The Chews Letter Magazine, Food Trucks, Vol. 1 Issue No. 5, April 2021

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D I G I TA L • P R I N T- O N - D E M A N D VO L . 1 • I S S U E N O. 5 • A P R / M AY 20 2 1





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Jodi Anderson

DAIRY-FREE, EDITOR & RECIPE DEVELOPER Jodi is passionate about food and specializes in dairy-free meals and desserts. She loves trying recipes from different cultures and developing allergy-friendly versions.

Kelliann Frank

OMNIVORE, RECIPE DEVELOPER Kelliann is a chef from Babbit, Minnesota, where she has owned and operated her restaurant, Kell’s Kitchen, for over 13 years.

Abirami Gunasekaran

VEGETARIAN, RECIPE DEVELOPER & PHOTOGRAPHER | @limelightpix Abirami is a recipe developer and food photographer serving Delaware, Ohio. She loves to create recipes inspired by different flavors and ethnic foods.

Lisa A. Listwa

OMNIVORE, WRITER | Lisa is a freelance writer and passionate home chef. She loves finding new and interesting ways to prepare clean, healthy meals for her family.

Cynthia McFarland OMNIVORE, WRITER

Cynthia is a full-time freelance writer and author of nine non-fiction books. Cherished recipes and foods are woven through her favorite memories.

Katie McPherson

OMNIVORE, WRITER Katie is a freelance writer and marketer who loves storytelling, sushi, and clinking glasses with her husband at the local brewery. Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 |


contents Features 28

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS How MrBeast Broke into the Restaurant Biz with a Staggering 300 Restaurants at Once

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In Every Issue 05



VITTLE BITS Jodi Anderson’s Top 8 Food Truck Inspired Recommendations


SNACK SHEET: TAKING IT CHEESY The Happy Grilled Cheese Slings Incredible Sandwiches and All-Around Good Vibes

Locally Yours 09

THE SANGRIA TRUCK Mobile Bar Service Extraordinaire







Photo by Christina Karst Photography


The Green Tongue 21




Secret Meatings 31


STREET FIGHT Where are the Best Hot Dogs in New York?

33 34 36 37


Junk Mail




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Lisa at Local Carnival circa. 1980s • Photo from Family Archive



dear readers

t is spring! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the smell of street food fills the air. Here in Florida, we get food trucks year-round, but I get a sense of nostalgia when I smell deep-fried batter. I grew up in the frozen north, so food-truck season meant county and state fairs and city street festivals. Ice cream melting in the hot sun, gyros dripping with tzatziki sauce, and giant pickles on a stick make me long for sticky summers on fair grounds with my grandparents. One thing is for certain, COVID-19 shifted the food industry in a big way. Food trucks, pop-ups, and shadow kitchens are part of the new normal, and, here at The Chews Letter, we hope it stays that way. Join us at the table for this deliciously fun issue filled with regional food truck food favorites, New York hotdogs, local pop-up restaurants, outdoor dining, street food around the world, and MrBeast Burgers! And get ready to flex your cooking muscles because we put together some killer food truck-inspired recipes. Enjoy!


Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 |



Photo provided by Phil Rosenthal World

WHAT: TV show TITLE: Somebody Feed Phil FIND IT: Netflix and Phil Rosenthal is the creative mind behind Everybody Loves Raymond. His goofy personality and genuine excitement about food and sharing it with others are endearing. In the first episode of Season One of this travel show, he explores an open food market in Thailand by boat. Vendors literally hand him food from the sides of a canal. He eats at more traditional venues throughout the series, but his first love is street food.

WHAT: Reference book TITLE: The Flavor Bible AUTHORS: Andrew Dornenburg and Karen A. Page FIND IT: Wherever books are sold The Flavor Bible is my go-to book for trying out new flavor combinations. It has expanded my understanding of what brings out the flavor in otherwise bland seafood and chicken, especially on the grill. Foods are listed in alphabetical order. Under each heading is a list of complementary foods and spices. Those in bold are better complements, and those in bold and all capitals best bring out a food’s features



WHAT: Recipe TITLE: Pretzel bites FIND IT: Whether cheering on my favorite team at the stadium, walking through the mall, or exploring a farmers market, I am always on the lookout for a good soft pretzel. Recently, I started making them myself, and they are not that hard! I go for the bite size, because I do not have to try to twist the dough into the pretzel shape, which can be tricky. They are the perfect size for dipping, too. I love eating them in the German tradition: with a good mustard. Otherwise, pair with your favorite cheese sauce, especially if you are nostalgic for a high school football game.

WHAT: Tool TITLE: Steel skimmer FIND IT: Wherever kitchen products are sold Nothing says street food like deep frying. A long-handled steel skimmer is your best friend for retrieving those chicken tenders, fries, or doughnuts. I also use it to remove the pretzel bites from their baking soda bath.

WHAT: Food TITLE: Acai (ah-saw-EE) bowl FIND IT: Local health food store or street fair

Photos and Artwork (unless otherwise stated) from

Acai bowls originated in Brazil. They start with frozen pureed acai and are topped with various nuts, fruits, and chocolate. I discovered this delicious dish when I attended the Crossfit Games in L.A. a few years ago, and it was one of the only non-dairy foods available. I prefer mine topped with granola, shaved coconut, sliced bananas, and chocolate chips. While acai is considered a super food, acai bowls pack plenty of sugar. Enjoy this refreshing dessert at home by purchasing the frozen puree at the grocery store and garnishing with your favorite toppings.

WHAT: Recipe TITLE: Mint-Ginger Lemonade FIND IT: Who does not love a freshly-squeezed lemonade, especially while walking around on a hot day at a theme park or county fair? Replicating this refreshing beverage at home is pretty easy. Punch it up with the zing of fresh ginger and mint by brewing a simple syrup on the stove and steeping fresh-peeled ginger pieces and mint leaves for a few minutes. Strain and mix the sugar syrup into a pitcher of water and freshly-squeezed lemon and lime juice. Pour over ice for the ultimate summer weather refreshment.

WHAT: Spice mix TITLE: Ras el hanout FIND IT: Your favorite spice shop Ras el hanout is a spice mix that hails from North African countries and the Middle East. It is used as a dry rub on kebab meats and in meals that include couscous, among other things. Each country seems to have a slightly different variation, but common spices include ginger, cardamom, mace, cinnamon, allspice, coriander, nutmeg, turmeric, black and/or white pepper, cayenne, star anise, cloves, sumac, etc. I could not find a mix at my local grocery store, but I had all the spices to make the recipe from The Spruce Eats (

WHAT: Tool TITLE: Stainless steel skewers FIND IT: Anywhere you buy kitchen utensils The kebab is probably the most internationally recognized street food, and every culture seems to have its own variation. I had always used bamboo sticks on the grill, until I discovered stainless steel skewers. They are sturdy and easy to grab with the little loop at the end. Plus, because they are reusable, they result in less waste.

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 |


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niche bar service that operates out of a vintage camper trailer? Yes, please. The Sangria Truck of Jacksonville, Florida proves that awesome adult beverages are just one part of the equation when creating a memorable event. Owners Lauren Henry and Jennifer Ness take pride in providing great-tasting cocktails, enhanced by stellar service in a unique setting. It is all about delivering an experience guests will never forget. "I hired The Sangria Truck for our surprise wedding back on November 30th, 2019. To be honest, I booked them before I even decided on a venue," says Ciera Tarr of Jacksonville. "My husband Nick and I met on a blind date after copious amounts of sangria, so when I saw their retro truck pop up on Instagram, I said, 'I Do!'”

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"Not only did Lauren and Jennifer stand for everything we wanted to support (small businesses, strong females, killer overalls), they took the time to understand who we were as people," adds Ciera. "They showed up with the most delicious drinks perfectly designed for us, and kept the vibe going all night long. A year later, our guests are still talking about them!" Reviews like Ciera's are what keep The Sangria Truck steadily booked. Lauren and Jennifer were both working in the wedding industry in their hometown of Jacksonville. Lauren had launched the Sangria Truck in 2018 and Jennifer owned a rental company, Velvet Crush & Co. They met at a style shoot in January 2019, where Jennifer provided the vintage rentals.

Recognizing their shared enthusiasm and goals, the two entrepreneurs combined their business ventures and became partners later that year. With the dream of operating out of a vintage trailer, they bought a 1965 Zipper camper on Facebook Marketplace. "We stripped it down to the frame and totally rebuilt it," recalls Lauren. "It was about a six-month process and except for the electric, we did it all ourselves with the help of YouTube videos." Building the trailer from the ground up allowed them to design every detail of The Sangria Truck with the end experience in mind.

