Archive for April, 2011

the haute dog truck

They are everywhere and in every city. No longer just a shiny metal box dispensing watery coffee and a cardboard sandwich at a construction site, nope the food truck phenomenon has taken the country by storm. In a world obsessed with food and all matter of it, it seems only natural that the things we love and crave would take to the streets.  Crepes ~ Donuts~ Cupcakes~ Hot Dogs ~ Burrittos~ BBQ~ Sushi~ Ice Cream ~ Cuban~ you name it, there’s one out there serving what you desire. Gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘meals on wheels’. Mobile chef’s taking street food to a completely new level. What took so long?

While “pop-ups” continue to grow in strength and numbers, food trucks have a bit more longevity. And nowhere is that more evident than in Los Angeles. Opening a real restaurant can cost you millions and millions of dollars. A food truck can be had from anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000. Permits in LA run around $700. NYC is far more difficult as there is a cap on the number of permits allocated for a certain period of time. The one city they seem to be sorely lacking in is San Francisco, though the Onigri ( japanese rice snacks)  truck parked in front of the Ferry Market Plaza is worthy of a visit.

Also to be taken in to consideration is weather, parking ( think “turf wars”) , storage, pre-prep space , gas and the most important, location location location!  All are key to a successful food truck operation.

Twitter helped the Kogi LA food truck achieve a level of notoriety and cache previously unheard of  for an upscale mobile vending cart. The power of the Internet. Amazing. Another fledging company that could use help  get the word out is Cripple Creek Barbeque. A little company with a big conscience. Based in Colorado and owned by John & Stacy Lynch, they are on a quest to bring great BBQ to the masses. With roots in sustainable & environmentally friendly cuisine, this is a win-win idea.

To visit their website and make a pledge for their drive to raise money for a food truck and get some great offerings in exchange, please, they need you help to achieve their goal. Visit: http://www.cripplecreekbarbeque.com/index.html

You can also follow their progress in their quest on Twitter at @CrippleCreekBBQ  .. the pledges only work if they meet their goal. Lets help a foodie dream come true.

Now for some of my favourite Los Angeles food trucks to watch are as follows ~

Phamish ~ for Banh Mi

Buttermilk ~ for a breakfast biscuit

Flying Pig ~ for tamarind duck tacos

Iggys ~ for hot dogs

Raja Fries ~ for fries you never dreamed were possible

Seeing that LA has more cars per capita than any other city, the fantastic food trucks parked all over are no surprise! The best place to find some of these and numerous other trucks is Mon to Fri on Wilshire Blvd in front of LACAMA. Most move somewhere else for the evening hours. And of course visiting one of the best art museums in the states is just icing on the proverbial  “cup” cake. You can get those across the street. LOL. Enjoy.

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my lobster roll

Just a quick post inspired by the amazing amount of hits my Lobster Club picture has received on Twitter. So here’s an homage to the humble bug of the sea. So ugly yet so delicious. But first a bit of history.  Lobsters are part of a group of arthropods (crab/ shrimp/ krill) . They have an exoskeleton which they must moult in order to grow. They also have separate sexes and reproduce sexually. Try visualizing that one. Two lobsters hooking up. LOL. Little known fact, some can even change their sex during the course of their lives.  A transgender lobster. Who knew!

I personally love lobster. Succulent, moist, briny, sweet. They hit the mark on all taste levels. Dipped in melted sweet butter, drool worthy. Anyone who doubts that should Netflix the movie Flashdance and watch Jennifer Beals slowly savouring and sucking the meat out of one. Who cared if she could dance, that scene was quite simply, highly erotic. If you’re not dying to eat a lobster after watching that, then you have no libido. Okay, I digress. Back to the sea.

Lately lobsters have been a steal at my  market. My local fish guy (who happens to be a hottie) will give me a call when they are going on sale to give me a heads up (okay to flirt too). This past weekend they were $4.99 a lb. A veritable bargain. So I went and picked up a few of these beauties.

Now there are many ways to prepare a lobster, though most people over -cook theirs, but if you follow this simple rule you will be guaranteed melt in your mouth goodness. Everytime.

I prefer to quickly “steam” my lobsters. Get a very large pot, add barely an inch of water, and if you wish toss in a few peppercorns and a lemon slice. They wont flavour the meat, its more for aromatic purposes. Makes the kitchen smell nice. Put in the lobsters, turn on the heat, cover and steam for 10 minutes. No more. Lobster meat cooks quickly and can become tough and chewy when overcooked. If you plan on sauteing or grilling, steam them for only 3-5 mins, cool and proceed with whatever recipe you plan on using. Drain. Cool. Shell. Proceed to melt some butter, dip and enjoy. Nirvana has been achieved.

One of my favourite ways to enjoy a lobster is the classic lobster roll, Connecticut style. Take a brioche or Martini’s potato roll, butter and griddle it. Set aside. Coarse chop the meat, toss with some melted butter, spread the bun with a small amount of mayonnaise, top with the warm lobster meat and sprinkle of chives. Enjoy as the butter and lobster juices drip down your chin. Orgasmic.

Though if you want a more impressive dish with a wow factor this is something I made when I was Executive Chef of a Country Club in Darien, Ct. Most of our members worked in New York City on Wall Street and were used to 5* cuisine. They expected that same level of quality from me. It was a job I adored, but after 4 years and 80 work weeks, well it got tiring.  Though this recipe never does. It was a dish I could never take off the menu and ten years later it still rocks it out.

Lobster Mashed Potatoes w/ Seared Sea Scallops & Beurre Blanc

Make a batch of yukon gold whipped potatoes. Cook/ cool/ shell a lobster. Reserve the claw.  Remove meat & coarse chop. Stir the lobster into the potatoes. Panko crust 3 jumbo sea scallops. Pan sear. Blanch haricot vert or grill some asperges. Make a champagne beurre blanc. Place lobster mashed potatoes in center of a plate, surround with 3 sea scallops, the veg & drizzle with the beuerre blanc. Top with the lobster claw and a dollop of osetra caviar and garnish with a chive stuffed yukon gold potato “chip”.

So the next time you want to impress your better half, your  friends, your in-laws,  your boss, make this. You’ll be guaranteed a table full of smiles. And if it’s just you and your significant other your chances of getting lucky are 100%. Cause after all lobster is sexy. Just ask Jennifer Beals.

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