February 22, 2011

DC food truck: CapMac

My first attempt to find a food trailer in DC was thwarted because of the timing.  It's not like Austin where you have multiple culinary options at any given time of day.  The trucks in DC operate on an 'ice cream license', which I found out means they can only stop for business if there is a line.  Thus, several of them convene at parks during the day when people are on their lunch break.  My sources indicate there are only about 25 such food trucks in the DC area.  So after striking out on finding a 'trailer' for dinner I set out for lunch the following day in search of (drum roll): the CAP MAC FOOD TRUCK.....

After taking the metro (for my first metro experience), a cab, and then walking a few blocks to Farragut park (17th and K-ish) I was approached by the chef himself, Brian Arnoff, and was told our party would be the last of the day as he was almost out of cap mac.  This worked out nicely, as it gave me the opportunity to have a conversation with him after lunch to learn a little more about the mac daddy of the cap mac (sorry).  

Chef Brian, originally from Poughkeepsie, NY graduated with a degree in hospitality management from Boston University and after several high end experiences in the dining world, he decided to try his hand in entrepreneurialism with the CapMac.  The food truck was open for business starting last November (2010) and serves an average 150 plates per lunch.  His menu is small and easily managed - both ideal qualities for success in the food truck industry.  Because he's dealing with pasta, there isn't a delay due to seasonal differences and with green in mind his cutlery is all biodegradable.
The 'CapMac 'n Cheese' for $6 is their best-seller.  It involves Cheddar, Pimento, and Cheez-it crumbles on spirally macaroni noodles.  You can 'make it sloppy' (which you know I did) for an extra $2 to create the "sloppy joe meets mac and cheese," in Chef Brian's words.  For more:

February 11, 2011

Keep Your Recommendations Weird in Austin

When Google first called me at Torchy’s Tacos, they said they were coming to my hometown to celebrate Austin’s local business community. Hot off the track from launching Hotpot, a new local recommendation engine from Google Places, Google has chosen Austin to promote this fun new technology because of our forward-thinking and love for all things local. And several Austinites had recommended Torchy’s as a great team to partner with when Google hit town. 

Photo courtesy of Jared Tennant Photography

Cecelia and Vanessa from the Hotpot team met me at the Trailer Park on South 1st Street to chat about all the delicious food we offer here in Austin, and to talk about all the Google products you can use to help your business (or your favorite Austin business) connect with customers. Cecelia had a clue about Austin’s great food offers, being a UT alumna, but Vanessa was new to the Tex-Mex scene, so we had to order some tacos before we could even proceed.

We quickly decided we wanted to do something fun for Torchy’s customers, and what’s more fun than free tacos?

Photo courtesy of Jared Tennant Photography

Thus, I'm exceptionally excited to announce that we’ll be giving away — on Google — the Hotpot taco (or for those familiar with our menu, the Migas) at all six Torchy's Tacos locations until 2pm today. Keep in mind this is while supplies last and one per customer. Woohoo! Thanks, Google.

Now back to Hotpot. It’s a tool that supports local businesses by allowing users to share the places they love with their friends and discover new places they might like. As both a local Austin business owner and someone who reviews other local businesses, I'm excited about Hotpot and very happy to see big dogs like Google collaborating with unique trendsetters like Torchy's.

One of the fun features of Hotpot is the Best Ever medal, reserved only for the most deserving of favorite local spots. The Google girls asked me about some of my Best Ever trailer food vendors so they could check them out while here in Austin. (This, as you know, is always my most dreaded question. Trailers, you’re all pretty.) But for you, Google and readers, here is just a tiny portion of the awesome trailers not to miss, in addition to our beloved Torchy's:

G'Raj Mahal – fine Indian dining al fresco on Rainey Street
La Boite Cafe – unique local bistro cuisine in an eco-friendly box on S. Lamar
Franklin Barbecue - a must-have mouthwatering bbq experience east of campus
Hey Cupcake! - selling thousands of swanky cupcakes a day in multiple locations
Mighty Cone - gourmet fried chicken from the creators of Hudson's on the Bend on South Congress
Lulu B's Sandwiches - one of the best-kept underground secrets of sandwich teases on S. Lamar
The Flying Carpet – incredible Moroccan food from a loving family on South Congress

Photo courtesy of Jared Tennant Photography

A big thanks again to Google for recognizing Austin for one of the things we love about ourselves: that we vote with our dollars by supporting each others' businesses both on and offline.

Posted by Tiffany Harelik. Tiffany started her company Trailer Food Diaries with nothing more than a blog in February 2010. Attracting the attention of C3 Presents, she partnered with them to create the first annual Gypsy Picnic trailer food festival last fall. Her successes led local trailer food ambassadors Torchy's Tacos to hire her, and she consults with other trailer food vendors across the country. Her trailer food cookbook will be coming out this fall. She remains inspired by the foodie-entrepreneurs she encounters on her trailer food journeys.

February 3, 2011

the cookbook is coming! the cookbook is coming!

Trailer Foodie fans, I am super excited to announce the Trailer Food Diaries: Cookbook is coming to bookshelves near you in 2011!  Would you like to know how Patika Coffee brews their single cup pourover so you can treat your sweetheart to a cup of joe in bed?  Want to try your hand at baking Cutie Pie's Fredericksburg Peach Blackberry Pie for your next bridal shower?  How about impressing the guests with Royito's famous guacamole dip for a superbowl party?  Spice it up at your next dinner party with a Thai Chicken Karaage recipe from the East Side King himself or serve up a rotisserie chicken with onion marmelade from the Jalopy.  Hungry?  Stay tuned for info on pre-purchasing this unique cookbook that combines good food, pretty pictures, and special stories.  You can get on our email list by emailing: tiffany@trailerfooddiaries.com