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. 

 

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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?

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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.

 

Summer Just Around the Corner

It’s that time of year, you can feel summer just around the corner, the winter coat is pushed way way way into the back of the closet to be forgotten about for many months. Flowers and blooming, there are leaves on the trees (almost forgot about those) and the scrumptious aromas of the cities finest food trucks are filling the warm air. Spring indeed is here, and whole we may be anxious to get started with the full on summer fare, these rainy weeks are a great time to get cozy and enjoy some of our favorite comfort foods. Here’s our list of the best comfort food trucks in the city to hit up before you start worrying about that beach bod:

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DUB Pies

All the way from down under, DUB Pies has brought the savory melty goodness of Australia to just about every corner of New York. Find them all around Brooklyn in the DUB Pies truck, and in tons of local bars throughout the borough, thank us later.

THE EMPANADA SONATA

Little hand held pockets of amazingness. These empanadas may be filled with the good stuff, but are incomplete without a cannonball into one of The Empanada Sonata’s famous dipping sauces. Siracha aioli, sweet Thai chili, or a swan dive into some chipotle cream, don’t worry you don’t need to choose just one.

HOME FRITE

Ok so everyone loves French fries, even people gluten free people love French fries. But any true fry fan knows it’s not so much the fries themselves that make them so great. It’s what we dip them in!! The perfect vehicle for any sauce you fancy, we recommend the truffle.

 

 

 

Food Explorers - More of our Favorite Culinary Pioneers

We shone a spotlight a couple weeks ago on three of our favorite food trucks who serve cuisine from various cultures across the world. New York City, after all, is a city with millions of people, who speak dozens of different languages and live many different ways of life, all smashed together into five boroughs, sharing walls, sidewalks, and even apartment complexes. Just listing three trucks from our diverse list of vendors is not enough.

Here are three more trucks to try on your next globe-trotting flavor expedition. Travel the world the NYFTA way, by sampling snacks from these delicious restaurants on wheels.

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Mr. Bing

This truck brings Beijing street food straight to the big apple. A bing is the delicious Chinese version of a savory pancake, which you can hold in the palm of your hand like a sandwich. Each one is made of mung bean, rice, and wheat flour crepe, coated with egg, sesame seeds, scallions, hoisin sauce, chili paste, cilantro, and crunchy wontons. You can add pork, duck, chicken, or my favorite, kimchi. The first time I ever had a bing was at this truck, and it blew me away.

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Coney Shack

North American cuisine, like hot dogs, tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, collide with the flavors of Asia at Coney Shack, and the results are equally delicious and original. Different ingredients native to so many different countries come together so seamlessly on the menu, it’s like the chefs touched it with a magic wand. There are over a dozen options on the menu. One highlight is the Thit Kho Porky Pork Burrito, which combines caramelized garlic glazed pork and jasmine rice with Mexican 5 Blend Cheese and pico di gallo, all wrapped in one tortilla.

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Souvlaki GR

The cuisine you would find in the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos is prepared daily at this food truck, and while it may not be as perfect as a summer vacation on a beach by the Aegean Sea, it is so good that you will momentarily forget that you are in a crazy city like New York. Definitely dip a few slices of pita in their mouth-watering hummus, you won’t regret it.

 

-Your Friends at the New York Food Truck Association 

NY Bike Expo - 2018

            The biggest bike expo on the East Coast is coming back to New York City this weekend, just in time for you to decide whether or not you’ll be tossing out your metro card to spend the summer commuting on wheels.

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Bike Expo New York is a two-day convention, from Friday, May 4th to Saturday, May 5th, that brings hands-on classes, fashion shows, contests, and vendors together for both newbie and veteran bikers. It’s completely free, open to the public, and located at Pier 12 in Red Hook, with views of the gorgeous Manhattan skyline.

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The Bike Expo offers some pretty exciting opportunities to show off your bike knowledge. Throughout the weekend, there will be three sessions of Jeopardy and two “fix a flat” contests. I don’t think I’ve ever fixed a flat tire by myself, but who knows, maybe if I stop by and give it a try, I can astound everyone with my improvisational handyman skills. Many of these events give away prizes to participators and, of course, winners. Who doesn’t love free stuff? You can also check out all the latest designs in bike wear and gear. If you’re an experienced biker looking to find the perfect aerodynamic swag for your next cross-country mountain trip, or if you’re just a regular New Yorker that loves to bike around and wants to meet other bikers, then be sure to stop by the Bike Expo.

