Tag Archives: food trucks

The Halal Guys! NYC Food Cart Review

Gentle Readers, is any food review worth a 30 block walk in bitterly cold wind? Yes, yes it is. The Practical Cook is here braving the elements so you don’t have to. Well, except for my partners in crime, whom we shall call MobileFoodie and Warlord. However, good news, The Halal Guys Food Cart on 53rd and 6th is completely worth it.

Chicken over rice with hot sauce and tzatziki from The Halal Guys, for the win.

Chicken over rice with hot sauce and tzatziki from The Halal Guys, for the win.

As some of you may have noticed, I will in fact walk a mile for food. Even if I have just eaten. This past weekend, after a long and leisurely brunch amongst friends, new and old, it was time to eat again. There was not a good reason other than I had never been to this food cart, and it came highly recommended (special thanks to the CHO for that).

Like a beacon of warmth in the distance, The Halal Guys keep the fires burning.

Like a beacon of warmth in the distance, The Halal Guys keep the fires burning.

So we walked. The food itself is very straightforward, but you have some choices to make, so use your transit time wisely: chicken or lamb; gyro or over rice; hot sauce, tzatziki or both. Served with lettuce and tomato no matter what, I went for chicken over rice with both sauces. The meat was fresh and flavorful, that mysterious combination of outdoor cooking and unnamed spices. The hot sauce was in fact hot, nicely balanced for me by the tzatziki, and the portion was outrageously large for the price.

Lamb gyro, extra hot sauce, from The Halal Guys!

Lamb gyro, extra hot sauce, from The Halal Guys!

I tried a bite of the lamb as well, and I’m definitely getting it next time. Or perhaps a combination platter? I can’t decide. The Halal Guys claim to be different, and they’re right. Lines can be long, but they run two stands and move fast. Have your order ready and step to the side. Or no meat for you!

Ohhhh, we're halfway there . . .

Ohhhh, we’re halfway there . . .

Thanks to my companions for braving the cold, though I do hope we can stop for wigs and necklaces next time. The next time you’re in Manhattan, stop by The Halal Cart and take a break from the dirty water dog and the pretzel. It’s a NY institution, and well worth the trip.

I became an ice zombie en route.

I became an ice zombie en route.

Send your extras scarves, your actual suggestions, and food related questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Sunday, it’s Weekly Menus: The Juniors Are Cooking!

Leave a comment

Filed under Restaurant Reviews

Bacon Quest: Bacon Bacon Truck in San Francisco Reviewed! (with video)

Gentle Readers, it has been too long since The Practical Cook broke out the video review. Fear not, she is reunited with her camera and on the road. Better still, she is stalking that crowd favorite, bacon.

I learned about the famed Bacon Bacon SF food truck a few months ago, when I was, well, talking about bacon at a Tweetup. You would be shocked how often that happens to me. They have everything from your standard bacon grilled cheese to bacon popcorn and chocolate bacon.

The Menu at the Bacon Bacon SF Food Truck

The Menu at the Bacon Bacon SF Food Truck

Accompanied by fellow bacon fan, whom I shall call Semper Fried, we decided to try as much as we could across the menu, for science of course. In our meager defense, we walked to and from the truck, and that was some reasonable distance.

Pork Belly Taco and Pork Belly Fries: Delicious in a box

Pork Belly Taco and Pork Belly Fries: Delicious in a box

I had the Bahn Mi and Chocolate Bacon, he went for the Pork Belly taco and Pork Belly fries (they made me think of Southern BBQ, a win). The bacon was exceptional. I am in the process of determining where it came from. My sandwich was good, the pork meatballs were nice, but I’ve had better pork belly. The money is really on the bacon here, it is outstanding, thick without being jerkylike, not overly hammy or salty, very balanced with a pronounced bacon flavor.

Pork Meatball Bahn Mi with Bacon!

Pork Meatball Bahn Mi with Bacon!

Would I go back? Absolutely, if only to buy more chocolate bacon. Yeah, it’s good, don’t try to kid yourself about that. Go early, the line forms fast. I think I’m going to try the vegetarian option next time, with bacon.

Chocolate, Meet Bacon.

Chocolate, Meet Bacon. ❤

Will you go out of your way to eat bacon? Tell me your story or issue a bacon challenge in the comment box below!

The Bacon Bacon Food Truck in San Francisco! Hunt it down today!

The Bacon Bacon Food Truck in San Francisco! Hunt it down today!

Food truck recommendations, kudos, and culinary challenges can be sent to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Friday, Roasted Spring Vegetables Recipe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bacon Brackets, Restaurant Reviews, Snacks

Happy New Year! The First Weekly Menus of 2012!

Gentle Readers, there is such pressure to create the first weekly menus for the new year. All of the dreams and expectations of the future. Well, that and I have to return to work running full tilt. So with that, here is a practical approach to the coming week. Best of all, I’m starting the new year in the kitchen with friends, continuing the Sunday Dinner tradition.

Happy New Year to all, and I look forward to another year in the kitchen (and the grocery store, and your fave restaurants, and . . .) with you. As always, contact me with ideas, questions, suggestions. I’m listening! And if you know how to do a pull-up, and can coach me, I need that, too.

Here are the Weekly Menus for 1/1/2012:

Weekly Menus: 1/1/2012

Weekly Menus: 1/1/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Shopping List: 1/1/2012

Four-Square Shopping List: 1/1/2012

Which translates into:

Sunday: Collard greens, black eyed peas, pork, cornbread, probably some rice
We may end up eating this twice tomorrow. We have to carbo-load to compensate from the 500 miles of scooter-ing we are doing.

