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Liba Falafel Truck: The Cutest Truck on Earth

Liba Falafel Truck: The Cutest Truck on Earth

The Cutest Truck on Earth

After finding inspiration in the falafel shops of Amsterdam, Gail Lillian “pondered how to deliver the same ingenuity, accessibility, and flavor intensity to the streets of the Bay Area.” She decided to deliver it “via the cutest truck on earth.” All the falafel, salads, and sweets on the Liba Falafel Truck are made from scratch, the falafel sandwich is served on locally baked pita and the falafel salad on organic greens (you can top them or stuff them with braised eggplant, red cabbage, Brussel sprouts with red apple and mustard vinaigrette, spiced carrot ribbons, rosemary peanuts, feta, hummus, harissa, fried pickled onions and more). All the take-away products are compostable (“every little thing” claims Liba’s website under the tab titled, “Falasophy”), and at day’s end, you guessed it, Liba’s oil “gets turned into biofuel.” Does it get any more green, cuddly, and… cute? Guess what? The food’s good too.


What Starts with F, Ends with Uck? Our Love/Hate Affair with Food Trucks

We’d rather live near a taco truck, than a Taco Bell. Sure. And summer wouldn’t feel the same without the occasional Mr. Softee/Frosty Treats/ or Tactical Ice Cream Unit soft serve indulgence.

But at some point this whole thing gets a little ridiculous. First there’s all those disposable plates and utensils – though some trucks use only compostable ware, provide receptacles and recycle their frying oil into biofuel.

Then there’s the fact that street food is supposed to be affordable, simple, and accessible. But with the cool factor off the charts, people sometimes wait hours for a small portion of very expensive food that they then have to scarf down while perched precariously on a urine soaked curb. Is it that good, really?

Then there are all these trucks driving around and sometimes idling in parking places all day and spewing out noxious fumes along with the emissions caused by their refrigeration systems, stoves, fryers, and grills.

In New York, the city council just moved forward on its first anti-food truck law due to idling and parking issues.

Not to mention complaints from non-mobile restaurants.

Though some trucks are greener than others, there is a real lack of discussion overall about the environmental impact of the explosion in food trucks. This how-to article doesn’t mention it at all.

Thankfully, there are food trucks heading in the right direction. Here’s our list of 10 mobile vendors and one futuristic pop up restaurant that are curbing the use of excess resources.

1. Kickstand Coffee in Brooklyn NY uses bikes to transport its coffee and even uses bike power to fuel a portion of the brewing. If they don’t use disposable cups or plastic lids, they’d get extra points in my book, but their website doesn’t mention it. Hey Brooklynites! Are they totally green or not?

2. The Green Pirate Truck Juice Truck in Brooklyn NY runs its truck on biodiesel, composts all organic waste and works with farmers to get it to farms in upstate NY. They also use compostable cups.

3. Green Trucks in the LA area power their trucks on vegetable oil and biodiesel, make their food in a solar powered kitchen, use green packaging (though they don’t say what kind), and have a lot of organic vegetarian choices. They still serve meat of the slightly more humane variety, though it’s not grass-fed from family farms and “sustainably farmed” shrimp. To me these look like compromises to stay in business and keep their price points reasonable, which is understandable.

4. Liba’s Falafel Truck in San Francisco and Emeryville, CA serves a totally organic, vegetarian (mostly vegan) menu, recycles its frying oil into fuel, and uses all compostable packaging while providing the necessary receptacles to customers.

5. On the Fly in DC vends organic, local foods from their specially designed, American made zero-emission plug-in”smartkarts®“. They also use eco-friendly packaging, though they don’t say what kind.

6. Austin’s Soup Peddler has been around since before the current mobile food trend grew wheels. Soup Peddler started out delivering soups by bike in his Austin neighborhood. The business has grown to include entrees, and other foods and, while some deliveries are still done by bike, customers have the option to pick up as well. Hopefully at least some of them are on two wheels.

7. Steubens Food Truck in Denver is still in development but founders say its solar-powered, biofueled, locally grown goodness is coming soon!

8. DC’s Sweetflow Yogurt is a truck designed to run without a generator so it uses less fuel. They also use local and organic ingredients and 100 percent compostable packaging.

9. Fresh Local in New Hampshire is run by actual farmers. The products are all sourced from local family farms, the disposables are biodegradable and they feed any kitchen scraps they don’t compost to their very own chickens.

10. Clover Food Lab runs trucks in Boston and at MIT. Founders are nuts about compost and are working toward a zero waste operation. The trucks are run on biodiesel, and the food is local and organic. Their blog, which documents the process of getting the business up and running, provides a fascinating window into what it takes to start a green food truck.

The whole scene in Portland is greener from an emissions point of view because many of the carts are stationary and in pods concentrated in downtown areas easily accessible by bikers and walkers.

And here’s the future of the pop-up restaurant – somewhere between a stand-alone business and a restaurant on wheels, the solar powered, foldable, moveable Muv Box may be the biggest future trend yet.

This is the latest installment in Vanessa Barrington’s weekly column, The Green Plate, on the environmental, social, and political issues related to what and how we eat.


The Best Portobello Burger I have EVER Eaten!

Ok, so that’s a bit of a “fantastic” claim but it’s the honest truth. I am in love with this burger and I have driven twenty miles out of my way, twice, to eat it.