A COMPLETE EXPERIENCE Hiring The Sangria Truck for a wedding is a no-brainer, but the party certainly does not stop there. It is ideal for any event in need of happy hour: birthdays, baby showers, reunions, graduations, engagements, name it. "It's been amazing to do private property events like backyard weddings," says Jennifer. "The truck becomes the statement piece of the event. We stay late, play our music, and people hang out at the trailer." Lauren and Jennifer initially had over 100 events scheduled for 2020, but the pandemic forced them —and everyone else — to reinvent the whole process. They reached out to open markets where social distancing was possible and the commercial aspect with city-organized events started ramping up. "It was kind of unexpected, but we were able to sustain business within the limits of the COVID guidelines," adds Jennifer. "We also saw our Bar Cart being rented more because events became smaller." Indeed, the Bar Cart, which the partners refer to as the "camper's little brother," is perfect for small or indoor events. "We still play music and have a fun, themed vibe and interaction with the guests. We just roll in the cart and we both work it," says Jennifer. Equipped with its own generator, The Sangria Truck is 16 feet long and fully self-sufficient, with three refrigerators and running water, plus lights and music to keep the party rolling. Each event comes standard with one to two serve-safe certified bartenders. Guests are encouraged to step up to the window for a drink, and can also step inside, but the outdoor lounge seating is a huge hit. "We use boho furniture and rugs to create a comfortable outdoor room," says Jennifer. Guests gravitate to this inviting setting, which happens to make a killer photo spot. "When someone hires us, we provide a total experience — from the cuteness of the trailer to the craft cocktails to the fresh ingredients to the energy that we bring throughout the event,” says Jennifer. "We love to have fun with guests and make people feel comfortable. The more comfortable people are, the more fun they have."

Do the partners have their own favorite libations? You better believe it! "Over the summer of 2020, we were popping up at an open market at the beach in Jacksonville. It was 90 degrees, so we started providing a Watermelon Sangria with pureed fresh watermelon. It was a huge hit and has become one of my all-time favorites," declares Jennifer. "I really like making the Cucumber Spritz with muddled cucumber, Ketel One cucumber vodka and elderflower liquor. This is my favorite," says Lauren. "Sangria is our niche and for the most part, all the sangria recipes are our own, but we make any type of alcohol-based drink and serve whatever the customer wants," she notes. State laws prevent The Sangria Truck from providing alcohol, so the client supplies whatever alcohol is needed while Lauren and Jennifer prepare the drinks. For sangria, they show up with all the fruits and syrups ready, then add the liquor and wine and let it all marinate for a good two hours before the event starts. "It's pretty fulfilling to be in business for yourself," agree Lauren and Jennifer. "When you love what you're doing, it's not really a job, it's an adventure!"

Photo by Christina Karst Photography

WHERE TO FIND THEM Social Media: @thesangriatruck Website:

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 |


locay yours

sample e best regiо al fare AT THESE POPULAR FOOD TRUCKS Story by MARINA MARTELLI


f you think you are seeing a food truck explosion, it is not your imagination. Food trucks have captured the hearts and palates of food lovers in every small town and big city of the country. Food trucks star in their own movies and reality TV shows. Industry experts ( say the food truck business generates $1 billion a year and employs more than 28,000 people.

MOBILE MEALTIME IS BIG Some food trucks stick to the basics like burgers and comfort food, while others offer fillet mignon and lobsters. Then, there are food trucks that highlight what is great about a particular region’s cuisine. Part of the joy of traveling is experiencing the specialty foods and flavors of a new place. Here is our list of food trucks that show off their regional pride.

SAVOR THE SOUTH’S BEST FLAVORS Southern cuisine has given us some unforgettable flavors. Indulge in all of them at these trucks. Nothing says New Orleans like Creole cooking, and at Diva Dawg, ( that is just what you will get. Owner Ericka Michelle Lassais is a New Orleans native, who whips up soulful specialties like étouffée chili dog with crawfish and Cajun Surf & Turf, which is alligator sausage and crawfish etouffee. There is also a Creole vegetarian chili and a praline shake for dessert. If you head to Charlotte, North Carolina, do not miss Papi Queso ( This food truck might have a Spanish name, but it is all about cheesy twists on Southern staples. Signature dishes include the Pig Mac,



a blend of pulled pork, homemade mac and cheese, and onions cooked in bourbon. It is a heap of classic Southern flavors in one meal. Do you want a time-honored Southern combination? Head over to Houston’s Waffle Bus (, which serves buttermilk fried chicken and waffles, seasoned waffle fries, and a waffle burger. It is a small, focused, and tasty menu. The Waffle Bus recently opened a permanent location.

CRAVE THE COASTLINE Eating fresh seafood on a breezy dock is an essential part of the East Coast experience. These New England food trucks make that dream a reality. When you visit Rhode Island, do not miss the Shuckin' Truck ( in Point Judith. As the name implies, this truck specializes in raw shellfish, including fresh oysters from their own oyster pond, and wildcaught littleneck clams. Get the full New England flavor with clam chowder shooters and a fried oyster sandwich. Maine is synonymous with the world’s sweetest, most tender lobsters. Dig into a mouthful of these amazing crustaceans at the Bite Into Maine ( food truck in Cape Elizabeth. Try the award-winning fresh lobster rolls, a lobster grilled cheese, or a lobster BLT. For those who cannot eat lobster, they offer a hamburger and a caprese salad sandwich.

GET CRABBY IN MARYLAND Maryland boasts two things: crabs and football. Get one of them at the Flash Crabcake Company

( in Bel Air. These are true Maryland-style crab cakes with tender meat and very little filling. They are baked and never fried. Flash Crabcake keeps it simple with crab cakes and homemade cream of crab soup. They also offer a Take & Bake option: you can buy the crab cakes uncooked and bake them fresh for your guests.

JUST WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT If you are in New Mexico, you can reasonably assume that you will find amazing Mexican food. You will not be let down if you head to El Mero Mero ( food truck in Albuquerque. This truck creates homemade, traditional Mexican meals like quesadillas, tacos, carne asada, burritos, and tortas. The menu includes treats, such as authentic Mexican posole.

MIDWEST NOSTALGIA Do you have a taste for some scrumptious Midwestern fare? If you are in Indianapolis, check out the Dashboard Diner ( This mobile diner serves all the nostalgic favorites, including burgers, shakes, and onion rings. Do not pass up their Hoosier Chili, pulled pork sandwiches, and homemade corn dogs.


Artwork from

Some states produce foods that could only happen there. Visiting them is a wonderful opportunity to sample truly local flavor. Are your travels taking you to the wilds of Alaska? If you have ever wanted to taste genuine Alaskan reindeer meat, Yeti Dogs ( is the food truck for you. Based in Anchorage, this award-winning truck specializes in sausage meals of all kinds. The signature dish is the Alaska reindeer sausage dog, but there is also a German bratwurst and a field roast vegan sausage. Toppings include mac and cheese, onions, and jalapenos.

When you think of Vermont and food, you probably think of small, organic family farms and lots of dairy products. If that sounds like heaven in a bite, you need to eat at Farmers & Foragers ( in Burlington. All of their food comes from small local farms or responsible fisheries. The seasonal menu changes according to what is available and fresh. Some specials include a harvest salad, perch tacos, truffle French fries, and Vermont Cheesesteak. This food truck also serves beer, wine, and cocktails.

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 |


locay yours

build g co unity WITH FAMILY MEAL POP-UPS


eather Brady is no stranger to building community. Her organization, Do It Local Berks, headquartered in Mohnton, Berks County, Pennsylvania, is a project-based company with a mission to create opportunities for communities to support locally-owned businesses and organizations. Heather specializes as Fundraiser Coordinator to help these groups shift their efforts toward new ideas that focus on supporting local business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant challenges and changes to the way we live. Locally-owned small businesses, restaurants, and charities need help from their communities more than ever. “When the pandemic hit, my business dried up,” Heather recalls. “I took the time to soak up family time and embrace my neighborhood. That naturally led to these pop-ups.” Restaurants have been hit particularly hard by these changes. A Facebook group for Heather’s own neighborhood helped spark the idea to organize neighborhood family dinner pop-up events so families could continue to support their local businesses, now, when they need it most. Heather’s neighborhood started doing the pop-up meals in summer 2020. She volunteered to use her organization’s website to help other neighborhoods organize their own events. So how does it work? Restaurants reach out to Do It Local Berks with meal ideas they can offer on the website. A neighborhood “host” collects orders and selects a date for a family meal event and a restaurant partner from those listed on the website. On the night of the pop-up, the restaurant comes to a neighborhood

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location to distribute orders “curbside” within a specified time window. Despite the limitations of the pandemic, the popups have offered a way to help restaurants reach new customers and to bring communities together. “These events are so much fun!” Heather enthuses. She is looking forward to helping more neighborhoods experience that fun for themselves as warmer weather arrives and neighbors can walk or ride bikes to the pickup location or bring a wagon to pick up their food. “Better days are ahead. The growth rate has been incredible,” Heather says, “and seeing the impact for the local restaurants has been very rewarding for me personally.” Heather is also excited about the potential for growth. The pop-up events are becoming part of business plans for many of the restaurant partners, so Heather will be hard at work to ensure partners and participants are doing what they can to help facilitate that growth and continue to bring communities together. “We have an incredible community and tremendous local businesses who want to help sponsor the program in the future so we can continue to help restaurants survive this pandemic more effectively and efficiently.”

