Brand Ambassadors (and why you need them)

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Imagine this: you walk outside and there is a mobile billboard stationed in front of your office in Midtown. Maybe you Tweet to spin a prize wheel, maybe you are handed free hot chocolate, maybe you stop and ask the people in matching shirts who look like they are part of the madness "what's going on?" The answer is: no one knows...but Brand Ambassadors look good doing it!

Now the question is: where do these Brand Ambassadors come from? We work exclusively with a company called Mustard Lane, which brands themselves as "the nation's one stop shop for all your staffing needs" and they certainly hold true to that statement! Their roster of “Laners” includes industry professionals from across the country and their selective casting process means that all of their Laners come to your event vetted, tried and true.

 Twitter's #WhatsHappening activation during Summer 2018

Twitter's #WhatsHappening activation during Summer 2018

Brand Ambassadors are such an important addition to any event or brand activation where you are trying to get a clear and concise message out to your audience. They don't just stand there handing out food samples, they are actually professionally trained to interact with and engage your target audience. Teams can come in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of abilities. Need to collect email addresses? Need to manage a crowd? Spinning prize wheels and getting excited when someone wins a foam finger? They can do it all.

 

Mustard Lane works with some of the biggest brand names (including the biggest of them all: NYFTA ;) ) to bring events to life and they are also fun people to work with! Take a look some of our recent projects where we had some Laners!

Mustard Lane recently featured us on their own blog if you want to read more about the biz from their perspective and to see what else they have going on! We promise we didn't pay them to say nice things, but they said nice things.

Ask us about bringing on Brand Ambassadors to your next NYFTA project! You won't regret it.

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Behind the Window: Toum NYC

You have your favorite food trucks (and we have ours) but have you ever wondered what goes on beyond the serving window? The food truck industry is exciting, fast paced and challenging but those who are in the biz do it for the love of the game.

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes of Toum: NYC’s most popular Lebanese food truck.


You might recognize them by the cute little garlic man on their truck fabrication or maybe you’ve seen them at a NYFTA event recently. They are everywhere! Starting as a humble side catering business for family and friends in the community by request has turned into a full blown operation with a huge following. Regulars find them for their authentic cuisine (stuffed grape leaves on a food truck?) and stay for the staff’s smiling faces.

What goes on during a regular food truck meal service might be clear to some but is a mystery to most. It is not always be pretty (especially when there's a line) but the madness leads to deliciousness.

Depending on the truck, there could be anywhere between 2-6 people working in a confined space at a time. Think of your one-bedroom apartment being converted into a three-bedroom: space is hard to come by but just like your walk up in the city, they make use of the space they do have. Toum even made room for their vertical meat spit! Innovation is the key to success in any mobile kitchen. Toum specifically has to pre-plan storage for to-go salad containers, utensils to hand out as well as transport all beverages (including their signature lemonade). Toum as well as all of the NYFTA members have their Department of Health certifications to ensure quality and cleanliness.

Toum (which means garlic in Lebanese) always has a line during lunch wherever they are. They blast out their location in the city via social media nearly everyday to keep their dedicated followers in the know if they are off the streets for an event. They are available for pretty much anything from private catered events to Ubereats to pop up lunches at the office. Just follow the crazy garlic man!

Keep Calm and Shawarma on!

Food Holidays: August

We all love a good excuse to celebrate and celebrations usually go hand-in-hand with food. So celebrating food holidays should be a no brainer!

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Check out some ridiculous reasons to eat during the month of August and stay tuned for a monthly feature!


- August 2nd - National Ice Cream Sandwich Day -

Clearly we have a love for ice cream (who doesn't) and would like to think every day is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day but now there is an actual day dedicated to everyone's favorite frozen snack! Our favorites are The Tenny from Melt Bakery and The Good Witch from The Good Batch. Both have brick and mortar shops located in Manhattan and are also able to bring their pushcart into pretty much any venue for a fun addition to any event.

- 1st Saturday in August - National Mustard Day -

This is an obvious one for us since we have been partnering with the Public Art Fund all summer to bring you the Hot Dog Bus. See you every weekend until the end of August in Brooklyn Bridge Park for 'dogs smothered in mustard (and ketchup if that's your jam).

