Swedish Food Truck Dishes Up Airport Cuisine

Whether you like to hunt down the hidden hole-in-the-wall eateries, the popular street food stalls or the city’s best haute cuisine, you probably agree that food is an important part of the travel experience. But if there’s one aspect of travel dining that is universally loathed, it has to be airport food. Bland, congealed — not to mention overpriced — airport meals seem to be an inevitable part of the journey.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that one country has decided its airport food is so good that it is part of its marketing campaign. Sweden believes the fare at Stockholm Arlanda Airport is so nom-worthy that it is loading up food trucks with the airport cuisine to tempt the taste buds of the city’s residents and visitors.For $10, hungry patrons can dine on dishes like braised veal, pulled pork, truffle risotto, lasagna and ramen soup with wasabi-marinated smoked salmon. Those behind the concept say they believe people will be surprised by the quality of the food, and will hopefully be encouraged to get to the airport earlier to sample more of the cuisine on offer.

The food truck will make rounds of Stockholm for several weeks, but may stick around longer if the idea proves a success.

What do you think of airport food? Would you try out the Arlanda Food Truck?

Food Trucks Gone Wild: A Video Tour Of LA’s Melrose Night

Care for a $5 ice cream sandwich made with fried chicken and waffle flavored ice cream and a gluten-free coconut almond cookie? Or how about some Hawaiian breakfast sliders, made with Portuguese sausage, sautéed onions, and Shoyu scrambled eggs on Hawaiian bread? Those of are just a couple of the tantalizing selections I noticed when I stumbled across Melrose Night in Los Angeles last Thursday night.

On the first Thursday of each month, more than a dozen food trucks and an assortment of shops set up on Melrose Avenue between Ogden and Curson between 6-10 p.m. The event began in January 2011, and the crowds and vendor list continues to grow. I counted 15 food trucks at Melrose Night last week and almost every one of them had something I wanted to eat.There was gelato on a stick ($4) at Cool Cow Feel Good, Frito pies ($6) and chicken and waffles ($8) at the Trailer Park Truck, red velvet chocolate chip pancakes ($6), lobster rolls ($12) and a host of other goodies. One truck was even selling flatiron steaks at $15 a pop.

I love the gourmet food truck trend, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to order a steak or fried chicken and stand on the street eating it. I will order tacos, ice cream, lobster rolls, burgers, basically anything that doesn’t require a knife and fork, but I really don’t want to be eating pancakes, omelets, steaks and the like on the street.

My other issue with some gourmet food trucks is the high prices. Some are offering very good values. We had a rocky road ice cream sandwich that I thought was pricey at $5 until I realized the thing was big enough to feed my family of four!

But others are pricing their menu items as though they were restaurants. There is a difference between standing on a street corner eating something and being able to sit down at a restaurant, be it fast food or sit down. I do expect a discount at a food truck, but I think a few food truck proprietors are getting a bit high and mighty.

I know that they need permits and have overhead as well, but their fixed costs are lower than restaurants, so I don’t expect to pay $11 for a veggie burger and fries at a food truck when that is roughly the same price I’d pay in a restaurant.

Those minor beefs aside, I highly recommend checking out Melrose Night. Show up hungry and you will definitely eat well. It’s also a great area for window-shopping and people watching. L.A. isn’t much of a pedestrian city, but this is one of the few opportunities to walk around on sidewalks that are full of people and life. You might not save a ton of money by dining on the street, but you’ll eat well and have a blast.

The best food trucks in New York City

In recent years, food trucks have taken over the streets of New York City. But for the casual observer, it can be difficult to distinguish between the good (organic, artisanal, locally-sourced), the bad (hello street meat), and the ugly (any of the cupcake carts in SoHo) when it comes to street food. To help, we’ve compiled a slideshow of some of our favorite mobile restaurants in NYC. You can thank us later.

Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
The truck is in the garage until spring, but ice cream lovers hankering for treats like the Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, chocolate dip) or Mermaid (vanilla ice cream, key lime curd, crushed graham crackers, whipped cream) can stop by the new Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on East 7th Street.

Bistro Truck
A step up from your standard gyro stand, Bistro Truck serves high-quality Moroccan-Mediterranean food, like lamb over couscous, grass fed beef bistro burgers, and more. White linen napkins not included. Check their weekly schedule for locations.

