Archive | June, 2011

eat.st on tour: GLASTO in mud and sun.

30 Jun

I thought it might be nice to take a busman’s holiday to Glastonbury and help Si out on board Jesus. Having placed Choc Star in the safe hands of Shrimp and Ben for the summer it seemed that all roads were leading me to Worthy Farm and some stress-free times. For example, if I had taken Jimmy to Glasto and been met with this sort of scenario:

I would have been all up in my heartbeat wondering who the hell would want to buy ice cream under such gruelling terrain. Instead, it was burritos from Luardos that we had to shift, the conditions for which seemed much more agreeable. Every morning a delivery would arrive from the extraORDinarily massive wholesale operation on site. It was awesome in its vastness – great serried ranks of articulated lorries laden with goods. Just that set-up alone had my mind boggling. The logistics!

Then we’d slam some meat on the griddle and get prepping. I developed a mild addiction to the sticky, concentrated flavours of griddled chorizo morsels.

Making the habanero salsa was a trip – and always interesting to see which punters were up for being sent half-way to hell with a turbo-charged strip of the stuff striding through their burrito.

It got busier and busier each day as more campers got wind of the goodness that was being passed through Jesus’ hatch. People were coming up to the van proclaiming this to be the best food they’d ever had at Glasto in 20 years! Some came to eat with us for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was mainly put in the middle position. This means taking the orders, taking the cash, telling the person to my left what they’re making (chicken, steak, vegetarian or pork – and turbo-charged with chorizo or no, and with or without beans or rice or cheese), telling the person to my right what they’re adding (yes to guacamole or no to salsa but yes to lettuce or no sour cream or extra guacamole and no lettuce….), and then administering the spice (‘How hot are you prepared to take things? Shall I ramp it up? Take you to meet the devil?’, etc).

After a few hours of doing this in tin box-hot temperatures my head would be so fried that I couldn’t remember who’d paid and who hadn’t. ‘Have you paid me?’, I’d ask. ‘Yes, I tried to get a discount and you said no, remember?’. ‘Oh yes, of course, sorry, it’s the heat. Next!’. But they seemed like an honest, cheery lot. Remarkably so, I’d say.

When I needed a little breather I’d go out side with a bourbon and attempt the washing up…

Or else I’d go and visit friends. Here’s Jorge in his Churros Bus (Churros Bros). The poor guy broke down 12 times on the way down to the site and eventually had to get pitch-forked onto his spot. Still smiling though – and his thigh-hating sticks of delight tasted delish.

Further out on the compound by the dance field was Alec and his Bhangra Burger bus. He had only broken down twice en route to Glasto and his chosen method of arrival was with a tow truck.

By the time Saturday came around and after enduring endless heavy rain and being felled by Big John as I waded to his rescue (landing flat on your back in a sea of mud at a festival with no clear sign of where your next shower will be coming from is gruesome, btw), the mud was sticky like you wouldn’t believe. Each lunge of the leg was met with a 50/50 chance of losing your boot and/or dislocating your hip bone. Drinking while walking was nigh on impossible and if you did happen to get lost (like I did one afternoon while off on a gentle perigrination), things could turn pretty intense. I suppose that’s what cider is for. And the Samaritans.


…and the Meateasy…


…and places like this. They sold Swan Chunks and Tinned Squirrels…but also black cherry Jim Beam. I became a bit of a fan.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with the food on offer at Glasto. After being in this game for a while you can see through jaunty looking vinyl banners in an instant. Many of them belie a world of pre-cut, pre-cooked, frozen soulless ease backstage. Of course there were those I already knew – Wholefood Heaven, Salad Days, Stewed & Baked, Asian Grub Foundation, Caribbean Kitchen etc etc – all wonderful operations. And those mentioned above – love them to bits. The best discovery, food-wise, of the week was found over the strip from us in a giant taupe coloured wig-wam and my friend Jared of Neil’s Yard was at the helm.

Sorry about the blurring but the general idea is MEAT, great big hunks of it, smoked overnight in their enormous great smoker. Shoulder, brisket, flank, ribs, loin in beef and pork and served with real baked beans, amazing coleslaw, pickles, buns and BBQ sauce. It was their first time doing this and was in cahoots with a local organic farm. It was chaotic and by-the-seat-of-its-pants but, compared to so many of those well-oiled catering behemoths every which way elsewhere, it was food that tasted PROPER.

I don’t know what’s happened to all the pics of the food I should’ve taken – probably subject to my staggering around half-cut on bourbon, burrito fumes and heavy sides of mud!

Glasto, I love you and can’t wait to return….

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Gorilla Dining

1 Jun

eat.st is about to take a walk on the wild side. Up north this time – over the river and onto the fringes of Regent’s Park to the London Zoo for Zoo Lates. Every Friday night from 6pm-10pm in June and July – that’s nine in total – ten of our traders will occupy a section of the hexagonal food arena at the heart of the Zoo.

