Tag Archives: street food

Year 1 week 3: Down the Rabbit Hole

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
― Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland

I put the headphones on my skull and turned the volume up to 8. “If it’s too loud you’re too old.”, I thought as I eased my weary hide into the plush confines of my leather recliner.  Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”  swirled in my brain as I reflected on the days events.

Dave and I did it. With the help of Michelle my beautiful wife, we completed our first successful event. We made a  profit. It wasn’t perfect, but it was satisfying.

Grace Slick warbled the psychedelic hippy anthem in my ear, “…one pill makes you larger…”

All the fear, all the doubt, all the insecurities and B.S. that haunted my mind were gone. All the frustration, all the questions and all the fear associated with running a successful food truck melted away. I felt at peace.

Dave, with his Cheshire grin, was masterful in the truck. Focused, driven, and calm he produced meals effortlessly; selflessly. The guy looked like he was working in a kitchen his entire life. Dave has soul and I love him for that.

Michelle worked the window with that gorgeous southern drawl that I fell in love with the first day I heard her voice. Burgers and empanadas  flew out the window with ease.

And I, the Mad Hatter, joyously flipped burgers on the grill, flambe’d bananas Foster on the saute station, and ladled out bacon jam carefully, lovingly in a single-minded desire to feed the masses something unique.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was at a dead-end job, unfulfilled and punching the clock like millions of other blue-collar  zombies trying to make a difference inside the big machine. I felt free for the first time in many years and it was all due to Dave and my diligence, sweat, money and time and the support and love of our friends and family. Our dream had become reality.  Rarely are dreams are validated, legitimized and made concrete.

The Airplane droned on,”…and the white knight is talking backwards…”  I thought about the Hippies at Woodstock. I wondered if they would enjoy The Guerrilla Burger. I always had a special place in my heart for that generation. Some of them fought and died in Vietnam while others stayed stateside and protested. They stopped a war with music and art.

White Rabbit reached it’s  crescendo, ” FEED YOUR HEAD… FEED YOUR HEAD.”

I think the Hippies would have loved the Guerrilla Burger.

Year 1 week 2 Do the Hustle

Excited after having a successful soft opening, Dave and I looked through the comment cards to gauge our performance. ” This one is all 10’s.”, Dave laughed as he held up the Guerrilla Sauce stained paper. Glancing over his shoulder, I recognized my Mom’s handwriting and dismissed it without telling Dave my secret. ” Another one with all nines and tens”, Dave grinned.  As the pile got smaller and we read the results (Best burger ever! Loved the food. You guys rock) it dawned on me. Dave and I did a really good job on our first outing in the food truck. People enjoyed our food and had a great time and Dave and I felt the pride of having our dream come to fruition. That evening after the high-fives and the euphoria of accomplishing our goal, I felt satisfied and stared at the ceiling fan in bed and dreamed of thousand burger food festivals and hundreds of people buying our food.

Dave and I met on several occasions after the event and quickly got to work on securing permits and finding events for us to sell. Our first official calendar date is July 8 but we have a lot of things to accomplish before we are ready to sell. The truck is inspected by the Department of Agriculture of Pennsylvania,  our permits are secured to sell food in Hershey and everything is in place to hit the streets except for three details.

  1. Maybelline needs to get a vinyl wrap  complete with logos, bullet holes and tank treads.
  2. We need a second fridge installed so that we can do volume sales
  3. We need places to sell.

Owning a food truck is teaching us the value of what I like to call “Hustle”. No, it’s not the sleazy Times Square (ca. 1975) Three card Monte hustle designed to steal money from tourists. You hustle while serving food or prepping eM.P.anadas. You Hustle by sourcing quality ingredients at low prices. You hustle by fostering relationships. We are meeting with event organizers, fire hall chiefs, local businesses and anyone who will listen to us.

Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony had a hit in the summer 1975 entitled  “The Hustle”.  It went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts and won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The song has two lyrics in its annoying 4 minutes and 10 seconds. The chorus is ” Do the Hustle” and during the intro they say “Do it”.  It’s a pretty good philosophy.  Nike stole the ” Do it” part. I’m stealing the “Do the Hustle” part. Hell, if you buy a Guerrilla Burger from us, I’ll sport a beige leisure suit and boogie down the Soul Train line. So will Dave. Sing along now!  Do the Hustle!  Doot-Doot-Doot-Do-Doot-Da-Doot-Doot….

Tasting Menu for June 9, 2016

The Guerrilla Burger: Our flame licked quarter pound beef burger is a real handful. Topped with Apple Bourbon Bacon Jam, Sauteed Onions and Peppers, Southwestern Slaw and your choice of  Maytag Blue Cheese or Sharp Cheddar. Served on a Toasted Brioche roll.

 

The Guerrilla Dawg:  Grilled Kosher Beef Frank, Apple Bourbon Bacon Jam, Sauteed onions and peppers, Southwestern Slaw and your choice of Maytag Blue Cheese or Sharp Cheddar. Served on a toasted Dawg Roll.

 

Reuben eM.P.anada: Corned Beef, Swiss Cheese and Sauerkraut stuffed inside a pastry Disco and fried until golden brown. Served with Thousand Island on the side. 

