. What type of events do you typically cater to?
JIM AND SABIN
“We’ve been inundated with catering lately – we’re opening a whole new catering division now. We can do in-home catering, so we can have chefs come and cook in your house and it creates a much more intimate setting. We’ve done beautiful things in homes in Beverley Hills and the nicest places you could ever think, and we do regular in-home informal BBQs out on the back deck too. And with the trucks we’ve done weddings, bar mitzvahs, business lunches, whatever it may be, big, small… a lot of people like to have the trucks because its more trendy and they’ve seen the truck on TV but some people like to have the intimacy of just one or two people cooking for them.”
Well, you boys are welcome to come cook in my kitchen any time. You’re business has been growing at an exceptional rate, are their any plans for expansion and where can hungry customers usually find you parked?
JIM AND SABIN
“We have a third truck opening in about a week. Every day is a different location. The best way to find us is social media. We have some regularity with our monthly events, like we are here [First Friday] in Venice every month.”
Food trucks have come a long way since being misconstrued as the cousins of state fair food vendors and questionable taco joints. Most of us who keep up with the media and begrudgingly watch our waistlines have probably heard of the slew of “lifestyle” diets that have become popular: Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free (celiac disease), Vegan, GAPS, Vegetarian, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, etc. Many of these diets require a significant lifestyle change that can make eating out difficult… very difficult. For instance, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is extremely restricting, and calls for the elimination of most carbohydrates, including all grains, starches, dairy, sugars, alcohol, caffeine, and any preservatives or artificial ingredients. Consuming only specific carbohydrates that require little digestion aids in the reduction of inflammation in the small and large intestines and helps many people with gastrointestinal disorders and food allergies. Whether you follow a specific nutritional diet or not, many people simply want to eat healthy and stay fit. Eating out and on-the-go takes time and preparation, especially if you don’t live in West Coast health-nut hotbeds like LA, San Francisco, and Portland.
As you can see, one’s food and lifestyle options can be severely hindered by a bevy of restrictions. And what brings people together better than food? A whole congregation of food from around the world! Food trucks often team-up and form pods of trucks for events and lunch gatherings. These food trucks have answered the call for affordable, inventive, gourmet street eats, but have they addressed the recent trend for a healthier lifestyle as well?
Eating out is a social affair, and you shouldn’t have to make excuses to avoid hanging out with friends or hitting the late-night trucks after a concert. There are now many food trucks that carry healthy options and an even larger assortment of trucks where you can easily choose certain menu items to fit your needs. I promise, this CAN be done. I am not a nutritionist, and most certainly not a doctor, but I am one of the lucky few who must follow a specific carbohydrate diet for my nutritional regime… ok, ok, I have the self-control of a four-year-old in front of brownies, so I “cheat” from time to time, but I know you are all more strong-willed than I, so get out there and feed the beast! Check out a few of these tips to help navigate you through the streets.
TIPS FOR EATING WELL AT FOOD TRUCKS:
DO SOME RESEARCH
Find which trucks are in your area and take a peak at their menus. You can even use Roaming Hunger’s truck map for your city to see their real-time location. Keep these trucks in mind, so next time you need a quick meal or are out with friends or co-workers you can suggest one of the trucks you know you will be comfortable eating at. “Foodie cities” are usually the easiest to find organic, locally-sourced, vegan, and even paleo-friendly trucks, like Outside the Box in Seattle, but there are hidden gems everywhere.
TALK TO THE OWNERS AND COOKS! SERIOUSLY… ASK QUESTIONS
For those that don’t just want to eat healthfully but have serious food allergies, make sure to ask lots of questions. More than likely, they will be happy to answer. Ask them what kind of oil they cook in and see if they can make any substitutions. For instance, ask if they add any sugar or preservatives, can substitute guacamole for for salad dressing, or whatever else suits your individual needs. If all else fails, you can always bring along a small container of Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or different dressings from your house.
GET GROOVY WITH SMOOTHIES AND BOWLS
Smoothies can be a great choice for the conscious eater… drinker? Either way, smoothies are filled with vegetables and fruits that contain essential vitamins and antioxidants. They are great on the go and can be very filling. Similar to smoothies, acai bowls, often contain superfoods, like chia seeds, hemp, goji berries, and whey/soy powder or peanut butter for protein. Blenders and Bowls, out of Austin, Texas, even serves both! There are plenty of smoothie and bowl trucks out there and they are an amazing, delicious option.
CORN TORTILLAS, CORN TORTILLAS, CORN TORTILLAS
For those who eat gluten-free or want to cut down on carbs, praise the power of the taco. With so many unique food combinations and fusion trucks, tacos don’t have to only be a Mexican affaire, so look for trucks that have lots of protein and seafood based combinations as their main attraction. If they double-up your taco tortillas, see if you can manage with just one or double up on meat instead. For you gluten-free folks, just remember to make sure there is no hidden wheat or gluten if they are store bought tortillas, and if you are very sensitive (have celiac disease), check that the fat used for frying has not previously been used to cook food that contains gluten. And if you can’t have corn, take a page from the tip below, and just eat the yummy innards!
TAKE OFF THE BREAD
Taking off a bun or any white flour bread is easy and can be applied to many food truck menu items. A well-cured pulled-pork sandwich can be just as delicious if you only eat the meat and slaw. Alternatively, some trucks might be able to wrap your item in lettuce in place of bread. Keep an eye out for Asian-inspired trucks that often have healthy protein, veggie, and brown rice bowl options. There are also many all vegetarian and vegan trucks cruising around, like the Veg-it-Up food truck in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.