WHERE TO FIND THEM Social Media: @doitlocalberks Website:

Photo by AntonMatyukha/


fry bread tacos Recipe by NATHAN WHITCOMB


ry bread holds a somewhat controversial place in the Native American community. This iconic traditional food sprang from necessity, as Native Americans were forced by the U.S. onto land with poor resources. Forcing them on government shipments of flour, lard, and other staples for nutrition. Fry bread soon became ubiquitous in and around reservations all across the country. Simultaneously hailed as a cultural and culinary cornerstone and decried as contributing to an epidemic of poor nutrition and diabetes, fry bread is found everywhere from gatherings and pow-wows to simple home meals. The first fry bread taco, or Navajo taco, was created in 1964 by Lou Shepard who piled beans, red chile, salad, and green chile on a piece of fry bread. While the particular ingredients for the filling can be modified liberally according to personal preference, I think it appropriate to honor New Mexico with this celebration of both the red and green chiles the state is world famous for.

INGREDIENTS Fry Bread 3 cups flour 2 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. salt ½ cup water ½ cup milk lard, for frying Red Chile Pork 2 lb. boneless pork loin, cubed, seasoned with salt and pepper 1 cup diced onion 1 tsp. cumin seed ½ Tbsp. minced garlic 2 Tbsp. flour 2 cups stock, pork or chicken stock 10 dried New Mexico red chiles, stems and seeds removed, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

DIRECTIONS Fry Bread 1. Mix all ingredients with a fork, stirring in one direction, until a rough dough is formed. Knead in the bowl until all dry ingredients are incorporated. 2. Turn out on a floured surface and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and pliable. 3. Make eight dough balls and roll them out until about 5 inches in diameter. 4. Heat about 1 lb. lard in a skillet (melted lard should be at least 1 inch deep) over medium-high heat until 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 5. Fry one dough ball at a time until golden brown on both sides. Set aside on a paper-lined plate. Red Chile Pork 1. Brown the pork in 2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil in a dutch oven or other heavy pot. Remove and set aside. 2. In the same pot, sauté the onion until translucent and then add the cumin seed and garlic. 3. Fry for 1 minute before mixing in the flour. Let the flour cook for 30 seconds and add the stock. 4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. 5. Pour the sauce base into a blender, along with the softened chiles and puree. 6. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and discard the pulp. 7. Return the pork and the red chile sauce to the dutch oven and simmer, lid closed, for 2 ½ to 3 hours until the pork is falling apart. 8. Shred the pork and mix fully in the red chile sauce. Taco Assembly 1. Build your fry bread tacos by placing ¼ cup of the red chile pork on a piece of fry bread. Top with crumbled queso fresco, chopped lettuce, tomato, green chile, and cilantro. •TCL• Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 |


Shoogie Mama

Did Not Set out to Make Natural Skin Products from Scratch



livia Mercado Ortiz likes to cook and bake, but the batches of goodies in her kitchen are not for consumption — although they smell incredible and are safe to eat. Her sweet sauces and butters are for the body, the face, and the “naughty bits and pits.” Doctors say you are what you eat, but it is not just food that affects your health. Ortiz learned this the hard way in 2007, after a mysterious lump appeared in the breast tissue under her armpit. “I was freaked out,” she said. “It was a pretty good scare, but it ended up being a buildup of aluminum.” Her doctor advised against conventional deodorants, which contain aluminum and other potentially harmful chemicals. Ortiz was horrified. “I grew up with hippies. My mom was a real patchouli burner, and I just thought about all the natural products I already tried that didn’t work,” she said. “I thought, ‘Am I going to walk around smelling like onions now?’” After searching, she found a natural deodorant that worked but was incredibly expensive.

When her mom suggested she try making it herself, Ortiz took to the task, researching the ingredients, then measuring and mixing like a mad scientist in her Ocala, Florida kitchen. “Lots of experiments,” she said. “I had some very unsuccessful batches — even peeled my armpits off, but around four months later, I had it. I started making the recipe for my mom and some friends.” On a weekend getaway with her girlfriends, a friend, who owned a small business, borrowed Ortiz’s deodorant. “She was like, ‘I need this. I want this for my shop. You have to do this.’ So, the business started by accident.” By then, Ortiz was already making lip balms and other natural items for herself and her family. She started Shoogie Company with a focus on natural products to support a healthier, chemical-free lifestyle. “Everything is handmade in batches, and it’s all food-grade, including clays and diatomaceous earth. The shea butter I use in almost every recipe is from Ghana and Burkina Faso, Africa and gives jobs to over four million women who


Everything is handmade in batches, and it’s all food-grade, including clays and diatomaceous earth. Olivia Mercado Oritz, Shoogie Mama

gather in the village, singing songs while they smash, roast, and grind the nuts into the butter we use.” Ortiz notes that, right now, her small company is a one-woman show, and she spends full days in her kitchen, hand-making the luxurious products — charcoal, aloe, or rose-infused face soaps, scrubs, clay masks, moisturizers, and more. “On cooking day, oh my word — melting, stirring, pouring. It’s a lot of work,” she said. Each item is a result of extreme trial and error, so the final products are as good as they sound — “Miss Your Face facial kits” and “Naughty Bits and Pits” balm, antichafing balm that works on your sensitive areas and can even heal a baby’s diaper rash or quell an itchy bug bite. Reflecting her joy for baking and desire to feel clean and feel fresh, Ortiz is proud that Shoogie products have a sumptuous scent. “I can also customize any of my products to a customer’s favorite scent blend, if they’re interested in creating their own beauty and personal care products that smell unique,” she said. Her family clearly approves, and they fully enjoy using everything she creates. In a social media video, her daughter GiGi slathers the Shoogie Mask of The Month on her daddy’s face. “It looks like I’m putting peanut butter on your face…or honey mustard,” GiGi says. “It tickles,” her daddy replies. He angles his cheek toward her little hand so she can stroke the side of his face with her brush.

everything. When I stepped out in faith, I knew it was supposed to happen the way it did.” That is not to say it did not come without effort. It took a year and a half to transform the grimy, outdated unit into a chic and stylish space. Ortiz documented the renovations in videos, which show the dilapidated walls, flooring, and fixtures. In the latest footage, the stunning mobile spa is in pristine shape — with cushy sofas and textured throw pillows, tassel rugs, scented candles, potted plants, and a vibe that says: Let’s chill. Ortiz is psyched about the future of her business and the new natural products on her menu she offers along with massages and full-service facials. No longer sporting poison on her pits or using store-bought products on her skin, she is convinced that going natural can be oh so nice, and sharing the love is a really great ride.

DRIVING BUSINESS FORWARD Just before the pandemic hit, Ortiz made another accidental business move that would, quite literally, drive her company forward in a fun, new way. She purchased a vintage RV, the Shoogie Shack Mobile Spa. “I didn’t intend to get the Shoogie Shack, not for another five years,” she said. “But I was late-night browsing on the internet and I saw it — the silver bullet. I was like, ‘Oh no.’ It was one of those moments, and it was in my price range. I drove two hours to see it and told the lady immediately, ‘I’ll take it.’” When COVID-19 hit shortly after, Ortiz was grateful she had made the purchase, because she was able to bring spa services directly to customers and many women were desperate for a bit of pampering. “It really was a godsend,” she said. “I’m a firm believer that timing is

SHOP: • IG: @shoogiecompany



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snack sheet



“It’s a lot of prep but it’s something we take pride in. Even in the little things, the quality matters to us. Brittny Lowrey, managing partner


grilled cheese with tomato soup is one of those classic pairings that always does the trick when you need a little bit of comfort. That is the concept behind The Happy Grilled Cheese, a food-truck-turned brick-and-mortar-turned-truck-again with locations in Jacksonville, Florida and Austin, Texas. If you want IG-worthy cheese pulls, this is the place for you. Their OMG Melt is loaded with three cheeses, mozzarella sticks, mac and cheese, bacon, and a tomato soup drizzle. Other sandwiches include a Crunch Melt topped with house-made chips (nope, you are not the only one who layers your sandwiches with potato chips) and dessert sandwiches, like a Caramel Apple Melt. Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 19

snack sheet

“Anthony Hashem, the founder, opened our first food truck in Jax in 2013,” said Brittny Lowrey, managing partner of The Happy Grilled Cheese. “Anthony wanted to go with something that was universal and a comfort food. We opened our Downtown Jacksonville restaurant in August 2017, our Mandarin location in September 2019, and the Austin truck opened in January 2020.” The crew could not have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic was coming, but all four locations pushed through, and The Happy Grilled Cheese did not cut a single employee. Now, Lowrey’s focus is creating consistency across all four locations, so your OMG Melt in Austin will taste just like the ones Jacksonville. And while grilled cheese is, well, happy, all four locations take their food preparation very seriously. “The only thing that comes in frozen are our French fries, which we season in-house, and mozzarella sticks, and we put them on sandwiches, not served as a side. Everything else is made from scratch,” Lowrey said. “We slice our meats and cheeses and make our macaroni and cheese. Our regional manager has a fine dining background and moved to doing wings, so he has helped a ton with the design of our dressings, tomato soup, and sauces. It’s a lot of prep but it’s something we take pride in. Even in the little things, the quality matters to us.” The Austin truck has been a major success. Where the grilled cheese gurus pull in next is anyone’s guess, but Lowrey and Hashem have plans to keep expanding. If you get to visit, Lowrey highly recommends the Apple Swiss Melt for sweet and savory lovers, Buffalo Chicken Melt, and Daddy of the Mac sandwich. “I just want people to feel comfortable approaching us,” said Lowrey. “It’s happy, it’s cheesy, there’s orange cheese murals dripping from the ceilings and the trucks. We want to be your fun place to eat and not a stressful experience.”

