Category Archives: Food Trucks

Under the Same Shine Theory


Plenty of shine to go around, fellas and girls alike. And in the end, the shine you take is equal to the shine you make.


Michael O’Connor’s Cocinana is on the road. Rolling, rolling, rolling to you with fresh, hot tamales, kissing cousins to sandwiches. It’s a family affair after all, with Michael taking his inspiration, as well as at-the-knee cooking instruction, from many years in the kitchens of his grandmas and aunties. 

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Previous to the debut, Michael held a fabulous tamale fest at Clare and Don’s Beach Shack (sorry if you missed it) in Falls Church and the tamales were a shine-on-grandma smash hit! Wow, were they tasty. There will be more, so much more, than tamales from which to choose. Personally, I am praying for tortas. Michael, are you listening?


Sweet paint job and soon to include the names of those who gave to Cocinana’s GoFundMe, a lovely personal touch from an entrepreneur who is not short on gratitude or hard work.


Spanking clean and shiny. Makes a cook want to wrap on an apron and set to tamaleing. Out of my way, grandma!


The man strolls his empire. He’s got a truck of one’s own from which to sparkle and shine.



Another Day, Another Sandwich

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I had a po’boy from Willie’s. It was good. Need I wax blogetic about the blacktop moving under my feet? No, I need not.

There was time – me being the only early customer – for a chat. Willie told me, “I’m a po-boy enthusiast. It’s all about the bread.”


The righteously squashed oysters of this po’ boy were bedded on bread from New Orleans. Doughed, shaped and baked by  Leidenheimer Baking Company. The sandwich was terrific, the bread terrific too. It was a day, another day, punctuated by lunch. For what else do we live, I ask you? Lunch.


It was a day. A day not to remember, but a day not to forget. Or regret. That’s the days that mostly make up our lives. With lunch.


The remoulade had a lotta mustard and a lotta vinegar. Did I do right by the righteous oysters? Did Willie do right by me? Yes indeed. It was a day unlike any other day. Another day, another sandwich. The interrobang of lunch.


Hotfoot It!

The Best Wurst

Texans come by bratwurst honestly, as much as Midwesterners may believe this wurst to be theirs alone in the US.

There was, for many years, in Richmond, Virginia, the WisconsinTexas Border Cafe, now closed I am sad to report. Austin, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin share an aesthetic and emotional border, methinks, cafe or no cafe. If you are gonna hotfoot it between the two, you best do it in your kitchen or your imagination. The mileage is impressive.

Recently I had the privilege of speaking with Jon Notarthomas, proprietor deluxe of The Best Wurst in Austin, Texas. A charming follow-up email warmed my wurst-lovin’ heart,  signed by Jon thusly, till then, me’new friend. 

Jon’s words are as follows.

Best Wurst is the oldest food vendor in Austin and definitely the forerunner of the Food Cart Craze that has taken off here. I like to say we are the most efficient kitchen in Austin working from a 4 x 5 foot cart that kicks out over 80,000 sandwiches a year. I believe we’ll be hitting the magic  “one million served” mark this year!

I know Chicago Food Critic Heather Shouse recently featured Best Wurst in her book Food Trucks.

She did. Good book. Stash it in your glovebox, take off your kid gloves and get yourself to eating.

My heart is warm for the Texas form, so near is it, and so simultaneously remote from, Wisconsin. The two are bound by a heritage accessorized by a string of sausages.

The Border Cafe was conveniently located between The Great Peanut Tour and home. If you drove as the crow flies you hit the cafe at half past lunch. Those were the days.


No Phone, No Pool, No Pets

slippery corned beef

brined by this king of the road

carb/umami bomb

Rina Rapuano’s  story in the Washington Post about the Corned Beef King.

Put down that broom and read excerpts here:

buttery corned beef, sauerkraut that cuts through the richness of the meat, Swiss and Provolone cheeses, and Russian dressing, layered on fresh-baked rye and warmed on the griddle

the flavors and texture spoke to the great care that’s taken with the beef brisket. Rossler cooks the already-corned meat for 11 hours, a process that involves slow roasting and re-seasoning it with his own pickling spices, onions and “secret sweeteners.”

roasting the meat for more than three hours in nothing but garlic, butter, salt and pepper let the taste of the bird shine

corned-beef hash topped with two over-easy eggs (food truck breakfast. woot!)

corned beef to fill my frame
means by no means is my name

third boxcar, midnight train
destination…Bangor, Maine….

Roti Rodeo

Suits-Herself Cindy went to Charleston and reported back.

So, I think the Roti Rolls people are really cool. I like that they do “farm to truck” food. And that they serve underutilized meats like neck and tongue. And underutilized vegetables like turnips and radishes. The fact that most sandwiches are served with a fried egg on top doesn’t hurt either.

All of my family (closed-minded to food at times) claimed to “hate” kimchee. Yet they thought my sandwich was yummy. So HA. Score one for kimchee.

Also, here is the menu board for roti rolls. They were delish, just like the board says!

My Giddy-Up sandwich was delicious. I liked the whole idea so much that I had some thoughts about seeing if they wanted to expand their business into the DC metro area. I think they’d do well here, but I am probably not the right person to run a food truck.

Anyway, here are some more photos of the fantastic Roti Rolls farm market stand and a link to their web site.

I heart roti rolls (and who wouldn’t?).

Why she is not the right person to run a food truck, I do not know. Am I? I would love to give it a roll.