DINER: Is The BCRFA Lobbying City Hall To Clamp Down On Vancouver’s Food Carts?

Want a laugh? The Sun is reporting a non-story that says the BC Foodservices & Restaurant Association is warning City Hall to ease up on all the food carts.

“We’re getting to the point now where it’s pretty much at the maximum,” association president Ian Tostenson said Tuesday.

Um, what? It’s heartening to see that City Hall only politely nodded at Mr. Tostenson in response.  The BCRFA is a fine organisation (if a little out of touch), and they’ve done plenty to lobby the province against all the red tape facing local restaurants, but they really need to put the silly back in the jar on this one.

Tostenson agreed food carts serve a specific market of people wanting fast food on the go. But if there are too many, this could cause problems for established fast food restaurants.

Oh noes! Whatever happened to all’s fair in love and restaurants? This is hardly a serious challenge to the city. If anything, it’s a weak shot across the bow, and not a little illustrative of how out of touch the BCRFA is with Vancouver’s changing dining culture. Food carts are the best thing to happen to Vancouver’s food scene in a long, long time. Could Tostenson just be bridling because so few (if any) of them have decided to join the BCRFA? Many have actually banded together to launch their own association instead, and with the BCRFA looking after the interests of fast food restaurants, who can blame them?

DINER: Dine Out Vancouver’s New “Street Food City” Celebration Launching Tomorrow

Dine Out Vancouver, which is already three days in, has diversified to include street food carts this year:

Tourism Vancouver’s 2012 Dine Out Vancouver Festival is well underway but one of this year’s most anticipated events is still to come. Presented by Street Food Vancouver Society and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Street Food City rolls out many of Vancouver’s most popular food carts on January 24, 25 and 26 (Tuesday through Thursday) for a pop-up pod of lunchtime dining.

One of this year’s signature festival events, Street Food City marks the first time that Dine Out Vancouver has included a street food category in its roster of prix fixe restaurant menus, hotel offers and one-of-a-kind events. Nine of the city’s top food carts will congregate at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s north plaza between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., allowing diners to sample a range of freshly prepared, internationally influenced goodies in one convenient location while receiving special discounts and freebies. The best part? After making their selections, diners can cozy up in an outdoor food court complete with heaters, tents, tables and chairs.

“Street Food Vancouver is thrilled to show off the best of our local food trucks during this year’s Dine Out Vancouver,” said Lindsay Ferguson, vice president of Street Food Vancouver Society. “With nine of our member carts taking part in Street Food City, there’s a meal – or three – for everyone. Even better, we’ve created a comfortable venue so diners can enjoy their food come rain, snow or shine.”

“Vancouver’s street foods were once limited to hot dogs and roasted chestnuts – but for the last few years, our food cart vendors have been dishing out some of the city’s most creative, fresh and delicious cuisine,” said Lucas Pavan, festival coordinator. “Street Food City showcases not only the diversity of our local food culture, but also the evolution of Dine Out from a restaurant-focused promotion to an all-encompassing dining festival.”

Food carts participating in Street Food City include:

• The Juice Truck. Refreshing smoothies and cold-pressed juices.
• Soho Road Naan Kebab. Tandoori chicken wraps and freshly baked naan.
• Coma Food Truck. Korean tacos, orange and rosemary truffles.
• Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck. Deliciously gooey and piping hot.
• It’s All About Grill. Meats, veggies and free pita bread.
• Tacofino Cantina. Fresh fish tacos and burritos.
• La Brasserie Street. Beer-brined chicken sandwiches and butter tarts.
• Re-Up BBQ. Juicy pulled-pork sandwiches.
• Off the Wagon. Tacos made with local ingredients and a Mexican flair.

Stoked. The weather folks are calling for rain, but we’ll see you under the umbrellas nevertheless.

DINER: Harry Kambolis To Open “Nu Greek” Location On Robson Street This October

by Andrew Morrison | Taking a page from the Japadog playbook, restaurateur Harry Kambolis (of Raincity, Nu and “C” Restaurant fame) is taking his relatively wet-behind-the-ears Nu Greek food cart concept and turning it into a proper brick and mortar business (the food cart will remain strong as well). Ironically, as you can see from the shot above, it’s actually located in the 542 Robson address right next to the thriving Japadog spot. Yup, and just when you thought a Greek vs. Japanese smackdowns were getting passé…

I’m told that it won’t be open until the first week of October, and that the focus will mostly be on take-out (think souvlakis, spinach pies, greek salads), which gels well with this stretch of Robson’s food focus. I was sent a few mouth-watering, anticipatory OMG shots of some the chow that will eventually be in the offing, which you can view after the jump… Read more

Awesome Thing We Ate #839: The Fish Taco From New Street Food Purveyor “Tacofino”

Once upon a summer there was a food truck in a gravel parking lot in Tofino called Tacofino. We frequented it plenty, because it was good, really good, as in awesome tacos and the best-tortilla-soup-we’d-ever-had good. Rejoice, Vancouver, for now that goodness is here among us, rocking lunches on the corner at Robson and Howe. Keep up with their movements here. Should you ever catch up to ‘em, pounce.