The guys on the “Bite” food truck have a great assortment of burgers, including this vegetarian one called The Tree Hugger (I love that vegetarians are seen as tree huggers, why not animal huggers… but I digress). This burger has a full port0bello mushroom, a delicious sauce and some great veggies on a toasted bun. This is a seriously delicious burger.

So, if you want the best burger in town….follow the Bite food truck and try it out! http://www.facebook.com/bitegastrotruck

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A Eulogy for Eateries, 2020

Like so many poor souls infected with COVID-19, a staggering number of restaurants met their untimely demise this year. Well-established eateries and fledgling startups alike were afflicted. Mom-and-pops, national chains, dive bars, bastions of fine dining none were spared the wrath of this indiscriminate virus. No one could have predicted the devastating impact on business across the board, let alone prepare for it. Restaurants which already operate on razor-thin margins took the first hit, and keep taking the abuse, even as many other sectors begin to show signs of recovery. It comes as no surprise that we have excessive losses to mourn this year, but still, it’s no less sad.

The fatalities, like the number of cases, continue to rise unabated. At the time of this writing, approximately 1 in 6 establishments have turned the tables for the last time. To put that in perspective, that’s over 100,000 individual restaurants, touching countless lives. Their loss is felt profoundly by owners of course, but also employees, devoted regulars, and adjacent businesses that thrive on their success as well.

In the eye of the storm now, between holidays and stifled festivities, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge just a few of these losses. 2020 has been a turbulent for me personally as well, beginning in the Bay Area, and ending in central Texas, so this particular restaurant obituary will follow that same winding path. My deepest condolences to all those mourning these losses.

Before the virus truly sunk its claws into the world and began the first wave of widespread shutdowns, Analog quietly slipped away in February, going gentle into that good night. Lining the walls with records, VHS cassettes, and old school video games, entering through the narrow doorway felt like returning to my ideal 90’s childhood library. Hosting popups for many fledgling vegan chefs, I remember spending one of my earliest nights in Oakland there, tasting Hella Vegan Eats for the first time. Their house menu of thick sandwiches stacked high with all manner of classic deli fare was the real attraction, though. Seitan Reubens, bahn mi, meatless corned beef they were slinging these thick stacks before it was cool, true to character. With another strong supporter gone, the future of the analog medium itself hangs in the balance.

Crispy, tender, and well-seasoned falafel has been strangely difficult to come by in San Francisco, which is why the arrival of Liba Falafel was such a venerable establishment of Middle Eastern delights. Beginning life as a mobile truck and eventually taking root in Oakland as a brick-and-mortar, their fried chickpea balls were as famous as the rainbow of accoutrements that came with them. Arrayed like the salad bar of dreams, the purchase of one box would allow the voracious eater to fill it with as much Israeli salad, schug, onions, roasted peppers, and pickles as would fit. Clearly, this self-serve approach couldn’t survive such stringent coronavirus measures, and has become a thing of the past. After 11 years on the streets, they leave a gaping falafel-sized hole in SoCal.

Originally unleashed upon the world as Republic of V, Animal Place’s Vegan Republic has undergone quite a few struggles to stay afloat despite widespread support. COVID-19 was just the final nail in the coffin. Opened in 2014 as the first all-vegan store in Berkeley, there’s still nothing that’s equivalent to their selection of specialty plant-based goods in the area. From home goods to clothing to groceries, it was a paradise where everything on the menu was vegan, not limited to purely edible entrees. It also served as an event space, sharing the floor with vegan authors like myself on special occasions, becoming a meeting place for the community at large.

Nick’s Kitchen, once booming with three distinct outposts, turned belly-up seemingly overnight. All street-facing locations have closed, but this story isn’t a complete tragedy this incomparable plant-based Filipino food has been reborn as a special order delivery service directly from Chef Reina. Rumor has it that nationwide shipping will soon be an option for more widespread access than ever. I’m holding out hope for this exciting development, because at about the same time as this announcement was made, I had reached the end of my time in California, too.

Heading down south to Austin, TX, it breaks my heart to have just barely missed experiencing the legend that is Veggie Heaven. Most Chinese restaurants have a token tofu dish or serviceable vegetable plate in a pinch, but now, none exist with a 100% vegetarian menu. Where does one go for sizzling mock meats, eggless hot and sour-style soup, or teriyaki cauliflower wings now? Seriously, I’m asking for myself here. There seems to be no equivalent establishment to reasonably pick up the slack.

Sending shock waves through the community, Mother’s Cafe called it quits after 40 years in Hyde Park. A bastion of old-school, nostalgic vegetarian and vegan dishes with a Tex-Mex twist, the owners attempted to survive on takeout only during these uncertain times, but found it entirely unsustainable. At least, as small consolation, they plan to eventually offer some of the restaurant’s best sellers as packaged food, as they currently do with their widely acclaimed cashew-tamari salad dressing. There’s no replacement for a mother’s love, though. For generations of locals that grew up in this dining room, this loss truly feels like a death in the family.

