Nov 19, 2011

Its back, Nov 19.... Farm to Food Truck Challenge II

Farm to Food Truck Challenge II
On Saturday, November 19, SoCo Certified Farmers’ Market will host its Farm to Food Truck Challenge II.

The event is a farmers’ market inspired cooking competition pitting top Gourmet Food Truck chefs against each other to create the best dish using locally grown farm fresh ingredients. Over 15 gourmet food trucks will be hosted during the weekly farmers’ market from 9am-2pm with selected trucks competing.

Food truck chefs will have only 60 minutes to shop the farmers’ market for its pre-determined seasonal ingredients and then whip up a culinary masterpiece. The dish will be served to a panel of top foodie judges to be judged on creativity, taste and presentation.

The winner will be crowned the ‘Top Chop’ Truck! The Challenge kicks off at 12pm, judging begins at 1pm and the Winner announced at 1:30pm. The festivities will also feature live music, kid-friendly activities and plenty of free parking. The event is held in conjunction with the SoCo Certified Farmers’ Market, which is held every Saturday at South Coast Collection (“SoCo”) (the 3300 block of Hyland Ave) in Costa Mesa from 9am-2pm.

Our first Farm to Food Truck Challenge witnessed Bacon Mania being crowned ‘Top Chop’ Truck. The event had over 3,500 people in attendance with over 20 farmers’ market foodies, bloggers, photographers and volunteers capturing all the action.
9:00 The SoCo Farmers' Market opens!
11:00 Judges arrive
12:00-1:00 Chefs dash, grab, plan, & cook! (60 minutes allotted)
1:00 Judging begins
1:30 Winner crowned Top Chop Truck

Competition Trucks (subject to change without notice)
Home Skillet
The Flip Truck
Taco Maria

Farm to food truck 1 winner: Baconmania

About SoCo Certified Farmers’ Market

SoCo Certified Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday at South Coast Collection (3315 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa) from 9am-2pm and features the best fruits and vegetables that California farmers’ have to offer along with a rotation of top gourmet food trucks and other traditional farmer market fare. For more info, please visit:

Nov 17, 2011

Chef Jason's Playground is now open

Chef Jason Quinn, formerly from the Lime Truck, opened his own restaurant called Playground located at 220 E. Fourth Street in downtown Santa Ana.

I was invited to the soft opening on Wednesday, November 16, and my friends and I decided to order everything from the menu and share.

The menu looked like a flashback of all the favorites that the Lime Truck once served.  To me,  the food that Jason created is why I became such a fan of the Lime Truck!

The food is made fresh, by hand, and based on seasonal availability. Melissa Produce is the main produce supplier, Blackmarket Bakery does their desserts,  and portions are tapas style, easy for sharing with friends. In fact, its best if you bring a group of friends so you CAN try everything!  It truly is a feast for the eyes and palate.

The restaurant has a full bar, with beers on tap from the local breweries.

The official opening date is Friday, November 18.  There's 2-hour meter parking around the area (free after 8pm) and a parking garage a block away.  Playground is opened at 11:00 am and closes when the last customer leaves (that's what Jason said!). They are closed on Mondays.

Follow them on twitter at @PlaygroundDTSA

Welcome to Playground

The list of beers on tap

Brussel sprouts with country ham

Butternut squash with Duck Confit

Tandori chicken

The dining area is communal style

The Playground Burger

Blistered shishito peppers with edamame
Duck fat fries
Pork bellies in a steamed bun

Handmade buccatini

Homemade pickles
Chopped salad
Our bread, your butter
PEI Steamed Mussels
Risotto with fresh moscovy duck
Queso Fundido with House goat chorizo, ghost chili, queso chihuahua & corn chips
Homemade gnocchi
Chef Jason saying hello
Hangar steak with creamed spinach
Farmer Daughter's pudding

Thanksgiving woopie pie

Nov 16, 2011

Saturday: Food trucks at claremont

Claremont High School food truck fundraiser is Saturday

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We here in San Bernardino County are relative newbies to the food truck game, with the first major food truck festival happening earlier this year, and a lessening of restrictions by county officials happening during the summer.

Claremont, however, is in Los Angeles County.

How come I haven't heard of food truck festivals happening there?

Well, it just so happens there's one coming this Saturday (November 19).

It's being put on by the Claremont High School Music Boosters and will benefit the school's bands and color guard.

Dubbed the Food Truck Mania, it's a smallish event -- 14 trucks are currently in the lineup -- but in my experience, smaller events are better if you want to actually eat something. The lines tend to be smaller and shorter lines usually translate to quicker prep times.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Claremont High School, 1600 N. Indian Hill Blvd.

Admission is $3 for CUSD students with ID, and $5 for everyone else. Those under five are free.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here.

Follow the jump for a list of the current lineup.

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Tuna Hand Roll & Sushi