BTC2: Recap: The Coffee & Donuts + Jerky

I just can’t let the 3rd Behind the Cart show up without closing out the last one.  Although I don’t have many photos of the donuts and Three Twins ice cream served that night, I do have many fond memories.  The only thing that is really naughty about those donuts is how you feel because your fat face ate like twenty of them before you realized what you were doing.  Luckily for our guests we cut them off with just 2 of them: one chocolate and one vanilla.  The donuts had some challenges behind the scenes that put the Behind the Cart crew to to the test but it was a success.  I think there were many, many happy people that we had given it our all and succeeded on getting on those wonderful balls of joy cooked up by none other than the lovely Hannah of Naughty Donuts.  You can continue to seek out those naughty little things by following her Cibo per Strada page and possibly catching her at some of the last Bites Off Broadway’s of the year!

And then there was the coffee.  That’s pretty much all I can really say about it because I don’t drink it.  Yes I knew it was good with donuts and yes I know it was very American but that was about it.  It was the help of my food cart friends on finding the boy and his brew.  Although they quickly learned serving that many servings of coffee was not such a simple task I heard many escstatic comments about the quality and punch of the coffee.  Nonetheless, it was a beautiful set up and had there was a strong and wonderful smell filling the air outside as we started the conversation at the end of the dinner.  For all you Joe’s that gotta have your cup, you can seek him out and get your cup filled nearby in the bay area!

The last but surely not least and completely not pictures is Oaktown Jerk and his samples of jerky that were our take home bag.  They were pocket sized samples of a variety of his flavors that were perfect for the long ride home, whether it was car or bike or saddle.  He continues to sell his jerky at a variety of places across the bay so make sure to re-ante your stash soon…..

Sincerely,

The GrilledCheezGuy

 

PS – There is still room for the upcoming Bingo Brunch.  Make sure to grab your tickets and start off your Sunday right with this bunch of brunchers.

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Le Menu

Ladies and gentlemen,

I present to you. The menu.  1 of 6 actually.  This will give you a better idea of how the brunch is going to go.  Notice the free space.  That is because the jam & bread will already be waiting for you to enjoy at your table.  Everything else will be called by bingo ball and then picked up at that particular station.

The group that gets BINGO first will also win a food prize provided by Bacon Hot Sauce.

Live music by Christopher Mac Vittie

 

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Do you want to play a game? Do you want to eat and play a game?

Tickets are now on sale for the 3rd installment in the hopefully never ending saga that is Behind the Cart.  We have a big line-up of 9 food carts serving nine dishes + 1 bonus food cart giving out prizes to a few lucky Bingo Brunch players!  An example of the menu layout is seen on the left.

While I am away on vacation and not able to blog, promote, or blab about this next event for the next couple days I have decided to give a discount to all those who need no tempting.  If you already know we got the goods and Behind the Cart is already your favy favorite then grab your tickets now!  Tickets for the brunch are only $40 until noon come Sunday when I return from my festivities.

I think this one is going to bring together more fun, more food, and more stories than ever before.

Note: Music + Art will be present again for this event!

Get your tickets here!

Menu (not in order served):

Tea & Company

Sandwich Tea Trio: Egg & Cress, Marinated Cucumber, & Goat Cheese w/ red pepers & black olives

INNA Jam & Acme Bread

Seascape strawberry, polka raspberry, plenty spice jalapneo, royal blenheim apricot w/ Pain au levain bread

El TacoBike

Torta de huevo enchilado

23 MonkeyTree

Kombucha

Cibe Per Strada

Stone-fruit galette

S + S Gastro Grub

63 degress organic hen egg w/ puree roasted organic cauliflower soup, real bacon bits, torn garlic sage crouton

Blank Tea

Tea for Two Take Home Bag

Schulzie’s Bread Pudding

Blissed Out Blueberry & Celestial Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding

Simply Mochi

Bacon wrapped mochi

BINGO Prize:

Bacon Hot Sauce

 

Thank you all for continuing to believe in me and my foodie dreams.  Stay tuned for final blog posts of our last dinner and updates about the upcoming brunch!

Sincerely,

GrilledCheezGuy

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B-I-N-G-O

and Behind the Cart was it’s name-o!

Well folks if you got all comfortable and warm (or cold maybe at that last one) with how the set up and structure of these Behind the Carts was going to go, I have some bad news.  This next one is not your average dining experience.  In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a meal served up quite like this one is going to go.

Without giving too much away yet, I just want to give you a preview of what is about to go down.  Think 1 part cafeteria/hotel continental brunch, 1 part BINGO, and 1 part food/flea market.  Put those all together with a line up of food carts that are to die for and you have the next Behind the Cart.