Best known for moist cupcakes, tender scones, and chewy cookies, Happy Vegan Baker also had a legendary Chick Un Salad along with more satisfying savory delights. Carrying the torch at farmers markets and events year round, their treats would also fill the deli cases at Fresh Plus, Natural Grocers, Tom’s Market, Dias Market, and Rabbit Food Grocery. Though they never had a static outpost, these snacks and staples were always close at hand. I personally regret not loading up my own fridge while I still had the chance.

All that glitters isn’t gold, and Austin will have a bit less of a shine now that Curcuma is no longer serving golden lattes directly to the public, alongside their renowned raw, healing cuisine. The trailer is no more, but the golden paste lives on for homemade turmeric treats. There’s no replacement for their distinctive pecan tacos though, made with spiced pecan “meat” on crisp jicama “tortillas.”

Open in Austin for less than a year, Cosmos Kitchen was taken from us before its time. Though well-liked and highly reviewed, accolades could not save it from the pitfalls of social distancing, with the reduced volume and revenue. Filling tacos with meatless al pastor, chorizo, picadillo, and more, the flavors transcended all dietary boundaries. The absence of this colorful food truck will be mourned by eaters across the city.

To all those that have left us this year: Thank you for all the delicious memories. You will not be forgotten. Your struggles, successes, and inspiration will live on, within us all.


3. Garam Masala Chocolate Oat Cookies

These Garam Masala Chocolate Oat Cookies by Claire Ragozzino are unique and full of flavor! Made with squash puree, rolled oats, warming spices, and chocolate chunks, they’re a hearty and healthy cookie that makes for a great cold-weather snack. Plus, they’re simple to make!


The Bay Area's 20 best food trucks

8 of 13 Andy Thach (left), Tommy Nguyen (middle-left), Binh Ha (middle-right) and Stephen Van (right) prepare food in the KoJa Kitchen food truck in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

10 of 13 Peter Camacho serves an Okonomi Crepe from the J-Shack food truck at the SOMA StrEat Food Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, August 20, 2015. Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

11 of 13 Owners Atsushi Inoue and Peter Camacho in front of the J-Shack food truck at the SOMA StrEat Food Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, August 20, 2015. Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

12 of 13 The Liba Falafel food truck in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

13 of 13 Thaddeus Pedisich serves food to a customer at Liba Falafel food truck in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

It has been only five years since Off the Grid held its first food-truck gathering at Fort Mason, four years since San Francisco made it easier for trucks to park on city streets, and three years since anyone in the Bay Area has attended a wedding that didn&rsquot end up in the parking lot of some banquet hall. San Francisco and San Mateo counties currently each have more than 100 permitted food trucks, and there are many more in Alameda County, where loncheras first lined up along Oakland&rsquos International Boulevard in the 1980s.

In a city where most iPhone screens are cluttered with delivery apps, San Franciscans still leave their desks for lunch when a food truck pod sets up nearby. Off the Grid has competition from food-truck clusters such as Moveable Feast and Bites Off Broadway, but it continues to be the major player, with more than three dozen events every week. There are permanent truck pods &mdash several of them &mdash under the Central Freeway.

Today&rsquos food trucks have killed off the myth that mobile food vendors were all roach coaches. Yet the boom has not flooded the streets with amazing food. Most of us have stood in line for 20 minutes to receive a compostable clamshell stuffed with limp fries drenched in meaty glop. We&rsquove bitten into our share of starch-plus-fat wrapped in a flour tortilla. (The two food groups that seem to thrive in the truck age: tacos and, somewhat surprisingly, pizza.)

Five years in, the Chronicle Food Section thought it time to honor 20 trucks that offer something greater than the average. (Note: We primarily evaluated trucks that circulate in Marin, San Francisco, Alameda and San Mateo counties.) They may serve a type of food you can&rsquot get anywhere else &mdash or they may simply be the trucks we gravitate to over and over again.

A few of the food trucks are permanently parked to locate the other trucks, consult their website or Twitter feed. Author key: Tara Duggan (TD), Erica Evans (EE), Sarah Fritsche (SF), Amanda Gold (AG), Jonathan Kauffman (JK), Paolo Lucchesi (PL)

El Tonayense

El Tonayense Jeff Chiu/SFC

Over the past 20-plus years, this family-run fleet of Mission District taco trucks has achieved an intensely loyal following, and for good reason. From the bright and tangy al pastor to the moist and tender lengua &mdash be it delivered in taco, torta or burrito form &mdash it&rsquos hard to get a more flavorful and hearty meal on the cheap in San Francisco. (SF)

Three trucks currently in rotation: On Harrison Street at 14th Street, 17th Street and 19th Street www.tonayense.com

The Taco Guys belong to the post-Kogi era, when the taco shed some of its Mexican-ness and opened up to the rest of the world. What makes a good taco great, no matter what is piled onto the tortilla, is never size: It&rsquos maximum layering of flavors in three-bite form. In the wrong hands, Burmese lamb curry tacos with fresh cucumbers or kalua pork tacos with pickled mangos could come off as a multiculti mess, but decades of restaurant training keep Jason Hoffman and Justin Close&rsquos focus tight. (JK)

Tacos El Gordo

Tacos El Gordo Ian Kasley/Flickr

The rhythmic thumping that accompanies the three minutes you will spend pressed against the food rail at this taco truck, greasy fingers clearing a paper plate of every shred, is not cumbia or house. It&rsquos the sound of a pair of cleavers chopping freshly cooked meats to order. The best include the feral porkiness of buche (pork stomach), nutty tripitas, and pork al pastor actually cooked on the spit. (JK)

