Archive for December, 2009

Burlingame conducts unscientific survey on Curry Up Now

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on December 28, 2009

Just before Christmas, the City of Burlingame sponsored an online survey to gauge local awareness and opinion of “a mobile food vendor” in the city’s downtown area. That food truck, of course, would be none other than Curry Up Now.

There appear to only be about 300 self-selecting online members of the public who responded to the survey, which was completed on or before December 23, 2009.

I have lots of questions that I emailed to Patricia Love, Burlingame’s economic development specialist, to try to determine the methodology and reasoning behind such a survey. On its face, its results seem hardly definitive and represent the view of roughly one percent of the population of Burlingame, that is, if we presume that all of the respondents live in Burlingame. Of course, though, only 50 percent of respondents say that they live in the city.

That being said, here were the “results”:

53.4 percent of respondents said they had never purchased food from Curry Up Now.

56.6 percent of respondents said “I think [mobile food vendors] benefit the commercial areas.”

81.1 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: “The trucks increase the diversity of food options in Burlingame.”

67.9 percent of respondents agreed: “Mobile food vendors can take business from local restaurants.”

49.8 percent of respondents agreed: “The City should monitor the situation and consider regulatory changes if problems arise.”

59.1 percent of respondents “would be in favor of vendors if the City is unable to limit the number of mobile vendors allowed in the city”

So, y’know, while most of the results are favorable to Curry Up Now, take it with a large dollop of chutney.

Audio: How To Sell From A Mobile Unit (Legally!) In The Bay Area

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on December 17, 2009

Last night’s legal workshop on street vending in San Francisco was a great success!

A lot of great info was passed around, as so as a public service, I’m making the audio of last night’s event available here, under a Creative Commons license. That means: feel free to share it, download it, remix it, whatever.

Moderator:
Caleb Zigas, La Cocina [pictured, right]

Panelists:
Matthew Cohen, San Francisco Cart Project
Martha Yañez, Small Business Assistance Center (City and County of San Francisco) [pictured, left]
Imelda Reyes & Mohanned Malhi, Senior Health Inspectors, Department of Public Health, City and County of San Francisco [pictured, center]

You can download the audio here (1 hr 39 min, 68MB), or play it in your browser below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Venice residents annoyed at nouveau food trucks’ trash

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on December 16, 2009

Everyone loves LA’s food trucks. That is, until they start leaving trash everywhere.

According to the local blog Yo! Venice!, many of the food trucks that are coming to vend outside The Brig and along the Abbot Kinney strip, especially on First Fridays — a monthly event where business along that strip stay open late — are abusing the locals’ hospitality.

Bret, one of the site’s bloggers, writes:

The nouveau food trucks are not community based and use Abbot Kinney events solely to take from the neighborhood rather than help contribute to it. Our local businesses pay high dollar rent and taxes and still manage to help local charities, local schools and promote local artisans and craftspeople. Local businesses hold a vested interest in making Venice a better place for all of us that reside here and those that visit here.

What has happened? Venice embraced the nouveau food truck trend and many of these food trucks have chosen to be bad party guests that literally trash our home every time we allow them to come to our party.

. . .

I’d think that the Abbot Kinney business association should stand together and start charging these trucks VERY high dollar fees for the agreement to allow them to access their bathrooms. (Heck, they are making their trash problem YOURS when you have to clean it up before opening your business the day after.) We accepted them as a community and they chose to soil where we live. Not cool. While I know that some of the trucks do clean after themselves, I also know that as guests they should self police each other and tell the offending trucks to do the right thing, or clean up after the lame truck owners themselves.

I’m not sure that upping the fee is the way to go. My feeling is that most of these truck operators want to do right by the community and will try to do a better job of self-regulating when people bring issues like this to their attention.

Grill ‘Em All: Interview with Ryan Harkins and Matthew Chernus

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on December 15, 2009

Grill ‘Em All is one of Los Angeles’ bad-assiest food trucks. Founded by Ryan Harkins and Matthew Chernus, this hard rock-themed truck will launch this coming Saturday at 1640 North Spring Street in Chinatown. The two gents were kind enough to answer my queries.