BTC#3: Berkeley’s BINGO BTC Brunch! Sept 18th Secret Location, Berkeley 10AM-1PM

Tickets and the menu will go up on September 1st so stay tuned.  There will be an early bird special for tickets from Sept 1st-4th so make sure you grab yours.

Sincerely,

GrilledCheezGuy

 

PS – I apologize for not closing out the last meal’s blog.  It will be done shortly.  I also encourage you to check out the “Les Carts” section for news articles and upcoming audio/video clips of your favorite vendors!

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BTC Recap: Paul the Angry Man & his Eats

Photos by Albert Law

Paul was the guy I wanted the moment I started crafting the theme & the menu.  Chicken & Waffles were the most iconic food I think I knew from the food carts I was aware of.  I had only heard about it moving out here and hearing about the L.A thing (and also seeing that guy on 30 Rock where a hat w/ “CHICKEN & WAFFLES” written across it).

I had only heard good things from foodlandia about him and his operation and once details started being detailed I could tell this guy was going to shine.  With 2 fryers and an iron waffle station in tow the man created his station and started preparing the moment he got there. The results from that herculean effort were nothing short of extraordinary.  The chicken and waffles were next to godliness.  I ate a LOT of chicken from a LOT of batches and they were all perfect-o.  The seasoning was amazing and the syrup on the waffles was epic.

I also have to give credit to the detail and planning that came with his plating.  He was the first person to bring their own dishes to the dinner.  His rectangular plates were beautiful and the greens were a nice balance (and the only greens on this menu I know!) to the other side staring at you!

Although we had never met both him and his friend pitched in from the get-go and had a great time to the very end.  Although he told me the ways that the Angry come out inside him I never once saw a hint of that side of him.  It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside him in the kitchen and hear his story at the end.  I know he has many events and even his own Pop-Up so I can go to sleep soundly knowing that those amazing chicken N waffles I had are here to stay.   The due was definitely the unsung heroes of the night with both their food and open attitude into trying to help everyone make that evening the best it could be.

Sincerely,

GrilledCheezGuy

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BTC Recap: My Grubby Oakland Friends

Photos by Albert Law of Pork Belly Studio

As you all darn well hopefully know by now, Oakland is the birthplace of the GrilledCheezGuy and the Oakland Art Murmur is the hospital is the place he emerged all goey and cheezy and sticky.  After months of crawling around the street outside of the Stork Club 2 women started telling baby GCG that he needed to grow up and take his ass over to big boy school aka 23rd street.

This required a lot of me.  A lot of growing up an growing out as a food stand.  It also required me to go legit and have to deal with things like Health Inspectors & Murmur Inspectors, both initially evil-seeming things to a young food cart.  It was the latter that brought Elizabeth and her recently release Guerilla Grub truck into my life.  She has had fun (and made fun) of watching me and my stand grow and evolve and become more efficient through the months and years now.  I actually still cherish the day she came up and gave me praise for the look of my stand at one of the Oakland Art Murmurs.  I can’t take too much of that credit as Chef Jordy was the one who was teaching me behind the scenes and now that he is gone I am still doing my best to uphold them.

As time went on I got to know her and her husband and their Guerilla Grub outfit.  I also quickly learned that Elizabeth was a die-hard Oaklandisher and she knew the people around town.  I would quickly learn to meet many other faces of town that have now helped me to get my good name and my good sandwich out to the East Bay.

Finally, around the time that Matt Cohen was bringing his behemoth truck show Off the Grid to our quaint little town of Berkeley, Elizabeth called the first meeting of the east bay food trucks and carts at none other than Sam’s Log Cabin.  A group of us got together and discussed the idea of forming a coalition that would later become OMFG to try and unite together and support each other and the food truck movement in the East Bay.  At this point in my foodie career I had already become very involved thanks to Elizabeth and had spoken out at a Oakland Town Hall meeting.  I also am fortunate in that my grilled cheese sandwich has attracted some big local names like Mayor Jean Quan to my stand.  The first time I met her I voiced my opinion of the unfair permitting fees for people like me and she promised to move forward on it.  She keeps promising me this everytime I see her and I am still going to give her the benefit of the doubt but just as I told her the very first day……no changes = no sammies for you!   I am proud to be among such a tenacious lady like Elizabeth who is fighting to help the small guys like me able to do what we are doing easier while still being fair to others as well.

Therefore, it was only fair that I invited the two to come serve at my Behind the Cart dinner.  They made a classic to their menu with the sliders and sauces.  They were all the rage and at the end of the dinner it was fun to get to sit back and tell some more personal and initimate stories with the new colleagues and friends I have been working with in the food world.  Their food, their attitude, and their actions are all totally awesome and why I am always happy to see the Guerilla Grub truck around the East bay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

GrilledCheezGuy

PS – Make sure to check them out for lunch @ 4th and Washington & also now for RAIDERS games!  Follow em here!