4201 International Blvd. (at High Street), Oakland.

Taqueria Sinaloa

Taqueria Sinaloa Dan Evans

Although Lupe Bueno recently repainted his three trucks a handsome marigold, he has resisted the pull to emigrate into a permanent building. Considering the seated patio at his main campus in Oakland, where two are parked, he has no need. The flavors of lime, chiles and cilantro etch themselves sharply onto meats such as suadero and carnitas, and at the seafood-focused truck, in fish tacos and mixed-seafood cockteles as well. (JK)

2138 International Blvd. (at 22nd Avenue), Oakland.

The Chairman

The Chairman John Storey/Special to the Chronicle

Melding culinary traditions is one of the things food trucks do best, and the Chairman consistently nails Asian fusion with its versions of gua bao, or Taiwanese-style buns. (Its bold red, black and white design makes the Chairman one of the best-looking trucks, too.) You&rsquoll have to choose between larger baked buns or smaller steamed buns, both stuffed with crispy miso tofu or Coca-Cola braised pork. (TD)

KoJa Kitchen

KoJa Kitchen Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle

KoJa refers to a mashup of Korean and Japanese flavors. But a koja, as defined by the owners of this hip black-and-red truck, is also a sandwich-burger-taco-like situation based on garlicky rice buns. The two pucks of crispy rice would be good enough on their own, but these come filled with chopped short ribs and Korean BBQ chicken. (AG)

Pluck Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle

At Mark Pfeiler&rsquos mobile eatery, it&rsquos all duck, all the time. Pluck, which debuted in 2013, showcases the fowl in a variety of creative ways, such as house-cured duck pastrami sliders and duck confit tacos. Ramen noodles are served in a rich duck broth that&rsquos garnished with smoked duck breast &mdash seared foie gras optional. (SF)

J-Shack Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle

You might not think of crepes as a Japanese food, but thin pancakes stuffed with indulgent fillings and folded into cones are a popular street food in Tokyo. While dessert crepes are traditional, J-Shack sets itself apart with its savory selections, such as its Okonomi crepe, inspired by another Japanese pancake: okonomiyaki. It&rsquos made with pork, shrimp, cabbage, bean sprouts and onions, and smothered in distinctly Japanese toppings and sauces. (EE)

Liba Falafel

Liba Falafel Kelsey McClellan/Special to the Chronicle

A food truck success story, Liba Falafel recently opened a sit-down cafe in Oakland. The chickpea fritters, which Gail Lillian and her staff make daily with organic beans, are plenty good, but it&rsquos the seasonally changing rainbow of salad-bar toppings you can pile on top that make them stand out. Falafels come stuffed into whole-wheat pita or perched atop salad greens for an extra plant-based experience. (TD)

Mayo and Mustard

Some would say this truck just serves sandwiches. But, dang it, it&rsquos hard to find a really good sandwich in San Francisco. Mayo and Mustard&rsquos hot deli-style sandwiches &mdash like Tony&rsquos BBQ Tri-Tip and the pepper turkey club, a favorite &mdash are worth standing in line for. (SF)

Fins on the Hoof

Fins on the Hoof Lance Iversen/The Chronicle

Don&rsquot let the funny name throw you: This self-described &ldquogastrotruck&rdquo offers expertly executed dishes made with ingredients from both land and sea. While not always on the menu, their salmon and arugula flatbread sandwich will haunt your dreams. A close second is the lamb burger topped with feta and pickled red onions. (SF)

Sam&rsquos Chowder Mobile

Sam's Chowdermobile Susana Bates/Special to the Chronicle

Sam&rsquos has a legit brick-and-mortar down in Half Moon Bay, but if you&rsquore a car-free city dweller, the Chowder Mobile is the best way to get a taste of Sam&rsquos pristine seafood offerings, including rich and creamy clam chowder, crab cakes that are heavy on the shellfish and light on the filler, and one of the best lobster rolls outside New England. (SF)

All Good Pizza

All Good Pizza Rohan Smith/The Chronicle

A shipping container outfitted with a brick oven, this truck permanently inhabits a large corner lot in the sunny Bayview. While the crust on the pies is fashionably thin and cracker-crisp, the reclaimed lumber furniture and weathered picnic tables also bring to mind a barbecue joint. The kitchen&rsquos Southern culinary ties, in fact, are represented on the sandwich menu by smoked Louisiana hot links and a delicious Nola Muffaletta. (TD)


The Kitchen

Roasted Gnocchi and Veggies Sheet Pan Dinner 04:19

Simple Roasted Tomato Soup 05:49

Sheet Pan Fried Rice with Tofu 05:15

Sunny's Chicken Cordon Bleu 02:20

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio 04:03

Picadillo Stuffed Peppers 03:53

Brown Sugar Spiced Salmon 02:13

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork 01:48

Sunny's Chinese Chicken Salad 02:37

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese 01:43

Geoffrey's Fettuccine Alfredo 05:01

The Kitchen Extras

Go Behind the Scenes 55 Photos

Get an insider's look at the making of the show.

The Ultimate Bromance 21 Photos

Jeff and GZ are simply happier when they're together.