WHERE TO FIND THEM Instagram: @the_happy_grilled_cheese Website:

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Green tongue a focus on plant-based foods & lifestyle

Falafel • Photo by Abirami Gunasekaran

green tongue

Samosa Prep




ood trucks are everywhere. People love the fast and fresh meals that they can get without having to sit and wait in a restaurant. Create your own vegan food truck experience from the comfort of your own home by following these tips and recipes.

substitute. Check for cholesterol, because this ingredient is only found in animal products. To build the best food truck experience, gather your ingredients the day you plan to make the recipes. Nothing beats fresh fruits and vegetables.



To achieve that perfect food truck experience, especially when vegan meals are on the menu, it is essential to learn some quick shopping tips. If you are new to a plantbased diet, be sure to always confirm that the product has a vegan label. It is easy to be tricked by words such as “plant-based” or “non-dairy.” These designations do not always signal a vegan product. For example, many soy-based cheese items contain milk derivatives, and “plant-based” labels may only be referring to the meat

A food truck has limited space. Everything has a place and must be at the cook’s fingertips. Have some fun and make the same setup in your kitchen. Pre-measure and pre-cut all your ingredients and get ready to work fast. Once your space is ready, it is time to get cooking. Here are three recipes, Loaded Vegan Nachos, Vegan Falafel, and Vegan Samosa, to bring a food truck vibe into your kitchen. Will this be the start of your own vegan food truck dynasty?

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Falafel Prep


Loaded Veg Nachos




13 oz. of tortilla chips 2 cups vegan cheese, shredded 2 cups vegan taco meat ½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed ½ cup whole kernel corn ½ cup tomatoes, diced ½ cup salsa or Pico de Gallo ½ cup vegan sour cream ½ cup olives, pitted and sliced ¼ cup jalapeños, sliced ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Line a large cooking sheet with parchment paper. Add one layer of tortilla chips. 3. Spread taco meat (warmed), beans, corn, and cheese evenly over the chips. 4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully slide chips onto a plate and add the fresh toppings.


INGREDIENTS 1 cup dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans, soaked in water for 8 to 12 hours ½ medium onion, chopped 3 to 5 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped 2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped 2 Tbsp. chickpea flour 1 tsp. ground black pepper 1 Tbsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. ground coriander ½ tsp. baking soda salt, to taste oil, to fry

DIRECTIONS 1. To a food processor, add soaked chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, black pepper, cumin, coriander, and salt. Pulse for a minute or so, until chickpeas are coarsely ground. 2. Transfer them to a bowl and add chickpea flour and baking soda. Mix well and cover the bowl. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

1. To ensure an even melt, cover the nachos with foil before baking.

3. Take a tablespoon of mixture and form a ball. Repeat until all mixture is used.

2. To make vegan taco meat, you can use textured vegetable protein, or TVP, which is dehydrated soy protein. Follow the directions on the package, and then fry it in a few tablespoons of avocado oil and add in your favorite taco seasoning blend.

4. Heat oil in a wok. Add the falafel slowly and fry on a medium flame until golden and crispy. 5. Drain the falafel onto a paper towel to remove the excess oil and serve hot. Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 23

green tongue


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INGREDIENTS Outer Layer 2 cups all-purpose flour ½ tsp. salt 1 tsp. carom seeds (optional) 4 Tbsp. avocado oil water, as needed Stuffing 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. cumin seeds 1 tsp. green chili or serrano chili, finely minced 1 tsp. ginger, finely grated ¾ cup onion, chopped 1 lb. russet potatoes, boiled and peeled ½ cup green peas ½ tsp. turmeric powder ½ tsp. red chili powder 1 tsp. coriander powder 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped 1 Tbsp. lime juice salt to taste oil, to fry

DIRECTIONS Outer Layer 1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, carom seeds, and avocado oil. Mix by hand until flour resembles crumbles. 2. Sprinkle water little by little until it forms a stiff dough. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Stuffing 1. Heat a skillet on a medium flame. Add the oil followed by cumin seeds, chili, and ginger. 2. Once the raw flavor is gone, add the onions. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the cooked potatoes and green peas. Mash together until coarsely mixed. 3. Add turmeric, red chili, coriander, and salt. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. 4. Finally, add the lime juice and cilantro. Mix it well and switch off the flame. Let the stuffing cool till we roll the dough for samosas. 5. To assemble the samosas: divide the prepared dough into 7 equal parts. Roll out the balls to a circular shape (like a tortilla). Cut them in half. Bring the corners of the semi-circle together (slightly overlap) to form a cone shape. 6. Fill the cone with about 1 Tbsp. of prepared stuffing. Seal the samosa ends. If needed, coat the inner edge with water to seal them properly. Repeat with the remaining samosas. 7. Heat oil in a wok. Add the samosas slowly to the oil and reduce heat to low. Turn the samosas occasionally and fry them until golden and crispy. 8. Drain the samosas onto a paper towel to remove the excess oil and serve them hot, with ketchup on the side.

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 25

green tongue

Totally Awesome Vegan Food Truck Story by LISA A. LISTWA

Step right up to the Totally Awesome Vegan Food Truck

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He wanted a situation that would allow him creative freedom and control over his business and that provided the opportunity for his wife and daughters to work alongside him. “Having grown up in a family business,” says Chef Tony, “I recognize the impact that has on the family, as well as the community.” TAVFT’s menu offers 100% vegan recipes drawn from Chef Tony’s own creations. Family support was part of that process, too. “We had a running joke,” he tells us, “that if my old meat-eating Italian uncles approved of the meal, then it ended up on the menu.” TAVFT is gluten free and peanut/tree nut free. Chef Tony sticks to vegetables and nutritional yeast for items like cheeses and sauces, making TAVFT a friendly option for the allergy-conscious crowd. The Totally Awesome Burger — a black-bean burger served on vegan brioche with fresh, local vegetables — is a popular menu item with new customers and

80's Drive-In Burger A black bean burger, charbroiled on a grilled, vegan brioche bun with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and minced onions.

Photos provided by Totally Awesome Vegan Food Truck


ith words like "totally awesome" in your business name, expectation is high for the food to live up to the claim. From burgers and “dawgs” to sandwiches and fries, Chef Tony DiPhillippo slings the “raddest vegan junk food on the planet” from his Totally Awesome Vegan Food Truck in Portland, Maine. Chef Tony started his culinary journey as a teen working in his grandfather’s donut shop. About 20 years ago, he started working with plant-based recipes based on a personal desire to live a healthy and more sustainable lifestyle. The idea of creating plant-based dishes that would excite his customers and give them the same joy and satisfaction they would find in similar meat and cheese-based offerings “was an irresistible creative challenge.” Three years ago, Chef Tony knew the time was right to turn his love for delicious food into reality.

summer tourists. A favorite with the locals is the Jackfruit Pastrami Reuben: baby jackfruit marinated with pickling spices and beet juice, then served up on marble rye with sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and vegan Gouda cheese. Cold weather comfort-food options include fries smothered in mushroom gravy and tater tots with maple chipotle aioli. On Sundays, catch up with the truck at Tony’s Donut Shop (where Chef Tony got his start) for a mung bean “egg” sandwich with chickpea bacon and vegan hot chocolate with whipped coconut cream. The pandemic presented challenges, but the truck was not in the garage for long. It was soon on the road again with protocols to keep everyone satisfied and safe. Chef Tony and family were glad to offer customers some human connection and a break from fear and stress for awhile. “We love our customers, and seeing people having fun, talking, laughing is so rewarding.”

420 Dawg A charbroiled, hearty, grain-based frankfurter topped with creamy house vegan mac-n-cheese, crispy crumbled tater tots, and Sriracha drizzle served on a grilled sub.