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- August 10th - National S'mores Day - 

It's hard to mess up the camping staple but if you happen to not have a fire pit and all fixin's then Glazed & Confused can help you out. They drizzle Marshmallow creme, chocolate sauce and crumbled graham crackers over their signature warm mini donuts in a mouthwatering combination. Bring us s'more.

 

- August 14th - National Creamsicle Day -

Another excuse to show off our incredible creamsicle inspired ice cream floats in partnership with Twitter. Unfortunately, you won't be able to find these on the streets any longer but request a custom menu from our culinary team and perhaps you can have this orange treat again!

- August 20th - National Bacon Lover's Day - 

This could be considered the Holy Grail of food holidays. If you had to dedicate an entire day to something, it better be bacon. Our vendors know what the people like so here are some of our favorite menu items that sizzle.

Mac Truck NYC's Applewood Smoke Bacon topped mac and cheese is one of their most popular menu items, especially at events!

Abeetz serves up everyone's favorite combo in pizza form and affectionately call the creation BAE - Bacon, Egg and Cheese, Mozzarella, Everything Spice Crust.

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Foodie Tips: Snacks!

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You know that feeling when hunger strikes and you must find a snack in order to survive the rest of your workday? Or when you're out and about being tour guide for your extended family who are in town for the weekend and Dad is getting hangry but your dinner reservation is in just a few hours? The solution: food truck snacks!

Snacks = bite sized, ideally handheld and unquestionably delicious morsels of goodness. Check out some of our favorite grab and go finger foods and ditch the fork!


You know Souvlaki GR for their Mykonos-inspired restaurants scattered around Manhattan but did you know they have a food truck too?! Bringing the authentic flavors of Greece to the streets of NYC, grab an order of hand-cut greek fries sprinkled with feta and oregano to tide you over on your walk home from the gym ;)

 

Big D's Grub Truck is known for just that, the grub. If you like your snacks to have dipabilty, the pork & chive dumplings are perfect for dunking in soy garlic, sriracha or ginger dipping sauces while trying to avoid that afternoon meeting. So sorry I'm late, there was a dumpling emergency! 

 

Sometimes, you just want literally 2 bites of something to satisfy your savory baked good craving. Served in two's, Toum's authentic Lebanese spinach pies are stuffed with spinach, onions and a special blend of lemony spices. How many bites does it take to get to the center of a spinach pie? Just one if you try real hard.

Speaking of bite sized, another notable snack comes from a local food truck celeb. Mac Truck's mac bites prove beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Wash down the cheesy bites with a giant lemonade for the ultimate summer combo.

Are you the type of person who eats their popcorn kernel by kernel or handful by handful? Either way, Brooklyn Popcorn has you covered no matter your eating style. The smell of freshly popped popcorn will lead you directly to this staple in the streets of the five boroughs. Or a circus, which isn't a bad option either.

And finally, the snack of all snacks. One snack to rule them all! The classic chips and guac. El Toro Rojo is a recent Vendy Award winner and for good reason! Their main menu includes authentic corn tortilla tacos with locally sourced ingredients but if you are in the mood for those crispy triangles, they come hot off the truck with a generous scoop of the green stuff. Guac is extra and so are we.

Happy snacking!

Eats in the Streets

You’ve seen our vendors out and about for NYFTA events and promotions but they are busy bees and can be found all over town! In addition to everyday street service, there are loads of other locations you can find your favorites. Check them out this summer if you dare to brave the heat at some of the city’s most popular neighborhood pop ups and street fests to get your eat on!


Broadway Bites is a food vendor pop up in Greeley Square that runs through certain dates in the summer and fall. Their lineup features a diverse mix of cuisines that includes NYFTA favorites Kimchi Taco and Melt Bakery. Stop by for a plate on your way to a game at MSG or a gourmet ice cream sandwich before your afternoon of shopping. 