Meet Your Co-Host BFF

Take this quiz to find out who is destined to be your new pal.

Spotlight On: Cocktails 35 Photos

Shake, pour, sip — that's all it takes to make these drinks.

Stars and Their Pets 10 Photos

Get to know Food Network chefs' four-legged pals.

Try Spaghetti Pie 9 Videos

This hearty dinner is the ultimate in comfort food.

Top Recipes from The Kitchen 50 Photos

Check out the cast's comforting dishes, then learn how to make them.

Watch Full Episodes

Stay up to date on the latest kitchen hacks and go-to meal ideas.

Episodes

Let's Get Green!

The Kitchen is going green for Earth Day with seasonal recipes and sustainable ingredients. Katie Lee Biegel starts off with a Meatless Monday dish, her Lentil Stuffed Peppers. The hosts create an Indoor Vertical Herb Garden, and Geoffrey Zakarian shares his Lemon Herb Compound Butter. Alex Guarnaschelli cooks stem to peel with her Broccoli and Broccoli Stem Salad, and Sunny Anderson dresses up her Green Goddess Mussels. Then, Jeff Mauro creates a rainbow with his Ratatouille Sandwich, Geoffrey finishes things off with his Kombucha Talkin' About cocktail, and the hosts try some upcycled snacks.

Spring Pantry

The Kitchen is doing a pantry makeover just in time for spring! Sunny Anderson turns microwavable rice into Chicken Fried Rice Casserole, Katie Lee makes an easy Berry Crisp Dump Cake, and author Hilaria Baldwin stops by to make a delicious grain bowl and teach some kitchen yoga moves. Plus, the hosts upcycle cans into can creations and make predictions on new pantry ingredients that will be popular this spring. Then, Jeff Mauro makes an easy pantry bar snack and Geoffrey Zakarian uses ingredients from the pantry to make a Party in My Pantry cocktail.

Bang for Your Buck

The Kitchen is giving tips on how to get the most bang for your buck, starting with Sunny Anderson's Meatloaf Al Pastor. Learn how to make the most of your produce with the gang's quick stem-to-peel recipes, plus how to upcycle and transform everyday household items. Jeff Mauro makes a delicious slow cooker corned beef that Katie Lee and Geoffrey Zakarian stretch into breakfast and lunch, then restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn stops by to mix up a Jug Black Sangria.

Mother's Day Made Easy

The Kitchen is giving Mom the day off and making Mother's Day easy. Geoffrey Zakarian starts things off with his delicious Bacon, Onion and Cheese Tart, and then the hosts create beautiful, colorful fruit boards. Sunny Anderson sails through with her Easy Shrimp and Rice Pineapple Boats, and Jeff Mauro shares a shortcut sheet pan Chicken A L'Orange. Alex Guarnaschelli toasts Mom with her Peach Lemonade Spritz, and Katie Lee Biegel wraps up the party on a sweet note with her Limoncello Ginger Tiramisu.

Get Out and Cook

It's time for fresh air and fresh flavors with Jeff Mauro's Grilled Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken and Sunny Anderson's Migas Verde. Geoffrey Zakarian shares a recipe for Grilled Asparagus that uses only five ingredients. Katie Lee has a hack for a perfect Meaty Grilled Pizza, and Jeff puts a "spin" on Summer Salad with Melon and Spinach. Finally, the hosts create S'mores Pudding, an outdoor favorite with a twist.

Best Brunch Ever

Jeff Mauro has lovingly compiled his go-to brunch favorites. He revisits the other hosts' recipes and creates a Corned Beef Hash Brown Muffuletta that's to die for! Katie Lee Biegel fires up a Smoked Salmon Breakfast Pizza, and Sunny Anderson gets decadent with her Crazy Rich Chicken and Waffles. Guest chef Patrick Connolly impresses with Banana Bread French Toast with Peanut Butter Mousse topping. Jeff dishes up his Corned Beef Hash Benedict with gooey, cheesy Mornay sauce, and Geoffrey Zakarian's Lucky Green Baked Eggs are a huge hit.

Cheat Sheet Mania!

Jeff Mauro presents his favorite cheat sheet meals from the show and creates a new one -- Eggplant Parmesan Mozzarella Sliders. He revisits two roasted veggie cheat sheet meals for Katie Lee Biegel's Couscous and his own Frittata. Sunny Anderson shares her Cheat Sheet Mini Meatloaves with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli, renowned Southern chef Damaris Phillips creates a quick and easy Green Bean Casserole, and Sunny's Sheet Pan Shrimp "Boil" wows everyone.

A Whole Lotta Pasta

The Kitchen's plates are piled high with pasta, starting with Geoffrey Zakarian's Cacio e Pepe and Jeff Mauro's Spinach, Walnut and Golden Raisin Pesto Pasta. Comedian Kevin Fredericks helps Sunny Anderson make Kevin's Grandma Mac and Cheese, and Chef Christian Petroni stops by to serve his special Spaghetti with Clams. The best new healthy pastas pair perfectly with Katie Lee's Quick Amatriciana Sauce, and Sunny shares a playful German dessert -- Spaghettieis -- that looks like spaghetti but is really an ice cream sundae!