TAVFT has future expansion plans, some even inspired by how the pandemic is driving the way we live right now. In the meantime, Chef Tony’s plan is to stay positive and keep trying to build good things. “The work is definitely grueling,” says Chef Tony. “But the community support has been overwhelming and we are so grateful that we have the opportunity to share our love and food with our community and visitors from all around the country.” If you find yourself hungry and within driving distance of Portland, Maine, stop by the truck and say hello! •TCL•

WHERE TO FIND THEM Social Media: @TotallyAwesomeVeganFoodTruck Website:

Chef Tony DiPhillippo with wife and office manager, Colleen

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 27

HOW MRBEAST BROKE INTO THE RESTAURANT BIZ WITH A STAGGERING 300 RESTAURANTS AT ONCE “Money for you. Money for you. Money for you.” It is a “I gave my 40,000,000th subscriber 40 cars.” Now, 53 scene from a real-life video, starring a charismatic young million subscribers tune in to watch Donaldson in action. philanthropist, Jimmy “MrBeast'' Donaldson. Who can As one of the highest-paid YouTube creators, Donaldson’s resist a guy handing out wads of cash? Turns out, the paydays come from lucrative brand deals, jaw-dropping internet cannot. But Donaldson is not famous for his AdSense revenue and YouTube traffic — around four giveaways alone. His YouTube videos, while certainly billion views annually. The crafty millennial proves that zany and oddly entertaining, show him approaching success is a matter of strategy. strangers to do things like sign a petition to get rid of WHEN STRATEGY MEETS OPPORTUNITY: pigeons, tie his shoe, or take his credit card, with no limit, THE GHOST KITCHEN CONCEPT on a shopping spree at Target. It all seems effortless--his MrBeast Burger is a easy gait, his mischievous chain serving burgers demeanor, the simplicity of and fries. Customers his humor. But prior to his order exclusively through first viral video, Donaldson delivery apps. It is a spent years posting pandemic-proof business content that fell flat or model that is, quite missed the mark. literally, just what the He studied the customer ordered. The algorithm, tested ideas, ghost kitchen concept and relentlessly honed his allows struggling craft. When the pandemic restaurants that rely on struck, Donaldson showed in-person dining to source just how savvy he could another avenue of revenue. be. Capitalizing on a new — Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson Here is how it works: In idea that would become exchange for a cut of sales more than a viral video, earnings, MrBeast Burger the 22-year-old North supplies the name, logo, menu, recipes, and publicity Carolina native opened 300 restaurants across the map images to restaurant owners with the space and staff to in a single day. While that sounds more like a magic trick make burgers for MrBeast customers. When a customer than a business venture, consider how this growing trend orders from the MrBeast Burger in Midvale, Utah, it is actually works. Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant that does the cooking. “I woke up, I studied YouTube, I studied videos, I Following the MrBeast recipe, the staff prepares the order studied filmmaking, I went to bed, and that was my for delivery just as they would their pepperoni pizza life,” Donaldson recalled in an article for Bloomberg. And or eggplant parmigiana. The same goes for other chain then, the world took notice of a fresh-faced kid behind restaurants across the map— each whipping up MrBeast a camera counting, counting, counting, and counting burgers for customers in their delivery area. In some some more. “I Counted to 100,000!” was a 40-hour long cases, even food trucks are dishing up orders. Existing video (sped up). It seems the opposite of entertainment, restaurants stay busy and MrBeast Burger avoids the but somehow it did the trick. More viral hits followed, hassle of setting up a brick-and-mortar business. videos including “I went back to 1st grade for a day” and

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Story by Staff Writer • Artwork by

“I woke up, I studied YouTube, I studied videos, I studied filmmaking, I went to bed and that was my life.”

GHOST KITCHENS GOING VIRAL Virtual Dining Concepts is the company behind MrBeast Burger, and they are putting more options on the menu via dozens of deals with additional TV personalities and even Mariah Carey. You might say ghost kitchens have gone viral as companies fund similar projects to help restaurants do more business by partnering with popular brands. With the pandemic limiting foot traffic, pivoting to delivery and the ghost-franchise model makes perfect sense. It is a simple way to survive the industry at a time when 56 percent of restaurants have at least $50,000 in new debt as a result of COVID-19.

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE It seems savvy restaurateurs have found ways to accommodate diners by outsourcing their kitchens and staff. Many also offer curbside takeout and are focusing on delivery and takeout programs. But when the current health crisis has passed, will diners return to their previous dining habits? Will ghost kitchens continue to thrive or will post-pandemic consumers be hungry for something more — the experience of inperson dining?

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE BURGERS There is no way around it. Unlike a traditional dine-in establishment, there is no friendly waitstaff to kindly excuse the cook, no flickering candles to lighten the mood, or cushy seating and vibrant ambiance to make up for what is lacking in flavor. So whether MrBeast Burger stays a hit and sustains fans remains to be seen. Or rather, taste-tested. With 5.7 million subscribers, food critic Furious Pete has a bit of fame, too. Inside his car, baseball cap turned backward and cellphone in hand, FP filmed his MrBeast Burger experience from the Uber Eats app to food in hand, and he did not go easy on the ordering. He is immediately displeased with the mayo on the Nashville hot chicken tender sandwich, and he gripes about the lack of options to remove certain condiments. But

he places the order anyway, snagging a side order of seasoned crinkle fries and chocolate chip cookies along with a slew of sandwiches. The MrBeast Burger is at the top of the menu, described as “Smashed crispy beef patties with house seasoning, sharp American, pickles, diced white onion, mayo, ketchup, and brown mustard on a soft roll.” Pulling his hot food from a large paper bag, FP is unimpressed with the packaging. “There’s no MrBeast stickers on this. Nothing to indicate that there’s any MrBeast-ness here…” He is heartbroken, he jokes. He goes on to sample each item, noting the first sandwich was labeled wrong but is still an “okay, pretty good” burger. The seasoned French fries are not well seasoned. “Not that great,” he notes. But the MrBeast Burger is “juicy, pretty good.” The Chandler Style sandwich comes without condiments. “I kinda like this,” FP says. Karl’s grilled cheese does not blow him away, but the Nashville is loaded with three chicken tenders. It is “kinda spicy, has a bit of a kick.” He goes in for a follow-up bite, satisfied despite the mayo. “I like the flavor.” Although the restaurant industry continues to evolve, MrBeast has proven his chops. He is more than a face for video, and we, along with his impressive fan base, cannot wait to see what the inspiring entrepreneur adds to the menu. •TCL•

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 29

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secret meatings a “meating” place for omnivores

Photo by Sebastien Cordat/

secret meatings


WHAT MAKES THEM TASTE SO GOOD? Some people swear it is the dogs themselves. They note most street vendors sell Sabrett’s skin-on dogs, which taste great and have a satisfying crunch. Sabrett ( carts are the well-known blue and yellow carts that pepper the city. Others say it is just being outdoors, which makes everything taste better. There is probably some truth to that. It is easy to get your appetite stirred up when you are out in the air, especially if you have been walking down the street block after block with those amazing smells following you. No wonder you are hungry!

IT HAS GOT TO BE A DIRTY DOG Choosing a favorite depends on whether you want a classic dog from a hot dog stand, a chili dog from a diner, or a gourmet dog from one of the trendy new food trucks. 32 |

If you want a true New York City style dog, natives agree it has to be a so-called “dirty water dog,” meaning a hot dog ( that was boiled and is now sitting in a vat of warm, salty water. Top it with onion sauce or ketchup. That is a true city hot dog.

WHERE ARE THE MOST LEGENDARY DOGS? Jenn Mandell, a chef and the owner of Grazie restaurant, gives the nod ( to Papaya King on 86th Street. The place has a fascinating history as a Manhattan landmark, and the combination of papaya juice and hot dog is unique. The downtown guide TimeOut puts Katz’s Delicatessen at the top of its list for a hot dog that is charred, spiced, and loaded with sauerkraut. Number two on their list is the equally legendary Nathan’s Famous.

IT IS ALL IN THE BITE If you are visiting New York, chances are you know someone here, and chances are good they have their own secret insider information about where to get the best hot dogs in town. Like bagels and pizza, hot dogs are classic city foods that invite endless arguments. What is undeniable is that nothing makes a walk in the city more fun than a steaming, onion-slathered dog on a warm bun. Go ahead, take a bite!

Photo by Peter Secan/ • Photo by Chenyu Guan/

They are legendary, and there are fights about them. New Yorkers love their hot dogs, and the fragrant, steaming stands are on every corner of the city. Every New Yorker has a favorite dog, but they all agree on one thing: New York’s dogs cannot be beat. There is just something about the taste, the texture, or the toppings. Even Martha Stewart has a recipe ( that is supposed to help you recreate that one-of-a-kind flavor.

pout e Recipe by KELLIANN FRANK


h Canada! We thank you for your contribution! If this hearty, cheesy, deep-fried delight does not keep you warm until spring, nothing will.

