Monday, August 19, 2013

RETURNING: Food Truck Race: Beverly Hills to San Francisco

Eight rookie food trucks are at it again in a coast-to-coast battle for $50,000 and a top-of-the-line food truck to start a new business. Although this is the fourth season of Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race, it is only the second where the competing teams must be loaned the eponymous vehicles. This year the trucks will go from Hollywood, CA to Washington, DC, with various stops along the way and plenty of "speed bumps" to slow them down. First, a look at the teams, starting with the one I think has the best chance, based on what is seen in the first half of the first episode, and working our way down:

Boardwalk Breakfast Empire, Classic Comfort Food, Seabright, NJ. Joanne ran a coffeeshop but Sandy destroyed the place in 2012. To help her get back on her feet, Tim and Ilene are helping.

Bowled and Beautiful
, Fresh California Bowls, Los Angeles. Heather, Liza, and Jess are single moms who met in culinary school and are out to prove it's never too late to follow your dreams.

Philly's Finest Sambonis, serving Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks, Philadelphia. Childhood BFFs Erik, Joe, and Chris have come together after Erik had a bad car accident that ruined his career as an electrician.

The Slide Show, Gourmet Burgers and Fries, West Hollywood, CA. Trained chefs Das, Ahren, and Maurice are trying something new, as Das previously had a restaurant after appearing on another Food Network series.

Tikka Tikka Taco, Indian Street Food, St. Louis. Brothers Mike and Shaun work with their Uncle Sam.

Aloha Plate, Authentic Hawaiian Cuisine. Brothers Adam and Lanai, plus friend Shawn, are from a remote Hawaiian island and want to share their food. Adam went to culinary school, thanks to a benefactor whose life he saved.

Murphy's Spud Truck, Irish Potato Dishes, LA. Nicole had a tumor that changed her goals a little bit, and now her mother, Suellen, and brother, James, are trying to help.

The Frankfoota Truck, Gourmet Hot Dogs, Brooklyn. Friends Dana, Victoria, and Mirlinda are running this one.

The Great Food Truck Race "I Left My Food Cart in San Francisco" (S04E01): Each team receives $250 in seed money, which they will use to put together one signature meal to sell at a price of $20+ in Beverly Hills. [I like Beverly Hills. The traffic isn't that bad and the people are pretty nice, at least in the service and hospitality industries. it IS a small area of LA, though.] Highlights of issues include the Spuds getting lost, Boardwalk misplacing its money, Aloha having a bad spot, and Frankfoota getting no foot traffic. [Spuds and Boardwalk - those were stupid problems. Aloha and Frankfoota - it happens.]

Philly's Finest goes traditional for their meal. Aloha Plate goes with shrimp and steak with coconut orzo. Bowled and Beautiful does a romaine, rice, corn salsa, grilled chicken, sauce, avocado option. [I'd try it, sans the salsa.] Slide Show offers a two-slider plate featuring beef tenderloin with bleu cheese, onions, and mushrooms, and a grilled chicken slider, plus truffled fries and mint lemonade. [this sounds like a dish my husband and I would split.] Tikka Tikka puts together 3 tacos and a side salad. Boardwalk Breakfast whips up scrambled eggs with gruyere, crab meat, creme fraiche, and caviar on toasted challah. [I don't eat crab, but this sounds divine.] Frankfoota throws together a cherry-pepper feta dog with truffled sea salt chips. Murphy's Spud makes an Irish grilled cheese with cabbage coleslaw. 

The Speed Bump forces the trucks to close down and head to San Francisco, but they are allowed to leave in 15 minute increments, based on who earned the most so far. Bowled and Beautiful are the first to get moving, then Philly's Finest, Slide Show, Murphy's, Boardwalk, Aloha Plate, Tikka Tikka Taco, and Frankfootas. [Murphy's admitted to only selling 12 plates, which means the three below them must have done next to no business.] Once at the SoMa street park, they can sell their signature meal for whatever price they want, but it must be a different dish. [I love that specific food truck spot! I haven't been since May, though.]

Philly's Finest makes a chicken cheesesteak with fries for $15, which they drop to $10 in the final hour. [for those unaware, you cannot get cheesesteaks out here, so paying that is no big deal to those interested.] They earn a total of $1,321, winning the round. Bowled and Beautiful does a three-bean chili bowl for $9. Despite the fact that they seemed to have difficult finding customers, they finish in second with $1,284. Tikka Tikka Taco makes "naanchos" and finishes with $1160. [I thought that was original.] The Slide Show does two sliders again, this time chicken breast with bacon, provolone, and basil, plus filet mignon with goat cheese. Add in fries and a drink for $10. Total: $860. [I'm surprised they didn't sell more, honestly.] Aloha Plate offers a teriyaki burger with pineapple for $10, earning $812. Boardwalk Breakfast Empire is fancy once again, making a ham and turkey monte cristo with four cheeses on toasted brioche that has been egg-battered and grilled. [for $10, I'm in!] They total $723. The Frankfoota Truck does a $7 "underdog," which is a BLT with pesto aioli. They also sell sweet tea for $1. Their total is only $486. This brings us to the loser, at $420, Murphy's Spud Truck. Because the didn't know how to turn on the propane, they were stuck serving a $6 salad consisting of lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, guac, spicy dressing, corned beef, and coleslaw salsa. They also sell limeade. [if they sold 60 of them, that means they made about $70 off drinks, unless they priced their Beverly Hills item higher than the $20 minimum. I'm surprised that the team wasn't shown asking for help... it IS the first round, you'd think that some team would be willing to make it a level playing field!]  
©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Next Stop: 636 miles North to Portland, Oregon.
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