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[photo courtesy Sweet Spot Macarons]

Yet another food truck is in the works for Chicago, but it's keeping a narrow focus that has nothing to do with the c-word.

Sweet Spot Macarons (still in the licensing process but slated for a mid- to late-September debut) will offer only macarons, those tres chic treats that, like every other pastry, have been hailed as the new cupcake. Galit-Macaron-Small-1.jpg

The woman behind the truck is Galit Greenfield, a French Pastry School graduate who honed her skills with her catering business. Greenfield will offer six flavors initially, at $1.50 a piece -- salted caramel, pistachio, chocolate espresso, hazelnut, strawberry and passion fruit -- though the roster will likely expand. "I've been doing all kinds of experiments with crazier flavors," she says.

Choosing to build her business around the macaron was an easy decision for Greenfield. "I really think it's a superior pastry. It's so diverse. I love that it's gluten free. I love the combination of crunchy and soft, that you can change all the fillings, that it's not huge. It's very elegant and very versatile. And I'm really attracted to the chemistry behind macarons .... It's complicated. It's about your oven, it's about the temperature, your egg whites. It's a challenging pastry, and I guess I love challenges."

Follow the truck on Twitter @SweetSpotMac.

Other new or soon-to-be-operational trucks that have popped up lately include Homage Street Food, which offers an ambitious global menu, and the Lillie Q's Meat Mobile, an offshoot of the Bucktown restaurant.

Can't keep all the trucks straight? The site Food Truck Freak keeps tabs on the whole scene -- which, some will argue tonight, is hardly official.

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[photo by Scott Stewart~Sun-Times]

Food trucks and the people behind the wheels get some love in Wednesday's Food pages. The cover story is on successful picnic fare, and who better than these mobile maestros to tell us what sorts of foods travel well.

Gaztro-Wagon's Matt Maroni (above), perhaps the most enterprising of them all, shares a recipe for smoked pork shoulder, while Joaquin Soler gives up a version of the Thai-ish brisket he sells on his Brown Bag Lunch Truck.

For those looking at the print version of Soler's recipe, there is an error. The recipe calls for 2 cups brown sugar, but the correct amount should be 1/4 cup.

We also felt it prudent to include with the story a current list of trucks up and running, what they're serving and where you can find them. One more revision to the story: Food Truck Tuesdays, on the northwest corner of North and Halsted, has been extended to run through August.

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The Southern Mac mac 'n' cheese truck makes its rolling debut on Monday (possibly not enough time for Streets and San to finish doing their thing, but that's just a projection), but the curious can ogle it on Sunday -- and get their mac 'n' cheese fix for the Super Bowl.

The truck will be parked in front of the Southern, 1840 W. North. Inside, chef Cary Taylor will be dishing up the four varieties of cheesy, carby goodness that will be featured on Monday's maiden run.

"We're sitting here debating how much to make" for Sunday, Taylor said.

The Southern opens at 4 p.m. Sunday; the buffet costs $10. "It'll be done when we run out," Taylor says.

Follow the truck on Twitter. "We're gonna have fun with it," says Taylor, chief driver as well as chef. "We've got 24 different varieties going in the back right now. It's gonna be pretty off-the-cuff."

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Phillip "Fly By Night" Foss is at it again.

The Meatyballs Mobile chef, who launched his food truck in September, has secured a second truck, which is making its debut today.

As with many events in Foss' life, the addition of the second truck (a bare-bones roach coach rental that for now is logo-less) was a rather last-minute affair. "I got the truck yesterday," Foss told me this morning. "It looks like the Cabrini-Green of Chicago. But it tastes like the Magnificent Mile."

And in the collaborative spirit that seems to be prerequisite among Chicago's food truck operators, Foss has brought on Dave Wojtonik, owner of the Simple Sandwich truck, to drive the Meatyballs Mobile II, as well as help with kitchen prep. Wojtonik has suspended his own truck's runs for the winter, so it all works out. The schedule for both trucks is posted on Foss' site, phillipfoss.net.

Whoopie Pies 3.jpg (Whoopie pies coming your way. | Courtesy Sweet Ride)


New year, new food trucks. Among them: two on the sweet side, both with feel-good missions; one with a tamale-and-lucha-libre-spaceship-riding focus; and one serving strictly mac and cheese (though not vegan mac and cheese).

