Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dinner under the Stars Torrance, California

'Alpine Village: Gourmet Food Truck Fest Wednesday Nights

We spoke with the Alpine Village General Manager Otto Radtke who explained that although Alpine Village is  best known for its Oktoberfest, that the interest for gourmet food trucks was to bring a different type of crowd to the property that might not patronage the Alpine Village. To accommodate the expected crowds, Alpine Village will install more outdoor tables and chairs outside the Village's popular German market and deli. They will also open the doors of the adjoining restaurant that serves only breakfast and lunch so food truck customers can sit at the tables inside. Enjoy Otto's behind the scenes video interview.

The Event was the brain child of Rob Grier of the Munchie Machine. Rob like most gourmet food trucks are always looking for new venues to introduce their food to new comers and regulars alike. The event is called "Dinner under the Stars" and starts from 6 to 9 p.m every Wednesday night. You can expect many diverse cuisines such as; Cuban food from the Cafe Con Leche truck to Northern Indian street food from India Jones Chow truck, with some sweet notes from Chunk N Chip to name a few. The food trucks will be rotating each week. You can find event information at or talk with Glen De Baca. Enjoy the video!

It was a great and busy Wednesday night with a big crowd enjoying various great food trucks to tantalize their taste buds. We sampled Cafe Con Leche, Mobile Maroni, Ragin Cajun truck, and enjoyed one of the best  ice cream cookie sandwiches from the Chunk N Chip truck.

When you think of salsa, great Cuban food with strong coffee you're probably thinking about the Cafe Con Leche truck owned by Gabriel Martinez and Chef Frankie. This truck is the 1st of its kind and will be offering online ordering soon to make it easier to get your Cubana food on. Chef Frankie is responsible for the Cuban inspired menu, which is awesome! We sampled a few of the menu items such as; the Cuban sandwich, a traditional sandwich made with fresh cuban bread grilled to perfection with jamon, slow roasted pork that you can break with your tonque, swiss cheese, hardy mustard, and crunchy pickles to top it off, make it a lip smacking good experience. The Manolo-Pan con Bistec, steak sandwich was palomilla style- Mention palomilla to a Cuban and his eyes will light with pleasure. Like so much grilled fare, palomilla (pronounced "pal-o-me-ya") is a poor man’s dish that has been elevated to gastronomic indulgence. The term refers to a thin, flavorful steak cut from the bottom round (la bola in Spanish). Because bottom round can be rather tough, the steak is cut thin (about the width of your baby finger) to make it seem more tender. (muy Sabrosa), with grilled onions, crushed gourmet potato chips added a nice crunch, sweet tomatoes, swiss cheese, and Chef Frankie's creamy with a hint of heat special sauce to complete this work of art. I would change the name to El Delicioso! The last item we tasted was the Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso, which is guava and goat cheese baked in a lighly browned empanada shell, yes they make their own empanada's too. Simply incredible are the skills of Chef Frankie. The Cafe Cuban drink brings me back to my traditional Italian roots of sitting around the table drinking strong espresso coffee with my grandfather. Agradecimiento Cafe Con Leche!  Please enjoy the 2 videos for an inside look at the owners behind the food of the Cafe Con Leche Cuban mobile truck.

The next stop on our food orgy was the Ragin Cajun from the The Great Food Truck Race Team on the Food Network. Stephen Domingue was not available for an interview, but we will catch up with him in another food adventure as Steve is a big fan. We did sample the Cajun Shrimp Po Bo, which was a nicely seasoned and battered shrimp with a tasty cajun rémoulade dressing and of course the Gumbolaya with the smoked andouille sausage, garlic, cajun seasoning, seafood, and chicken in a thickened roux makes anyone say "Ca c'est bon." See photos below of the food we enjoyed.

I first had Jodi Maroni's sausages back in 1981 when I moved to California from NYC. I met Jodi Maroni in Venice at his first storefront as he would come out and put on a show to sell his delicious food. Jodi's son Alex is running the Maroni Mobile, which is serving out some great sausages. We tried the Kode Beef with the natural pork casing for a nice snap when you bite into that lovely American Kobe Beef sausage that is topped off with grilled bell peppers and sweet onions, Maroni Traditional Brat, and the old school Yucatan made with chicken-turkey sausage, serrano chilies, cilantro, Dos Equis beer and topped off with Pico De Gallo. As the Most Interesting Man in the World says "I don't always eat sausages, but when I do its Jodi Maroni's." Enjoy the food pic and video interview below of the great sausages we devoured!

After a night of some great savory food. It was time to sweeten the finish. We tried the new fall flavor pumpkin spice cookie w/maple ice cream - YUM!! We covered this delightful ice cream sandwich truck at its debut for the OC Foodie Fest back in August of 2010. They took the 2nd place Yelp award out of 49 trucks and was the only dessert inspired truck to even place. You want the best ice cream sammies in LA check out the Chunk N Chip truck and tell them Big Tony Ragu sent you there! Now that is the way to end a great Wednesday night at "Dinner under the Stars" in Alpine Village.

YUM!!! Pumpkin Spice and Maple ice cream.

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