Tasty Little Yellow School Bus – The Burger Bus

I had the opportunity to try my first food truck in Santa Babara, the Burger Bus.  It’s  a little yellow bus that serves up some tasty burgers.

The Burger Bus - Santa Monica, CA Gourmet Food Truck

For this quick visit I grabbed the Cheeseburger & Jelly or also known as the CB & J.  It comes in two versions – one with cheddar cheese and sweet berry jelly or one with pepper jack cheese and habanero jelly.  I picked the latter.  It is a one-third pound, perfectly cooked burger topped with grilled onions, cheese and jelly, all on a toasted ciabatta.  I really liked the combination of the pepper jack cheese and habanero jelly. It added a nice heat to the savory and sweet burger.

CB & J: Pepper Jack Cheese and Habanero Jelly

They were very friendly and pretty quick considering I hit them up in the middle of the lunch rush.  Next time I’m in Santa Barbara I would definitely chase them down again.

Burger Bus on Urbanspoon

Visit to the Cocoa Lounge – Palm Terrace Restaurant

We were able to catch the Cocoa Lounge popup chocolate buffet at the Palm Terrace Restaurant before it closes this Sunday.  The Cocoa Lounge is a clever marketing concept to get people into the Palm Terrace restaurant that would not normally think to visit. The food in the restaurant looked good but it was your typical fare for an upscale hotel restaurant.

The Cocoa Lounge had a good selection of treats.  To be honest we were not blown away by it but I would not solely take our view of it.  We have had the pleasure of visiting many nice hotels because of the travel required from our day jobs, so these types of desserts would be expected.  However, this is the first time we have seen so many on display in one venue.  In addition, they had some spectacular chocolate sculptures that made it an enjoyable experience.

Check out the Chocolate Flowers
Pot de Cremes - One of Kim's Favorites
Chocolate Fudge Cookie S'mores
Milk Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
Yep, Chocolate!
Chocolate Cupcakes
Vanilla Custard Eclairs
Chocolate Pudding Cake with Gianduja Mousse

Lineup for OC DinDin-A-GoGo Wednesday, February 23

Wednesday is a great night for some GFT grub. Make sure to pack your folding chairs, tables, blankets, friends and family. The event will run from 5:30 to 9pm.

Lineup for this week:

Tropical Shave Ice – Hawaiian Style Shave Ice Truck (@TropShaveIce)
The Lime Truck – California Cuisine (@TheLimeTruck)
Piaggio On Wheels – Argentine Taco Truck (@PiaggioOnWheels)
Dos Chinos – Latin Asian Cuisine (@DosChinos)

Special Guests:

Seabirds – Vegetarian (@SeabirdsTruck)
Crepes Bonaparte – Gourmet Crepes (@CrepesBonaparte)
Chunk-N-Chip – Ice Cream Sandwiches (@ChunknChip)
Lee’s Philly – Gogi Style Grub (@LeesPhilly)

Location:

Irvine Lanes
3415 Michelson Dr
Irvine, CA 92612

Lineup for Chuck Wagon Stop – Thursday, February 17

Chuck Wagon Stop is held every Thursday night from 5 to 9pm at AMF Carter Lanes in Fullerton. There are always trucks from both OC and LA. The bowling alley will also have specials going on as well so be sure to check them out.

Here is the impressive lineup for this week!

Chunk-N-Chip – Ice Cream Sandwiches (@ChunknChip)
Shortstop BBQ – Southern California BBQ (@ShortStopBBQ)
Tropical Shave Ice – Hawaiian Style Shave Ice Truck (@TropShaveIce)
Rolling Sushi Van – Sushi and Frozen Yogurt (@RollingSushiVan)
Barcelona On The Go – Spanish (@Brcelonaonthego)
The Lime Truck – California Cuisine (@TheLimeTruck)
Eat Phamish – Vietnamese Cuisine (@Eatphamish)
Komodo – Street food with a gourmet twist (@KomodoFood)

Location:

AMF Carter Lanes
1501 South Lemon St.
(Lemon and Orangefair Ave.)
Fullerton, CA 92832

My First Gourmet Food Truck Experience in San Diego – Devilicious

San Diego is only about 80 miles from our house and up to this point we had never tried any of the five known gourmet food trucks.  Last week I took an opportunity to remedy that.

After sending out a couple of tweets looking for the best gourmet food trucks in San Diego I received a response from @devilicious.  That simple tweet made my choice really easy and I am glad they reached out.

Butter Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese

Devilicious is the epitome of a gourmet food truck.  I stuffed myself on four of their gourmet menu items.  First I tried the butter poached lobster grilled cheese.  This was an amazing sandwich with a buttery, yet full-flavored cheesiness.  The grilled cheese had fontina and mozzarella cheese with Roma tomatoes, caramelized onion on sourdough.  The bread had a great crunch, the lobster was tender and it was very satisfying.

Truffle Tots!

