Saturday, October 13, 2012

Eat St Films In Dallas: A Behind the Scenes Peek

Backtrack to July 4, 2011, in Austin, Texas. After the Independence Day festivities were over, several friends and I were flipping channels on the TV and stopped to watch The Cooking Channel, which was having an "Eat St" marathon. Talk turned to food trucks and the idea for a blog was born.  Fast forward approximately 15 months, to last week, when I received an email from the Eat St. production company asking if I would be interested in being interviewed as "a food blogger" for Eat St. when they filmed in Dallas.  The moment was surreal and one that I would not dream of declining. A quick check of my schedule showed that I could join the filming for Nammi and Good Karma Kitchen.

The Nammi crew filmed on Tuesday, at the University of North Texas campus. The Good Karma crew filmed on Friday at an office building in Uptown Dallas.  Both days, I arrived at the truck about 10:30 am and things were in full swing, no surprise since the shoot started before 8:00. Eat St had worked with each of the trucks to select their best items to feature on the show. For Nammi, this was the Saigon Sliders, Nammi Nachos and Combo Bahn mi.  For Good Karma Kitchen, this was Margherita Flatbread, Asian Noodles, and the Veggie Bowl. Both trucks also had one additional item that they prepped that day but because of time limitations, those items will not be featured on the show.

Good Karma Kitchen Prepping
Both days, for the first thirty minutes that I was at the truck, the producer and camera man were on the truck with the owners, filming the prep of the food. I don't know if you have ever been on a truck but to have four people and a large video camera on board makes for some tight quarters, especially then trying to get the right shot!

Filming the food
After the food was prepped, it was my turn.  First, we had to find the right spot for my interview, not too much sun, not too dark, not too much traffic around, do we need a reflector?  For each item, I was asked to take a large bite and immediately describe the taste to the camera.  Not easy! When I am sitting behind a computer, I can think of hundreds of adjective to describe food, when there's a camera, the thoughts instead are:  "I can't immediately talk, I have a mouthful of food", "do I have sauce on my face?"  "did the camera just pick up me dropping that piece of food on my shirt?"

Photo from UNT Dining Services Facebook Page
All of these thoughts are going on while a producer is asking questions, a camera man has a camera at various lengths from my face and a sound guy is working feverishly to get my voice but block out the construction noise happening ten feet away.  There was not a list of questions given to me in advance, so off-the-cuff, I am answering dozens of questions like, "what kind of person enjoys Nammi's food?"  "how does the cheese add to Good Karma's flatbread?"  These are not things I usually think about when blogging, so we will all get to see how I respond under pressure, with a camera documenting the entire process.

At the same time the Production Assistant is either holding a reflector next to me or, if the sun is in the right position, going from person to person, who are ordering their lunch, asking if they are willing to appear on camera; not just to talk to the camera but to also eat on camera. This is actually more than finding people willing to eat on camera, its finding people that have ordered the food they need to profile for that next shot, can't have too many people eating flatbread and no one eating veggie bowls!

Once all the blogger/customer interviews were done, the primary content of the show is filmed with the interview with the truck owners.  The crew brought the owners off the truck and filmed their answers to  the hows and whys of their truck story. Why a truck? How did you come up with the name?  How do you create menus? All of the questions that let the viewer see the passion that the truck owner has was asked, in ways that brings out the owners' personalities.

I would be remiss in not giving a shout-out to the production crew. These guys were great!  I found out Friday that they had never worked together but on Tuesday I had no indication of that. Of course, they were professional, as you would expect but they were patient, fully explained what they were doing and seemed to really enjoy interacting with the truck owners and guests and made each person being interviewed  very comfortable with the camera and mic.