Day 121: Yes Virginia, There is an Appliance Fairy

Anticipation is a great thing. It heightens our senses. It gives us something to get excited about. Remember when you were a kid and you lost a tooth and how full of joy you were to get a buck from the Tooth Fairy? Your joy wasn’t about the reward as much as the fun of anticipation. Hopefully you have anticipated this blog post. My lack of writing lately hasn’t been the result of neglect or laziness or waning focus or interest. I wanted to build your anticipation. Hopefully, I have your attention. Guerrilla Canteen is moving forward.

The Guerrilla Canteen food truck build has accelerated in leaps and bounds. A lot of amazing progress has been made and I’ve been really excited to share the news with you.

Maybelline’s service window is installed and Dave looks really good in it. Dave and I are super stoked because our dream is rapidly becoming a reality. We can almost smell the meat sizzling.

Daves new home.
Dave’s new home.
Yessirr, twenty Guerrilla Burgers right away!
Yessirr, twenty Guerrilla Burgers right away!

Another major hurdle was conquered by the D man this week. For about a month Dave has been telling me that the kitchen equipment Fairy might show up and all of our problems would be solved. I blew it off as Dave just joking around but guess what? The equipment fairy did show up and he had a huge cache of goodies for the Guerrillas including a char broiler, a four burner saute’ station, a flat top, a two basket fryer and a sandwich station. I just hope Dave doesn’t need that kidney he sold on Ebay. All joking aside, the kitchen equipment  Fairy is Dave Laman and it’s moments like this that I have to commend the guy’s stubbornness, drive and focus. Without Dave Laman, there is no Guerrilla Canteen.

Pam's Station
Pam’s Station
sandwich too
Shiny is good.
boxes3
Yes Virginia, there is a Kitchen Appliance Fairy.

fryer boxes2 boxes4

Day 92: Tater Tots

I’m not a food snob, really I’m not. I do enjoy using fine ingredients and eating fresh local food but there is a special place in my heart for a processed staple that has been served in school cafeterias, fast food restaurants and American dining rooms for over sixty years. I love Tater Tots. Tater Tots were invented in 1953 when Ore-Ida founders F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. The added flour and seasoning to the potatoes and extruded the mixture through a round hole, fried them and viola’: the iconic Tot was born.

What I like about the Tot is the texture. On the outside the potato is crispy and salty while the inside is fluffy and soft. With salt and ketchup a Tot stands on its own but as head cook at Guerrilla Canteen I’ve been looking at the possibilities of what a Tater Tot can be. The idea is to elevate the lowly Tot in a way that we normally don’t associate with it. I’m not the only person who loves and respects the Tater Tot. Americans consume seventy million pounds a year.

Continue reading Day 92: Tater Tots

Day 69: Kickstarter Concept: All Real Americans Love The Sting Of Sriracha

Starting a Kickstarter campaign is a daunting task. The project needs to be interesting, eye-catching and able to cut through the rest of the noise on the internet. Guerrilla Canteen’s approach is sincere, entertaining and funny while informative and straight from the heart. Here’s one concept that we are toying with. Continue reading Day 69: Kickstarter Concept: All Real Americans Love The Sting Of Sriracha

Day 66: Twenty Reasons Why Food Trucks Are Hot Right Now

From Los Angeles to New York food trucks are springing up everywhere. It is projected that by 2020 food trucks will be a billion dollar industry. Since 2009 the food truck business has grown 80%. Food trucks are here to stay and here’s 20 reasons why this trend is so hot. Continue reading Day 66: Twenty Reasons Why Food Trucks Are Hot Right Now

Day 61: Operation Recon At The Harrisburg Food Truck Feast Part Deux

The team approached the target at 1700 hours. The aroma of smoked brisket, fried potatoes and sweet custard hung in the air. Remembering a line from the movie Starship Troopers I thought…  Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?

The food trucks were assembled at The Harrisburg Food Truck Feast. Our mission was to gather information about the competition. My daughter Hannah plowed into her assignment with a Soul Burrito and a side of macaroni and cheese.

The Soul Burrito truck are rock stars in the Harrisburg food scene. Starting with one truck they have opened a stand at the Broad Street Market, a trailer at The York Revolution and will open a brick and mortar restaurant on Walnut street at the end of the month. Their story is  the blueprint of how to succeed in this business.

truck feast 5

Dave and I watched their process and admired their customer service. Dave got the Big Bird Burrito and I got the Jerked Chicken. Huge flavors and a reasonable price, the food was great. Soul Burrito’s operation was a finely tuned machine with lots of moving parts. They made it look easy and their food lived up to the hype. You could taste the soul. Hannah liked it too (but she likes Dad’s mac and cheese better).

Hannah Food Truck Pam chose to eat from the Mad Sandwich truck and chose a bowl of rice, beans and seasoned pork. I asked her how it was and she answered with a sheepish, “Meh. Not much pork.” Pam didn’t  think it was a good value. I’ve had their food in the past and I enjoyed their Latin cuisine. Continue reading Day 61: Operation Recon At The Harrisburg Food Truck Feast Part Deux

Day 60: Operation Recon at The Harrisburg Food Truck Feast

Dave called me last night and said ,” You know we should all probably do some recon tonight at the Harrisburg Food Truck Feast.”  I’ve been on missions like this before with Dave and Pam and they always involve three things. First we blend into the environment so as not to be detected. Second we try to gather as much valuable intelligence as possible: counts on tickets per hour, the most popular food being served, and an analysis of what food trucks process is  the most efficient and why. Third, and most importantly, we stuff ourselves with delicious street food served by really great people. Continue reading Day 60: Operation Recon at The Harrisburg Food Truck Feast