Vancouver Would Be Cooler If… We Had The “Grillenium Falcon” Rolling Around Town

I was going to go into Tashi station to pick up some power converters when this shot landed in my inbox. The Grillenium Falcon just landed in Fayetteville, Arkansas. So jealous. May the lunch be with you.

GOODS: Street Food Vendor “Cartel Taco” Has Joined The Growing Scout Community

We’ve invited one of the first of Vancouver’s new street food vendors, Cartel Taco, to join our GOODS section as a recommended company. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be publishing their news on our front page and hosting a page for them on our list of local and independent goodness. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of our little website, and for their awesome tacos!

Psst! If you think your business would be a good fit for Scout, we want to know.

Applications For Vancouver’s New Street Food Pilot Project


We’re hopeful that we might actually see some interesting street food this summer with City Hall’s change of heart on sidewalk vendors and food trucks. No fewer than five restaurateurs with existing businesses have passed word on the down low that they’re interested in getting mobile, and I imagine there are plenty more dreamers (who are just as keen) that we aren’t privy to. The deadline for those seeking to apply to have a mobile food truck or cart within the city limits is June 30th at 4 pm. Get the skinny after the jump… Read more

“Roaming Dragon” Set To Turn Page On Vancouver Street Food

4691267798_d19e5233a3_bphotos by Erin Simkin

A new company called Gourmet Syndicate is poised to make a move on Vancouver city streets if City Hall’s mobile food truck pilot program doesn’t ruffle any No Fun feathers next month. Their first mobile catering brand is a pimped out, 25 foot pan-Asian looker called Roaming Dragon.

It’s a fully equipped kitchen on wheels, starring the consultative talents of none other than Don Letendre, formerly the long-time executive chef at the Opus Hotel. His menu showcases panko crusted Chinese sausage and shrimp stuffed rice balls; chicken karaage with passionfruit and palm sugar; hoisin pork belly slider steam buns; duck confit salads with pickled pineapple and more. I just got off the phone with company principal Jason Apple, and he promises restaurant quality food on the streets very soon. Too good to be true? Nope. It just debuted at the Richmond Night Market this week, and folks from city council have already been given a full walk-through and taste. Read more

City Hall Inching Deliciously Close To Accepting Street Food

4595668593_bc82faae7f_bPortland street food scene | photo: camknows

Arguably the most embarrassing facet of our food city is its paucity of street food. Thanks to a ruling that is now 32 years old, City Hall only permits hot dogs, chestnuts and popcorn to be sold from carts. You might be able to score some crepes at a Farmers Market, but where’s my Pad Thai and my fish tacos? Where, goddammit!

It’s been a real sore point with local foodies, many of whom look upon our barren streetscape with no small twitch of shame. In comparison, the variety of cuisines offered by the catering trucks and carts of Portland and Seattle is straight up staggering. You can score anything. While there have been feints of change from the No Fun Nabobs for a while now, it looks like there will actually be a pilot project in place by July that will bring new flavours to a curb near you. From Randy Shore in the Vancouver Sun:

The move will likely expand the menu available on city sidewalks from pre-cooked packaged foods such as hotdogs to more freshly prepared fare. The city soon will issue a call for expressions of interest seeking vendors who want to offer streetside food service, according to the acting manager of streets administration.

Grant Woff said the city is starting to implement the pilot project and looking for street locations where catering trucks or trailers can set up. The city already has 60 locations for cart-based vendors and is identifying new spaces to accommodate larger carts, Woff said.

“There a huge amount of interest in this,” said Coun. Heather Deal, who first proposed allowing fresh food and food preparation in a motion to council two years ago. “I get more e-mail about this than any other topic.”

I’m not getting my hopes up just yet. I’ll believe it when I taste it. Keep emailing her.

Cartel Taco


Web: www.carteltaco.ca
Email: eat@carteltaco.ca
Facebook: www.facebook.com/carteltaco
Twitter: www.twitter.com/carteltaco



Hamilton & Dunsmuir (effective May 2011)

The People That Make It Happen

James Iranzad – Partner (center)
Joel Watanabe – Chef/Partner (right)
Jesse Grasso – Chef/Partner (left)

About Cartel Taco

Cartel Taco is the first project by the Cartel Street Food Company, the rolling obsession of its three founders and their collective forty years of restaurant life. Cartel Taco specializes in hand-making Mexican fusion tacos, using quality meats prepared in the traditional Korean style of Bulgogi. Using grass-fed, free range beef ribeye from Pemberton Meadows Farm and free range pork from Fraser Valley Farms, our meat is marinated and braised before being barbecued and served quickly to order on freshly baked corn tortillas with finely chopped onion, cilantro & kimchi accompaniment. All Cartel ingredients are made or sourced locally, including our kimchi and hand-made tortillas (safe for gluten-free diets), and our amazing salsas are prepared from scratch daily in the Cartel kitchen. For the summer season we’ll also have an excellent fresh papaya salad with kimchi vinaigrette & toasted pumpkin seeds.



“…these are solid fusion tacos that are priced right…” – Alexandra Gill

“With Cartel Taco, it’s like Korea and Mexico had gone and eloped and found happiness.” – Mia Stainsby

“I was thrilled by the unique flavours and aromas. Almost as good are the prices” – Andrew Morrison