Jax Truckies: Bringing Food Trucks to the PeopleNovember 10, 2013 6 comments Print Article
Heather Bailey of OutsideTheDen.com interviews Mike Field & Caron Streibich on Jacksonville's Food Truck scene.
What was your first food truck experience?
Mike: I used to spend a lot of time in Southern California at the same time when Kogi BBQ first started. I would follow them around LA and Orange County eating Korean bbq tacos. Downtown LA is pretty massive, but it too has gaps that needed to be filled. I saw clusters of food trucks operating from empty lots during LA’s Art Walk, and thought ‘why can’t that work in Jacksonville?’
Caron: Back in the summer of 2010 in Portland, Oregon. I trekked across town (including switching busses mid-way) on vacation to hunt down the The Grilled Cheese Grill for a Jalapeno Popper — grilled jalapenos, colby jack, cream cheese, corn tortilla chips on grilled sourdough. It was out of the way but made for a tasty experience. Later that day I had the most amazing twice-fried belgian french fries from popular Potato Champion (which offers more than a dozen dipping sauces) and a pear and nutella crepe from Perierra Creperi, because let’s be honest — nutella makes everything better.
What was the most unusual thing you’ve had off of a food truck?
Caron: Locally, it’d have to be Swedish meatballs with lingenberry jam, mashed potatoes and pickled cucumbers from The Swedish Bistro Truck or falafel and homemade tabouli from Mama Fletcher’s in St. Augustine. In Los Angeles it was the most juicy golden fried chicken and spicy jalapeno slaw on a lavender-scented biscuit from Ludo Truck. Locally you can find everything from cuban, puerto rican, mexican, and Swedish to fresh fish tacos with roasted tomato and fennel on homemade corn tortillas or sweet potatoes topped with scallions, pulled pork and blue cheese crumbles — the options really are increasingly creative and diverse.
What city has the best food truck scene?
Mike: I’m partial to Los Angeles as that’s where I cut my food truck teeth. Besides Kogi, Komodo and The Burnt Truck are way at the top of my list of places to eat anywhere in the country. Although, Jacksonville’s food truck scene isn’t nearly as big as Portland or even Tampa and Miami the quality of some of our trucks are really top notch and perhaps underappreciated. The parmesan crusted grilled cheese at On The Fly or the Mac Daddy at The Happy Grilled Cheese blows away the famous Roxy’s Grilled Cheese in Boston (no offense to Roxy’s whatsoever, but I was actually texting Andrew from On The Fly while eating a sandwich at Roxy’s). The Swedish Bistro is a truly unique gem in the national food truck scene. I really feel that trucks like Mother Fletchers, Taste Buds Express, Salty Fig and Chew Chew (just to name a few) would stand their own on a TV show like Eat St.
Chris from Corner Taco and Caron doing a cooking demo on First Coast News – courtesy of Jax Truckies
What does a typical day entail for organizing Jax Truckies?
Mike: It’s certainly the equivalent of a full time job. On event days, I’m working a 13 hour day and easily spend 35-40 hours each week doing ‘Jax Truckies’-related work. We are always working on the next food truck event, talking with City officials and private landowners, connecting trucks to events, getting media attention on issues and working with some incredible charitable organizations.
Caron: My role is different from Mike. I spent a few hours a week keeping up with the social media components (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) — gathering details from participating trucks, typing up locations, and then posting updated listings each morning to both Facebook and Twitter. What people don’t realize is things can change in a matter of seconds — weather, truck malfunctions, and other circumstances beyond a truck’s control. I have a full-time job and part-time job so I squeeze in the updates before I go to work every morning right after the gym and (hopefully) a shower. I also ensure we respond to direct messages on social media platforms and interact with people tweeting questions or comments to us on Twitter.