The Southern Mac truck, from the Southern chef Cary Taylor (below), is being outfitted this week with all the technical stuff (running water, generator, etc). Taylor hopes to have it on the road by end of January or early February.

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Taylor has toyed with the idea of a mac and cheese venture for "a few years now." He considered a stand-alone shop in Block 37. The idea stalled over time until he got to know one of his regular customers, Matt Maroni -- the driving force, literally, behind the Gaztro-Wagon naan-wich truck; and behind the proposed food truck legislation; and who, in a small-world twist, happens to be childhood friends with one of Taylor's college buddies.

Taylor told Maroni of his idea. Maroni's reaction: What's stopping you?

Taylor has tested and re-tested recipes, accounting for the fact that customers won't be eating it seconds after he dishes it out, and even sending testers home with orders to try it hours later, reheated.

At launch, Taylor will carry four to five types of mac and cheese on the truck in the $8 to $12 range (a hefty 12 ounces of pasta and 8 ounces of sauce, he says), including smoked Gouda and a crawfish and andouille number -- but not the lobster mac and cheese that's already been hyped.

"It's just not a good value," says Taylor, who will be driving the truck during the day (the restaurant doesn't do lunch). "Lobster's such a scam, anyway."

On the sweet side, there's the Sweet Miss Givings truck, which is quietly wrapping up its first official week on the streets; and the Sweet Ride truck, whose owner, Lupita Kuri, dreamed up the name in her sleep.

"I woke up, Googled it, saw there was a truck in San Francisco and called them," Kuri, 26, says. "It was right place, right time. They just found out they needed to sell the business."

In early November, Kuri flew to San Fran; she shipped the truck (below) back to Chicago a week later.

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Kuri isn't a trained baker or pastry chef, but a full-time marketing assistant who loves to bake (with dreams of trading that 9-to-5 job for this truck gig). In buying the business, she also acquired the recipes, which she says she's tweaked to satisfy Chicagoans' "robust" appetites.

She'll run the truck Fridays through Sundays, offering whoopie pies ($3), mini-cupcakes (three for $5), puddings and mousse ($4) for humans and bone-shaped cakes for dogs. Unsold goodies will go to the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, and proceeds from her pupcake sales to an animal shelter in Grayslake.

Kuri has all the proper licensing and plans to be driving next week -- or as long as it takes her to recover from the emergency tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy she underwent yesterday.

As for Sweet Miss Givings, "We just got a Twitter feed for the truck. We just have 10 followers at this point," laughs COO Dana Lieberman. (Make that 16, Dana!)

A project of Chicago House, which serves the disabled and formerly homeless, the bakery also operates a stand at the Chicago French Market. And yes, the truck is selling cupcakes - as well as muffins, scones, brownies and cookies. Lieberman highly suggests the turtle brownie ($2.50).

lpp_7026_grande.jpg (Not the turtle brownie -- the German chocolate brownie -- but you get the picture. | Courtesy Sweet Miss Givings)

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The whole freebie cupcake thing was wearing on Patty Rothman.

"I'm ready to start selling," Rothman, owner of More Cupcakes, 1 E. Delaware, said Thursday as we headed for the Willis Tower. She was at the wheel of the sleek More Mobile, not the city's first cupcake truck but most certainly the Mercedes of them all (literally -- it's a Mercedes Sprinter, outfitted with a battery-powered generator).

This was the fourth day of Rothman's week-long promotional push for the truck -- the fourth day of handing out thousands upon thousands of free cupcakes to sometimes perplexed but mostly delighted pedestrians.

At her two-year-old store and on the truck, each cupcake will sell for $3.50. "We handed out 500, 600 in 12 minutes by the Wrigley Building," said Rothman, a lithely built, red-haired mother of five. She didn't want to do the math, didn't want to think about the possibility, or impossibility, of recouping all of that.

"We're convinced the whole world knows about us, and we come down here and people see us and say, 'Oh, are you new?' So we're really looking at it as the cost of introducing ourselves. We're thinking of this as launching an ad campaign," she said as she drove south on Wacker, approaching the Willis Tower.

