Category Archives: Trucks

A Truck with BBQ and Sauces for All

Ask any american BBQ aficionado and they’ll tell you what real BBQ is. You may disagree with them of course, particularly if you also happen to be a BBQ aficionado. The debate about the “true ‘cue“can get as nasty as a cock-fight: must it only be pork or can it also be beef? are you using the whole pig or just the shoulder? And “oh my god, is that a mustard-based sauce??

Like any foodie, when I try a food that is indigenous to a particular place, I want the real thing, and not some watered down version of it. If it’s Mexican, I want a proper corn taco with real quesillo and a good spicy salsa. If it’s Thai, I don’t want them skimping on the lemongrass or chili. And if it’s BBQ, well you certainly can’t skimp on the smoke or the rub or the tang.

Funky BBQ rolled into town about a year ago now, blaring the dinner bell to BBQ lovers far and wide. This is a daring initiative: Genevans are not ones for strong flavors, large portions, or making a mess. But without these, one simply cannot do a ‘cue. And like any good food establishment, our BBQ cowboys have to balance their offer of smokey tang with a hypersensitive Genevan palate.

So how did these ambassadors of southern funk do? I took the small portion of ribs and the Kansas city sauce, a side of mac n’ cheese, and some slaw, for good measure. To my chagrin, a cornbread that had previously been on the menu was dropped because customers weren’t biting. (Which begs the question, when will the Genevans become less afraid of all that is foreign and new? But I digress.)

The ribs were beautifully tender for the most part, and had a gentle aroma of BBQ, the flavors of the rub wafting from the depths of the meat. Could there have been more smoke? I can’t speak for the majority of their customers, but I felt like it could use just a bit more kick, either from the smoke or from the rub. But here is where the ingeniousness comes in: the Funky bunch have adopted a “BBQ and sauces for all” strategy, attempting to meet Genevans halfway, while staying true to the funk.  They let the customer pick their level of piquant by offering a range of sauces, from Kansas City to Dead Pig. I took the Kansas City sauce (being a little spice sensitive after all), and I absolutely loved its tang. Don’t forget, you’re invited to ask for more! Not pictured here, but the mac and cheese was truly creamy delight, while the slaw could have used just a little more acidity to cut through the smoke, fat and sauce of the ribs.

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All that’s left now is to see for yourself if this uptown funk gonna give it to you the way you like it. My guess is, as long as you haven’t staked out your own BBQ territory and built a strong line of defense against adaptations, you’re gonna love it. But don’t believe me – just try.

 

A Food Truck named Funky

As if the sunny warm weather weren’t delightful enough, I just got wind that there’s a NEW FOOD TRUCK IN TOWN!

And does it serve burgers? NO!

Does it serve American style BBQ? HELL YEAH!

Funky BBQ is brought to you by a trio of expats who swear up and down that their undying love for BBQ is what will make their food truck run.

So if you’re in the mood for pulled pork, join me in testing out the newbies when they rev up their engines on 11 November, 11:30 to 14:00, at Plainpalais!

And of course, watch this space for the review…

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TFGI THF = Yay Burger Truck!

You’ve probably heard the purr of its engine as it lands in one of its favorite spots at Plainpalais’ Sunday market. The truck stops, the stove goes on, and as the sweet smell of fried beef patties and french friends fills the air, you know: The Hamburger Foundation (THF) has landed.

I’ll cut to the chase, I am a BIG fan of these bunch, if for no other reason than for their success in pushing Geneva past its comfort zone. Not only have they launched Geneva’s first official food truck though, they have also created what could just be the city’s best burger. In the words of a fellow foodie, THF serves up an American staple accompanied by Geneva’s classic fries. The result is cosmopolitan bliss.

The burger: Simple, classic, perfectly executed. Good quality, freshly ground beef, patty about 2cm thick, always fried perfectly medium rare, with a sesame seed bun that lends a beautiful hint of sweetness. If you order the cheeseburger, you get a nice, subtle gruyere, and if you’re hungry for the bacon cheeseburger, the bacon you get is crisp and tender. There is no special sauce of note – just ketchup, mayo and mustard apparently, but it is remarkable nonetheless, and the lettuce, tomato, onions and pickle are wonderfully fresh and crunchy. It’s like the best, non-barbecued, homemade burger your parents never made.

Deceptively delicious - I know the picture doesn't sell amazingness, but trust me, it's waaaay better than my camera phone was able to portray.

Deceptively delicious – I know the picture doesn’t sell amazingness, but trust me, it’s waaaay better than my camera phone was able to portray.