INGREDIENTS Poutine Gravy 3 Tbsp. cornstarch 2 Tbsp. water 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter ¼ cup all-purpose flour 20 oz. beef broth 10 oz. chicken broth pepper, to taste Deep Fried Fries 2 lbs. russet potatoes (3-4 medium potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick strips peanut or other frying oil Toppings 1 to 1 ½ cups white cheddar cheese curds (substitute chunks of fresh mozzarella but only if you must)

DIRECTIONS Poutine Gravy 1. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and set aside. 2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown. 3. Add the beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in about half the cornstarch mixture and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Add more of the cornstarch mixture, in small increments, as needed, to thicken to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Make ahead and re-warm or keep warm until your fries are ready. Deep Fried Fries 1. Place potato sticks into a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Allow to stand at least 1 hour. When ready to cook, heat oil in your deep fryer or large, wide, heavy cooking pot to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Remove the potatoes from the water and place onto a sheet of paper towel. Blot to remove as much excess moisture as possible. 3. Add fries to the hot oil and cook 5 to 8 minutes, just until the potatoes are starting to cook but are not yet browned. Remove potatoes from oil and scatter on a wire rack.

Photo by bhofack2/

4. Increase oil temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Return the potatoes to the fryer and cook until potatoes are golden brown. Remove to a paper towellined bowl. Assemble the Poutine 1. Add fries to a large, clean bowl. Season lightly with salt while still warm. Add a ladle of gravy to the bowl, and, using tongs, toss the fries in the gravy. Add more gravy, as needed to mostly coat the fries 2. Add the cheese curds and toss with the hot fries and gravy. Top with freshly ground pepper and serve immediately. Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 33

secret meatings

chicken souvlaki pitas


ouvlaki is the Greek term for skewered and grilled meat (similar to kebabs in Turkey). Although souvlaki is often eaten by itself or as a dish with side items to accompany it, it is very commonly served as a pita wrap. In fact, it is so frequently served this way that, in Athens, souvlaki simply refers to any pita wrap regardless of composition. When a souvlaki pita is made with pork, it is typically dressed with feta cheese, tzatziki, tomatoes, and onion, much like a gyro pita wrap. With chicken as the protein, though, a honey mustard sauce is prepared instead of the tzatziki sauce, and the onions are substituted

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with shredded lettuce or cucumber in order to better complement the lighter flavor of the chicken. A few fried potatoes are tucked into the wrap to round it all out. When making the souvlaki, give enough time to let the meat marinate for a few hours. I prefer to use thigh meat, as it has more flavor, but chicken breasts can be used as well. And if making homemade french fries seems a little more work, do not worry: just bake or fry up a few of your favorite frozen french fries, potato wedges, or home fries. Regardless, you will be enjoying a delicious, balanced meal that fits in the palm of your hand.

Photo from


INGREDIENTS Chicken 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup lemon juice 1 tsp. basil 1 tsp. oregano 1 tsp. sweet paprika ½ tsp. garlic powder ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. thyme

DIRECTIONS Chicken 1. Mix the marinade ingredients thoroughly and let chicken marinade for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Fries 2 large russet potatoes, peeled 6 cups water ¼ cup white vinegar ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil ½ tsp. salt

2. Thread the chicken chunks onto skewers and grill over hot coals until chicken pieces reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Honey Mustard Yogurt Sauce ½ cup Greek yogurt 2 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard 1 Tbsp. honey ¼ tsp. sweet paprika ¼ tsp. white pepper

Fries 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toppings grilled pita, warm (for base of souvlaki) feta cheese, crumbled lettuce, shredded cucumber, thinly sliced kalamata olives pepperoncino

3. Remove from grill and rest for 5 minutes, allowing the temperature to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Julienne the potatoes by first slicing them into ⅜-inch planks, then cutting the planks into ⅜-inch strips. 3. Bring 6 cups of water plus ¼ cup white vinegar to boil in a large pot. Add the potatoes and parcook the french fries for 8 minutes. 4. Drain the fries and dry them completely on paper towels. 5. Coat lightly with ½ Tbsp. of vegetable oil, season with ½ tsp. of salt, and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. 6. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Honey Mustard Yogurt Sauce 1. Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Assemble Souvlaki Pitas 1. To prepare your souvlaki pitas, place a skewer’s worth of chicken on a warm, grilled pita. 2. Top with honey mustard yogurt sauce, two or three french fries, crumbled feta cheese, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced cucumber, kalamata olives, and a pepperoncino. Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 35

secret meatings

fish tacos Recipe by KELLIANN FRANK

INGREDIENTS ½ cup fat-free mayonnaise 1 Tbsp. lime juice 2 tsp. fat free milk 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 large egg 1 tsp. water ⅓ cup dry bread crumbs 2 Tbsp. lemon pepper seasoning 1 lb. cod fillets, cut into 1-inch strips 4 corn tortillas (6 inches), warmed Toppings 1 cup coleslaw mix 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced 36 |

DIRECTIONS 1. For sauce, in a small bowl mix mayonnaise, lime juice, and milk. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg and water. In another shallow bowl, toss bread crumbs with lemon pepper. Dip fish in egg mixture, then in crumb mixture. Pat to help coating adhere. 3. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish. Cook 2 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and fish begins to flake easily with a fork. 4. Serve in tortillas with toppings and sauce.

Photo by TeriVirbickis/


ntil we get a taco truck on every corner, make these delicious tacos in the comfort of your own kitchen. You do not need to wait until Tuesday!

walk g taco Recipe by KELLIANN FRANK


hile the exact region of its origin is disputed, the walking taco is a distinctly Americanized version of a Mexican staple.

INGREDIENTS 1 lb. ground beef 1 envelope (about 5 Tbsp.) chili seasoning mix ¼ tsp. pepper 1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chiles 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce 5 packages (1 oz. each) corn chips Toppings cheddar cheese, shredded sour cream green onions, sliced

DIRECTIONS 1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink — about 6 to 8 minutes — breaking into crumbles. Drain. Add in chili seasoning mix, pepper, tomatoes, and beans to cooked burger crumbles and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Photo by bhofack2/

2. Just before serving, cut open corn chip bags. Add the beef mixture and toppings! •TCL•

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 37


f Miami has a heartbeat, it is Wynwood. The 50-cityblock neighborhood located at the core of Florida's southernmost metropolis has become "the most Instagrammed place in Miami." Once home to Miami's garment district, it was a bustling industrial area for many decades until economic changes and outsourcing shuttered the factories, and warehouses fell into disrepair by the late 1990s. As the 21st century unfolded, visionary investors and ambitious developers approached the area with a different mindset. What if the boxy old buildings and urban neighborhood could transform into something fresh and new? But it was street art, not commercial investment, that ignited the rebirth of Wynwood in the early 2000s, as artists created colorful murals, using the buildings as canvases. The neighborhood is proud to have the highest concentration of street art anywhere in the country. Open-air art installations may have sparked the revival of the district, but developers made their mark, as well: more than 400 businesses are found in the Wynwood Arts District. People come for the food, bars and breweries, entertainment, art galleries, and shopping. Miami is known as "the number one foodie city in the country," and Wynwood’s restaurant scene has grown

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exponentially over the last decade. The edgy, urban creativity differentiates the area from South Beach or any other part of the city. The eclectic mix of eateries, craft breweries, and artisanal concepts is like no place else.


Across the country restaurants were especially hard hit when the COVID-19 shutdown struck last spring. In Miami, the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) — representing the property owners in Wynwood — kicked into overdrive to help businesses adapt and survive. "The Wynwood BID is proud to have been the first neighborhood to implement the new City of Miami initiative that allows restaurants to convert on-street parking spaces into outdoor dining areas," explains Manny Gonzalez, Wynwood BID executive director. "Wynwood’s restaurants have shown their resiliency in the face of this pandemic, first pivoting to offer delivery, and then quickly working to set up outdoor areas where guests can feel safer while they enjoy their meals," says Gonzalez. "With new outdoor dining, distancing of tables and other safety measures in place, we have seen visitors consistently return to Wynwood restaurants over the last several months," he adds.

Photos provided by Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID)


of Wynwood


the Flavors


The Wynwood BID recently released a list of restaurants that are currently open with outdoor seating. Peruse the following as you plan your food and beverage adventures ( Check websites of individual establishments for further details.


