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#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 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 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!

Advertisements adds flavour to the Real Street Food Festival

23 Apr

A couple of months ago we were approached by the Real Food Festival people. They wanted to put on a dedicated Royal Wedding event that would be strictly street food – and they needed our help.

Of course we were happy to rally our troops for them and got busy putting together a crew that would have the Southbank crowds royally replete. traders showing out next Friday 29th April – Monday 2nd May will be:

Bhangra Burger and their first ever outing for the new Bhangra bus. (You won’t miss it) Selling Indian spiced burgers in flatbread with homemade pickles and chutneys.

Anna Mae’s Smokehouse – new  members just back from a BBQ tour of Texas. These people know how to pull them some pork.

Choc Star – yours truly, cooling the crowds down with ice creams and whipping them into a frenzy with our brownie fudge sundaes.

Jamon Jamon – Portobello Market regulars and purveyors of paella and street theatre. Enjoy the show!

Healthy Yummies – It’s all a load of scallops. Serving one of the best curbside treats we’ve had all year: read about it here. And help it down with some cold prossecco. The most goodness possible from a Bedford van.

Mongo Denoon and the OK Catering Success – just back from Kolkata, Angus and his Bengali van of delights making magic for your mouth.

Wholefood Heaven – from their smart grey Citroen-H van, this married couple bring you vegetarian soulfood.

Stewed & Baked – operating out of a 1970s caravan, cooking up huge pots of wholesome stew.

Lulabelle’s – Yorkshire woman Cathy is driving her pink and white splitscreen VW camper van down to Londonand bringing with her cakes and cream teas for all!

Luardos – the Whitecross Market mainstay is crossing the river especially for the Royal Wedding weekend. Be prepared to queue for our favourite burrito in London.

Salad Days – good old Suffolk boys who like tossing salads and grilling nice loins of local meat.

Street Foodie – just arrived back from a few years living in Korea, these guys come packing kimchi sliders. Very exciting addition to the crew.

Crêperie Nicholas – traditional Breton buckwheat crêpes served from a Citroen-H van. This is the kind of tradition we like.

Spinach & Agushi – Broadway, Portobello and Exmouth Market regulars and responsible for showing Londoners exactly what’s so special about Ghanain food.

The Real Street Food Festival takes place in front of the Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX

Luardos is hiring!

7 Apr

Our favourite burritodor, Simon, is expanding.

‘Jesus’ is still blessing the good people of Whitecross Street with rollicking good burritos, but now there’s a new addition to the Luardos stable: Mary. Still an H-Van but extending the sorbet palette from azul añil to rosa mexicana. Yes, this new food wagon is PINK. And she needs working.

Simon has put a call out on Facebook:

Oh my! There’s two jobs going this summer working in one of the worlds famous Luardos burrito vans! One will be getting busy on a Monday-Friday basis at Whitecross Street Market, London. The other will be rolling round the country smacking the festival scene. Seeeen!

Ideally you need to be over 25, have a driving licence, and be into food. Liking outdoor work (and hard work) would help too. And being good with people and generally up for it.

Good fun and good salary. Know anyone? Is that you? Is it!? If it is then send me a message on facebook and i’ll read it and send one back. Lovely stuff x

Link to the page here or email if this sounds like the job for you.

Simon looks a bit like this by the way…

And is a stone-groove to work for.

Burrito rolling hands at the ready!

Towpath III – Better Vibes!

9 Nov

A huge great laser beam sharded upwards for all of East London to see on Saturday night, announcing the presence of a new type of gathering in the area – the latest Towpath event – a unique coming together of traders, War Child, food photographer and local food proponent Jason Lowe and the Love Tank – a whacking great gold tank from which DJs do their thing.

Ca Phe VN were there with their award winning coffee drinks…

Mongo Denoon and the OK Catering Success unfolded the beauty of his van for everyone’s eating and visual pleasure…

The Meatwagon boys still smiling after a long old shift…

And it all took place with the full backing and support of the British Waterways who are keen for these newly revamped areas to actually get some real and proper use. This is what’s so surprising – you wouldn’t imagine that such a revamped private looking public space would be so welcoming of such freedom (and quite base heavy) freedom of expression. We’re glad that they are and look forward to working with them in other spots.

And I hope this guy turns up again…

Back to the Towpath – Strike III

4 Nov

More Towpath fun this Saturday as teams up once again with War Child, Jason Lowe (on the paella pans this time), Nick Strangeway (on cocktails) – and with music taken care of by Lisa Loud, The City Shanty Band + others to get the gravel grinding.

We all had such a good time taking part in October and the British Waterways were so impressed with what’s possible to achieve, in terms of usability and better vibes on the canal, that we hope to be part of many more to come.

This is what it looked like later on in the evening…

And here are the details for anyone wanting to grab a slice of that DIY fun:

The Towpath Festival comes to the City Road Basin.

Saturday 6th November 2010, 12 noon til 12 midnight

…Following the huge amount of fun we had at last month’s Towpath Festival we couldn’t just leave it at that…

Last time we raised £1790.96 for WarChild and this time we’re aiming for more.

The builders have moved onto our last site opposite the Towpath Cafe, but, true to their word, British Waterways have found us another site to continue the tradition of good food & fire related frolics by the waterfront.
We’re kicking off at 12 o’clock noon this Saturday 6th November and going through until 12 o’clock midnight: 12 hours of music, food & drink around a fire by the water with, hopefully, a very special surprise from Lovebullets…

Entry is free, but we’ll be taking donations for War Child at the gate.

This will be a Silent Fireworks event: All hands on deck to light and send off a flotilla of fiery flowery floating lanterns courtesy of Rebel Rebel. All proceeds go to War Child.

