Nothing brings hordes of hungry people downtown like the Columbus Food Truck Festival. From its debut five years ago, the eatery-on-wheels celebration has grown into one of the biggest events of the summer. The convoy of trucks from all around the Midwest will set up in the Columbus Commons August 12th and 13th.
Each year is also an opportunity to try out new trucks as they pull up to the bumper of old favorites. Three we’re excited about this year are all locally-grown: Barroluco, The Ninja Bowl, and the Meatball Mafia.
Introducing the flavors of Argentina to the Midwestern palate is Barroluco. Run by Omar D’Angelo and family, the truck is part of their American dream.
Can you give me an introduction to Argentine food and culture? In a nutshell, like many culture groups, Argentines are a very proud people. Proud of who they are, where they have come from. They take great pride in their work ethic, their nation, soccer, [soccer star] Messi, their faith, and especially in their food. Argentina’s most predominant staple is beef. I have known many people who have visited Argentina and returned to tell me that the beef there is second to none, along with the wine. With influences that stem from Europe, the Argentine palette includes combinations of flavors that celebrate the nations from which they are derived. We will be offering some of the same on our menu, from the Choripan—a bratwurst-like sausage placed into a sandwich, to our pizzas, paella, and more. We are proud to be Argentine and to represent Argentina in its legacy of flavors.
What is it like to work with family? This is a family born and raised in Mendoza, Argentina, a place where family is everything. We are very close due to that. We have been one another’s helpers, supporter, pillar and we take pride in our closeness. Although we are a very small family living here locally, the majority of our family is in Argentina. We are among the few who were able to leave Argentina, and among those few who were able to take up residence here, in the United States. We are grateful for all that we have accomplished and now want to share that with our community.
What is the first thing you remember cooking? Milanesas—these are thinly sliced or thinly tenderized portions of chicken or beef that are lightly breaded. The first time I tried to make this, I didn’t realize that I had put too much oil in the pan. I had been trying to cook for my sister, my cousin, and myself due to my parents not having been home. If you know me, when I attempt to do things on my own for the first time, you know that I tend to get a little carried away, and calamity and laughter are sure to follow my attempt. In short, I nearly started a fire.
What is your signature dish? Our signature dish is the Barroluco Sandwich and empanadas, but the empanadas are the big sellers. Empanadas are not all created equal. These are baked or fried, stuffed pies that fit into the palm of your hand and are stuffed to the brim with Argentine passion and authenticity. Our empanadas can be filled with a corn, meat, or spinach base complimented by a blend of hard boiled eggs, onions, green olives, and spices and then sealed in the traditional “repulgue” technique.
Barroluco is a community partner as well; why is that so important to you? Our mission is to “Open the doors to the culture and experiences which flavor the Latino Community.” We want to open doors; doors that might otherwise be closed to people who are where we once were. We want to pay it forward. We feel that it is our responsibility to help propel others toward their purpose. Furthermore, I believe in dreams. I believe that one can work toward those dreams, but there are key people or organizations that can help. Without dreams, my family and I would not be in this country; I wouldn’t have obtained scholarships or my degree. I worked for and received scholarship from the Latin Ladies Organization. I felt indebted to them. I found English tutors at a local church and many others helped me from their respective organizations.
When I saw that community here in Columbus was this strong, I started volunteering. It was contagious to help others. I became a member of other organizations and helped in every way I thought I could. I felt better that I was helping someone to reach their goal, like they helped me. I know that many people dream, I believe in those dreams, and want to invest in them. At the moment, Barroluco will be giving a portion of churro sales of every order of churros sold during the Festival Latino to organizations that help “Dreamers.” Barroluco wants to continue helping those within the community by reducing limitation. In fact, we have named our social responsibility effort, “Limitless.”