You can find one of our most requested vendors serving up Korean fusion daily at Madison Square Eats. Korilla BBQ is a pop-up veteran at this point and also have several brick and mortar store fronts around the city in addition to their mobile catering operation. It's hard to NOT stumble upon those unmistakable tiger stripes.

Mr. Bing is also a part of the vendor list for Madison Square Eats but has recently taken up temporary residence at Times Square Market serving you Chinese street food. They are joined by other NYFTA favorites Wafles & Dinges (for something sweet) and Nuchas Empanadas (for something on-the-go). Check them all out at their stands on your way to a show!

Smorgasburg is always a huge hit every summer since it's brings together established vendors and new concepts alike to two incredible locations in Brooklyn. You can catch Red Hook Lobster, Bona Bona Ice Cream and The Good Batch at the waterfront location in Williamsburg every Saturday through October. New vendors are added every week! Rain or shine, the views and food are worth it.

We love seeing our members' businesses thrive outside of the event space. Keep up with these and more on their social media for the most up to date information on where to catch them throughout the summer. Check back with us for even more events and promotions!

Edible Art?

...well kind of. There has been a giant hot dog rolling around Brooklyn Bridge Park all summer and it certainly is a sight to see. Affectionately known as the Hot Dog Bus, this bright yellow eye-catcher is actually a functional art installation brought to New Yorkers by the Public Art Fund and Austrian artist Erwin Wurm to serve a quintessential summer staple to hungry park-goers.

The piece of edible art was originally a vintage Volkswagon Microbus and has been transformed into an overstuffed shape resembling a hot dog and doubles as a mobile food vendor. While it is not your typical art installation in the traditional sense, the Hot Dog Bus brings a more interactive viewing (and eating) experience and actively engages participants in a way you can’t get in a museum. Brought on by the Public Art Fund, the New York Food Truck Association staff have been happily handing out free hot dogs and plans to do so every weekend until the end of the summer.

For more details and further explanation from the Public Art Fund Curator for the project, check out their website  and social media for some great shots throughout the summer.

Grab a bike, the kids, Fiddo, or go for a solo run in the park and stumble upon something unheard of...free food! Enjoy and keep an eye out for the Hot Dog Bus.

 

(Photos courtesy of: Francisco LaFontaine, My Moving Pictures)

4th of July and Carnivale Donut Bar

What’s more American than gluttony on wheels? Carnivale Donut Bar has made it its mission to be at the top of your patriotic food pyramid—today, and every other day. Don’t believe us? Just scope their menu or scroll down their Instagram feed featuring snapshot after heart-seizing snapshot of donut-topped milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, and stuffed donuts.

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Carnivale’s signature “Over the Top” shake breaks taste ceilings by combining two already perfect sweet treats: a rich, creamy milkshake topped off with an utterly golden dough halo. You can take your pick of 10 insane flavors, but we most recommend the Oreo—a classic black and white cookie crumble with a thick chocolate syrup drizzle—or the Banana Cream—it has fruit in it, so it must be healthy right?

If you’d rather ditch the cup, send your eyes South on the menu towards the Ice Cream Donut Sandwiches (yes) and the Stuffed Mini Donuts. The latter skip the ice cream, in case that’s not your thing, but they certainly don’t skimp on flavor. Try either in the S’mores, which tastes like campfire bliss with actual fire-roasted marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs, and the French Toast, for breakfast-in-bed comfort levels.

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If you’re aching for the funnel cake aromas of your youth on this particularly nostalgic day, but want a twist of decadent toppings, you can track Carnivale’s location via Instagram and Facebook. When you get there, make sure to say hi to their sweet tooth-having mascot, Banjo the bear. If you still can’t get enough (we guarantee you’ll leave stuffed but wishing you could eat more), you can always book Carnivale to cater a private event like a wedding or a birthday party. Because it doesn’t have to be the Fourth of July to indulge in a mind-bending, body-rocking dessert. In America, every day is donut and milkshake day.

