Category Archives: street food

Food Cart Food Court

food carts columbus

If you missed the event at the Ohio Historical Event last night, don’t worry you still have another opportunity to sample a range of Columbus’ street food. Sunday from 4-7pm at the old Wonder bread factory in Italian Village. My advice – get there early, be prepared to wait in line and make sure you bring cash, ideally small bills.

Here’s today’s Dispatch article about the two events.

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Food-Truck-A-Palooza

street food columbus ohio

Tomorrow is the Ohio Historical Society Food Truck-a-Palooza from 4-7PM!  Admission to the event is FREE, and admission to the Historical Center is FREE!  The event will take place on the plaza level, so stop by on your way home to pick up dinner or have your friends and family meet you here!  They have some great Columbus food trucks and carts lined up for the event, including:

3 Babes and a Baker (cupcakes)

Da Levee Cajun Cuisine

Foodie Cart (Japanese-style crepes)

Fusion Cafe

Junior’s Tacos

Leslie’s Creperie (European-style crepes)

Lucky Ladle (soups and savory pastries)

Mojo TaGo (California-style tacos)

Slabadabado BBQ

Veggielicious (vegetarian wraps and quesadillas)

Smaller versions of the customer favorites will be for sale, so people have a chance to sample food from several vendors.

Confirmed Vendors:

The Other Paper

Promo West Productions

What the Rock?!

Remember that the food trucks are CASH ONLY, so you’ll want to make an ATM stop.

Museum admission will be free during the event but regular rates will apply beforehand from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Diners will be able to enjoy a slide show of historic photographs of Columbus street scenes. Afterwards visitors can see the museum’s exhibits, including The Nature of Ohio and Ohio: Centuries of Change.

Facebook page for the event.

The hashtag for the event is #ohsfoodtruck

IMPORTANT DIRECTIONS: Due to an event at the Ohio Expo Center, 17th Avenue will be closed. We can be reached by taking Clara from 11th or by the 17th Avenue exit on I-71.

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So long summer

The pools are closing, the kids are back in school and yesterday I saw pumpkins and apple cider at the farmers’ market. It’s officially the end of summer. For me it seems to have gone by in a flash – I’ve been going full throttle all summer on our new business start up – Columbus Food Adventures. We officially launched in July and the summer has been a whirlwind of tours, promotional events, emails and learning how to run a business. So far, it’s been a lot of fun and we are enjoying sharing some of our favorite foods and culinary experiences with adventurous food lovers.

With hindsight a couple of decisions I made in the spring were mistakes – signing up for a CSA and joining a pool. I’ve been too busy to do much cooking or eating at home, and lazy afternoons with a book have been been extremely rare. Each week, I have diligently collected my CSA, felt guilty about the vegetables in the fridge, packed the freezer with fruit and lamented all the things I wish I had time to cook.

As well as the tours, there have been lots of research trips, meals with friends and the launch of another new blog – streeteatscolumbus.com . Columbus is undergoing a street food explosion with new trucks appearing every week. Street food has been a theme for us this summer. One of our favorite new street food vendors is Foodie Cart and we especially love it when they set up outside Mouton for breakfast. Here is Misako preparing one of their creative Japanese crepes.

streeteatscolumbus, foodie cart

One of the other things that I haven’t had enough time for this summer is blogging. There have been lots of events and meals that I wanted to post on hungrywoolf that never made it online. One of them was the Food and Wine celebration, a fundraiser for Veggie U at the Culinary Vegetable Institute. I was extremely lucky to be offered a free ticket at the last minute. We had some amazing food, celeb spotted, watched a cooking demo by Jonathan Sawyer, hung out with the fine folks from Jeni’s ice creams, and ate and drank the night away.

Slow Food Columbus out did previous years with two wonderful open air dinners  in 2010. The stunning Girasole dinner, kindly hosted by Val Jorgensen was a fundraiser for the Terra Madre delegates. It was an amazing banquet with a long table set between two rows of sunflowers. More photos including lots of food shots here.

slow food columbus girasole

The annual ‘Shake the hand that feeds you‘ dinner at the Flying J farm was a more low key event with the Caskey family from Skillet presiding over the grill and campfire. Many of the guests camped overnight and breakfast was almost as good as the dinner itself. (more photos)

This summer the organizers of the popular Goodale Park music series experimented with a series of community potlucks hosted by local blogs and themed to fit with the music. I was involved both with the taco trucks themed pot luck and the hungrywoolf ‘Grown in Ohio‘ potluck. Great music, friends and food.

Other fun food (and even some non-food) related events were a day at the state fair where I ate pig wings and deep fried mashed potatoes; Pecha-Kucha under the stars; Shadowbox’s open air showing of ‘Back to the Garden’ at Schiller Park; the Doo-dah parade (and the adventures of the keg-bike); Roman Holiday al fresco at the Wexner Center; lots of bike rides courtesy of Mr George and Mojito-Madness the brain child of CMH Gourmand.