And now, in no particular order, we offer a sampling of Wynwood establishments that rank high on the "mustexperience" list: Panther Coffee is a neighborhood institution. Founders Leticia and Joel Pollock brought the specialty coffee scene to Miami in 2010, specializing in the small-batch roasting of coffee beans and memorable coffee beverages. Now, with multiple retail locations in the city, Panther Coffee is a popular Wynwood stop. In addition to ready brew and cold brew coffee, espresso and tea, you will find pastries, breakfast sandwiches, beer, and wine. Zak the Baker is widely hailed as Miami's most popular bakery. This kosher bakery is closed Saturdays. Sunday through Friday, it offers bakery goodness from croissants, cinnamon rolls, challah, and breads of all sorts to sandwiches, bagels, toasts, and more. There is also a falafel dinner pop-up Sunday through Thursday evenings.

flavors each week, including vegan options. Their most popular flavor is Ube (Coconut Ice Cream with Filipino Purple Yams), but patrons also flock in for their Black Mint (Peppermint and Activated Charcoal Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Chunks) and so much more. Capture the Mexican street food experience without leaving Miami. Coyo Taco has created a cult following thanks to its handcrafted tortillas, signature guacamole that is smashed to order, and made-from-scratch margaritas. Tacos are filled with the freshest of ingredients, including fish, shrimp, steak, and pork. Meat lovers rejoice! The Butcher Shop Beer Garden & Grill offers a full-service retail butcher combined with outdoor beer garden, restaurant, and live entertainment. The Butcher Shop prepares everything in-house: steaks, sausages and pierogis, hamburger meat, and smoked meats. Beef, lamb, pork, turkey, and chicken all have starring roles. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and weekday happy hour. KYU Miami is the wood-fired grill, Asian-inspired restaurant that Time Magazine named the "No. 1 restaurant in Florida" in 2017. Enjoy lunch, dinner, or brunch with KYU's diverse menu, which highlights Japanese grilling and an array of flavors. The Roasted

You have to love the motto of a shop that proclaims, "Life is short, eat ice cream." Dasher and Crank churns out craft ice cream in small batches that will satisfy any craving for sweet deliciousness. The shop releases new

“Wynwood’s restaurants have shown their resiliency in the face of this pandemic, first pivoting to offer delivery, and then quickly working to set up outdoor areas where guests can feel safer while they enjoy their meals.”


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Cauliflower and Duck Breast Burnt Ends are legendary. Serious cocktails add an exclamation point to the dining experience. Drinking a beer at J. Wakefield Brewing is practically a right of passage in Wynwood. The independently-owned craft brewery and tap room has a huge following; patrons line up for the special releases. Barrel aging adds a unique twist to their world-class ales. The tap room features wall-length murals of Star Wars characters created by local artists. Start your weekend brunch at Beaker & Gray with two-hour unlimited mimosas and progress from there. Or come for dinner and learn why their cheeseburger croquettes, pumpkin gnocchi, and smoked duck breast are the talk of the town. 1800 Lucky is basically seven Asian restaurants in one location featuring sushi, ceviche, dumplings, ramen, spring rolls, Peking duck, Japanese ice cream, and much more. The 10,000-square foot food hall resembles a hip Asian market fueled by a hip hop soundtrack and includes outdoor seating, two full bars, and a karaoke lounge.

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Cervecería La Tropical was originally established in Cuba in 1888. The highly successful brewery was seized by the government during the Cuban Revolution, and the families behind it fled to Miami. Now, the historic brewery is open on U.S. soil. The on-site brewing operation in Wynwood features a taproom, restaurant, and outdoor botanical garden. Hand-crafted cervesa is a menu highlight, including La Original Ambar Lager, inspired by the original recipe from 1888. Patrons can also indulge in beer cocktails, wine, and specialty cocktails. In the kitchen, Executive Chef Cindy Hutson works her magic, turning out delicious tapas with a Cuban flair, entrees, sandwiches, salads, and flatbread pizzas. Salt and Straw first launched in Portland and just opened in Wynwood. The ice cream shop prides itself on working with local influences and creates a constantly changing menu, developing unique flavors that celebrate each location. For Wynwood, that means offerings like the sweet-salty combination of Bacon Biscuit Crumble with Pickle Caramel (yes, ice cream with bacon!), and the citrus-y explosion of South Florida in your mouth with Salted Coconut Grapefruit Daiquiri.


A visit to the neighborhood is not complete without taking in the Wynwood Walls, which are truly the heart and soul of the district. Created in 2009 by the late Tony Goldman, the outdoor art was initially an idea to further pedestrian interest in the area. Today, the Wynwood Walls are considered a graffiti art destination and outdoor urban art museum, featuring the works of more than 50 artists representing 16 countries. The artwork covers 80,000 square feet of walls and is one of the neighborhood's most-photographed locations. If you prefer to have a little professional guidance, Miami Culinary Tours offers the popular Wynwood Food & Art Tour. This 2.5-hour adventure in a small group setting takes you into the heart of Wynwood where you will experience the neighborhood's street art and enjoy tastings at some of the area's most popular restaurants. Another fun option is Wynwood Art Walk Miami which specializes in unscripted tours with local guides. Take a walking or golf cart tour or ask about customized tours and graffiti painting events. •TCL•

WHERE TO FIND THEM • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 41

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d p-fried g dness FROM THE STATE FAIR Story by JODI ANDERSON


tate fairs have always been associated with food, as their intended purpose was to promote agriculture and food production. The first state fair took place in Syracuse, New York, in 1841. Whether it was livestock, cake and pie judging, butter sculptures, etc., food has been the centerpiece of every fair. But deep-fried food is probably what comes first to your mind when you think of fairs. If it can be rounded up, held down, rolled in batter and fried, someone at some state fair has done it. The incredible smells of all that frying oil, sugar, grease, and bacon are half the fun. If you have been to a fair, you will have your favorite food to revisit and will probably take in some creative foods to boot.

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The origin of the corn dog is highly disputed, although Texas lays claim to the first “corny dog,” served at a state fair in 1942. (Minnesota asserts that their state fair beat Texas by a year.) A classic corn dog is a hot dog skewered on a stick and rolled in a batter of corn meal and flour, before being dunked in hot canola oil. Enjoy a corn dog with yellow mustard alone or add some ketchup, relish, sauerkraut, or mayonnaise.

Candy apples were an invention of convenience, or maybe accident, depending on the historical source. In 1908, candy maker William Kolb melted some bright red cinnamon Christmas candy and dipped apples, selling them in his shop window. Caramel apples have a similar origination story, about 40 years later: Kraft foods employee Dan Walker dipped apples in caramels left over from Halloween. These apple delights, which made their first appearance at a state fair in Texas in 1950, may not be fried, but they make our list for being decadently sweet and having the requisite on-a-stick serving. They also have the dubious distinction of being the “healthiest” food on this list.

DEEP-FRIED OREOS Deep-fried Oreos are a more recent food innovation. The brainchild of Charlie Boghosian (affectionately known as Chicken Charlie’s), these big, puffy sugar bombs were first served up at the Los Angeles State Fair in 2004. The cookies are dipped in batter and finished off with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. You can recreate this state fair staple in your own kitchen! Check out our recipe on page 48.

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FRIED MAC ‘N CHEESE Mac ‘n cheese is older than you might think. The first written recipe dates back to 1769. Thomas Jefferson is credited with popularizing the dish in America, after his enslaved black chef James Hemmings learned how to cook it during a trip to France. Kraft introduced its first box mix in 1937. By the mid-twentieth century, the food was a kitchen staple due to its cheap ingredients and simple preparation. It is unclear who, but someone figured out a way to make mac ‘n cheese even more decadent by rolling handfuls in flour and deep-frying them. The result is a crisp coating with a gooey, cheesy center — a perfect fair food.

FUNNEL CAKES I have been known to stand in line for 45 minutes just to get a funnel cake at my county fair. I have no shame in declaring that these ribbony, deep-fried bombs of sugarcoated goodness are at the top of my reasons for going. Originating in Germany in the 1800s, funnel cakes are so named because the batter was drizzled through a funnel to create swirly patterns of thin dough in hot oil. Germans who immigrated to Pennsylvania are credited with popularizing the treat on this side of the Atlantic. In 1950, the funnel cake was served at Kutztown Folk Festival, a celebration of Pennsylvania’s rich immigrant history, marking the first time the light, crispy treat appeared at a fair.

DEEP-FRIED CHEESE Who does not love cheese? You can find deep-fried cheese in almost any iteration — mozzarella sticks, the above-mentioned mac ‘n cheese — at state fairs, but the Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 | 45

junk mail mother of all deep-fried cheese is the deep-fried cheese curd. Cheese curds are a by-product of the cheddar cheese-making process, but unlike aged cheeses, curds are best super fresh. Except when they are smothered in a beer batter and tossed into hot oil. Just ask anyone from Wisconsin.

CHURROS Did the churro originate in Portugal? Spain? China? The only thing that is known for sure about the origin of this deep-fried state fair staple is that the Spanish brought it to South America and returned to Spain in the 1500s with cacao, the main ingredient for the chocolate dipping sauce that is always served with Spanish churros. Each region has its own spin, so it is no surprise that our Mexican neighbors have influenced the most common churros served at American state fairs. These long, crispy cylinders are covered in cinnamon and sugar. Want to make them at home but avoid the mess of hot oil? Check out our air fryer churros recipe on page 47.

DEEP-FRIED CANDY BARS Like deep fried Oreos, deep-fried candy bars combine

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the best of all junk food worlds. Born in the 1990s at The Carron Fish Bar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, deep-fried Mars bars got their big break in the US in 2004 when they were highlighted on The Jay Leno Show. Now, you will find candy bars of all kinds served up at the deep fryers on fairgrounds. The secret to good frying is to use chilled bars.

