Last week I shared my interview with James Cunningham, the host of the hit TV show Eat St. James explained that several fans were contacting him asking for the recipes from the show. This eventually resulted in the creation of the Eat St. companion cookbook. Today I’m sharing my review of that book, and I’m giving Canadians the chance to win their own copy! (see the bottom of this post)
A year ago if you had asked me what came to mind when I heard the term “Street Food”, I would have said hot dogs. Up until then my knowledge of street food vendors was limited to hot dog carts, and that’s just because there was one on my university campus. Now my mind goes to food trucks. Over the last year I’ve seen them featured on TV, parked at the Molson Amphitheatre, and driving around the streets of Toronto.
Food trucks have become really popular not only because it’s trendy to buy food from a truck with a cult following, but also (largely) because many of them offer gourmet dishes that were once only found in expensive restaurants. If you’re just getting into the food truck scene, you can start by looking for trucks in your area (there’s an app for that).
The Eat St. TV show has done a fantastic job of showcasing food trucks and their fans, and clearly people enjoy watching because the show is now on its fourth season! For those of you who have ever watched the show and thought “darn that looks tasty” and then tried to recreate the recipe by playing and pausing on your PVR, this cookbook is for you.
The first recipe I tested was the Rosemary Peanuts and Beets with Lemon and Thyme from the Mobile Snacks chapter of the book. This one is from the Liba Falafel truck in San Francisco, California. These are actually meant to be used as a topping for salads or falafels, but I think it makes a pretty yummy snack too.
The recipe was fairly straightforward, with only 7 ingredients. You have to make the Rosemary Peanuts separately and then add them to the beets. The Rosemary Peanuts could be a nice bar snack too actually… but I’m getting away from the point. Is this the kind of recipe you thought you would find in this book? I was expecting to find only greasy/messy/heavy foods that would be complicated and require special gourmet ingredients. Granted, there are some recipes like that in the book too but it’s nice to see lighter, healthier fare in there.
The next recipe I tested out was the Strawberry Coconut Smoothie from The Juice Truck in Vancouver, British Columbia. Honestly, I didn’t particularly enjoy this one. I thought the banana and cocoa nibs overpowered the strawberry and coconut flavours. I don’t know what made me look up the ingredients that the truck uses for this smoothie, but maybe it was a gut feeling. According to TheJuiceTruck.ca this is what is in the Strawberry Coconut Smoothie:
Strawberry blended with coconut meat, coconut milk, banana, raw cacao nibs, raw vanilla & coconut nectar
The ingredients in the cookbook are frozen bananas, Medjool dates, fresh strawberries, coconut milk, coconut water, cocoa nibs, and ground vanilla.
The reason I’m mentioning the difference in the ingredients is because I don’t want anyone to be disappointed. For instance, if you had the Coconut Halibut Cheeks from Vij’s Railway Express and were hoping to recreate the experience at home, it’s possible that your results won’t be exactly the same. (Let’s not even talk about the difference between your culinary skills and those of the original chef).
Presumably Penguin, the publishing company, made some alternations after testing the original recipes in order to compensate for hard-to-find ingredients, or to make things easier for the home cook. This is a common practice, so I’m not knocking it.
The book is well-organized, easy to follow, and is full of gorgeous photographs (something I always look for). I particularly like the use of coloured text in the recipes to help organize the content on the page. Also, James did a nice job of writing interesting intros to each recipe with info about the truck it comes from.
Some of the recipes you can find in this book include:
- The Farrah from Fries and Dolls, Calgary (fries with garlic and cheese)
- The Nut Burger from Feed Your Hole, New York (burger with peanut butter and bacon)
- Kalbi Chunk’d Tots from Dim Ssam A Gogo, Mimi (Korean short ribs with tater tots)
- Pimento Mac and Cheese from The Grilled Cheeserie, Nashville (spicy mac and cheese sandwich)
- Drunken Shrimp Tacos from Shrimp Pimp Truck, Santa Monica (tacos with marinated shrimp )
- Pacific Rim Chowder from Red Fish Blue Fish, Victoria (tomato based fish chowder)
- Southern Fried Chicken from Buzznbeez Good Food Truck, Phoenix (brined spicy fried chicken)
- Hawaiian French Toast from The Buttermilk Truck, Los Angeles (sweet Hawaiian bread turned into French toast)
- S’mores Waffles from The Waffle Bus, Houston (waffles with graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache, marshmallow fluff)
Or you could just enter to win a copy and save yourself some cash (about $24).
All you have to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form to enter. Certain tasks are worth more entries than others. This giveaway is only open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec, who are 18 years of age or older. The winner will be required to answer a skill testing question before they can claim their prize (as per Canadian law). Please read the terms and conditions as outlined on the bottom of the Rafflecopter form (seriously, please read it).
This is not a sponsored post. This cookbook was given to me for consideration.