Monday: Mexican?
Could be tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos, or just beans and rice. I don’t want to commit just yet. [Late-breaking, it’s nachos per special request by the crew.]

Tuesday: Fridge Surprise!
There’s some holiday clean-up that needs to happen in there. Don’t judge, I can’t be the only one with a fridge full of good intentions.

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
I have been craving grits, that’s really the whole reason for this meal. That and everyone will eat it.

Thursday: Pasta and Salad
When you live on the East coast and work West coast hours, this meal is necessary. Thursday is always a challenge,  so I am planning to Punt! in advance.

Friday: Chicken Surprise!
Well, I’m feeling the improv this week. Everything is a surprise, even to me. And the exclamation marks, well, that’s pretty much how enthusiastic I am in real life. I’m currently planning to glaze the chicken with some Christmas-gift-marmalade. If it works, you’ll hear about it.

Saturday: Food Trucks!
We haven’t stalked the food trucks in too long, and the The Practical Cooks Junior were chanting “Chirba Chirba Chirba Chirba” in the backseat. I can take a hint. The Eldest then recited the menu and led a thoughtful discussion regarding her favorite dumplings. Raising a couple of foodies, not easy.

How are you kicking of the new year in the kitchen? Are you hitting the salads, rebuking the cookies? Will you be channeling your inner Thomas Keller? Resolve to comment below. It’s easy AND fun.

Send your extra collards, good wishes, and queries to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Collards Recipe for Haters! Let’s start the year off with some leafy greens, shall we? Veggie and non-veggie versions coming your way.

2 Comments

Filed under Weekly Menus

Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck Review (with video)

The Practical Cook has a new love. Well, it’s an old love, but a new purveyor: Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck, I salute you! Long a fan of dumplings in all their forms, I have eaten them many places.

These dumplings are the bomb, and I say that having waited an inordinate amount of time (sorry, but they need a dumpling semi, not just a truck, to meet demand) in heat so severe I thought I would steam first.

Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck

Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck

Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck Menu

Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck Menu

As befits the food truck genre, the menu is tightly focused and well done. You can get meat dumplings (Porkedame):

Porkedame Dumplings from Chirba Chirba

Porkedame Dumplings from Chirba Chirba

veggie dumplings (bok choy and shitake the day I tasted):

Veggie Dumplings from Chirba Chirba with Pineapple Chutney and Sweet Sausage

Veggie Dumplings from Chirba Chirba with Pineapple Chutney and Sweet Sausage

and soup dumplings (pork deliciousness):

Soup Dumplings with Sweet Sausage from Chirba Chirba

Soup Dumplings with Sweet Sausage from Chirba Chirba

or a combo, all with a choice of sweet sausage or edamame on the side. There are dipping sauces to vary the flavor profile, and you can crispify for a few cents extra. If you can, eat them on site, promptly. I had no choice but to dash home to the family with my stash, and they were still great.

Edamame to Go from Chirba Chirba

Edamame to Go from Chirba Chirba

In conclusion, worth the wait, believe the hype, just get in line early and have your gameplan in place. I’m going to further decrease my popularity in the food world with the following comment: I liked them better than the dumplings at The Lantern. Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves. The dumpling skin is thin, the care used in making them is apparent, and the filling to skin ratio is spot on.

Are you a dumpling fan? Post a comment here or Tweet!

Send your dumplings to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, One Ingredient, Three Ways: Pasta Bar.

1 Comment

Filed under Restaurant Reviews

Food Trucks: Super or Supertrendy?

Since the Practical Cook is not in her kitchen currently, the only cooking she has been doing involves repurposing the free “hot breakfast” offerings at the hotel. Other meals are dedicated to field research, which may lead to a food coma. Travel should be an adventure, food included. Lunch this week included a race to a local Korean Taco Truck, MoGoBBQ.

Have you succumbed to the food truck craze? The Practical Cook says eat food where you find it. When I lived in NYC, one of my favorite lunches came from the “chicken cart lady.” It was grilled chicken, on a pita, choice of barbecue, tzatziki, or hot sauce, or a combo therein, lettuce, and onions, for $3. How could I resist?

Korean Pork Tacos

Korean Pork Tacos

Ice cream trucks are completely accepted, so why not pizza, grilled cheese, pie, and duck fat tater tots? Perhaps this is a trend and will fade, but I appreciate the challenge of the small kitchen space, the thrill of the chase, and eating outside. These entrepreneurs can get started for a lot less than a new restaurant, so there’s room for innovation.

Here’s the Rib Slider I got, basically a play on a torta. Fluffy bread, crunch lettuce, nicely grilled meat, and sauce that was made of magic. It was a 3 napkin event, and a challenge not to wear it. (This food truck had a tofu version as well, so all is not lost for the veggie bunch.)

Rib Slider from MoGoBBQ Truck

Rib Slider from MoGoBBQ Truck

If you enjoy grilling out, picnics, etc., give food trucks a chance. To find them in your area, check out Yelp (they’ve got a category for them) or find your local foodies and follow them on Twitter. The food is cheap, it’s an adventure, and it’s about 1 million times better than a drive-thru. (**Numbers not based on any actual data.) Special thanks to <foodie> for the keeping me out of the cafeteria.

Up next, the Practical Cook’s first video blog, shot on location in sunny California. Adventures in Eating: De Afghanan  Cuisine.

What do you think of food trucks? Drop a line to practical cook at gmail dot com.

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Leave a comment

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table