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BTC2: BOFFO – Making Food & Me

If you hadn’t noticed, BOFFO and I are the only 2 carts that served both Behind the Carts. What gives? Why the preference to this man and his cart? Well, to put in simply, if it wasn’t for him and his hustle I would probably have never become the Grilled Cheese Guy and would most certainly not have been doing Behind the Cart at Sam’s Log Cabin. Why? How? Let’s start from the beginning…….again.

A long long time ago on a city street not too far away my friends invited me to come hang out with them at the Oakland Art Murmur. Being new to the area I went and checked out the scene. What I saw there would forever change my local life as there were art shows, food vendors, merch booths, curbside drinking, and curbside music playing everywhere you looked! At the time my friend and Rhasaan were working together selling food right outside of The Stork Club. Right from the beginning both of them prided themselves in making organic, healthy, local food for the crowds and he has stuck to his food model still. At that time they didn’t have a name and there was a small open spot next to them. Since I had just won my first grilled cheese trophy and saw what was going on it was easy for my entrepenerial mind to put 2 and 2 together and know what I had to do. I think it only took 1 or 2 months for me to be up and selling my sandwich right next door to him.

Photos by Albert Law

Both of us are east coasters and it truly showed as we yelled and hustled our wares side by side in friendly competition. Soon my friend gave up interest and Rhasaan became BOFFO cart and I became The GrilledCheezGuy. We continued to work together until the Art Murmur forced us to go legit and work on 23rd street.

The food and east coast bond between us has favored us both well as we dove head first into the local food scene getting involved in ForageSF, NewTasteMarketplace, the Art Murmur, and more and more private events. Now he is my go to guy for events that I can not do and vise versa. It is always fun and refreshing to work with him and his friendship and hard worth ethics in the kitchen have become invaluable to me.

At some point in our travels I came to realize he was also part owner of Sam’s Log Cabin and started hanging out and working there. Once I had the idea of Behind the Cart I sat down with him early on and told him my plan. He was more than excited to try it out at his place and see how it goes. BTC became a trial run for Sam’s Log Cabin to see if they could host other events and it looks like with the success of the dinner you will be seeing many more events from BOFFO cart & his side project, The League of Urban Eaters.

Rhasaan and I worked side by side to set up this dinner and I was happy he got to serve his SF Food Wars winning Mac N Cheese to my fans. I was actually there when he won the competition as I went to help him out (and get to try the other dishes of course). The funny story about that is Rhasaan just happened to bring 2 Mac N Cheese dishes for the event (because that’s just how he rolls) and it just so happened that the person who was stationed next to him so it just so happened that I was there and ready to submit his other entry into the competition. It became Mike’s Maine Mac N Cheese that had whole pieces of Maine lobster in it. Unfortunately I lost to Rhasaan with Rhasaan’s dish and all I could do was blame Rhasaan for it. His bacon rings were definitely a beautiful site and carried over well at Behind the Cart too!

I am positive that Rhasaan and his BOFFO Cart will do many, many other great things in the bay area and will continue to create new wonderful things for us all to enjoy!

Sincerely,
GrilledCheezGuy

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BTC2: Recap: A Humble First Course

I first met this duo at a park event in San Francisco.  I was immediately humbled by their cart’s presence compared to mine.  They had a sexy and sleek stand, a beautiful banner, a framed menu, and T-shirts! I instantly was excited for the T-shirts and the Nutella chocolates they had made…..and left at home.  Fear not, they went back to get them as any real chef would.  So that they would not be embarrassed at their mistake, I made sure to 1-Up them and lock myself in to some woman’s backyard porch right next to the park.  Not just locked in, but doorknob fell out and I didn’t know anyone’s names or where I was or if anyone was planning on coming back locked in.  Granted these ladies were actually in earshot of me but I wasn’t ready to admit defeat yet and look like a foolish cook.  No way.  I was actually ready to just lie down and take a nap as I was exhausted from another event and the garden I was trapped in was quite beautiful.  After a good 15 minutes another stranger heard my calls through the doorknob hole and let me out.  It was just in time to enjoy an absolutely beautiful day in the park serving food alongside A Humble Plate.  That day I learned these two chefs were passionate about their food and presentation equally.  It was inspiring for me as I try and better my base camp each time.

We have continued to work events and then continue to be around for various antics I appear to get myself in.  They even used their food once to try and help me get some antic….if you know what I mean.  Chefs know the power of food.

 

The ladies wanted to do a slider as well as my Guerilla Grub friends.  At first I was against it but the more I thought about it the more I realized that just like Lay’s Potato chips, no one eats just one.  Hell, these things come in 100 packs sometimes and the word slider is rarely said singular.   So I did the American thing and kept both on the menu to allow for a true sliders experience.