With carts in SoHo and Flatiron, restaurants in Greenpoint and Red Hook, and appearances on Food Truck Revolution and the Cooking Channel under their belts, the brothers behind Calexico are taking over New York with fresh tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.

Halal Guys at 53rd and 6th
Their website proclaims, “We are different.” Maybe that’s why hundreds of people line up at the corner of 53rd and 6th Avenue each day for the Halal Guys’ chicken, gyro, and mixed platters and sandwiches, while other midtown gyro vendors stay empty.

King of Falafel
The King of Falafel’s falafel, shawarma, and chicken platters are more than worth the trip into the Astoria, where he holds court at the corner of 30th Street and Broadway.

Korilla BBQ
Korean tacos? Why not? The guys behind Korilla BBQ whip up fusion foods like bulgogi burritos and house-made tofu chosun bowls at locations around Manhattan. Check their Truck Finder to track them down.

Jamaican Dutchy
Try a taste of Jamaica (jah) at the Jamaican Dutchy truck, which serves full sized and mini meals of specialties like jerk chicken and curry goat. Follow them on Twitter to see where they’re parked.

N.Y. Dosas
The best vegetarian dosas in town can be found at Thiru Kumar’s food cart, which is usually parked on Washington Square Park, at West 4th Street and Sullivan. The accompanying chutney is unreal.

Red Hook Lobster Truck
Red Hook Lobster Pound’s famous lobster rolls are now available on the road! Rolls are available Maine-style, with mayo, or Connecticut-style, with butter. Both are excellent. Stalk them on Twitter.

Solber Pupusas
Last year’s Vendy Award winner serves authentic El Salvadoran pupusas, grilled corn masa patties stuffed with cheese and delicious fillings. You can find them at the Red Hook Ball Fields, or at the Fort Greene Brooklyn Flea Market.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Nothing spells summer in New York like creamy red currant and Earl Grey artisanal ice cream from Van Leeuwen. Though the business has expanded to storefronts in Greenpoint, Boerum Hill, and the East Village, they still operate trucks in SoHo and Madison Square Park.

Wafels & Dinges
Traditional Belgian wafels, dinges, and speculoos can be found at the Wafels & Dinges truck, which makes the rounds around Manhattan and Brooklyn year-round. Save some room for the Belgian hot cocoa too.

[Flickr image via Bob the Astorian]

Asian-inspired night market comes to Brooklyn, New York

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, from 5PM to midnight, the Brooklyn Night Bazaar will be held at Dekalb Market in Brooklyn, New York. The event, which is inspired by the night markets across Asia, will feature more than 65 independent vendors, food, music, art, and a beer and wine garden, all outdoors. While the event is free, there will be a ticket charge of $12-$15 to enter the performance area. Tickets can be purchased here.

Some things to expect:

Dekalb Market is located at 138 Willoughby St., at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue Extension and Willoughby in Brooklyn, New York.

Turkish tea truck offers Istanbul version of food truck trend

The food truck craze is nothing new to many Americans. Long a popular foodie option in New York, Los Angeles, and even Cleveland, it’s a food trend that’s constantly evolving to bring new ideas and tastes to the, er, table. The Turkish food blog Istanbul Eats, who launched a book version last year and now offer food tours of the city, spotted a very local version of the mobile eatery trend along the Golden Horn. They posted a few photos of Mehmet Abi’s çay kamyon (that’s tea truck in Turkish) on their Facebook page this week, complete with a seating area for sipping a hot glass. You can find Mehmet’s truck parked by the Karakoy mosque near the hardware market at the Galata Bridge, ask around for the Perşembe Pazarı (Thursday market) to find it.

Turkish çay is already quite mobile. Around Istanbul, you’ll spot men carrying trays of glasses to deliver to local businesses, the empty glasses are later collected or returned to the çay shops. And while coffee chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jean’s are quite popular in Turkey, you won’t find Turks drinking çay out of paper cups, the honor system works well for to-go orders as well.

While the food truck craze as we know it has yet to hit Istanbul, Turkish food is going mobile in other places. Pera Turkish Tacos launched late last year outside the former Tavern on the Green space in Manhattan and recently became the first food cart in the city to get a liquor license.