Zoo Lates will be offering Londoners a chance to check out their wildlife (including the exciting new penguin pool), as well as rave in the silent disco, get loopy in the Twisted Cabaret and, generally, spend Friday evenings doing something completely different to the usual.

This year they wanted to get their food offering right and so they reached out to us. They like eat.st’s quirk-appeal and we were happy to offer to them some of our finest. Traders attending some or all of the nine dates include:

Jamon Jamon – paella Valenciana

Anna Mae’s Smokehouse – pulled pork sandwiches and pimped up Mac n Cheese

The Meatwagon – best burgers in London (03/06 and 15/07 only)

Street Foodie – Korean kimchi sliders (not 08/07)

Bhangra Burger – Indian spiced flatbread-wrapped burgers

Banh Mi 11 – Vietnamese Banh Mi (July only)

Wholefood Heaven – vegetarian soul food that makes you almost understand the condition

Churros Bros. – George and his choc-dunkable churros

Buen Provecho – Mexican street food (from 10/06)

Spinach & Agushi – Ghanaian stews

We can’t wait to get stuck into these sessions and are pleased to be representing for street food in this iconic London spot.

Zoo Lates – 3rd June – 29th July, every Friday night, 6-10pm.

Buy tickets HERE.

Come hungry!

#16days is over – but The Meatwagon is here to fly the flag

1 Jun

So our #16 days rolling residency at The Rye is almost over. How great to meet so many of you down in SE15 over the last two and a half weeks – and we’re delighted by the response. We even drew the attention of TimeOut, Daily Candy and The Evening Standard. (And special mention to the wonderful Tehbus for creating a little eat.st button on his blog. ‘I’m supporting 16days’ was such a nice touch).

And of course big thanks to Scott of Capital Pubs, Paddy at The Rye, Jocasta for designing the flyers and Yianni for inviting everyone along.

Organising something like this did a have one or two hiccups, Biblical deluges and Bank Holiday confusions so apologies to anyone who arrived to find their chosen hawker not ready yet (or soaking wet). We hope you all got fed!

And we were so sorry not to have Wholefood Heaven join us yesterday for their spot under The Rye’s street lamp – the trouble with these fly older vehicles is that sometimes they don’t want to play ball. Looking forward to having them with us for the next eat.st excursion. (Angus – well done that man for turning up to save the day at the last minute).

Here are a few pics of #16days going down…

Week Two was a flurry of Mexican food – a spice pallet of sabor that tropicalised the Peckham night. New kids Toma Mexicano (Sol and Sabrina) brought along their flautas and beef fajita tacos on Day 8. As soon as those tacos hit the griddle, sending the hot whisps of maize out of the gazebo I was hooked.

We loved Buen Provecho so much that we invited them back for Day 15 as well.

Simon from Luardos brought Jesus along on Day 9 for a rare crossing of the river. Tacos and quesadillas were slamming.

 


And when it was my turn to bring Choc Star back for Week Two well, the rains came down in a way that might inspire any number of blues tracks. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t help but go running around in it then had to warm up with Street Foodie’s kimchi sliders.

Congratulations to those brave enough to still turn up on that night!

Now that Yianni has returned from the wild woods of South Carolina the Meatwagon Crew are ready to assume their rightful position back in SE15. From TODAY they will be taking over the kitchen at The Rye and doing wild things in the beer garden all summer. Hold onto your sides – ride’s about to get wild!

Jobs in two food vans – apply here.

1 Jun

This just in from friend of eat.st and favourite thesp, Richard Shanks – who’d like a job in his yoghurt locker/chorizo-mobile starting pronto?

Read on for the low-down on this Southbank stalwart…

Me and my frozen-yoghurt van, ‘The Little Mixing Factory’
(TLMF), took up residence outside the National Theatre, two and a half years
ago, and have been dolloping yoghurt down the Southbank ever since.

New for 2011 and just round the corner, I have now opened ‘Engine’, a
beautiful 1959 fire truck, serving up British Chorizo and Organic British
Halloumi Sandwiches.

With both vans open Tuesday to Sunday, I need another pair of
hands, and I need them fast. Could YOU help me run this yoghurty-
sausage empire?

It is an exciting new position working in an amazing environment. The
Southbank is such a fun and vibrant area, surrounded by music, dance and
drama.

I am looking for an enthusiastic and reliable new member of staff to supervise
the running of both vans from now until October 2011.

Any number of the following character traits might help you get the job:

Be warm, welcoming, helpful and approachable
Have a passion for serving up yummy food
Have a strong ability to promote and sell
Take pride in how you and the area you are working in looks
Have the ability to see what needs doing before its too late

It would also be useful if you had a good knowledge of Food Safety & Hygiene
rules.

Our busiest days are on the weekend and on these days you will be

Expected to work – not every single weekend, but be aware, that is the nature
of the job

The applicant must be over 25 and hold a full UK or European driving license
(The job requires that you drive the Yoghurt van and the insurance company
will not consider insuring a driver who does not meet these criteria)

All applications to jobs@thelittlemixingfactory.co.uk asap!