Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats Truck Hits the Houston Streets Friday

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Photo courtesy Olivia Luisa Garcia
Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats will open for business Friday, August 22.
Remember when you were a kid and would hear the jingle of the ice cream truck coming down the street?

Nowadays, we tend to get our ice cream and popsicles from either the grocery store or one of the various ice cream shops around town. Yes, these are great, but what happened to the right to your neighborhood experience that traditional ice cream trucks provided? And again, that jingle?

A new updated version is about to hit the streets of Houston. Susan Sahwani-Garcia, owner of Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats, originally wanted to open a homemade ice cream mobile eatery, but as she began developing her project and realized how expensive that would be, she decided to start her business as a traditional ice cream truck selling all the classic treats and local products.

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Kimchi Koagie Is a Killer

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Kimchi Koagie--is there an XL size?

In my continuing quest to sample Houston's cheesesteak options, I have been stalking Koagie Hots. Although the truck follows a fairly predictable schedule that regularly includes nearby (for me) Boondocks, finding it when it was open proved difficult in light of this writer's bedtime, which many octogenarians would consider "early."

So, I decided on a whim to hunt down Koagie Hots late during lunch hour at a location that shall go unnamed but involves driving on Westheimer in the Galleria area. According to the website, the truck would be open from 11am-2pm and at 1:45pm I was still crawling inch by inch in horrendous traffic. I called ahead with vague hopes of placing a pick-up order only to learn that the truck had closed at 1pm. Curses! Maybe I misread the website. Nevertheless, in a coup de customer service, employee "Matthew" apologized to me and offered me a free sandwich next time I made it to the truck.

And, I did, eventually.

This story continues on the next page.

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Sticky's Chicken Food Truck Easy to Find Outside the Marquis II

Categories: Food Trucks

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It's funny--when I was young I was loath to try any food described as "sticky." I detested the feeling of edible stuff adhering to my body and can recall one particular time I majorly freaked out because I had lollipop juice all over my fingers and there's wasn't a sink in sight. ("Gee, Joanna, you sounded like sort of a neurotic child." You THINK?).

I don't know what my problem was because now "sticky" is the descriptor tethered to foods I absolutely adore: sticky toffee pudding, sticky rice, sticky buns. And now, I have a whole hosts of dishes to add to the list, thanks to Sticky Chicken food truck.

Okay, technically, it's Sticky's Chicken, but having misread and subsequently mispronounced the name about 50 times before I noticed the error, I now can't think of it as anything but Sticky Chicken. Even if not everything on the menu is self-adhesive.

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Ripe Cuisine Set to Launch Vegan Food Truck With Help From Kickstarter

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Photo courtesy Ripe Cuisine
Stephanie Hoban wants to bring vegan food all over town with a new food truck.
When Stephanie Hoban moved back to Houston after living in New York for a few years, she was struck by the disappointingly small number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in town. Rather than complain about it, she got to work.

The registered dietician and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for the Health and Culinary Arts in New York City started a blog called Ripe: Healthy Seasonal Cuisine, where she tested recipes and wrote about her vegan lifestyle.

"I wanted to keep up with my passion, and I wanted the outlet," Hoban says. "I got positive feedback from it, but you don't know if people were actually cooking the food. I wanted people to actually taste the food that I made."

The best way to ensure that people are indeed enjoying your recipes? Make the food for them.

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Food With Soul at Soul Cat Cuisine

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Robert Stokes takes an order from inside his truck, The Mothership.
"It's the oldest food in Houston," Robert Stokes told me, without any hint of sarcasm in his voice.

I laughed anyway.

"She thinks I'm kidding," he said, seemingly flabbergasted. "This gumbo and red beans and rice got my people through slavery! You better believe me! It's the real deal."

Stokes, the chef and owner of Soul Cat Cuisine food truck, is more than happy to tell you about the authenticity of his food. He's proud of the recipes he learned from his mother and grandmother, and he's confident that you'll taste the history in his gumbo, croquettes and rémoulades.

"This is your ticket to flavortown," he says, handing loaded fries through the window. "You're gonna be looking for me with a flashlight in the daytime."

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Learn About Houston's Newest Food Trucks in This Week's Feature

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Photo courtesy Sticky's Chicken
Sticky's Chicken is one of many new food trucks to hit the streets recently.
Yesterday, we told you about the trend of food trucks turning into brick and mortar restaurants. Perhaps trend isn't the right word, though. Some food truck owners will tell you it's a necessity or that it was the plan all along. Who wants to work on a food truck forever?

Judging by the number of trucks that have opened in the past year, plenty of people are perfectly content to sling food on a truck for the time being. Yes, a food truck can be a stepping stone to bigger things, but it's also a business and it provides a career for a chef/owner unsure of what to do next. Some people choose to get their starts on trucks, showing off their skills for the first time to hungry customers while parked outside a bar. Others are getting back into a kitchen through whatever means possible, even if said kitchen happens to be on wheels.

