Eat St. host James Cunningham was in Vancouver this week to host a street food crawl and announce the return of Lay’s Do Us a Flavour contest, which invites fans across the country to submit their flavour ideas to become the next potato chip flavour. Canada is a land of food lovers, but what we love to eat is as distinct as the country itself. From Chinese sweet and sour chicken to Italian pizza and Indian curry, we’ve got an endless list of favourite foods, secret family recipes and standing take- out orders. It is exactly these kinds of flavour-packed dishes and food rituals that the Lay’s brand is inviting Canadians to use as their muse for creating the next great potato chip flavour idea.
It’s a warm, mild February day in Arizona. Forget the hellish summers, driving-challenged snowbirds, and political rattlesnakes. A winter day in the Grand Canyon state beats any winter day in a snowbound blizzard. Most of the year, Arizona weather begs the question: what can one do with all this sunshiny goodness? Go food truck tasting, of course. My daughter and I get in the car and head north to the “Best Food Truck of Arizona” competition at the Tumbleweed Recreation Center in Chandler. The festival site is about 97 miles north of Tucson and promises an average 75°F all day. Forget the cumbersome jackets. Let’s go!
When Toronto caught the Food Truck bug back in 2010, a small handful of passionate chefs rushed to the scene to claim their unique space. Today, looking back on the evolution of the street food scene that I have followed so intently, it’s been such a pleasure to watch these “veterans” retain their reputations as the top street food proprietors while growing their empire in new creative ways. Unlike a lot of American cities, where year-round vending is quite pleasant (hello, Austin and Miami), Toronto truck owners have quickly figured out that the logistics and demand for street food kinda sucks when you’re out in the cold. One solid solution? Build on the brand and loyal following they’ve garnered through their mobile biz and use it as evidence they’ve got what it takes to hold down the fort in a brick and mortar space. I call it the ol’ mobile to mortar one-two-switch-a-roo. We’ve seen it now with Fidel Gastros/ Lisa Marie, Gourmet Gringos, Hogtown Smoke and now, the sassy lady behind Gourmet Bitches.
Vancouver’s newest food cart is proving that you can get a delicious lunch for under $5, and it has people lining up all day to sample its delicious fare. Allow me to explain: A couple of weeks ago I walked past a new Japanese owned and operated food cart on Granville Street in the old Japadog spot. The nondescript cart didn’t catch my eye, but it’s signature menu items immediately did. They were selling a classic beef burger for $2.85 or a cheeseburger for $3.50!!!! Lots of people were walking by and looking in disbelief at the price but were not stopping. Well, word has since gotten out and when I went back today the line was 15 deep and featured everyone from suits to skaters.
For the third year in a row, Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver festival set up shop at the Vancouver Art Gallery and presented Street Food City III. This food truck fest ran from Tuesday through Sunday and featured a great lineup of of food trucks and carts including Eat St. alumni like the Juice Truck, Roaming Dragon and Vij’s Railway Express.