THE FOOD is back and we’ve got some great food vendors lined up, some old favourites and some new faces, including:
The Meatwagon serving up our regular burgers PLUS we’re resurrecting The Dead Hippy for one night only.
Healthy Yummies will be back with the best diver-caught scallops you will ever eat.
Jason from The Towpath Cafe will be hauling out his huge wood-fired paella pan to cook, well… paella.
Skye Cooks will be there serving tea & cakes.
Churros Bros are providing something for the sweet-tooth in the form of churros & hot chocolate.
Grass Roots are serving fish caught fresh that morning off the Sussex coast.
The Everybody Lovelove Jhal Muri Express will be rolling in, serving Kolkata-style vegetarian street snacks.

There will, of course, be covered areas to keep us dry and a licensed bar to keep us all refreshed. Once again, the legendary Nick Strangeway will be creating a signature cocktail for us for the night – something hot and warming this time.


A party’s not a party without some tunes, and our line-up this time includes:
The legendary Lisa Loud
Reggae from the Kongo Sound System
Joanna Bin Laughin & Erika ‘Del Boy’ Trotter from ‘Rubbish’
Terry Francis and Keith Reilly from Fabric
The City Shanty Band are back, making noise and getting raucous.


One of Islington’s best kept secrets is a beautiful stretch of water at City Road Basin. A former industrial site which fell into decline in the 50s and 60s, the site remained undeveloped, unattractive and inaccessible to the public for many years, but now a multi-million pound project has brought it back into public use and created one of the largest open stretches of water in North London, complete with a newly landscaped public area facing onto the canal.


City Road Basin plaza is just off City Road in between McDonalds (EC1V 1JQ) and Graham St.
Transport: Angel or Old Street, Buses 43, 205, 214, 394

Thanks to British Waterways,, Lovebullets, NCASS, Groveworld, Nick Strangeway, Fabric, Islington Council and everybody at the Towpath Cafe. Also, thanks to all those whose support and generosity make all this possible. roamings: Thames Festival

1 Nov had its first group outing in September (yes, I know it’s now MOvember!). Spreading ourselves along one side of Jubilee Gardens and under the reassuring eye of the Eye, we made a pretty lovely sight.

The whole festival was awash with trailers and vans and stalls all selling food for the hungry promenaders but there was something about the little strip of eat.streeters that had everybody going Awww and then MMmmm.

We were delighted to have Angus and the OK Catering Success on board…

It’s like a performance in itself watching him prepare for the day’s selling. Endless chopping of ginger and cucumber, tomatoes and limes…

A little pause for thought, a quick shake up of the mustard oil and a stir of the tamarind and off he goes into the unsuspecting crowd. No prices, no explanations, no big ploy, Angus’s jhal muri is for the real food adventurers – if you want to know what it is you have to step up and get involved and, having made the leap, after trying that stuff you will never look back. No joke.

It was sunny. London came and made a mini-festival of the Gardens…

And we looked after their taste-buds.

Hello hello? What oddity is this? A man sitting at the little window of his little van turning out omelettes on a single hob? Adorable. And they tasted amazing an’ all.

Ben of embryonic mobile business Eggonomics has taken his inventiveness and way with words and eggs around the UK doing just this very thing. He has some great stories and I love how he serves a little fruit salad to accompany the om.

Spinach & Agushi were super busy serving up their hearty Ghanaian stews. The smell was incredible.

George of Churros Brothers had those little doughnut fingers firing out of the machine at a rapid pace. It was perfect weather for churros and chocolate (what is it about sugar + carbs + choc?)

And what was it about Bhangra Burger? Lamb burgers served in flatbreads with pickles and chutneys and raita. Juicy, lip-smacking son of a gun!

Back to the Towpath for more…

7 Oct

Apologies if you’ve already read this on the Choc Star blog and I won’t keep on repeating posts but this week is swallowing up every last morsel of my time…

This weekend sees another, more expanded DIY event at the Towpath in Hackney. We’re all really excited to be involved with what we hope will become a continued theme in the trading habits of the crew.

The summer has confirmed a lot of things that we already suspected: that many of the events we’ve traditionally attended are going in a direction that is rather lacking in the original festival spirit from which they first sprung. This is a shame because what’s so special about the food traders who have joined is that we are, by our natures, still full of mad love for our customers and the food we serve. It’s difficult to do what we do when confronted with exorbitant pitch fees, heavy-handed sponsors, excessive amounts of traders for too few punters and a general sense of disconnect from the good, wholesome and happy vibes.

Let me say that there are still exceptions and we love them for remaining true. And we understand that everybody needs to make money and we wish them well. But Choc Star and many of the other great people of have other ideas up our sleeves…

As I press pause on the road-tripping for a while and turn my mind to my studies, it is also London that I want to focus on more closely for the Choc Star ramblings and adventures. Full of opportunities to bring great food to its streets and public spaces – many of them disused or under-used.

We tried it a few weeks ago and now we’re off again – Right opposite the canal from Jason Lowe and Lori De Mori’s wonderful Towpath Cafe lies a piece of land that shouts DIY micro-festival like you wouldn’t believe.

Alongside the choc-mobile will be super-proactive member Yianni of the Meatwagon, Portobello favourites Jamon Jamon, Mongo Denoon and the OK Catering Success (or The Everybody Love Love Express, depending on how you’re feeling) and ruffneck coffee supremo Brewed Boy with his cart of joy.

There’ll be music, fire, edible magic and sunshine. Or, in the words of Mongo Denoon:

The LoveLove Express happily heads East to be part of a one off weekend in an exclusive waterside location for a do with some of the finest street food wagons, dj’s, bands, top hat cocktails and side stepping possiblities – and all blessed and bathed in the last golden days of summer. Its free if you are. Come and remind yourself why you love London.

Hope to see you there for a milkshake/chaat/espresso/burger/paella…