This magazine throws some darn good events (I say with a tinge of bias), but when another media company does one well, we have to give props. Lohud.com’s Food Truck Mash-Up, held September 16 from noon to 8 p.m. at Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway, is one such happening. With more than 20 food trucks, including ones I haven’t heard of but would love to queue up to (e.g., Lelila’s Crepe Station, Thai Mis Delicias, Torta Truck), how could it be anything but fun?
The trucks are set up for a New York versus New Jersey face-off where guests taste offerings and vote on their favorite (FoodTruckMashup.com/NYVOTE). We spoke with lohud’s Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick to get her thoughts on the event, food trucks, and more.
What do you think of the food truck scene in the county? Is it accurate to call it a trend?
The food truck scene keeps getting more and more exciting. It seems every day there’s a new one to explore. But no, I don’t think it’s a trend. I think it’s a business that hardworking people are toiling at every day to bring us fun food alternatives.
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Do you have a favorite food truck?
Like a mother who never says who her favorite child is (and no, I don’t have a favorite kid though the one who texts me back quickest always wins my heart), it’s hard to pick an all-time number one. Joe Defeis won my heart last year when he burst on the scene with his Sloppie Joe’s Gourmet Grub food truck. I hadn’t eaten a sloppy joe since my kids were little, but he managed to elevate the classic sandwich to a new level of deliciousness. I usually get the Slop-a-Cado-Joe, minus the bacon, so basically a sloppy joe with avocado, lettuce and Joe’s homemade “sloppie sauce.”
Another top truck for me is The Souvlaki Truck. I’m beyond crazy for their Brussels sprouts, made with feta and a honey-sriracha sauce. I used to drive from Larchmont, where I lived for many years, to Central Avenue in Yonkers just to get them. I’m also a huge fan of their falafel, fries, and chicken souvlaki. And if anyone wants to share, I always say no. Those babies are mine! I recently worked on the truck — and unfortunately picked the hottest day of the year — so I know firsthand how hard that work is.
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Of course, I wouldn’t be a Westchesterite if I didn’t mention Walter’s. No one makes a hot dog like they do. I’m also a huge fan of the Abeetz Pizza Truck — love their avocado toast pie — and Stamford’s Hapa Food Truck. Hapa also does amazing Brussels sprouts (are you sensing a theme?).
Is there a Westchester restaurant you wish would launch a food truck? And is there a county food truck that you think would do well to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant?
Mason Sandwich Co. in Eastchester would do amazing as a food truck. Hands down some of the best sandwiches in the county. I’d also love to see Steve Weishaus of Stan’z Café in Larchmont take his talents to the road, but I almost hate mentioning him because he’s busy enough already. Pop’s Espresso Bar in New Rochelle would also rock it. Owner Giovanni Cucullo could sell his coffee and avocado toast alone and be a winner. As for what food truck that I think could be a restaurant, I’d pick Crafty ’Cue. Their barbecue sandwiches are inventive, flavorful, and always changing.
How many attendees are expected at the lohud Food Truck Mash-up and will you be doing anything special there as lohud food writer?
Last year we got more than 5,000 people at the Mash-Up and expect no less this year. I’m still figuring out my plans, but I’ll probably post what times I’m at certain food trucks so people can say hello, and compare food truck thoughts. Best bet is to follow me on Instagram @lohud_food to stay up-to-date.
If you opened a food truck, what would you serve? And what would the name of the truck be?
The name is easy: Muchnick’s Munchies! My nickname growing up was “Munch.” Ideally, I’d serve crab cakes — those are my specialty as I’m originally from Baltimore and I love all kinds of seafood, especially crab. But I think they’d be too hard to do and they don’t go well with the name. So, I’d probably do something sweet and munchy like mini cupcakes, mini fruit tarts (my favorite) and cookies, in organic and gluten-free varieties. Everyone loves dessert.
Food Truck Mash-Up
Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway
Noon Early Access: $20/adult & $15/youth (online purchase only)
2 p.m. General Admission: $5 online and $8 at the door
Kids under 5 years of age are admitted for free.
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