1) So what’s a gourmet burger? Aren’t burgers the great working man’s food? Is there such a thing as gourmet rock n’ roll?

Matt: Gourmet is just the easiest way to say awesome. Our burgers are completely out-of-the-box when it comes to the normal burger recipe. We have burgers doused in toppings like fennel sausage gravy, cranberry gastriques, and lemon pepper crème fiache. But those are fancy words that simply mean they taste good.

Gourmet Rock and roll would probably be the working mans band which are Thin Lizzy and AC/DC, respectively.

Ryan: Doesn’t Manowar work very hard?

Matt: You’re right, they almost work too hard. Take a break already! But I guess that’s the price you pay for being the loudest band in the world. Ryan is a working man, but don’t ask his dad about that.

2) What else is on the menu? Sides? Drinks? Secret items I get if I do a pinwheel while ordering?

Ryan: As long as your not scissor kicking and karate moshing your way through the line, you will get the best damn burger made in the name of heavy metal you have ever eaten.

Matt: Yeah, none of that youth crew style moshing, we keep it real metal. Only old school mosh moves will be tolerated. We have hand rolled tator tots and fresh cut fries doused in truffle oil like a baby at baptism.

Ryan: I like my burgers like I like my metal: heavy and full of surprises.

Matt. Oh yeaaaaah.

3) Where will you be operating? Why get a truck? Was it tough/expensive to get set up?

Ryan: We will be operating wherever the people want us. Drop us a line and tell us why we should come to you! We got our truck, I’m sorry… our chariot, cuz trucks are badass and fun to drive, the same reason some hesher buys a Pontiac firebird. It’s tough, and inexpensive.

Matt: You both used the word operating which reminds me of the best metal tour ever: Operation Rock and Roll. Remember? Motorhead, Priest, Metal Church and Dangerous Toys were all booked to on the same package? How one stage contained all that rock is beyond me.

4) What are your favorite non-Twittering taco trucks in LA?

Matt: If you live in Echo Park this is a no brain answer: TACO ZONE! Park at Vons, crack a forty of cheap beer and order a taco. Then eat the taco and take a sip. Then order another one post haste, buddy.

Ryan: I must say, this is one of Matt and my favorite places to frequent. We take Pirate Pride up to the Vons parking lot, buy a sixer and indulge in the beauty that is buche and suadero tacos, going sip for bite in the Vons parking lot. Just don’t tell the cops that.

5) Will eating at Grill Em All make me feel as bad-ass as when I play Rock Band?

Matt: God, I hope it makes you feel way more bad-ass then when you play a video game. It should make you feel like you could climb the tallest mountain, slay the biggest dragon and then take the longest nap.

Ryan: What he said.

Palo Alto High taco truck’s new on-campus location questioned

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on December 14, 2009

It’s not just Santa Monica, Boyle Heights and Lodi that are getting hit with taco truck regulations.

According to the Palo Alto High School student newspaper the Campanile, a Wyss catering truck selling “tacos, burritos and burgers” has begun serving students in the on-campus Churchill parking lot during lunch hours.

However, the paper reports: “According to Vice Principal Jerry Berkson, it is illegal for the taco truck to park on school property.”

However, Berkson admitted that if the truck were to park across the street, that the truck would be ok, provided that all of its permits were in order.

“I was on my way to my route through Stanford and some [Paly] students called me over so I decided to stop,” Jose Dominguez, the server told the paper.. “There were a lot of students so we plan on stopping here every day, Monday through Friday during the lunch hour.”

Kogi Scion prototype could be the future of taco trucks

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on December 4, 2009

Man, I wish I was in Los Angeles this week to see what may be how Kogi and MV Designz are rockin’ the show floor.

The Kogi xD Mobile Kitchen by MV Designz is pretty freakin’ sweet. It’s got a fridge and cutting board built into the left rear door, and ice chest and sink built into the right rear door, a BBQ grill and griddle that pop out of the back, a drawer for cooking utensils built into the left tail lift, and a condiments drawer built into the right tail light.

No word yet on exactly what building something like this costs, but my guess is that it ain’t cheap.

Scope the video (start at the 1:00 mark), previewing the ride at SEMA 2009 earlier this year.