Food Truck Nation Alive and well in the U.S. Featuring: Low n Slow Santa Cruz, CA

Locally sourced lamb. Grilled sweetbreads with sherry, Pulled Pork Sammies.

A growing fleet of vehicles around the country is serving high-end, gourmet fare—and changing the Gastronomic landscape.

A new generation of lunch trucks is hitting the streets. They serve high-end fare such as grass-fed beef hamburgers, escargot and crème brûlée.As they rove cities like Austin, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Santa Cruz  they alert customers to their locations using Twitter and Facebook.Their owners include highly trained chefs and well-known restaurateurs.

Mike and Heidi Martinez, a long time local family have decided to bring “The Food to the People” and buy a food truck!

Chef Mike, has worked at many local Santa Cruz restaurants (Carniglias, Gabriella’s, Kennolyn) as well as restaurants in Bologna, Italy, Newport Beach and Long Beach California.

With his love of BBQ, Italian experience and extensive catering background. We came up with Low N Slow.

Low N Slow, the preferred method of cooking (with or without smoke), will be realized through gourmet sliders and more. Using locally sourced meat and vegetables bringing farm to truck!

        

Joshua Henderson, 36, trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and cooked at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. Today, he owns two lunch trucks that drive the streets of Seattle. Each truck serves about 200 lunches every day, and Mr. Henderson says he grossed about $400,000 last year, his first year in business, with only one truck in operation. The only problem: “We go up against the stigma. We’re trying to prove we’re on a different level than a lunch truck,” he says.

Lunch trucks once represented the nadir of culinary achievement, conjuring up images of withered hot dogs and hygienically-challenged kebabs. Today, even some chefs from Michelin-starred eateries are migrating into a sector of the food business that seems particularly well suited for a financial downturn. For would-be restaurateurs, launching a culinary truck requires far less start-up capital than a brick-and-mortar restaurant. At a time when consumers are cutting back on restaurant spending, a food truck serving inexpensive lunches and snacks can be an easier sell to diners.

The new breed of lunch truck is aggressively gourmet, tech-savvy and politically correct. The Green Truck, which sells “sustainably harvested” fish tacos, roams the streets of Los Angeles in vehicles fueled by vegetable oil. The Dessert Truck in New York is owned by a former Le Cirque pastry sous chef who donates proceeds from desserts such as a pavlova with red fruit gelée to charity. In the San Francisco Bay area, the RoliRoti rotisserie truck serves free-range chicken, and local lamb, prepared by owner Thomas Odermatt, a Swiss former organic farming student whose business card reads “Rotisseur.”

Though most of these trucks charge more than typical hot dog or taco trucks, their meals generally cost less than comparable sit-down restaurant fare. At New York’s Rickshaw Dumpling Truck—whose dumpling recipes were created by Anita Lo, chef at the Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant Annisa—an order of six duck dumplings with dipping sauce costs $6.50. In San Francisco, a skewer of escargot in puffed pastry costs $2 at the Spencer on the Go truck, operated by chef Laurent Katgely, who also owns Chez Spencer, an upscale French restaurant.

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In spite of the softening of commercial real-estate prices , the costs of opening a sit-down restaurant are still too daunting for many would-be restaurateurs. Kenny Lao says that last summer, when he was looking for a midtown Manhattan location for a second branch of his Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, in which Ms. Lo is a partner, he was discouraged after encountering prices of $200 to $300 per square foot. That led him to launch the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, which cost $150,000 to become fully operational.

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Permitting and parking also make the job tough: Each municipality has its own rules about where lunch trucks can park. In Seattle, street food vendors are only allowed to park on private property, whereas operators in other cities, including New York, can get a permit that allows them to park in most public parking spots. RoliRoti operates in seven counties around the Bay Area, and must pay for permits and follow different regulations in each one. Like restaurants, lunch trucks are inspected by city health departments. In New York, trucks are inspected once a year, and investigated if a complaint is lodged against them, says the New York City Department of Health.

New technology has been a game changer, allowing trucks to pick and move to where the customers are on short notice. Kogi BBQ, a truck serving Korean-barbecued meat inside Mexican-style tacos in Los Angeles, became a media sensation earlier this year in part for its use of Twitter, on which it currently has 28,000 followers. Following Kogi’s example, more truck operators have begun using Twitter to post messages on followers’ cell phones, alert customers of their whereabouts and even ask for tips on parking spaces.

In spite of the economic climate—or perhaps because of it—some new mobile lunch businesses are growing fast. On the Fly, in Washington D.C., sells organic, vegetarian or local ingredient-based versions of classic lunch-truck tacos and burgers. Michel Heitstuman, On the Fly’s chief executive officer, started the company in late 2007 with one café and one cart. Today, On the Fly operates eight carts, five cafes and a catering company, and is working on a franchising agreement to expand to other cities. Mr. Heitstuman says he recently ordered eight more of  Chrysler ’s electric GEM vehicles to keep up with demand.

A successful start-up requires more than just a good idea. Even a stroke of inspiration and despite the recession, Can turn it into a successful company.

Beauregard Vineyards June 2012

For more Information about Low n Slow Santa Cruz Check out: http://www.lownslowsc.com

For a reasonable Fee Low n Slow SC will Come directly to your event, Realtor Broker Tours, You name it

Heidi and Mike are great peops  and will surely please the most discerning epicurean

Until next Time ……

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