Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#129 Back to the Future, Food Trends and Our Grilling Adventures on July 4th

Recently I have been reading a lot about Food Trucks and the problems with parking tickets being issued to them for occuping multiple street spaces in large cities, and a thought occurred to me. What would happen to fast paced professionals when they do not find enough time to grab a small lunch between rushed business meetings.  As the economy grows and flourishes I think it will end up as a growing problem for those who have less and less time to get lunch. I try to take a bag lunch to work on most days but there are times when it becomes difficult for me to grab something out of the fridge if I am late in the morning. The old-fashioned vending machines like the ones in my lunch room at work are not substantial and in the midst of a much-needed makeover. I work in the suburbs so I have to drive down to the nearest Deli to get a warm cup of soup or sandwich, which means I also risk walking in late to a meeting,  losing my space or perhaps parking a few blocks away.

Oftentimes, I wish we had the high-end vending machines seen across Asia which are mostly street-side or rail-side kiosks dispensing everything from noodles and sushi to sandwiches and roti-wraps if they also come with good service to match. Dosa carts that serve freshly made dosas and fried eggs which would be awesome between ad hoc meetings!! Food on wheels and eating-on-the-go options like the NY Desi Food Truck(Indian fare) serving Chicken Tikka Masala and Kathi rolls and Tacombi(Mexican fare) serving up Barbacoa and black Bena frijoles have spread from the New York City streets to those of Washington DC. If you work downtown, then grab lunch at "DC Slices"  a thin crust gourmet slice of pizza you will not regret eating, and the well loved Bada Bing Food Truck with big juicy sandwiches for a satisfying meal.

Lunch was freely available street-side if you chose one of the trucks featured on the Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. But it turns out that a bill was introduced by the New York City council to revoke the permit of those vendors who get a certain number of parking violations and eventually this will make it harder for the food truck businesses to flourish. Even though these trucks are allowed to park at metered commercial spaces,  when the meter expires the trucks are required to move. This in turn, is cause for concern for truck owners if they have to use Twitter or blogs to tell regular customers about their location. Some may even run out of business just because customers cannot get to them as easily as they can get to the bakery around the corner for a quick cup of soup. Some workers cannot reach the trucks or call early for fresh lunch due to short lunch breaks.

So again, we fall back to the all-convenient Vending Machine. The trend is catching up in the West where ice cream and breakfast sandwiches for the fast paced worker bee are being dispensed from a vending machine. MooBella Ice creamery Machine is a very good example of revolutionary technology making fresh ice cream easily available using a touch screen.  What if Food Trucks are not easily reachable for the working professional? The answer is either carry a bag lunch from home or dispense from Vending machines for quick lunches in between meetings. I am not one to eat Junk food for lunch, although I have co-workers who will readily grab a bag of chips and a bottle of coke and call it lunch. I must have a small meal a salad or soup is more than sufficient. If the Sauca Truck in DC serves up beef shawarma, Mexican fish tacos, pork banh mi or Mumbai butter chicken wraps then so should the Vending Machine of the future.  Unhealthy thought, but Oh so convenient if there were no added preservatives!!!

What's so patriotic about Cookouts? If you notice, everybody grills on July 4th weekend. Is it because we consider it normal to have a cookout every year? This is America and the truth is that the proper way to celebrate its Independence is to follow in the footsteps of the Virginian Colonists who in the 1800's, got together in the summer to smoke large animals over a pit. Again, we know that the burger was made possible by American Innovations like the meat grinder and the hamburger bun. But why do we celebrate America's Independence with frankfurters and hamburgers instead of dishes named after American states or towns? What about North Carolina Barbecue, Memphis Barbecue and Texas Brisket, Wisconsin Cheese, Idaho Potatoes, Georgia Peach Pie and Cincinnati Chilli? or what about Salisbury Steak?

The term 'barbecue' has its origins from the Spanish word 'barbacoa' served in the NY truckfare Tacombi!! While I am flipping through the different 'Meals on Wheels' menus, it  gives me this irresistable urge to grill up some International fare again. We usually grill just once a year.  I don't know if it is considered a 'must-do' on Independence day or not .... but I admit N and V(my daughters) and I love to cookout that weekend only because summer is at its peak, all of us have a long weekend off and we love good BBQ.  Each person may come up with variations of regional sauces. America has grown into a 'melting pot' of flavors  and now we have no shortage of tandoori paste, asian sauces and spanish rubs for meat, veggies, fish or chicken.  This time I was not motivated enough to work with my Asian Salmon but we focused on vegetables ....

So here we are grilling on the simple favorites with the exception of Salmon. N drove down on Friday(V was unable to join us). R, N and I opened up some store-brought sauces, spices and marinades to grill for this fourth of July and called it a day:)
Broiled mexican sweet potato fries, Tandoori Chicken legs, good old American Hot dogs and hamburgers, grilled vegetables and corn on the Cob it was a feast alright!  The hard work we put into grilling earned us lunch over this whole week which means I do not have to find anything extra for my lunch bag.Yay!!
I decided to share my recent findings and photos with you, and no recipes this time:)
The bread used for the thinly pounded burgers is home made.................Look out for the recipe soon:)


  1. I've got obsessed with food trucks since watching Street Food on the Food Network. We don't really have them in the UK

  2. Aw, Malli, that plate with the burger and hotdog and fries looks SO good! There's something really satisfying about making home-made burgers from scratch, including the bread!

  3. Sounds (and looks!) like you had a successful veggie grilling adventure Malli - yum! Your french fries also look pretty wonderful.

  4. Your vegetables look fantastic. You are making me think about grilling tonight! I've been enjoying myself wandering around your blog this afternoon.


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