Hot Hot Hot

This weekend, New York City is guaranteed to be simmering with heat, and the nonstop metropolis will undoubtedly end on a scorching note Monday morning, at 90 degrees. That means a few things for Manhattan's midtown destinations: long lines at drugs stores of people waiting to buy bottled water, sidewalks packed with pedestrians walking sluggishly in a heat daze, and tourists carrying light jackets over their shoulders disgruntled by how mistaken they were to think they would need a windbreaker “in case it got cold.”

Also: Food trucks! No doubt you will spot locals and foreigners standing in single file waiting for one of Nathan’s famous hot dogs, a New York Food Truck Association favorite.

I know one way to stay cool is to eat ice cream and milkshakes. But why not heat up your taste buds with some hot sauce? Did you know your body cools down when you eat spicy food in high temperatures? It’s biologically sensible to eat loads of street snacks drenched in hot sauce this weekend! 

Let’s heat up for the summer with this little rundown of NYFTA -approved vendors, all who serve the best hot sauces in town.

 

Makina

New York City’s first Ethiopian and Eritrean food truck is a unique and delectable delight among all of our artisanal kitchens on wheels. Here, you get two options for hot sauce: the spicy Awaze, or the extremely spicy Makina sauce. Want your mouth on fire? I would choose the latter.

 

Korilla

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One of my favorite things about Korean BBQ food are the spicy flavors, and these guys nail the heat factor like no other Korean food truck. Their K’lla sauce may actually kill you if you’ve never had hot sauce before, so if you need something easier and would like to avoid dipping your mouth into lava this weekend, I suggest the much milder Korilla sauce. 

 

Souvlaki GR

Souvlaki serves up some hot toppings as well. They won’t incinerate the sides of your tongue like other food trucks might, but their sauces are definitely worth checking out. Pitas and bifteki sandwiches reign here. 

 

Los Viajeros

Jalapenos are not for everyone, but if they happen to be for you, then you must stop by Los Viajeros, one of New York’s finest Mexican food trucks. Many of their taco and burrito offerings come with chipotle aioli, a phenomenal sauce that I would drizzle on anything. It’s that good! You can spot this truck a mile away with its vibrant hot pink paint. Don’t pass it up.

Off to the Races

The horse racing season has arrived. Open that secret stash drawer where you keep all your loose twenty-dollar bills, pack light for a long day out, and head for the races to enjoy one of New York City’s oldest sports. 

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Way out in Belmont Park this weekend is the annual Belmont Stakes event. This year is particularly special, a history in the making: the 150th horse racing champion will be crowned.

I’m sure, if you’re a big fan of horse racing, you’ve already figured out who’s the underdog, who should win, who will win, and who you’d bet on (hypothetically speaking). But knowing what to eat is important, too. The New York Food Truck Association will cater the event, so rest assured, you won’t have to sneak in a sad, squished PB&J into the venue this year. Here is a quick rundown of the NYFTA-approved trucks making a grand appearance at Belmont Stakes. They’ll all be parked at the Coors Light Food Truck Village. Take a gander!

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The Mac Truck

Classic comfort food executed with an artisanal flair. Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? Try the fried mac bites for a satisfying little snack.

Empanada Sonata

Not your typical empanada truck. There are over a dozen variations of this Latin classic to choose from, including some unusual flavors, like Thai Coconut Chicken and Broccoli Rabe.

Yaki Taco

Japanese yakitori ingredients and flavors, from Wasabi Chicken to Tonkatsu BBQ, are prepared as burritos and tacos with pico de gallo, Mexican cheese, and beans. Great for any adventurous flavor explorer.

Gary’s Steaks

I imagine this one will be a hit for many horse racing enthusiasts. The peerless philly-style steak sandwiches served here will pulverize your taste buds. You got to try a steak at Belmont Stakes!

Coney Shack

Check out Coney Shack for some Asian fusion hot dogs, tacos, and quesadillas. Try the Holy Phuc, a beef hotdog with beer-battered fish, lemongrass aioli, cheese, and tomato basil creole sauce.

Big D’s Grub

Sandwiches, rice platters, and tacos are served here with a few twists. You can try a sandwich prepared with bulgogi, spicy pork, or ginger chicken. A vegan option is also available for anyone with a special diet.

