Saturday, September 25, 2010

Latitude 33: Heal the Bay Food Truck Festival

"Making a Difference"

Photo Description:
Vince Greenlee-(LF) Latitude 33, John Seiber-(RT) Director of Development, Heal the Bay

I have been supporting the Heal the Bay for over 10 Years now by various methods such as; money donations and volunteering with coastal clean up day. The Coastal Cleanup day, is very important to the beach communities such as Santa Monica and Venice. This year is Heal the Bay's Silver Anniversary, wow 25 years of making a difference in keeping Southland beaches, inland waterways, regional parks and urban neighborhoods clean.

This years Festival was organized by Latitude 33 and held on there property at 330 Washington Blvd in  Marina Del Rey, Ca. Latitude 33 sets a new standard in modern beach living. The Sales Gallery is now open and designer-furnished model homes are available for touring daily from 10am to 6pm.

For more information on Latitude 33, visit The community is also on Facebook at and Twitter @latitude33. See Personal interview with Latitude 33.

On Saturday, September 25th, over 14,000 volunteers braved the heat and cleaned Southland beaches, inland waterways, regional parks and urban neighborhoods, which was a record. Some 14,131 volunteers mobilized from 9 a.m. to noon at 65 sites throughout the county, covering 101 miles and removing 103,524 pounds of debris. I call that dedication. I was able to meet some of the Heal the bay volunteers and board members at the Heal the Bay Food Truck Festival, sponsored by Latitude 33 and Heal the Bay. The Gourmet food trucks gave 10% of their proceeds made that day to Heal The Bay charity to help them continue their great work and be here another 25 years. Special recognition goes to all 29 gourmet food trucks that participated are as follows:

The Trucks:
The Grilled Cheese Truck,Papas Tapas,Big Swirl,Fry Smith,Del’s Lemonade,
Vesuvio,India Jones,Ahn-Joo,KababExpress,Buttermilk Truck,Border Grill,
Dosa Truck,Morsels Truck,Lake Street Creamery,The Sweets Truck,Phamish,
Organic Oasis,Lardon,Get Shaved Ice,SliceTruck,Tango Mango,Mambo Juice
The Flying Pig,CoolHaus,The Dumpling Station,The Shrimp Pimp,Canters
No Reservations,Dim Sum Truck.

Sometimes the simplest things make the most sense, The Grilled Cheese Truck is no exception. Michele Grant who is the co owner shown above holding some delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches done right! Her partner in crime
co owner Dave Danhi would agree. They believe that doing simple things right make a difference and their following demonstrates that they have the right stuff. We sampled 3 of their hot, cheesy and tasty creations of heaven. I have dined at this gourmet food truck on different occasions, the food has always been fresh, hot, and delicious, along with being met by friendly staff. Hooray for Cheese!!

Chef Sumant Pardal believes in a simple concept of focusing on a few things, but doing them right. This Northern Indian gourmet food truck called India Jones Chow Truck does just that with Indian street food.The Frankie is his signature menu item, that is various well seasoned meats wrapped in a indian flat bread called Roti, its just plain delightful to your taste buds. Also, the India Jones truck offers vegetarian options, which have been most delectable. Food of this quality only attained by experience. If your jonesing for a great street food snack go see Chef Sumant at the India Jones truck, tell him Big Tony Ragu sent you!

My friend Adam Gertler from Next Food Network Star Season 4 who is now on a show called "Kid in a Candy Store" is currently running on the Food Network channel came by to do an exclusive interview with Food Adventures of Big Tony Ragu on a new food truck's first festival, the Lardon aka "Bacon" truck with co owner Jeremiah Crowley. This interviewed was 10 minutes of fun, food , and entertainment of 3 food enthusiasts sharing experiences.

Jerry was a down to earth regular guy with a visionary wife, Heather Crowley who helped create and made us some of the most tasty bacon inspired breakfast eatz we have had in a long time. I'm now a breakfast lover thanks to the Lardon truck!

I was not sure of what to expect, but was intrigued to investigate further after speaking with the son of the Italian inspired VesivioLA food truck, Matt Giangrande at the First Friday's event in Venice, CA.

I was greeted by a friendly man who called himself Vince. I'm a traditional Italian guy who grew up on food made from scratch using the best fresh ingredients such as; Arancini Di Riso, Ragu Napoletano, and Baduzzi a Broru to name a few. After, sampling the eggplant and meatball sliders, along with the Arancini, I knew Vince Giangrande understood tradition and has respect for doing things the right way, it was tasted in his Ragu Napoletano (naples inspired sauce).

I raise my glass to VesuvioLA and the Giangrande family for sharing great food and Italian tradition from their Italian inspired gourmet food truck. My Grandfather would say "Noi non potemo avere perfetta vita senza amici." I thank you Vince for being my new Amico.

There are many Asian fusion food trucks on the road nowa days. There are very few that stay grounded by tradition. The EatPhamish Vietnamese truck is one of those few Vietnamese only trucks that embrace tradition. Lisa "momma love" as patrons call her, made some delicious spring rolls and a Banh Mi to sample while we interviewed her about the EatPhamish truck and her delightful menu.

EatPhamish Vietnamese food truck: Hai Tran Special Story

I stumbled upon the EatPhamish website back in August and read a very touching story of a man named Hai Tran who started the EatPhamish food truck with the Le family as a cook and driver. According to the owner Lisa "Momma Love" Le, Hai is an inspiration. Hai has one kidney and its failing, he has been told he has 6 months to a year before complications would set in. The story touched me so much that I spoke with Lisa's Son Hac one day to understand the story and to discuss their wonderful menu.

Hai travels 2 hours each way to work on the EatPhamish truck. He works for many hours cooking and standing on his feet serving as he says, happy customers enjoying EatPhamish's food. Hai feels weak most of the time but does not complain, he just keeps going as best he can, because he loves what he does, making people smile. The Le family treats him as a family member.

I'm doing this special story to bring awareness to donating an organ to save a life. Please encourage our Food truck community to get tested and donate a kidney to help! You can contact the Le Family from their EatPhamish website, email at Donor or contact the National Kidney Foundation to learn more. I will be updating this article with a live interview with Hai as he was unable to work at the Heal the Bay event on Saturday.In closing, I would like to say "cảm ơn bạn mẹ Yêu." to Lisa Le and to Hai Tran cảm ơn bạn for sharing their stories.

We had heard about the Shrimp Pimp truck and found out that the Owner/Chef  Neil Macleod was featured on the Rachel Ray Show that aired September 21st. Neil creates his own twist on his shrimp inspired menu like an artist paints on his canvas.

We sampled a few of the Shrimp Pimp's appetizing signature menu such as the Drunken Shrimp, a twist on a sherry infused ginger sauce finished off with a few lightly sweet orange slices. The Victoria, an elegant twist on a Po Boy style french roll, with well season sauteed shrimp, nice portion of smoked salmon, a bed of baby greens, and finished off with a nicely spiced aioli cream dressing. Cannot wait to try the rest of Shrimp Pimp's artful menu selections. Enjoy his video interview.

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