Articles Tagged ‘food truck’

TRENDS: Jalapeños make for a fiery hot summer

By SHAWNA WAGMAN

The 2013-2014 edition of Ottawa Magazine’s Eating & Drinking Guide is a food lover’s bible for everything local, with 80+ pages of restaurant, wine, food shop, and kitchen store recommendations. Look for it on newsstands or order it here

Photo by Giula Doyle

Café My House’s Jalapeño Mojito Photo by Giula Doyle

The recent craze over Sriracha hot sauce is evidence that spicy flavours are indeed hot. Fans of the put-it-on-everything condiment may not realize that the most popular brand used by North Americans is actually made with red jalapeños. In Ottawa, the humble green jalapeño is the pepper of choice. Art Is In Bakery ignited a passion for the flavour and relatively unaggressive heat of the pepper with its cheddar, chive, and jalapeño bread. Thanks to greater acceptance of spice in general and the instant addictive quality of dishes made with hot peppers, we’re happy to see that more chefs are willing to play with fire.

Café My House’s Jalapeño Mojito
When Briana Kim was preparing to re-launch her vegan-friendly and (mostly) gluten-free café in Hintonburg back in April, she decided to incorporate fresh homemade jalapeño-cucumber juice into a fun new cocktail. She came up with the jalapeño mojito, made by mixing the sweet and spicy elixer with muddled mint, gin, and celery bitters. The cool zip of the cucumber and mint contrasts with the kick of jalapeño to create a taste sensation that’s as warming as it is cooling. The smart, seasonal cocktail is part of a changing menu that is sure to attract and intrigue the new neighbourhood’s tastemakers.
Cafe My House, 1015 Wellington St. W., 613-733-0707

El Camino’s Tongue Taco
Matthew Carmichael once believed the ox-tongue taco would never fly. But it quickly became his most popular taco — behind the fish — at El Camino. “I was flabbergasted,” he says. “I’m so happy people have embraced it.” As for the jalapeños on top that accompany thinly sliced radish, basil, and avocado, he says buying them by the jar was never an option. He gets better flavour and texture by pickling them himself with a classic brine. That tasty liquid gets used again in other recipes.
El Camino, 380 Elgin St., 613-422-2800

Fraser Café’s Albacore Tuna with Jalapeño Poppers
While fresh albacore tuna is often treated delicately, as in sushi and sashimi, it stands up magnificently to powerful partners (think wasabi). Ross Fraser played with this dynamic when creating this appetizer at his café. He pairs lightly grilled tuna topped with olive oil, lime juice, and coriander with a hot-from-the-fryer jalapeño popper. The peppers are split and filled with scallion cream cheese before being breaded with a cornmeal-flour mix and sent to the fryer. Fresh tomato salsa and sliced green apple balance the heat.
Fraser Cafe, 7 Springfield Rd., 613-749-1444

Relish Food Truck S’Mac N Cheese
Parked on the University of Ottawa campus, Paul Bergeron’s gourmet food truck shakes up the classic student meal. His signature S’mac n cheese — named for its lip-smacking quality — has become one of his most popular dishes. Forget the reheated crusty baking dish — every S’mac is made to order. Real béchamel sauce is stirred together with elbow pasta, old cheddar, and tomato. Next come chipotle sauce, crispy onions, herbs, and a little buttermilk dressing. A tiny dice of crisp fresh jalapeño is the culinary kicker.
Relish Food Truck, Copernicus Street and University Boulevard, 613-266-0538

Spread Delivers’ “The Mexican” Sandwich
Julie Harrison says she’s a sucker for raw thinly sliced jalapeños — it’s a love affair that began with a plate of pupusas at a Salvadoran joint. Pickling these peppers has become another passion. For her sandwich delivery business, she wanted to capture the flavours of Mexico between two slices of potato bread from Nat’s Bread Company. Fresh pickled jalapeños play a starring role alongside queso fresco, a white Mexican cheese, and chunky salsa roja with a handful of fresh coriander. Not enough heat for you? She puts chili in her chocolate brownies too.
Spread Delivers, 613-860-3636

 

 

 

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Fridays Organics food trailer rolls into Westboro (and a side discussion on a City proposal for more street-food fare)

Westboro's latest food truck has arrived. Plans for the future include hot take-out dinners.

Lunch was consumed in the writing of this blog post, but this isn’t, strictly speaking, a “lunch pick.”