This week has been one of the highlights of my blogging experience.  It really seems like things have come full circle, since as I said, Eat St was the inspiration for the blog. Even before I watched Eat St that July night, I had eaten and fallen in love with Nammi and had begun to establish a friendship with Gary and Teena. To bring it all together was not something I ever dreamed would happen. Being a part of the profile of the unique food that Good Karma Kitchen produces was really more than I could have asked. To know that Jack's Chowhound, Green House, and Three Lions  were also having their moment in the spotlight sent the entire experience over the top! I am so glad Eat St was able to come to Dallas and film these trucks and show all of North America that the food truck scene in Dallas is vibrant and tasty. I am told the episodes should begin to air in March, stay tuned, I will let you know the exact dates and times as soon as I know!
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Brings Ten New Trucks To The Metroplex

I love October, the changing of the weather, the fall festivals and all the fall food to experience. Since my last post about new trucks, DFW has or will add ten new food trucks to the streets and gives me ten more things to love. This is an interesting month, there are quite a few trucks that have popped-up, overnight and I don’t have a lot of background on them. This is actually good news for all of us, it means there will be a lot of blog posts reviewing the trucks in the coming months.

A Taste of Louisiana is a truck in Fort Worth that literally popped on to my radar today. A quick peek at Facebook indicates the truck rolled out in September and is set up at The Grotto Bar on weekends. The menu is traditional Cajun food, red beans and sausage, jambalaya, po-boys. You can follow A Taste of Louisiana on Facebook and Twitter. I will be hitting them as soon as I can, with hopes of Cajun food that tastes like what I was raised on.

Bombay Street Foods has hit the streets, bringing an Indian-Chinese fusion to the streets. This truck is owned by the same owners of Bombay Chopstix restaurant in Irving and Richardson. I’m constantly asked why there hasn’t been an Indian or Chinese food truck on the streets, so with this truck we get both. You can follow Bombay Street Foods on Facebook and Twitter to find out where they will be set up next.

Gator’s Outpost is a new Cajun truck, currently setting up on a regular basis at 380 Flea Market on Hwy 380 East of Denton. Their menu includes Beef Burgers, Hotdogs, Gator and Fries, Gator Sausage, Cajun Sausage and Turkey Legs and BBQ. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find out where they are next, including Dallas events.

Hook and Ladder is more an event truck than a daily serving truck that this blog focuses on, but it’s a fun concept and I wanted to bring it to your attention. The company has two trucks, both re-fitted fire engines. One serves beer and the other serves pizza. Honestly, beer and pizza from fire trucks! Check them out on Facebook and Twitter and let me know if you have run across them!
My Cupcake Garden is Dallas’ newest cupcake truck. They rolled out in mid-September and have been out and about, seemingly everywhere. You can follow this truck on Facebook and Twitter to find out their next location for their cupcakes.
The Pickled Carrot is Denton’s first permitted food truck. After having a stand at the Denton Community Market, the Picked Carrot has taken their bahn mis mobile, across Denton. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to find their next location.

The Spanish Lunchbox is one of those trucks that I don’t know much about. I do know that it serves tapas and had a soft opening last month. The truck is owned by Si Tapas restaurant in Uptown Dallas. Their Facebook page indicates that the truck will have a unique menu but still true to the Spanish tapas style. You can follow the truck on Facebook and Twitter. This truck is high on my list to visit, so expect more information soon.

Yellow Belly Food Truck will roll out mid to end of the month. This truck, owned by a former chef at the Four Seasons Austin, will specialize in dishes with sauces made from yellow tomatoes. I’m looking forward to this truck’s debut in Dallas and seeing the creativity that comes through the truck window. You can follow Yellow Belly on Facebook and Twitter to find out when and where they will be.

Pompeii DFW Food Truck - Last month I wrote about the closing of Semplice Cibo Italiano. Many readers were sad to hear that Chef Audra would not be on the streets. Today the good news is that she will be back, this time in her own truck with a menu she created. The truck, called Pompeii DFW will be serving Italian food, with Audra’s personal style. I have talked to Audra at great length about this truck and I am excited to see all the things she has to offer. Follow Pompeii on Facebook and Twitter to find out the opening date, which will be towards the end of the month and where you can find the truck.

Lucky Ducky Dog is another truck that just hit my radar today. Their Facebook picture of the truck shows that they will be having "fun with meat" with gourmet sausages and hot dogs.  It seems the truck already has received its Dallas permit and is in the hiring stage, so it should be hitting the streets soon. You can follow along on Facebook and Twitter to find out when they open their doors. 

I look forward to visiting these trucks and tasting all of the flavors that they are sharing with the Metroplex!

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