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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gathering the food truck tribes

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM

rue chow

We normally find New Orleans food trucks individually outside of bars or perhaps clustered three or four at a time serving as vendors for markets and festivals. Lately, however, a series of specific food truck events has been gathering many more of them, showcasing the rising number and growing diversity of the local street food scene.

These events are organized by My House, a culinary event company formed last year by Barrie Schwartz. She is a recent transplant to New Orleans who has logged time working in various food trucks and saw an opportunity in the growing interest in mobile eateries.

“I think there are a lot of people here from other places where they have different ideas about food trucks, and so now they’re learning what ours are all about,” Schwartz says. “How else can you have an empanada, a falafel and then some great barbecue all right next to each other like this?”

An event from My House held in the Marigny last weekend drew some 500 hungry and curious patrons for a half-dozen trucks. The series continues this Thursday with the CBD Food Truck Round-Up from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a lunch to (early) happy hour shift.

This downtown edition will be held on the 800 block of Common Street, outside the café and Italian coffee specialist Merchant. At least five trucks (Fat Falafel, Rue Chow, La Cocinita, Frencheeze and NOLA Girl Food Truck) will be parked along the block, while Merchant will have live music inside from singer/songwriter Alex Bosworth.

Empanada Intifada
  • Ian McNulty
  • A meat pie from the food truck Empanada Intifada.

Next week, on Jan. 24, the action moves to a lot on the 2000 block of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard for the Central City Food Truck Festival, an evening event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

My House organized a similar event here last fall with the Good Work Network, a nonprofit that helps local small businesses get started, and that group is again hosting this edition. At least 11 trucks are participating, including all of those listed for the Jan. 17 event, plus Foodie Call, Mama & Me Soul Food, Brigade Coffee, the Dat Dog Express cart, Empanada Intifada and the barbecue truck Grilling Shelling.

Admission is free, and drinks are available from for purchase from local brewer Covington Brewhouse and Old New Orleans Rum. The all-female Pinettes Brass Band will perform.

More events are in the works. Schwartz says she’s developing plans for a circuit of food truck events to be hosted in different neighborhoods around the city. The idea, she says, is to establish a regular schedule of monthly food truck gatherings, with one neighborhood hosting on first week of each month, another hosting the second week and so forth.

“The mobility of the food truck is an essential part of this,” she says. “It allows different neighborhoods to have access to these trucks and their foods and organize events around them.”

What: CBD Food Truck Round-Up.
When: Jan. 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 800 block of Common St.

What: Central City Food Truck Festival
When: Jan. 24, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: 2000 block of Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

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