Don’t worry about bringing food or drinks, by the way. The New York Food Truck Association is catering the event with a fantastic selection of food trucks. Korilla BBQ and Toum, two trucks we featured in our blog last week, are making an appearance, and three of our other favorite trucks, El Toro Rojo, Abeetz, and Phil’s Steaks, are also serving the event. So when you’re not busy attending bike panels or taking an outdoor class, grab a nice bite and relax in the beer garden with some quality cuisine.

-Your Friends at the New York Food Truck Association 

Flavor Explorers

            Any tourist walking down 5th Avenue or 14th Street for the first time will notice a particularly unique aspect of our city. New York is one of the most diverse places in the world! Several different restaurants with food from various parts of the world—taquerias, burger joints, curry houses, and sushi bars—crowd the same block and sometimes even share a wall. Families who once immigrated from cities thousands of miles away call New York City home. Multiculturalism is embedded into the city’s DNA, and you can see how diverse the food offerings here are in our many food trucks, too. The New York Food Truck Association would not be a “New York” “Association” if we did not have a wide-ranging, eclectic membership.

            Here is a list of some of our food trucks, each of which serves artisanal cuisine from different parts of the world, often with a fun and original twist!

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            Korilla BBQ

            The genius team behind this truck brings two different styles of food—Korean BBQ and Latin food—together into a delicious fusion. Korilla appeared on the second season of the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” where they came in third place, but they will always be #1 for me. They serve up noodle bowls, salad bowls, rice bowls, burritos, and tacos, and you can order bulgogi, tofu and pork with pico de gallo or Korean sweet beans. I highly recommend getting a side order of the Tiger Balls; it’s crispy and fried on the outside, with a mouthwatering and cheesy inside.

            Los Viajeros

            You can’t go wrong with a classic taco truck. This truck’s menu is inspired by Dominican, Cuban, and Mexican cultures. They offer two wonderful vegetarian options, the Veggie Taco and the La Flaca burrito. Both have sweet plantains, peppers, and onions with a blend of cotija and jack cheeses. Many of their dishes come with the house coleslaw, and while I’ve never been much of a slaw person, Los Viajeros truly do it right. They were even nominated for Rookie of the Year at the the 2016 Vendy Awards!

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Toum

            Toum is a family owned food truck that started out six years ago with an admirable mission: to put Lebanese cuisine on wheels and bring the wonderful flavors of falafel, babaghanouj, and makanek to the streets of New York City. Their hummus is absolutely phenomenal. Whenever I pass by their truck on my way to Bryant Park, I make a point to pick up some hummus and pita, so I can munch on the grass while watching all the people scurry by.

 

            Please check out the rest of our vendors and see all the fantastic food offerings from all over the world!

-Your Friends at the New York Food Truck Association 

Makina Café

Makina Café founder Eden G. Egziabher was raised amongst an eclectic blend of Ethiopian, Eritrean and Italian cultures. Of the many tings she was able to takeaway from being exposed to so many different ways of life, the food probably stands out the most.

Born in Ethiopia to parents of Eritrean descent, she has been able to bring the best flavors these cultures have to offer, here to the big apple. She prides herself on being the first Eritrean – American female entrepreneur in New York City to be serving “Habesha” food. Habesha is used as a term of pride, the word is used to eliminate the distinction between the different tribes of Eritrea and Ethiopia, celebrating the unity of the regions people.

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It’s no wonder that the word Makina (the name of her mobile café) translates to “truck” in Italian, Ethiopian and Eritrean language. It’s these three unique cuisines that make up the delicious mosaic of flavors found on her menu.  Healthy, tasty, and amove all else unique – Makina brings exciting new breakfast and lunch options to New Yorkers everywhere, sure to shake up your routine in the best way possible.