Weeknight Wonders

The Kitchen is sharing shortcuts to stress-free weeknight meals, starting with Katie Lee's One Pot Beef Bourguignon. Jeff Mauro makes a quick and easy Eggplant Parm Cheat Sheet, and Geoffrey Zakarian serves up a showstopping Savory Galette. Cookbook author Elizabeth Heiskell wows with her one-dish dessert, Chocolate Cobbler with Cherry Ice Cream. Food Network Fantasy Kitchen's Scott Conant joins the hosts as they return to culinary basics to answer some frequently asked Kitchen Helpline questions, and then Geoffrey makes a cocktail that will last all week, a big-batch Boulevardier.

Best Brunch Ever

Jeff Mauro has lovingly compiled his go-to brunch favorites. He revisits the other hosts' recipes and creates a Corned Beef Hash Brown Muffuletta that's to die for! Katie Lee Biegel fires up a Smoked Salmon Breakfast Pizza, and Sunny Anderson gets decadent with her Crazy Rich Chicken and Waffles. Guest chef Patrick Connolly impresses with Banana Bread French Toast with Peanut Butter Mousse topping. Jeff dishes up his Corned Beef Hash Benedict with gooey, cheesy Mornay sauce, and Geoffrey Zakarian's Lucky Green Baked Eggs are a huge hit.

Spring Into Action

Spring has sprung in the Kitchen with delicious dishes like Jeff Mauro's Apricot Habanero Grilled Pork Chops with Green Apple Relish and Sunny Anderson's Grilled Green Beans with a Quick Chutney. Broadway star Daniel Breaker joins the hosts to create a Baked Egg Bar and serve up a Lavender Lemonade cocktail, and then Geoffrey Zakarian dishes out Orecchiette with Shrimp, Pancetta, and Fresno Chiles. Katie Lee makes a Light Lemony Berry Cheesecake with guest Clinton Kelly, who shares his recipe for a Berry Mojito. Finally, the hosts play a round of Spring Fling to clean the pantry and learn what items spoil quickly.

A Spin on Spring

The Kitchen hosts spin the Seasonal Wheel of Produce to create recipes showcasing their favorite spring ingredients in delicious new ways. Sunny Anderson shines the spotlight on asparagus with her Grilled Asparagus Soup with Chili Cheese Ciabatta Toast. Alex Guarnaschelli dresses up Steamed Whole Artichokes with a Spicy Lemon Caper Mayonnaise. Geoffrey Zakarian revamps rhubarb for his Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Glaze and Roasted Spring Onions, and Katie Lee Biegel switches up Cauliflower "Risotto" with Spring Peas. Jeff Mauro freshens up radishes with his Radish, Avocado and Asparagus Salad, and Pepper Teigen stops by with the scoop on her new cookbook.

Spice It Up!

The Kitchen is firing on all cylinders with spicy, flavorful recipes -- from mild to off-the-charts spicy. Jeff Mauro cranks out his Fried Chicken Sandwich with Gochujang Glaze, and Chef Duff Goldman stops by to chat about his new discovery+ show. Katie Lee Biegel brings a spicy Chipotle Carrot Soup, and Geoffrey Zakarian spills his Iron Chef secrets to create the ultimate Shrimp Cocktail with Lemon. Sunny Anderson's got delicious Cauliflower in Pop Pop sauce, plus Alex Guarnaschelli and her co-hosts taste test some spicy snacks.

Secrets Show

Take everyday recipes to the next level with Katie Lee's Barbecue Potato Chip-Crusted Salmon and Jeff Mauro's Pickle-Brined Pork Chops with Sweet and Spicy Peppers. Restaurant secrets are revealed to help make your food taste better, then it's a showdown between Geoffrey Zakarian's Cherries Jubilee French Toast and Marcela Valladolid's Cafe de la Olla French Toast. Plus, cookbook author Candice Kumai shares some hidden healthy ingredients in desserts while making truffles with dates and Geoffrey makes a Balsamic Boulevardier cocktail.

Try Something New

Everyone's trying something new in The Kitchen, starting with Jeff Mauro's flavorful Hot Cheese Crunchy Mac and Cheese. The hosts share new tricks, including Katie Lee's easy two-ingredient cupcakes. Then, Geoffrey Zakarian experiments with Wok Egg Foo Young for his family, and Katie shares a saucy new spin on a weeknight classic with her Lentil Sloppy Joes. Sunny Anderson shows the steps to make her Easy Salmon Bowl, and the hosts go head-to-head in a blind tasting of trendy new foods.

A Spin on Spring

The Kitchen hosts spin the Seasonal Wheel of Produce to create recipes showcasing their favorite spring ingredients in delicious new ways. Sunny Anderson shines the spotlight on asparagus with her Grilled Asparagus Soup with Chili Cheese Ciabatta Toast. Alex Guarnaschelli dresses up Steamed Whole Artichokes with a Spicy Lemon Caper Mayonnaise. Geoffrey Zakarian revamps rhubarb for his Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Glaze and Roasted Spring Onions, and Katie Lee Biegel switches up Cauliflower "Risotto" with Spring Peas. Jeff Mauro freshens up radishes with his Radish, Avocado and Asparagus Salad, and Pepper Teigen stops by with the scoop on her new cookbook.