Tell our readers about the name, Barroluco. Barroluco? I alluded to Barroluco earlier when you asked about our signature dish. Barroluco is a type of Sandwich. It originated in Chile and was named after a man whose last name was Barros Luco. As my family and I are from Mendoza, and the Chilean border is so near, the Barroluco was a staple where I am from. So? Want to know what is in this sandwich? From the wonderful bread the sandwich is built on, to the lettuce and mayonnaise that line it, tomato, a sunny side-up egg, ham, a tender and thinly sliced piece of top sirloin, cheese, Argentine chimichurri, and more, this sandwich is a testament to both its’ roots and the Argentine people who have adopted it and modified it to be their own… Our own!
In addition to being at the Columbus Food Truck Fest, Barroluco will also be at the Latino Festival. For information on their whereabouts, as well as catering, visit barroluco.wix.com/barroluco or like the Facebook page.
Ninja Bowl has been rolling around the city since the turn of the year and will pull up to the Columbus Food Truck Festival with all bowl menu for meat lovers and veggie folks alike. Add some edamame, harumaki, and gyoza, and you have a passport to Japanese street food. Run by husband and wife, Andre and Amanda Setiawan, you can’t miss their colorful truck wrap making its way across the city.
What inspired Ninja Bowl? My daughter inspired us to open Ninja Bowl because she loves Japanese food. When we watch the The Great Food Truck Race, she is always asking how we can win the prize. And with a food truck, we make our own schedule so we can have family time.
When did you start cooking? I learned to cook since I was little to help my aunt open a restaurant. I got to the United States at the end 1994 and I worked at a Japanese restaurant in New York City and became a head chef in 2004 cooking traditional Japanese, Asian fusion, Japanese fusion, and sushi. In 2012, we moved to Ohio; I was still passionate about cooking. And then I decided to open my food truck to bring my Japanese kitchen on the street.
Are these your own recipes? Our recipes come from my experience working as a chef, and then I alter them in my way to fit in Ohio taste and, of course, to fit in the food truck world.
What’s the best and worst thing about running a food truck? The best thing about owning the food truck is that we can introduce ourselves to clients through food we sell; it is like having the kitchen on the street and it is pretty cool. The hardest thing is moving everyday—I mean, it’s like moving your kitchen everyday.
What’s Ninja Bowl’s signature dish? Our special dish, is our signature/best seller, is the chicken bowl—our special babekyu chicken on the bed of white rice, served with sautéed fresh vegetables and drizzled with our signature teriyaki sauce.
Follow Ninja Bowl on Facebook to keep track of their whereabouts.
The Meatball Mafia
After turning heads at the Grandview Italian Club, the meatball stylings of Robert David DelliQuadri and his brother Vinnie just couldn’t stay a secret any longer. Going from the bocce court to the court of public opinion, The Meatball Mafia brings its Italian food and attitude to Columbus.
How did you come to the decision to open a food truck? I’ll try to keep the answers short. I have a tendency to rant like a true Italian from Youngstown. I decided to do a truck almost three years ago after realizing that every person from Northeast Ohio commented on the oddly sweet Italian American food here. Also I felt like most of the Italian in town was trying to be really fancy. I just wanted the Italian American comfort foods I grew up with, and figured I wasn’t alone in this. Eventually I was able to get my younger brother to move from Pittsburgh and join in on this meatball journey. Now it’s a true family-run business.
Where is your recipe from? My grandmother was born in 1903 and came to this country in 1920. She did the typical Italian grandmother thing and taught me to make meatballs when I was young to help and keep me busy. She didn’t really share exact amounts, and I’ve yet to find a written version of her recipe. My father passed away when i graduated high school, and my mother isn’t Italian. I realized I needed to remember how to make meatballs or I’d be stuck eating all this other stuff and pretending it was good for all eternity.
And what is it about Italian food that just about everybody likes it? I think the reason everyone loves Italian American food is cheese. Also I think it’s because as Italian American food changed, it changed to an American taste. More cheese, more meat, more pasta …God Bless this country!
The Meatball Mafia’s Facebook page always shares the truck’s appearances.