Next it was on to their handmade truffle tots. Again, it was very gourmet and another homerun.  These are not your normal freezer section tots tossed in truffle oil (not that I have anything at all against freezer section tots) but these were the size of golf balls.  Light potato and truffle rolled in breadcrumbs and fried to a perfect golden brown.  The flavor of truffle was front and center.

After scarfing down those two items I went back to the truck for my second round.  This time I ordered the smoked bacon dog with house-made habanero kimchi and agave mayo accompanied by special fried yumminess.

Bacon Wrapped Hotdog with Habanero Kimchi

The dog was about an inch wide and wrapped in crispy bacon.  Yum, but the habanero kimchi was amazing.  Nice and crisp but a good level of heat.  I did not get much from the agave mayo. To be honest, I did not taste much of it at all.  The beef dog, kimchi and bacon were an incredible combination.  I did not even need the French bread bun.

Fried Yumminess - Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Blue Cheese

The fried yumminess, I’m told changes every week.  This week was risotto with wild mushrooms and blue cheese.  It reminded me of something one of my favorite OC trucks used to make.  The balls of flavor were also breaded with breadcrumbs and fried to a golden brown.  Ttender, full of flavor and the blue cheese didn’t over-power the mushrooms.  It was executed well.

I had the pleasure of meeting manager Kristna and chef Dyann.  Both were nice and very friendly.  Kristna was the one that had tweeted back to me and helped me decide where I was going to eat.  I am glad she did.  For all of you food truck entrepreneurs that think you don’t need to do social media, you’re wrong.  This is one of the easiest and cheapest tools at your disposal. And just think, if you spend a little time interacting with the people that follow you, more people just might come to check you out.  And if they have a positive experience they will most likely tell others about it, just like I did.

Devilicious Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Does DG really mean "Damn Good"? – DG Burger, South Coast Plaza

I finally got over to the new DG (Damn Good) Burger at South Coast Plaza. DG Burger is the latest addition to the Charlie Palmer restaurant brand. There has been a lot of hype since they launched so I’ve really wanted to check it out.

Cool View into the Kitchen
Feels and Looks like a Temporary Setup

DG Burger is considered a high end burger joint so I was a little thrown off by its setup. They are a quick service establishment, you order and pay at the “counter,” get a number and your food is brought out to you. No issue but like I said it threw me off a bit. The restaurant is simple and clean. Paper napkins, brown paper on the tables along with plastic forks and knives and self- serve ice water. However, DG seemed like it was located in one of the Charlie Palmer restaurant dining rooms versus its own stand-alone place. My guess is this is on purpose but after you sit there a while you notice that the entire setup appears very temporary. The counters are on wheels and so are the refrigerator and TV.

DG Burger with Bacon and Cheese

But the food is a different story. They have a very small and simple menu, which works for them. The DG Burger really is a “Damn Good” Burger. I added aged cheddar cheese and bacon. The burger is a little pricey for what you get but it was very good. They automatically cook their burgers medium-well unless you instruct them otherwise. Mine was ordered medium-rare and it was cooked perfectly. The burger was juicy and full of flavor. The bun was also good and topped with good ingredients. Overall, I think it was a very good burger but not quite sure I would want to spend the money on it too often. My burger cost $13.95 because I added the bacon and cheese.

Fries with Curry Ketchup and Chipotle Aioli

I also tried the fries, chocolate malt shake, citrus glazed vegetable skewers, and one of their salads. The fries were good, crisp and the right amount of salt. I got the curry ketchup and chipotle aioli which I am told are their two most popular. The chipotle aioli was good but I would have liked a touch of heat. I could not taste any curry in the curry ketchup.

Citrus Glazed Vegetable Skewers

The chocolate malt shake was nice and thick, with a distinct malted flavor. It was not the best shake I’ve ever had but it was solid. I would probably get it again. One thing I did really like was the salad dressing. I failed to ask what it was but it was lite and the perfect complement to the salad.

In the end it was a positive experience. A little pricey for what you get but considering it is at South Coast Plaza that didn’t bother me much. I think it is worthwhile to check out, at least once.

DG Burger on Urbanspoon

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que – Driftwood, TX

I have never understood the fascination people have with barbeque. I have tried it from many different places but it never tasted super tender or as flavorful as what they show you on TV.

That is until we went to Salt Lick Bar-B-Que in Driftwood, TX, a little town outside of Austin. I equate Salt Lick to something like Mrs. Knott’s (a chicken dinner restaurant in Buena Park, CA). However this is more of a barbeque amusement park and not a restaurant at an amusement park. It starts as soon as you pull up the gravel and dirt driveway. And while you wait for your table you can purchase hand squeezed lemonade and popcorn or view the BBQ pit before you are seated.

Killer Pit!

But these guys take barbeque and serving barbeque seriously. They had everything, sausage, brisket, ribs, turkey, chicken and a lot of slides. They even make their own pickles which were awesome.