Chef Samir

Come here for some of the best Mediterranean food available on wheels. Grab a pocket pita or a bowl of cous cous filled with falafel, lemon chicken, or beef kofta brochette. You can also order a beef or lamb shawarma.

Deli N’ Dogz

The first ever kosher-style hot pastrami truck in NYC is not something to miss out on. Savor some corned beef or salami sandwiches. Try a frankfurter, too, while you’re at it,

Korilla BBQ

If you’ve been reading us, then you know that we at NYFTA rave about Korilla any chance we get. Who knew Korean BBQ and tacos could coexist in such a delicious way?

Phil’s Steaks

Don’t tell Gary, but Phil serves up some pretty good steak sandwiches too. The fries here are one of a kind. Maybe try a sandwich from Gary and Phil, and compare and contrast the scrumptious flavors?

Souvlaki GR

This fantastic Greek restaurant in the Lower East Side moonlights as a food truck, and you won’t regret trying out their menu at Belmont Stakes this weekend.

Valducci’s

            If you’ve been scrolling through this list, just waiting to read the pizza option, well, here it is! What’s great about Valducci’s is they serve every style of this Italian staple food. Sicilian, Neopolitan, thin crust and thick crust... this truck does it all.

           Nuchas Empanada

            The artisanal empanadas at Nuchas are mind blowingly good. Don’t expect something generic and boring from these chefs. Their Seitan Al Pastor, with pineapple and chipotle, is marvelous.

            Softee Express

            Finish off your meal with some ice cream! Did you bring your kids along, and are they bugging you about dessert? If that’s the case, this is the truck for you.

 

Remember to pack some sunscreen!

Scope out some sweet ice cream!

            Finally, at long last, the Earth has tilted far enough on its axis to bring our hemisphere closer to the Sun. The pear trees throughout Park Slope and Greenwich Village are blooming with white, aromatic flowers. Lightning storms are abruptly breaking in the sky and showering us with heavy rain, only to blow away within an hour, as if they are throwing a tantrum and then running away to hide. During this month of lustrous light and temperate weather, the best way to enjoy the sun is to go out walking, catching your favorite New York City sights, looking effortlessly cool in your new sunglasses.

            What’s a better way to boost the fun of city excursions than with a delicious ice cream cone? Of course, ice cream trucks permeate Manhattan during the warm season a lot like how broken umbrellas litter the streets after a storm. But many of those trucks offer generic, same-old-same-old takes on ice cream. Who wants more of the same boring stuff? The New York Food Truck Association knows all of the best, unique ice cream trucks around. We got the hook up on the artisanal, expertly crafted frosty desserts you’ve been looking for.

Scope out some of these trucks the next time you’re exploring the city and pick up a scoop.

 Photo Via. Eater

Photo Via. Eater

Shake By Black Tap

The shakes served at this truck are, truly, works of art. Shake By BT is pretty new to the food truck game; it launched last year. But don’t assume it’s run by newbies. Michelin Star Chef Joe Isidori founded this dessert enterprise, and his Instagram-worthy ice cream shakes are so colorful and vibrant, you may feel bad eating them. This is a wonderful vendor to commission for your next party. Imagine all of your friends lined up for pictures with an extraordinary vanilla ice cream milk shake! Take a gander at their social media pages to see how their desserts look, if you're not convinced.

Bona Bona Ice Cream

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Bona Bona takes artisanal ice cream a step further than most dessert makers. They bring an abundance of unique flavors to the table, like Holy Cannoli and Rainbow Cookie, and serve up an absolutely picturesque cone that begs to be the star of your next #IceCreamSelfie. You don’t have to just do a cone here. You can choose your favorite flavors and toppings for a milkshake or a sundae. Mix it up and live it up!

Softee Express

Many people have only tasted cheap soft serve from fast food joints like McDonalds, and as occasionally tasty those desserts are, they don’t hold a candle to the high-quality soft ice cream Softee Express brings to New York. At Softee Express, you can add a plethora of sprinkles and toppings to your ice cream. They don’t mess around with this kid-friendly classic. Newcomers may want to try the classic vanilla. A veteran like myself always goes for the peanut cone.