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Fabulous food trucks

They’re everywhere!

Posted: July 13, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: July 13, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Ana Kim calls out a customer's name to pick up an order of Korean food from the Ahn Joo gourmet food truck at last year's Santa Clarita Food Truck Festival.

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Food trucks seem to be everywhere these days … surrounded by eager customers, who are drawn in by the heavenly aromas wafting from the trucks’ cooking vents. In fact, if you attend an outdoor event and there are no food trucks on hand, you wonder who blew it.

But these trucks aren’t the old “roach coaches” of the past. In the last few years there has been a “gourmet” food truck revolution, with tasty offerings in every ethnicity and style, suitable to an “Iron Chef” competition. In fact, one truck that visits the SCV, Grill ’Em All, won the championship of the first season of the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.”

You will find such gourmet food trucks at the Farmer’s Market in Newhall every Thursday, and, especially during the third Thursdays’ Senses events there. Such trucks regularly satisfy the appetites of those who visit the Street Fairs at College of the Canyons and, last year, the first Santa Clarita Food Truck Festival was held at Central Park, and gourmet food trucks were a highlight at the Gourmet Food Truck Fest and Classic Car Show on Creekside Road in Valencia.

The specific food trucks that you will find on hand in the SCV will, of course, vary from event to event. But here Escape offers you photographic enticement for which trucks you might encounter, and some specific information on two trucks this reporter observed in action at the Newhall Senses event in June.

Grill ’Em All
The Grill ’Em All truck was absolutely surrounded at the last Senses event, so Ryan Harkins, executive chef and co-owner, had no time for a reporter’s questions. And, it’s no wonder the truck is so popular. As previously mentioned, Grill ’Em All competed in the first season of the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” and won the championship.

Gourmet burgers are the Grill ’Em All specialty, and the process has been described as combining “a love of heavy metal and culinary arts into a victorious marriage: a concert on wheels serving up gourmet hamburgers.” Just a few of the 7 oz. offerings include the Waste ’Em All, with green chilies, pepper jack cheese and beer-soaked onions; the Samoa Joe, with cheddar cheese, mosh pit BBQ sauce, pineapple and beer-soaked onion; and the Molly Hatchet, with seared fennel sausage gravy, bacon and maple.

Kona Ice
661-296-KONA (5662)
SCV residents Jeff and Carol Katz own the local Kona Ice franchise: Kona Ice of Santa Clarita, LLC. And Jeff says that, so far, all of L.A. County is his “area,” with Simi Valley, Pasadena, the San Fernando Valley and, especially, the Santa Clarita Valley, his focus. Extra-soft shaved ice is the offering, and the unique FlavorWave station on the outside of the truck allows customers to choose from, and mix to their hearts’ content, up to 10 fantastic ice flavorings.

“Our ice is ‘shaved,’” Jeff Katz emphasized, “so it’s as soft as snow, and the flavorings immediately soak into the ice.” They don’t run off and pool in the bottom of the cup like they would with typical granular ice cones.
The 10 FlavorWave spigots provide such flavors as: Tiger’s Blood (strawberry and coconut), Lemon Lime-a-Licious, Blue Raspberry, Wild Watermelon, Groovy Grape, Strawberry Fresh, Tropi-Kona, Very Cherry, Piña Colada and Banana.

“Our banana flavor makes the only ‘yellow snow’ you’re allowed to eat,” Katz quipped.

The Kona Ice shaved ice comes in four sizes: 8 oz. ($2), 12 oz. ($3), 16 oz. ($4) and 22 oz. ($5). When you purchase the 16 oz. you get a free flower lei, and the container for the 22 oz. is a take-home souvenir.

Katz said his is a true family-run and family-oriented business, begun last October, and fundraising is a highlight. Twenty percent of the proceeds taken in at any fundraising event will be donated back to the fundraising organization.

“We don’t charge to show up, and we cut you a check right there at the end of the event,” he said.

Katz said that his Kona Ice truck is at the Newhall Farmer’s Market nearly every Thursday evening these days, and at the Saugus Swap Meet every Sunday.



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