Beef Brisket, Sausage and Pork Ribs

The brisket was the kicker for me. It was AMAZING. It was melt in your mouth tender. It had so much flavor and a great smoke ring. My mouth is drooling now just thinking about it.

Check out the Brisket!
Turkey

The turkey and chicken were super moist. The texture of the sliced turkey breast was similar to a deep fried turkey breast. The chicken had a smoke ring as well. It fell off the bone and was one of the delicious highlights.

1/2 Chicken Dinner

I really liked their sausage. I was not able to find out if they made it, but I am guessing they have it made for them. Great pork flavor and I could have eaten the slices like popcorn.

I had the baby back ribs and they did not disappoint. Every single bite was clean off-the-bone perfect. Salt Lick’s homemade spicy BBQ sauce worked well with them.

Killer House Made Pickles

If I have a chance to get back to Salt Lick, I would make sure to order their “Family Style,” all you can eat offering. The sides were fine but I would rather save room for all of the amazing meat.

All in all a great place and I understand why they get such great marks on both Yelp and Urbanspoon. I even tried their small shop at the Austin airport and it was also good. However, if you have time, drive out to Driftwood (in the middle of no where) and go to the original. It is worth the time and it is a great experience.

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

South County Bowling Blowout at Lake Forest Lanes – Tuesday, February 8

This Tuesday Lake Forest will be invading by some of the best gourmet food truck in Orange County.  If you are hungry and have been wanting to see what the Southern California gourmet food truck craze is all about, this is the time to do it.  Twelve trucks in one location.  Sounds like a tasty night to me.

Here is the complete lineup:

The Burnt Truck – Gourmet Sliders (@TheBurntTruck)
Seabirds – Vegetarian (@SeabirdsTruck)
The Lime Truck – California Cuisine (@TheLimeTruck)
Oh For Sweets Sake – Cupcake Truck (@OhForSweetsSake)
The Taco Dawg – Tacos and Hot Dogs (@TheTacoDawg)
Bacon Mania Truck – American Unapologetic Man-food (@BaconMania)
Barcelona On The Go – Spanish (@Brcelonaonthego)
Louks To Go – Greek (@LouksToGo)
Spud Runners – Gourmet Fries & Baked Potatoes (@SpudRunners)
Longboards – Ice Cream Bars (@Longboards)
Crepes Bonaparte – Gourmet Crepes (@CrepesBonaparte)
The Flip Truck – Gourmet Sliders (@TheFlipTruck) <- Grand Opening!!

Location:

Forest Lanes
22771 Centre Dr
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Event Wrap-up: Sugar Rush Cupcake Extravaganza

Last Sunday was the first ever Sugar Rush at PieceMakers in Costa Mesa.  The event had a cupcake competition, crafts and even food trucks!  We were asked to help judge the cupcake competition along with  Elise from Cupcake Activist and John Jennison.  We wanted to share some photos from the event.  Make sure you check out the cupcake carnage and the winners!

John Jennison, Elise Wallace, Kim and Jason
Cool Setup for the Judges!
Before Judging
After! Cupcake Carnage!
Yep, Even Food Trucks
Serious Work!
Best Taste Winner - 1st Place - Little Miss Cupcake by Tiffany
Best Taste Winner - 2nd Place - Sweet Bite
Best Taste - 3rd Place - {Desi}gn Cakes & Cupcakes
Best Design Winner - 1st Place - Yummie's Cupcakes
Best Design Winner - 2nd Place - Meli's Cupcakes
Best Design Winner - 3rd Place - Cupcakes by Veronica
The Winners!
The Burnt Truck in the House!
Even Kogi BBQ got in on the Action

More from the Great Food Truck Race – Austin Daily Press

Kim and I went to Austin, Texas on another one of our foodie adventures. You may think that Austin is an odd place to choose. To be honest, one of the reasons we picked Austin was the airfare was cheap and Kim needed one more flight to earn back her “status” on American Airlines. While we were doing research for the trip we noticed there was a huge foodie culture in Austin.

We landed around 11 p.m. and the very first place we stopped was Austin Daily Press. We had to go, just to say we had eaten at another contestant from the Great Food Truck Race. We really didn’t think it would be any good but we were wrong.

Eggplant Parm & Mozz with Homemade Marinara

We ordered the eggplant parm & mozz with homemade marinara. This was way better and more complex than I expected. It came out nice and hot and the bread had a great crunchy texture. It was made with fresh, grilled eggplant (not frozen breaded), mozzarella cheese and marinara, which blended perfectly together.

I really wish this wasn’t the first place we checked out because we had so many other places we wanted to try. We had to stop ourselves from trying everything on their menu.

If you are in the Austin area, make the time to stop. They are pretty easy to find if you are downtown. Best of all they’re not just hype. There is some real culinary talent to be tasted.

Austin Daily Press (Trailer) on Urbanspoon