Weather you opt for a delicious bed of yellow rice, or some scrumptious Injera (a sourdough - risen thin flatbread) you are in for a treat. Chicken or beef tibs, cubed and marinated with onions garlic, berbere and loads of other exciting herbs, oh and did we metion the veggies? Fosolia string beans, Gomen collard greens, and Ater split pea stew, just to name a few.

So the next time you are ready to try something new, find the Makina Café roaming around your neighborhood. Follow them at @makinacafe to see where they are everyday!

 

-Your Friends at the New York Food Truck Association

Best Birthday Food Trucks - 2018

 

            While birthdays may begin to feel routine at a certain point, they never have to be boring. Many of us throw birthday parties at parks, in event spaces, or in our own homes. Not often do guests expect a food truck to arrive. Imagine the surprise and excitement that would bring! Food trucks aren’t just for big corporate parties or festivals, they can be booked for your own personal pleasure at an intimate event of any size. Does your friend have a favorite food truck? And does he or she love a good birthday surprise? NYFTA will bring their favorite vendor straight to their front door.

            Every birthday party needs some fun food options, so here is a list of artisanal food trucks to consider for you or your loved one’s once-a-year celebration:

 

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            Bona Bona Ice Cream

            I have never met a single person who doesn’t like ice cream. It’s a fun and delicious dessert snack loved across all ages. Bona Bona Ice Cream is run by Chef Nick Di Bona, who owns Madison Kitchen. Expect fresh ingredients and original and exciting flavors, like Rainbow Cookie, Nutella Smores, and Holy Cannoli. This truck has a fantastic party option. You pick five flavors and five toppings and choose between milkshakes, sundaes, or just plain old scoops of ice cream.

           

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            Glazed and Confused

            This truck specializes in fresh baked mini donuts with a unique, and sometimes hilarious twist. My favorite is The Hangover, a scrumptious donut with a maple syrup glaze covered in bacon pieces. You may not want to book this truck for a friend if he is watching his cholesterol, but for anyone else, I promise they won’t be disappointed.

 

            Red Hook Lobster Pound

            Desserts are wonderful, but if your loved one likes savory more than sweet, then I recommend the Red Hook Lobster Pound truck. Lobster is almost universally enjoyed. Who wouldn’t want a lobster roll on their birthday? It’s the quintessential East Coast snack. Just imagine your party snacking on lobster mac and cheese in this lovely spring weather.

 

Take a look at our other vendors, too, This is only a small slice of what the New York Food Truck Association has to offer.

0-Your Friends at the New York Fod Truck Association

Food Trends Coming to a Sidewalk Near You

Food Trends

When it comes to trends, New York City is ground zero. It’s safe to say that any and all trends are born and spread, right from this little island. So being an epicenter of culture, cuisine, and trends , it’s only natural that the food trends we’re seeing here on the streets, will be heading all around the country this year.

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While restaurants are a great venue to get exposed to the newest trends, we like to be even more ahead of the game: the food trucks scene allows for a flexibility and creativity that you just can’t experience in brick and mortar restaurant. These chefs are able to truly flex their creativity and ingenuity in ways more established restaurants just cant. Many of them choose to take the food truck path, because they don’t want to be restricted by the classic structure of a restaurant, and do want to be able to stay true to the flavors and methods that inspire them.

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So we’ve taken to the streets to find out what everyone is going to be eating this year.

Fusion: we’re seeing it everywhere from Midtown to Downtown, and it’s delicious. From Korean bulgogi filling our tacos, to beer battered fish filling out hot dogs. Worlds are colliding and we couldn’t be more down.

Unexpected cooking methods: When you think about preparing your ice cream, a blow torch probably isn’t one of the first tools on your list, but Bona Bona Ice Cream has another plan, using a blow torch to sizzle the caramel on top of the cone, creating a ice cold experience, that’s hot.

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Breakfast for dinner (and lunch and dessert): Waffles everywhere, the classic breakfast food has transcended it’s early morning slot, and worked it’s way into every corner of our day, from savory and lunch and dinner, to uber sweet for dessert and all the way through the wee hours of the night into fourth meal.

You heard it here first folks, now go get out there and get yourself a taste!

-Your Friends at the New York Food Truck Association