FRIED ICE CREAM A cornflake batter and quick frying turn plain vanilla ice cream into a unique treat that combines a crunchy shell, softened ice cream, and total indulgence. Fried ice cream also has a disputed origin story. Was it first invented to be served at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair? Or did a Philadelphia company invent it at that time? Or was it inspired by Japanese tempura in the 1960s? Wherever it came from, fried ice cream became forever linked to Tex-Mex food when the chain restaurant Chi-Chi’s started serving it in the 1980s. Not satisfied with just the ice cream? Look no further than the Florida State Fair’s fried ice cream burger: a cheeseburger topped with the deep-fried treat and served with all the typical toppings.

gluten-fr , dairy-fr chu os IN THE AIR FRYER



have stared longingly at many a Mexican restaurant dessert menu, knowing my food challenges prevented me from enjoying anything on it. With this air fryer churros recipe, though, you can recreate the popular Mexican dessert without the wheat and butter and save the calories (and mess) of deep-frying. Because this batter has to be thicker in order to stand up in the fryer, I found it difficult to pipe through a star tip to get the traditional churros look. A regular piping bag or freezer bag works just as well. ¡Están deliciosos!

INGREDIENTS 1 cup water ⅓ cup butter substitute, room temperature 2 Tbsp. sugar ¼ tsp. salt 1 cup gluten-free flour, sifted (use the spoon method to measure) 2 large eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract grapeseed oil ½ cup sugar ¾ tsp. cinnamon


3. Add eggs and vanilla. Using a paddle attachment or hand-mixer, mix on medium-low speed until eggs and vanilla are full incorporated and the mixture looks like mashed potatoes. 4. Snip the end off a piping bag or freezer bag to create a hole with a diameter of about ¾ inches. Pipe 3-inch long lines, snipping off the dough with scissors. Chill in freezer for about 20 minutes. 5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon. 6. Preheat air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 7. Remove raw churros from freezer. Place in the air fryer a little bit apart (they will puff up somewhat) and brush with grapeseed oil. 8. Cook for 12 to 13 minutes. Immediately remove the churros and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mix. Place on cooling rack. Best served warm.

TIPS 1. You can anchor the parchment paper by piping a dot of the mixture at each corner.

Artwork by Viaire/

1. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. 2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the water, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Slowly add the gluten-free flour and mix with a spatula until smooth. Remove from heat, transfer to a mixing bowl or stand-mixer bowl and allow to cool for about 4 minutes.

2. Experiment with flavors: replace the cinnamon with apple pie spice or pumpkin spice. 3. Try a dip! I like them as they are, but you can dip them in chocolate sauce or chocolate hazelnut spread. They are also good with ice cream.

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Artwork by cat_arch_angel/

junk mail

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air fried OREO RUM SHAKE Recipe by SAM MAYNARD


t is a hot summer day, and the grounds are crowded. The rich scents of buttered popcorn, cotton candy, and deep-fried food sail by your nose. You can hear a concert playing in the background. A family walks by with ice cream shakes and fried Oreos on a stick. You nod in satisfaction as you take in your surroundings — the state fair is back in town. Whip together the scents and flavors of the fair with this boozy shake.


DIRECTIONS Air Fried Oreos 1. Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Whisk together your batter until thick and sticky. 3. Dip the cookies so that all sides are coated. 4. Place a piece of parchment paper in the air fryer and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Air Fried Oreos 2 cups pancake mix 2 large eggs 2 tsp. vanilla extract 4 Tbsp. sugar ½ cup milk 20 Oreo cookies

5. Working in batches, place cookies on the paper slightly apart and air fry for about 7 minutes, until golden brown and fluffy.

Rum Shake 3 big scoops cookies-and-cream ice cream ¼ cup milk 2 oz. Dark Rum 2 fried Oreos (one in the shake, one for garnish)

2. Blend on high for 10 seconds.

Rum Shake 1. Add ice cream, milk, dark rum, and 1 fried Oreo to a blender.

3. Top with whipped cream, garnish with fried Oreo, and enjoy!

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treet ood Marets round the World

It only makes sense that one of the world’s most intriguing, mysterious cities would have an equally intriguing marketplace. The largest covered market in the word, the Grand Bazaar has more than 60 alleyways with over 3000 vendors selling everything from clothes to Turkish delicacies. The endless, delicious food offerings and colorful wares are a visual treat. You could spend a full day wandering around this vast market, and you would still not scratch the surface of all that this vast bazaar has to offer.

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LA LAGUNILLA, MEXICO CITY Open on Sunday only, this is one of many great markets in Mexico City. Some Mexico City markets can be overwhelming, but La Lagunilla is manageable in size and very friendly. It is an enjoyable mix of amazing street food offerings that include authentic Mexican,

This large market stands out in a city that has many amazing street food markets. Thais take their street food seriously, and the stalls at Talat Phlu feature awardwinning chefs and stalls. This huge market is known for having the best local foods. You will see long lines at some of the stalls, but locals say those vendors are worth the wait. Authenticity and incredible dining are the hallmarks here. We cannot mention Bangkok without a word about the city’s many floating markets. Floating markets are a feature of Hong Kong and other Asian cities, but Bangkok has more than 15 of these amazing waterborne markets. Fresh seafood is the obvious choice here, and you can buy it prepared or ready to cook. Try the Taling Chan market, located just six miles from Bangkok and featuring an excellent dockside market where you can buy fresh produce and other wares.

Photo by Renee Kennedy/



treet food markets are the heart and soul of a country’s culture. They give you the chance to immerse yourself in life as a local. In Asia, Latin America, and India, street food is ingrained in people’s daily lives. They snack from street vendors all day long, as a way of transitioning between parts of their day, marking occasions, or just giving in to those enticing smells wafting up from the vendors’ carts. There are great street food markets in Europe and the US, too, where street food markets function like grocery stores, specialty stores, and places to buy the freshest produce, dairy, and flowers. Here are some street food markets every traveler should make a point to visit.

Bangkok, Thailand

Photos from Irina Shishkina/

Istanbul, Turkey

Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak/Unsplash


loating markets are a feature of ong ong and other sian cities, but angkok has more than 15 of these amazing waterborne markets. Spanish, Chilean, Argentinean, and other Latin American specialties. The nonstop foot traffic and vivid colors make it a constantly changing visual wonder. It is also a great place to buy antiques, clothing, souvenirs, and local handcrafts.

BOROUGH MARKET, LONDON The Borough Market has been a London institution since the 12th century. The current building is over 100 years old and is centrally located on a London railway line. It is where local chefs come to stock up on the best and freshest meats, produce, and dairy items. It features fresh local produce, hot prepared foods, and a bustling scene. Locals and tourists come for the amazing diversity of prepared foods, British cheeses, ethnic foods, and local beers. The Borough Market is closed on Sunday.

QUADRILATERO, BOLOGNA, ITALY Since Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region has some of the best food in the world, it is only logical that it would have some of the most amazing food markets. It is hard to pick just one, but experienced foodies give the nod to Quadrilatero in Bologna’s historic district. Set against the city center’s medieval buildings, many of these stalls have been in the same family for generations. You can buy handcrafted local items, fresh produce, fresh seafood, balsamic vinegar, and many freshly prepared foods. Do not miss the chance to taste handmade Bolognese pasta dishes here.

BEST STREET FOOD MARKETS IN THE U.S. Street food markets are making a comeback in the U.S., as people rediscover the joy of shopping in one centrally located hub for local items. A few markets have been filling that need for a long time. Lexington Market, Baltimore: Established in 1782, it is the oldest open market in the country. This noisy, busy market emphasizes local flavors. Lexington Market is home to over 100 vendors selling fresh produce, handmade crab cakes, freshly shucked clams, handdipped cookies, and other iconic Baltimore foods. It also

Borough Market, London

features unique vendors like barbers, accounting services, and computer repair. Plans are currently underway to build a larger, better building to house the market. French Market, New Orleans: Another classic that has been around for centuries, the French Market draws tourists, chefs, and locals to its doors every day. This is the place to buy authentic pralines, New Orleans-style coffee, beignets, po’boys, and more. Do not stop with the food, though. The market has an enormous variety of vendors, including artists, NOLA-style Christmas crafts, imported goods, fresh produce, souvenirs, and homemade crafts. Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia: Established in 1892, the Reading Market is a local icon and top tourist attraction. The huge, recently renovated hall houses over 100 vendors offering fresh local produce, locally sourced meats, a vast assortment of dairy-fresh cheeses, dining ware, kitchen linens, and ethnic foods. The Amish farmers’ markets are a big draw, and you can find them here every day but Sunday.

STREET FOODS ADD FLAVOR TO YOUR TRAVELS There is no better way to jump into a culture than to check out the best local food markets. Wandering the aisles is the perfect way to experience the authentic tastes, sights, and people of the country you are visiting. Do you have a street food market in your city? It might be time to see what is on offer there. When it comes to street food, the rules are simple: Be adventurous, be open-minded, and taste it all. •TCL•

Vol. 1 • Issue No. 5 • 2021 |





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Articles from The Chews Letter Magazine, Food Trucks, Vol. 1 Issue No. 5, April 2021