The hottest food craze in decades, food trucks are starting to put it in park and go brick-and-mortar. Stay tuned as we feature three truck timelines to see the roads they traveled, starting with…
EL NARANGO of Austin, Texas!
After moving to Texas from Oaxaca, Mexico, chef Iliana de la Vega opens El Naranjo Mobile in Austin. Customers line up for tacos al pastor, tacos carnitas and her killer weekly mole specials.
El Naranjo is the only truck to make Texas Monthly’s roundup of the state’s 50 best Mexican restaurants.
Just after de la Vega turns a 100-year-old house into El Naranjo the restaurant, The Austin Chronicle publishes a glowing review.
Find out more: elnaranjo-restaurant.com 85 Rainey St., Austin, TX
How can a dirt-dwelling collection of spores set you back more than your car payment? Here’s what makes truffle shavings cost up to $3,000 per pound
The divas of the food world, these oddly- shaped wild tubers grow only beneath certain trees—in superspecific weather and soil conditions— and can be harvested for just a few months in the fall. Unlike other kinds of produce, truffles can’t be grown in a greenhouse, and their flavor can’t be synthesized in even the most sophisticated lab.
THEY’RE UNDER GUARD
White truffle season in Piedmont, Italy, runs September to December. During this time, many a territorial trifulau (truffle hunter) hunts by cover of night, often with a Lagotto Romagnolo (aka the “Italian truffle dog”), protecting prime spots from rivals. Pigs, the traditional hunting animals, have a bad habit of eating their hauls.
After those dogs have picked up the scent trail, the human truffle hunters in Italy use zappini—long-bladed mini hoes—to coax the mushrooms from the dirt. Giving new meaning to the word “touchy,” these fungi can actually start to rot upon contact with homan skin.
Once a truffle leaves the ground, its flavor starts to erode. It is possible to freeze and jar them, but most aficionados aren’t crazy about the resulting compromises to flavor and aroma. They prefer paying more to have fresh finds shipped quickly.
From the September “Italian Issue” of Every Day with Rachael Ray
Move over, Chipotle! Mediterranean cuisine is on the rise, and it’s not just your Greek diner serving up the spanakopita. Fast-casual restaurants are expanding their businesses to offer kebabs, falafel and other classic Grecian dishes to a growing number of hungry foodies across the U.S.
Restaurants such as Zoes Kitchen, Little Greek Restaurant and Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill are not only looking to open additional storefronts, they are also educating consumers about the flavors and history of Grecian cuisine. Many accommodate less adventurous customers by including American food on their menus.
Greek food has become more mainstream thanks to celebrity chefs and TV stars sharing their Greek-heritage inspired recipes. Additionally, more and more Americans are lightening up their diets by turning to Mediterranean food as a healthy alternative to heavy meat dishes and fried foods.
Wanna go greek at home? Whip up our Greek Fit-for-the-Gods Salad with Spicy Cucumber Dressing and Pita Chips.
—Grace Elkus, Food Editorial Intern
Patented by John Landis Mason in 1858 the rustic mason jar is making a comeback! From chandeliers to soap dispensers, the uses are seriously infinite. One trend seen in restaurants that you can “DIY” at home is using mason jars for serving drinks. Speaking of which, check out this margarita served in a mason jar at Cowgirl in the West Village of New York City, NY!
—Grace Elkus, Food Editorial Intern
News has been brewing—get it?—that coffee and wine hybrid bars are gaining popularity. Starbucks, for example, has been rumored to start selling booze soon, although I haven’t seen it yet…but what gives? Are coffee and wine really “pair-able?
“Wine and coffee have a bevy of similarities…Both have hundreds of chemical compounds that affect the flavor, with wine averaging 200–400 compounds and coffee surpassing 800. Where a wine drinker swirls a glass to release a wine’s aroma, a coffee drinker senses aromas on different areas of the palate. Both are complex, and the same grape or bean, respectively, can yield wildly different varietals
If you’re doing coffee right, you’re going to attract those who are already attracted to coffee,” he explains. “If you have wine available, there’s room for the bartender or barista actually to educate that consumer about wine, as well. … If they come into your establishment because you’re doing wine correctly, there’s room to expand the coffee market to them so they can broaden their enjoyment of the beverage world.
—Jason Haeger, Consultant for the Specialty Coffee Industry
The idea of broadening enjoyment of the beverage world in general sounds cool, so I’m intrigued to see if more of these wine-and-coffeeshop-combos pop up.
—Judith Pena, Asst. to the EIC
Keep an eye out at the wine shop for an unsung tipple: orange wine. Made from white grapes, the sipper gets its sunny disposition from a process that keeps the skins with the grapes after pressing, upping the volume of tannins and pigments, which can range from light copper to bright orange. It’s not just a pretty glass, though: The crowd-pleasing flavor blends the light texture of white with the punch of red.
-Alexa Weibel, Senior Copy Editor