Unlike the usual Monday morning write-ups here, I didn’t actually pay for this lunch — I was just doing my regular roving research (driving around, scouting for interesting food finds) last Friday when I happened to spot a large trailer parked in the Nick’s Service Centre lot across the street from Juniper and Whispers restaurants on Richmond Road.

That’s how I discovered Fridays Organics, Westboro’s new food trailer.

The words “Home of the best organic burger” next to the service window caught my eye and so I approached the large outdoor grill next to the trailer to meet the owner. Marilyn Hadwen is the Westboro mom who has been operating this “wagon” (as she calls it) for six years at festivals and private events. It came with the name Fridays, and it stuck; there is no relation to the Roast Beef House.

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WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Trailer Pork Boys’ pulled pork — a picnic in a parking lot

Food trucks add personality to bland urban spaces. Look for the grinning piggies on Carling Avenue.

By Shawna Wagman

It’s amazing what a little pulled pork can do. The uninspiring corner of Carling and Merivale that was formerly the site of The Lucky Key restaurant has become a hub of hungry excitement, long tummy-grumbling lineups, and happy parking-lot picnickers. Considering all of the roadblocks that new food business entrepreneurs face in order to get anything off the ground, it’s great to watch when one succeeds. So while the brand spankin’ new Trailer Pork Boys has been open for just a few weeks, the restaurant-on-wheels seems to be struggling just to keep up our voracious appetite for food truck fare.

Driving up Carling Ave., you can’t miss the cartoon trio of grinning piggies (do they look slightly sinister — or is it just me?) on the side of the navy blue 20-foot food trailer — the maximum sized rig that is legally allowed — across the street from the Westgate Shopping Centre.

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INTRODUCING: Relish, the newest member of the capital’s food truck movement

Paul Bergeron likes to say he attended the Simon & Ross Fraser School of Cooking. He started out as a line cook four years ago in the original shoebox-sized location of Fraser Café on Beechwood and moved with the restaurant to its current spot down the street as sous-chef where he has had control over the lunch menu. He would admit that being Simon Fraser’s brother-in-law probably helped him get his foot in the door.

Bergeron, originally from Kincardine Ontario, moved to Ottawa after spending most of his 20s living in the Yukon. He worked in restaurants to fund the time spent exploring and eventually moved to the nation’s capital in search of a career. He became a massage therapist and met his wife, Amy Pizana.

Amy’s sister is married to Simon Fraser, who, at the time was working at Domus. Simon invited Bergeron to do a stage in the kitchen where he was apparently bit by the cooking bug. “It was my first time working with people where it was all about the food,” he says, “And after working solo, I really liked the camaraderie of the line.”

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THE WEEKENDER: Christmas music, films, sales, plus Vimy and 100 Canadian singles

VIMY
It’s your last opportunity to see Vimy this weekend in its extended run at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. This popular play follows four soldiers, a “bluebird” nurse, and her fiancé. We enter their lives in a hospital in the aftermath of the famous battle of Vimy Ridge. Each character tells us their story, their hopes and dreams, and how they came to be here at this moment. The war is made personal by the intimate conversational dialogue between the characters; the spare set and understated lighting transport us to that time and place, where the grim reality of war was always present despite the seemingly ordinariness of everyday life. Thursday, Dec. 9 to Saturday, Dec. 11. 8 p.m. $45, adult rush $20, student rush $10. Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, 1233 Wellington St. www.nac-cna.ca/en/theatre.

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Organized by the Classic Film Series, this original Christmas classic is sure to put even the grumpiest Scrooge in a festive mood.  Young and old will enjoy the tale of an angel who shows a frustrated businessman what life would be like if he never existed. Sunday, Dec. 12. 1 p.m. $5. Coliseum Ottawa Cinemas, 3090 Carling Ave.; SilverCity Gloucester Cinemas, 2385 Island Park Dr. www.cineplex.com/events

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FOOD BUZZ: Pedestrian snacking on Scott Street ushers us into the world of better food truck fare

Along with hot dogs and poutine, the Bite This truck on Scott Street serves up pad thai and butter chicken.

Food truck fever is everywhere these days and by all accounts Canada is lagging behind. In Toronto, many are lamenting the failure of the “A la Carte” program that was designed to broaden the variety of food cart options (read: hot dog fatigue) on Hogtown streets. A decided lack of choice is said to define Vancouver’s vendor scene as well. In Ottawa things are equally dire; the number of food carts has dwindled in recent years and most of them serve only fries and/or hot dogs.

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