More from More: The truck

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The More Mobile finally hit the streets Monday, dispensing 1,500 free cupcakes to the hoardes at various points of interest around downtown. They're doing this -- free cupcakes -- all week. That's a lot of cupcakes.

The truck's route today isn't exactly inspired -- it started at the Michigan Avenue bridge and later today is looping back around to Michigan and Wacker. But oh, did we mention, the cupcakes are free?

Follow the More Mobile on Twitter, of course.

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Phillip Foss' ever-evolving business plan for his Meatyballs Mobile now includes this: the opportunity for you, the eater, to create your own edible spherical treat with Foss' help and then ride along for a day to sell your creation.

Foss explains this on his newest site, phillipfoss.net (one we can actually access; our Web filters for reasons yet unknown have declared Foss' Pickled Tongue blog "malicious." Is it the "tongue"? The "balls"? Who knows.).

First up, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, at Monroe and Wells: one Brian Eng, who writes the blog Chow-Eng Down and appears to be your typical camera-happy foodie, and his Banh Mi-tyballs ($8).

Foss will be auctioning off another create-and-ride-along at tonight's Meals on Wheels event at Macy's on State Street. Tickets at the door are $125.

The Meatyballs Mobile is in business.

Phillip Foss' kosher meatball sandwich-dispensing truck officially hit the streets Saturday, after not much notice but for a few tweets. But then, this is kind of how Foss, who last month was canned as chef at Lockwood in the Palmer House Hilton, rolls, and we like it.

"This is so fly-by-night right now, I feel like an owl," Foss texted from the truck.

Foss has been talking food trucks for some time now. He tested the waters for one day on Matt Maroni's Gaztro-Wagon, and then again as a pop-up restaurant in Maroni's Edgewater storefront on a recent Sunday.

On today's Mobile menu: meatballs with marinara and mozzarella ($8); chicken curry with mango chutney ($7) and a cola-bourbon barbecue pork shoulder with apples ($8). Foss' secret to tender meatballs: good ol' fashioned Coca-Cola (which, as it happens, was the secret to the recipe he gave us for our story on helping your younguns develop global palates -- food truck foreshadowing!).

In other food truck news: The Gaztro-Wagon and three other Chicago trucks, All Fired Up, Flirty Cupcakes and Happy Bodega -- which launches tomorrow -- are contenders for the next season of the Food Network's "Great Food Truck Race," but you have to vote them in.

And the More Mobile, which is shaping up to be the Rolls-Royce of cupcake trucks, is aiming for a Sept. 15 launch.

Follow all of the above trucks on Twitter. Figuring out what to eat for lunch has never been so fun, or strategic.

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Now you see Phillip Foss, now you don't.

Early this morning, the chef at Lockwood sent out an email with details of a pop-up restaurant he and his wife are planning for Sunday at chef Matt Maroni's Gaztro-Wagon storefront at 5973 N. Clark.

This afternoon, Foss was given the boot by his bosses.

"I'm a free bird. It's official," Foss told me about 15 minutes ago.

Impeccable timing, perhaps, but Foss -- who had been on suspension this week (and not the first time that's happened) -- says the hotel's decision had nothing to do with his involvement in the mobile food rallying cry. "It's not a shocker... It's been an incredible run with them. It's been mutually beneficial and hopefully, going forward, it will continue to be mutually beneficial," he says.

So, going forward in Foss' cause- and food truck-obsessed world, about that pop-up restaurant, which is serving as a testing ground for the food truck concept Foss and wife Kenni are developing:

The menu will change every few hours, starting at 8 a.m. with from-scratch doughnuts ($2). From 10 a.m. To 2 p.m., it's brunch, with items such as the Golden Brick ($4), "oozing egg in crispy brick pastry" and a salami/egg/potato scramble called the Hopple Popple ($8).

From 2 to 8 p.m., Foss will make the switch to meatball sliders in puffy pan bread ($4).

Foss has renamed his Pickled Tongue blog to better reflect his long-term goals; it's now the Pickled Tongue and Puffy Pan Bread Chronicles.

And about that pickled tongue: Foss sent out the details of his latest venture in an email in the wee hours this morning. The contact? F.U. Public Relations Company. Which, of course, stands for Foss Unlimited.

About the blog

Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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