Breakfast All Day

The Kitchen is celebrating the most epic and versatile meal of the day -- breakfast! Geoffrey Zakarian makes Spicy Eggs in Purgatory, and then Sunny Anderson balances out the spice with her sweet Peaches and Cream Pancakes. Katie Lee Biegel makes Breakfast Nachos using waffle fries, and Alex Guarnaschelli bakes up Larger Than Life Scones. Finally, Jeff Mauro wows with his Waffle Taco with Spicy Sausage and Hot Honey.

Red, White and BBQ

The Kitchen is kicking off grilling season with a Red, White and BBQ bash! Katie Lee whips up a fast-casual favorite, her Beastie Burger, and Sunny Anderson makes a twist on a classic with her Grilled Chicken and Corn Pasta Salad. Geoffrey Zakarian prepares delicious Grilled Shrimp Cups with Aioli, and Chef Roger Mooking stops by with his Chicken Wing Skewers. Jeff Mauro and his special sous chef, Food Network's Jason Smith, create a patriotic Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Sandwich Cake before everyone cools off at the refreshing Watermelon Slushy Bar.

Cook-Out of Control!

The Kitchen hosts are amping up summer foods for an epic summer celebration. Alex Guarnaschelli kicks off the cookout with her Triple Decker Burger with Roasted Vegetables and Cheese Sauce. Next, Katie Lee Biegel brings seafood flair for a crowd with her Lobster Roll Panzanella, and Sunny Anderson shares the best hack for perfect Racked Wings with Mustard BBQ Sauce. Geoffrey Zakarian whips up Pistachio Falafel with a Cardamom-Yogurt Sauce for a tasty party bite, and last but not least, Jeff Mauro thinks on his feet and takes the party to the next level with his Grilled Biscuit Sundae with Peaches and Blueberries.

Mother's Day Made Easy

The Kitchen is giving Mom the day off and making Mother's Day easy. Geoffrey Zakarian starts things off with his delicious Bacon, Onion and Cheese Tart, and then the hosts create beautiful, colorful fruit boards. Sunny Anderson sails through with her Easy Shrimp and Rice Pineapple Boats, and Jeff Mauro shares a shortcut sheet pan Chicken A L'Orange. Alex Guarnaschelli toasts Mom with her Peach Lemonade Spritz, and Katie Lee Biegel wraps up the party on a sweet note with her Limoncello Ginger Tiramisu.

Raise the BBQ

The Kitchen is raising the bar on all your barbecue favorites! First, Jeff Mauro fires things up with his Honey-Glazed Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Then Katie Lee stirs up a side with her Peach Bourbon Baked Beans and Sunny Anderson serves some Easy Apple Slaw with Apple-Jalapeno Dressing. Pitmaster Moe "Big Moe" Cason brings the heat with his Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken Thighs, then Baked in Vermont's Gesine Prado stops by to make a Blackberry Cornbread Cake. After everything gets plated, it's time for a BBQ Party using pit-perfect ideas that will turn any backyard into a barbecue joint.

Spring Into Summer

The Kitchen is serving a week's worth of easy meals perfect for warmer weather, like Katie Lee's Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Eggplant and Jeff Mauro's Thai Meatballs and Zucchini Noodles. Consumer advocate Janice Lieberman shares her tips for buying prepped ingredients at the supermarket and then uses them in a new spin on Chicken Salad. The hosts share their brilliant kitchen hacks to create a Steak Panzanella, plus Sunny Anderson creates an easy Shrimp "Boil" using only a sheet pan. Finally, the hosts guess which food trends are real and worth trying and which are fake.

Summer in a Snap

The Kitchen is keeping it easy and breezy for summer with recipes to make in a snap. Katie Lee uses the grill to cook a whole meal of Sesame Shrimp and Greens with Rice Foil Packs, and then the hosts pass the Stuffed Grilled Avocados loaded with their favorite guacamole ingredients. Geoffrey Zakarian makes a simple summer pasta, Fusilli with Arugula, Basil Pesto and Crispy Pancetta. Food Network's Christian Petroni grills up his Tenderoni Pizza, and Jeff Mauro dishes out an Atlantic Beach Pie for dessert. Finally, the hosts share their favorite new grocery store shortcuts for summer.

Sizzling Summer

The Kitchen is kicking off summer with a hot menu, starting with Sunny Anderson's Sizzling Summer Burger and Jeff Mauro's side dish, Double Potato Salad with Pesto. Food Network's Bev Weidner thrills on the grill with her Grilled Salmon Tacos, and Chef Robert Irvine brings his Peach BBQ Chicken with Cucumber and Tomato Salad. Geoffrey Zakarian makes his spin on a classic, Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and the hosts usher in summer with stepped-up s'mores.

Hot Dogs, New Tricks

Jeff Mauro shares all the twists, turns and new takes on the beloved standby -- the hot dog -- and brings out his recipe for Hot Dog Curly Fries with Dippers! From Sunny Anderson's inventive Bulgogi Dog to Katie Lee Biegel's Barkin' Buffalo Dog, the Kitchen hosts have elevated these wieners to winners. Jeff shows off his foolproof Ultimate Cheesy and Spicy Reuben Brats, and there are three takes on pigs in a blanket: Sunny's BK Currywurst Pull-Aparts and guest chef Mary Giuliani's Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara versions. Then Jeff, Sunny and Katie all present new ideas for hot dog toppings in the ultimate celebration of this American classic.