Mojito madness was a quest for the best mojito in the city which necessitated many hours of drinking and lots of tasty snacks to keep the team motivated. It was hard work, but I was happy to help. In fact, I might just make myself a mojito this afternoon to make a farewell toast to the summer of 2010.

What have been your food highlights this summer?

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Mobile Food Mania

Columbus is in the midst of mobile food mania. Following the lead of cities like New York, LA and Portland, the trend of gourmet food trucks is hitting the streets of Columbus.

Last year when we started the website tacotruckscolumbus.com, we thought that we might find up to ten taco trucks – we grossly underestimated. Since then, trucks have come and gone, but overall the popularity and number of taco trucks have steadily grown. There are now forty taco trucks, making Columbus the taco truck capital of the Midwest. No other Midwest city can rival the number and variety of taquerias gracing our city streets. They’re not just Mexican either – there are Honduran, Salvadorean and Colombian trucks too.

Rad Dog‘s hot dog cart is a well established vegan friendly street food option, but now, hot dog carts and taco trucks aren’t the only mobile vendors offering good value and delicious food on the streets of Columbus.

Ray Rays BBQ truck opened this winter in Clintonville and has had a strong following ever since, winning hearts and devoted fans with their pork, ribs and brisket. You can keep track of their hours and location on facebook.

Skillet’s mobile kitchen is an off-shoot of their Whittier Avenue location and can be sporadically found at O’Reilley’s autoparts on High Street. They offer such delicacies as short rib sandwiches and pork belly quesadillas. You can find out what’s on offer when and where by following them on @skilletrustic. If you are lucky, you may find The Lucky Ladle soup cart at a farmers market or special event.

Mikey’s Late Night Slice pizza truck is a spin-off of their fixed-abode parking lot location near Bodega. As the name suggests, look for the pizza-slinging truck, late at night, or on facebook.

Columbus has three Caribbean food trucks: El Rincon Latino on the East side, Red Snapper which can be found at Pearl Alley Market on Tuesdays and Fridays during the summer  months, and Dave’s Caribbean Food Truck, which appears outside Skully’s on Sunday nights.

New kid on the block is Three Babes And  A Baker, a cupcake truck, currently displaying their beautiful wares at the junction of High and Gay, downtown. They bake the cupcakes in the truck early in the morning and today were doing a brisk lunchtime trade. Hours and location are updated @3babesandabaker.

Eagerly anticipated is the soon-to-be-launched Japanese crepe cart – Fresh Street. They should make their debut appearance any day now. To be first in line follow them @freshstreet

What did I miss? I’m sure there are more, and I can’t wait to see what other trucks pop up.

What’s on your mobile food wish list?

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Sunday Afternoon in the Park

Carlos, the owner of the two Las Delicias trucks told us that he relocates his newer truck to Rhodes Park on Sundays. When he mentioned that there were other food vendors there, we were curious and we’ve been waiting for a sunny Sunday afternoon to check it out.

The vendors are here to to feed hungry soccer players and spectators and games run all day from 9am until it gets dark. Apart from two ice cream trucks circling around, most of the vendors were Mexican including two taco trucks – Las Delicias II and El Mexicano. The rest of the vendors had set up tents and tables and there were coolers galore. It was like a mini festival and it happens every weekend.

Common offerings included: tacos, tostadas, chicharrones preparados (fried pork rinds topped with pickled pork rinds), agua frescas (pineapple, watermelon or horchata), nieves (ice creams) and fresh fruit cocktails. There were rumors of tamales, but as we never found them I’m guessing they sell out early.

The fresh fruit cocktails contained varying proportions of mango, cucumber (pepino), jicama and watermelon (sandia) and could be topped with your choice of lime, salt, hot sauce or chamoy.

Chamoy is a sauce made of pickled fruits and is simultaneously sweet and salty and spicy. It definitely gives the fruit an added dimension.

Whether your preference is fruit cocktail, pork rinds or ceviche, watching some soccer and cooling off with some nieves or agua fresca, is a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the park.

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Truckload of Tacos

Truckload of Tacos is the headline of G.A. Benton’s taco truck feature in this week’s Alive! We had a lot of fun showing G.A and the rest of the Alive crew around some of our favorite trucks and were really pleased with their fantastic seven page(!) feature – as well as the plug for our new project alteatscolumbus. You can read G.A.’s initial post-tour musings here.

It’s been a busy month for the taco truck crew (aka the three amigos). The warmer weather has seen the opening of several new trucks and there are rumors of more on the way. The list of trucks is currently up to date and we will surely be adding more trucks to it soon. There’s also the map to help you find them.

Earlier this month, I did a feature for Vendr.TV eating street food for a day on a budget of $10. I managed, just, and of course, my street food choices included two taco trucks. My $10 day wouldn’t have been complete without the most craveable of taco truck food, a Los Guachos gringa. If you haven’t tried this killer combination of caramelized cheese, al pastor pork fresh from the spit, grilled pineapple and avocado cilantro sauce, well frankly, I feel sorry for you.