We asked the city for a list of all the trucks that have been granted permits in the past year to find out exactly how many new trucks have opened. What we got back was a 92-page list of all the permitted trucks in the city--every old truck, every taco truck, every snow cone stand and every random truck that seems to have no online presence. Still, we were able to identify more than 25 trucks that are relatively new to the Houston scene.

Check out this week's feature story for an in-depth look at five of the new trucks on the block, and peruse this list for the rest of the latest and greatest in mobile cuisine.

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As More Food Trucks Go Brick & Mortar, the Houston Scene Evolves

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Photo by Troy Fields
Good Dog Houston parked the truck and in favor of a restaurant last year.
This week's cover story (online tomorrow and in this week's print edition) looks at five exciting new food trucks that have opened in Houston in the past year and at how the local food truck scene is evolving.

Three or four years ago, a new wave of gourmet food trucks were just starting to pop up around town. They didn't necessarily eclipse the classic taco trucks that still dominate areas like Long Point Road and East Downtown, but they did make a big impression on the Bayou City.

Now, several years after the initial influx, it seems a new truck is popping up every week. It's cheaper than starting a restaurant--that's the reasoning provided by most mobile chefs--and it allows the freedom to create something new every day or every few days. At restaurants, where a chef is generally serving a greater number of people and planning further in advance, the menu needs to needs to be more constant. On food trucks, where chefs are serving fewer people (most of the time) and working with less storage space, new specials can be created daily. And when they run out, they're out.

Many chefs will tell you a food truck isn't the ultimate goal, though. They want to open restaurants, and food trucks are merely stepping stones on the way to a full fledged eatery.

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Midtown Mobile Cuisine, Houston's Newest Food Park, Hopes to Bring the Party

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Ren Garrett and Robert Stokes enjoy the shade at Midtown Mobile Cuisine.
At first, I didn't even notice it. The sounds of I-59 echo around the concrete lot and the grassy underpass. A light breeze ruffles the leaves on a few nearby trees. Syncopated beats pour forth from speakers on a table in the center of a raised deck. From one corner of the lot, a man leans his head out the window of a truck and yells that the grill is fired up.

And then I realize why this scene is so strange. It's quiet. I'm surrounded by food trucks ready to cook hot meals, and there aren't any generators drowning out the sounds of my own thoughts.

"I really do want this to be a food truck haven," Ren Garrett, owner of Midtown Mobile Cuisine tells me. "They don't have to worry about anything. That's why we have plug-ins. That's how we're able to have a DJ out here, because all those generators aren't going."

It's not one of those food parks in a grassy lot with shade from old oaks keeping diners cool in the summer. It's a concrete slab near where I-59 and Highway 288 meet, but it does feel like a haven of sorts in a gritty Midtown neighborhood. There are lawn chairs and wrought iron tables with bright orange umbrellas providing shade and a deck where a DJ is set up to play music for the evening's crowd.

If a crowd ever comes.

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Messy Magnificence at Flip 'n Patties

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Photo by Joanna O'Leary
The Flip 'n Patties Burger
As if I needed further enticement to frequent Marquis II, home of the all-powerful "Texas Tea," Filipino street food purveyors Flip 'n Patties food truck now parks outside Tuesday and Friday nights.

I do wonder whether these regularly scheduled visits are yet another effort on the part of the Marquis II"s management to curb the potential out-of-control inebriation that can result from imbibing their very strong Texas-style Long Island Iced Teas. Long-time patrons of Marquis II have noted that the appearance of the relatively new "three Tea limit" policy and now the availability of heavy, fried food just outside the bar's doors will also help steady BAC levels.

Regardless, the combination of Marquis II's cheap drinks and Flip 'n Patties ridiculously good-tasting fare has made me set a Google alarm to remind me to make a semiweekly trip.

This story continues on the next page.

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First Look at Cadillac Coffee Food Truck

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Photos by Molly Dunn
Cadillac Coffee is a retro coffee truck serving specialty drinks, kolaches and pastries.
It's no secret that Houston has an ample number of food trucks serving lunch and dinner. But lately, the expansion of food trucks seems to lean more toward breakfast options and caffeinated beverages.

Espresso Rescue joined the food truck scene just a few months ago and often sets up shop with Katmania Crepes to satisfy the breakfast needs of Houstonians with crepes and coffee. Doughmaker Doughnuts recently hit the road serving gourmet doughnuts outside coffee shops like Mercantile and Black Hole Coffee House. Now, Houstonians can grab their morning Joe from Cadillac Coffee, a retro mobile eatery serving special caffeinated drinks, kolaches, pastries and pies.

Most of the time a food truck is essentially that -- a truck. The owners drive around town, park outside a community venue or set up shop in the confines of a food park. But, Cadillac Coffee does things a bit differently. Uber-friendly owner Meghan Ackerman pulls a 1963 Shasta camper van with a 1957 Cadillac Series 62 -- it's like a diner on wheels with a kick ass car.

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