Best Brunch Ever

Jeff Mauro has lovingly compiled his go-to brunch favorites. He revisits the other hosts' recipes and creates a Corned Beef Hash Brown Muffuletta that's to die for! Katie Lee Biegel fires up a Smoked Salmon Breakfast Pizza, and Sunny Anderson gets decadent with her Crazy Rich Chicken and Waffles. Guest chef Patrick Connolly impresses with Banana Bread French Toast with Peanut Butter Mousse topping. Jeff dishes up his Corned Beef Hash Benedict with gooey, cheesy Mornay sauce, and Geoffrey Zakarian's Lucky Green Baked Eggs are a huge hit.


Waffle trucks come in all types, from waffles and chicken to simple waffles with butter and maple syrup to gourmet waffles with blueberries and lemon cream cheese filling. This concept, like paninis or tacos, can be served almost all day and will be as big of a hit for breakfast as it would be at 3 a.m. Waffle Crush in Phoenix, Arizona, has a waffle for every mood and time of day.

Always popular and a perennial favorite, burgers can be served plain or with panache. Burgers always sell, but they also tend to be one of the most crowded niches. There are too many of these trucks to count. Consider adding a spin from one of the other types on this list to make your burger truck truly unique.


The 10 most popular food trucks in America

Food trucks have come a long way from their early days of selling plastic-wrapped sandwiches and bland coffee to factory workers looking for something cheap and quick. Today these mobile eateries feature unique offerings of every type — from freshly caught seafood and gourmet burgers to gluten-free and vegan sandwiches, sides and desserts. And their popularity is growing. According to Technomic, a research firm specializing in the food-service industry, sales for the food truck segment — comprised predominately by independent operators — are growing about 15 percent annually, compared with around 5 percent a year for the casual dining segment.

The popularity of food trucks got a big boost after the recession when folks, laid off from corporate jobs, decided to take a risk running their own business, explains Brett Lindenberg, founder of the Food Truck Empire, a site dedicated to the food truck industry. These mobile restaurants are more affordable than a brick-and-mortar location (a new truck can cost anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000, according to Technomic, versus nearly $1 million to open a stand-alone restaurant). And because food trucks run on volume, they can reach $400,000 or more in sales a year pretty quickly.

Here are the top 10 most popular food trucks in the United States, according to the latest survey by The Daily Meal, a service that provides research on dining news and trends. (Warning: Don't be surprised if you're hungry after reading this.)


Bright Boho 30th Birthday Party

This boho birthday party on our lifestyle blog today is the picture of thirty and thriving! It’s a backyard bash for the books that celebrated an event designer… so needless to say it’s pretty amazing. From incredible red & pink florals, to a VW van photo booth, to an ultra bohemian set up in the backyard complete with floor cushions and a long wooden table, Jessie rang in her 30s with style! But wait there’s more…

When Jessie Capstick, the owner and creative director of Tangerine Room Events, a boutique event design and planning company in Denver, Colorado turned 30, she decided the celebration needed to be one for the books. Jessie and her husband Brian wanted to treat their closest friends and family to a backyard boho bash under the stars! Jessie loves everything textured, colorful and inviting, and no three words could more perfectly describe this celebration.

The inspiration all began with a DIY flower crown bar from Yonder House Floral and Decor. Jessie loves a good DIY project, but might love a flower crown even more. Custom paper goods were designed by Ella Vine Co. to set the tone, accompanied by tangerine calligraphy on kraft paper envelopes done by the birthday girl herself. Together, Jessie and Gretchen Josten, the brains behind Yonder House, dreamed up the inspiration for the lounge areas, dining experience and completely yummy florals. Callie Hobbs, of Callie Hobbs Photography perfectly captured every texture and detail of the design, as well as every intimate and love filled moment from the celebration.

Guests pulled food tickets down from a macrame wall hanging and were treated by food truck to falafel, chicken shawarma, and truffle fries from Baba’s Falafel. Baker Loves Cake created cakes and cupcakes topped with edible gems as delicious as they were beautiful, and custom sugar cookies to match the boho theme.

As a lover of all things vibrant and textured, Jessie pulled her green velvet sofa out to the backyard, where cozy and inviting lounges were set up for guests to gather with Salty Dog’s ( Jessie ’s favorite cocktail). A peacock chair fully adorned in florals from Yonder House was the ultimate match for the green sofa and became the perfect spot for the guest of honor to open gifts and chat with girlfriends. Farm tables surrounded with rugs, pillows and Moroccan blankets were set across the center of the yard with a mix of eclectic tableware provided by Yonder House and pulled right from Jessie ’s cabinets. Gold flatware and candle sticks accompanied by candy colored taper candles and custom made rock candy added a dash of playfulness to the scene. Table florals were inspired by palm leaves and vibrant hues, but were loose and romantic, adding to the boho experience. Cafe lights from Firefly Events were strung above guests heads for added coziness as the stars came out and guests danced to tunes provided by Jessie ’s brother.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was the Shutterbus, a photo booth housed in a mint green VW bus that was pulled into the back yard for guests to enjoy. Jessie ’s favorite photo strip from the night included a series of photos capturing her 85 year old grandpa trading his fedora for her flower crown!


Watch the video: Truck (December 2021).