As the taco truck project has received so much interest and support we have found ourselves becoming increasingly involved with liaison and advocacy. There are some interesting dynamics between the trucks, the city and the neighborhoods in which they are located. We see the taco trucks as a very positive asset for Columbus and we hope that others will too. We are not sure where this project will eventually take us, but so far its been a very rewarding journey.

One of the highlights of the last month was our Spring 2010 Taco Truck Tour. You can read my full write up on taco trucks columbus. The tours are always a lot of fun: seeing old friends, making new ones, watching people trying new food and sharing the experience with them. The tours get people to explore parts of the city that they might not ordinarily visit and can help to bring communities together. I love that we are able to collaborate with other groups and organizations and that taco trucks appeal to such a diverse range of people.

Visiting the taco trucks is always fun: eating al fresco, not knowing who you will run into, or what what new experiences await you. My most recent bizarre taco truck food experience – chicken shaped (but luckily not flavored) jello.

Upcoming taco truck events are a Cinco de Mayo meet up at Taco Nazo with specially made posole (There will be a group of bikers leaving from Goodale Park at 6.30pm, or you can just meet us at Taco Nazo.) and a presentation on taco trucks and other food adventures at Pecha Kucha on May 13th.  If you have never been to Pecha Kucha, it is a fantastic format for people to speak, very concisely, about what they are passionate about. You are allowed to show 20 slides and you have 20 seconds to talk about each one. I’m a little nervous, but excited to share our story and our love for taco trucks.

Thanks to all the taco truck fans for all the kind words and support for our project, and special thanks of course, to my two amigos. I can’t think of better people to stuff my face with gringas with.

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Earth Day Celebration 2010

The real work of Earth Day was done last weekend with a massive volunteer effort throughout Central Ohio. Almost 4,000 volunteers picked up trash, planted trees and worked in community gardens. Events like Thursday’s Earth Day celebration at Franklin Park are a forum for inspiration and education. The event gives non-profits and eco-friendly businesses an opportunity to explain their products, missions and campaigns. By trying to achieve a zero waste event we can teach people about recycling and composting and by offering healthy, sustainably produced foods we can introduce people to some fast food alternatives.

When I was asked to organize the food vendors for the Earth Day celebration, I started to think about the sort of vendors that would appeal to me at such an event. I wanted to focus on local, independent businesses and make sure that there were plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. I knew we would need to have more food options than previous years, because there are so few options close to Franklin Park. As this was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day we were hoping for more attendees than previous year’s, and if you want people to stay and listen to music on a weekday evening, chances are they are going to get hungry.

I remembered that the Columbus vegetarian restaurant blog Nothing Better to Do had featured a Comfest dining guide, so I contacted them to solicit some ideas. We invited some Comfest veterans:  Dragonfly and Wellness Forum as well as some of the favorite vendors from previous years: Wholefoods Market and Rad Dog, who were the first vendor to sell out. Another vegan option were the soups and turnovers from Lucky Ladle. I was a fan of the potato and spinach turnovers. Poor Shannon had her umbrella stolen the night before, but she was still all smiles. You can catch her at some of the farmers markets this summer.

Phat Wraps had an enticing display with all of their fresh toppings and they proved to be another popular choice. It’s fun being able to customize your own food. Their permanent location is in the OSU campus area on North High Street, but look for a second location opening soon.

A couple of festival newcomers were Portia’s Creations, featuring Kombucha Bob and Skillet Rustic Urban Food, debuting their new trailer. The pork belly quesadilla with salsa verde from Skillet was my late lunch, and it was delicious. Skillet is a great example of local, seasonal sourcing and they work directly with a number of farmers. I look forward to seeing the trailer out on the streets again soon.

Pattycake had beautiful cupcakes, flower cookies and their perennial favorites: snickerdoodles, oatmeal and toll house cookies. Taste of Belgium flipped crepes, cracked jokes, perfumed the air with caramelized sugar and handed out endless samples of their addictive Liege waffles.

A special thank you goes to Jeni’s Ice Creams and Columbus Brewing Company who gave out free scoops of ice cream and beer to volunteers. It’s amazing how long people will stand in line for a free scoop of ice cream, but it is wonderful stuff. Jeni’s is doing great work teaching people about seasonal eating through the medium of ice cream. It’s almost time for flavors that bloom.

Thanks also to all of the volunteers at the festival and the ever-patient Franklin Park Conservatory staff, especially the electricians.

Some other food highlights awaited those that made it over to the community garden. The live fire cooking theatre was in full swing and we found garden guru Bill Dawson showing off pizzas fresh from the outdoor oven.

Inside the education pavilion were a series of cooking demonstrations. I only made it to one, but I did get to listen to Devon Morgan (pastry chef at Alana’s) teaching us how to reuse and recycle ingredients in the kitchen. Devon showed us how to make chocolate nut balls with leftover cake trimmings and that’s the sort of recycling anyone can get behind.

Some more photos from the event are on flickr.

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