The fries: Then there are the fries. Also brilliant. Light, crisp, and I would put money on the fact that they infuse their oil with rosemary – or maybe mix it in with the salt they sprinkle over the fries. In any case, it makes you feel like you’re eating provence style roasted potatoes in french fry form. Unbeatable my friends.

Bacon cheeseburger and fries in the now iconic bare cardboard box

Bacon cheeseburger and fries in the now iconic bare cardboard box

The dessert: I have to admit, I have not yet tried their cheesecake. But I hear it’s classic and wonderful, and given the rest of the menu, I wouldn’t doubt it. So try it, and you tell me.

The menu: Again, THF wins it through simplicity. Hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger. Fries, coleslaw, cheesecake. Beer, sodas, water. It’s as simple as the Beatles once said: all you need is love.

The green factor: True to their generation, THF stands for local, organic, wherever possible. Their packaging – the quintessential, blank cardboard burger box – is even fully recyclable.  In their own words:

“We love burgers and we love the ingredients we use to make them. Our beef is 100% Swiss all natural. No hormones and no antibiotics ever. Our very own blend is ground fresh everyday. Our sweet buns are made freshly and locally. All the vegetables we use are fresh and as often as possible from local farmers.”

The setting: Surprise! It’s a food truck, so they move around, most likely according to whatever kind soul will let them squat their parking lot / side walk / courtyard. Their website will keep you posted on their whereabouts, but you can count on Sundays at the Plaine de Plainpalais (Unimail corner), more recently Saturdays in Eaux-Vives on rue des Photographes, and at lunch time in places only UBS would know of (ie, Acacias). Sign up to their newsletter and get a regular reminder that you must have burger NOW! You’ll also get some tips on their light-hearted playlist, running from reggae, to Beach Boys to hipper tunes I know almost nothing about – nice touch guys. Nice touch.

The Hamburger Foundation - coming to a street corner near you

The Hamburger Foundation – coming to a street corner near you

Price/Quality: 14chf max for the burger, 4chf for the fries, 5chf for a cheesecake, 3.50 for a drink = cheap enough not to care too much.

In sum: pledge to the Foundation immediately.

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A Food Truck is Born

Weeks had gone by – no, months – since I had last put pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard, as it were). The silver computer now resting under my wrists, the screen open to a blank internet window, I placed my cursor into that long white rectangle where you type in web addresses (whatever those are called). My fingers flinched and hesitated as I searched my stiff, tired mind for the address I was looking for. For all I know, they’ve taken the damn blog down by now, assuming I had died or failed miserably to follow through like so many other bloggers out there. But not me! As long as onion and butter in a frying pan still smell like the purest of heavens, I’ll be wanting to write about food. If only I could remember the address of my own freaking blog!

There will be many essays to come, particularly on food and travel, but since I haven’t quite gotten my act together yet, I offer this little tidbit of news that I stumbled upon happily coming back from vacation in the land of the terrific tapas. There’s a new burger in town, and this time it’s on wheels! The Hamburger Foundation started its engine and has been roaming the streets of Geneva. Other than the old school panini stands, rotisserie chicken booths and the car that’s rumored to sell Thai food around the UN area, I am pretty sure this would be Geneva’s first food truck!

And it is about time, wouldn’t you say? I will be the first to argue that, when it comes to the classics Geneva has it down pat. Entrecote aux morilles, fondue, steak tartare, french fries, filets de perche, salade de chevre chaud can be found in fine order just about anywhere. No complaints, except for the “wow, I really couldn’t be bothered” style of service they seem to embrace. But someone who gets my ear on an almost daily basis, and whose opinion of food is shaped by extensive travel around the world, has pointed out that there is very little variety or imagination in the local restaurant scene, especially given Geneva’s international qualities. At first a little offended by this remark, I browsed through my inner rolodex of food spots to make my counterattack.

But failed. And ever since, it has left me with the uneasy question about why Geneva couldn’t get more creative with its dining life. Why not get a little crazy? Experiment a bit? Be influenced by some of Europe’s other great cities? My queazy feeling got worse as I visited some of these places, not greater than Geneva in size or in cosmopolitanism, and yet you could tell that they were having fun with their restaurants, from food to furniture!

So imagine my delight. There is now a food truck among us, and serving up american style burgers no less. The Hamburger Foundation has yet to be tested, so who knows if the excitement will last. No matter what, it leaves me with slight spark of hope that if Geneva allowed for one food truck, then maybe soon there will be two……… today The Hamburger Foundation, tomorrow Korean-Mexican fusion taco truck? Fingers crossed!

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