Photo by Albert Law

The sliders were sleek and the home-made chips were a nice touch.  I especially enjoyed the extra kick the peppers gave to the slider.  I heard they got these from their grandma’s backyard as well!  That is about as sustainable as you can get.  How…..American?  I think the vote is still out on that one.

Photo by Albert Law

Overall I think the dish was excellent and is definitely a must have on an American inspired menu.  The ladies continued to help prep and plate the other dishes on down the line which was truly appreciated by all.  They also deserve a bunch of credit for getting Albert Law from Pork Belly Studio to come out and take all the beautiful shots I am using in these blog posts.  Although I always think I am going to have time to do some photography myself, it never happens and would never do justice like many of these shots.  A big thank you to both A Humble Plate and Pork Belly Studio for making the night great!

Photo by Albert Law

Sincerely,

GriledCheezGuy

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BTC2: Recap: The Amusing Bouche.

 

Photography by Albert Law

So even though I am supposed to be resting up after such a long and wonderful weekend of designing and doing your dinner, I couldn’t resist the urge to come on here and share the photo’s the talented man Albert Law of Pork Belly Studio took for us.  There are so many beautiful and wonderful shots that I am going to serve them up…..course by course.

Tonight’s course will be the Amuse made by….me.  I apologize again for the temporary sadness and pain that shot through the audience when they registered the size and scope of the grilled cheese they were getting.  Ahhhh c’est la vie.

Photo by Albert Law

Photography by Albert Law

Granted I made a pretty simple grilled cheese and gazpacho combo but there is a part of me that just refuses to leave the kitchen entirely at these dinners.   I love, love, LOVE hosting and organizing and micromanaging the evening but there is something about cooking in these new locations with a new menu slot I must fufill that is awesome.  It’s as close as I and probably some of the others get to TV-esque food battling.  This is Iron Chef except all the chefs are sharing the same kitchen that they most rotate in and rotate out of with grace, ease, and talent.  First in was nice because no chef storms had blown through yet and I got my piece of land claimed early.  It was nothing to be too proud of though, for it was basically a TV dinner size counter top with my electric grill and a place to stand.  But no matter the size or the location or the chaos the brick can answer all calls.  It was a simple “Set It and Forget It” moment that allowed me to perform other feats while they cooked (and my sous chef stood by).  The gazpacho was made the night before with some special ingredients given to me by my good friend.  I was hoping it was going to be a little warmer of an evening (although NO complaints there) when I first booked this date but apparently the weather isn’t following the rules anymore.   It was fun to create a bite size soup & sandwich and when I saw those stars & bars cupcake holders I was set and so was the size (unfortantely for the avid cheeseheads).

Photography by Albert Law

The other going-ons at that time were what make Behind the Cart such a great and wonderful experience for everyone.  What I saw was all the cooks from all the carts coming together to help with my course and the next one in any way they could, with no chaos.  These were people that knew how to pick up and go and I think because we all come from the streets there was also little hesitation.  Us food carts are used to showing up at an event we have never been to and being asked if we can grill up sandwiches in a corner the size of telephone booth on the 3rd floor.  In the dark area.  We are modular and we are adaptable and this was apparent from the moment the amuse came to be.   It is one of the great moments that only the chefs and cooks get to see and enjoy and appreciate about Behind the Cart.

Photography by Albert Law

Based on that very idea I will leave this post with an Amuse of its own.   Somewhere in the future we will come together for a very very engaging dinner that will allow you to go Behind the Cart the whole time, all the time baby.  Can us cooks handle the heat? Can you keep our chef secrets secret?  Take the 1st tempting bite and make sure you sign up for our mailing list so you can be served up at our next secret scene.

Sincerely,

GrilledCheezGuy

PS – Thanks again to Albert Law.  All the photo’s posted for each course will be his so please check him out and I highly recommend him for any bay area gigs!

 

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A Pop-Up in the Patch!

The Albany Patch that is.  Since I am considerably slower at posting updates than others I thought I would throw up this link to last night’s event written up by the wonderful Emilie at Albany Patch!

Courtesy of Albany Patch

http://albany.patch.com/articles/albany-bursts-into-food-cart-scene-with-behind-the-cart-extravaganza

I think it was a very successful night and I know everyone involved had a great time cooking and serving and sampling the massive amounts of food that were there.

A special thank you to Rhasaan and Mike from Sam’s Log Cabin for letting us create my American Dream in their beautiful restaurant.

I’d also like to thank my helpers behind the scenes: Corey, Meera, Jake & Neil.

Lastly but not leastly thanks again to my fellow food carts of all their effort going into this.  This is a very new and challenging experience for us all and you all continue to defy all odds with your level of quality and kitchen astuteness.

Stay tuned for posted audio clips, photos, new articles, and much much more!

Hope to see you all in September!

GrilledCheezGuy

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