Archive for 'Manila Machine'

Manila Machine’s Response

For those who are interested, Manila Machine posted a response to my article on their blog yesterday.  It misses the point of my post, and twists some of my words around, but in a one hour conversation I had with co-owner Nastassia yesterday apologizing to her for any grief I might have caused them and explaining my editorial in detail, I told her I would post any response they had and promote it with just as much vigor as I promoted my own words.  But just for the record, I still stand by everything I wrote yesterday- and know that it is 100% true.

What I really wanted people to get out of my post yesterday was that running a profitable food truck is way more difficult than the media and food trucks themselves (who want to protect their reputations for future endeavors) would lead to you believe.  As somebody who has spent the past 4+ years supporting so many of these new food trucks (both in New York and Los Angeles) I’ve read too many of these rosey, “closing to pursue other opportunities” PR announcements.  Food truck owners need to realize that their actions effect the whole community of street food vendors, old and new.  And if you’re considering jumping into the street food world for any other reason than to create a sustainable, long term food truck business, you should reconsider, because it ends up hurting those who rely entirely on their food trucks to pay their bills.

I know that Marvin & Nastassia didn’t get into the food truck business for the wrong reasons.  The passion and love they brought to their food was clearly on display every single day, and it’s why I loved the truck from the beginning.  In fact, as one of their biggest supporters, and somebody who wants to see great food trucks like the Manila Machine succeed, it’s their continued insistence to spin Friday’s announcement as “good news” (or a “wonderful end”)  that makes me so sad.

LA Food Fest Tasting Event Makes Me Super Excited For The Manila Machine
Manila Machine is a Great Gateway to Eating More Face

Manila Machine Should Tell the Truth: They’re Closing (Their Truck) Because Running a Food Truck Sucks

April Fools Day never disappoints when it comes to outlandish news stories, but one sad story from Friday looks like it’s actually true. Manila Machine, the six ten month old Filipino food truck run by two food bloggers, will no longer be roaming the streets of Los Angeles, selling their delicious lumpia, sisig, and pork adobo. The news is disheartening for a few reasons, not least of which is the fact that I loved the truck. It was one of the few “gourmet” food trucks doing something truly unique (and it didn’t hurt that it was also delicious.)

But as much as I loved Manila Machine, and am sad to see them go, I was really upset by the letter they posted on their website announcing their “hiatus”. In it they list all their amazing accomplishments (press, awards and the such) and imply that the truck is closing because they’ve achieved all their goals- one of which was to make it to the 6 month mark. Sorry, but I call bullshit. And if they are completely satisfied with what they “accomplished”, they never should have opened a food truck in the first place and teased us with their delicious Filipino treats- only to pull them out from under from us once the very first “possibilities beyond the realm of food trucking” presented themselves.

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Manila Machine is a Great Gateway to Eating More Face

Los Angeles - Manila Machine

There were quite a few standouts at the LA Food Fest tasting event last weekend at the Rose Bowl, but none stood out more to me than the pork belly adobo served up by the Manila Machine, a Filipino food truck that hit the streets of L.A. back in June. Run by two popular food bloggers (not a joke), the truck launched with a ton of great press (mostly by bloggers, natch) but I couldn’t help but be a little skeptical. Nobody gets more excited about street food than me, and I’ve been covering the ascent of the “hipster truck” for over 4 years now.  But I’ve also been burned by one too many mediocre new school food trucks, and have gradually gone from feeling like “anything new with four wheels is worth getting excited about!” to “I’m going to wait until I hear something really good from somebody who isn’t friends with the owner of the food truck, or getting free food” before I dig in.

A single bite of pork belly adobo with pineapple changed all of that, so on Friday I found myself on Olympic btw. Bundy and Centinela- ordering practically the Manila Machine’s entire menu.

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LA Food Fest Tasting Event Makes Me Super Excited For The Manila Machine (and the Dim Sum Truck’s New Deluxe Dumplings)

LA Street Food Tasting Event

After an aborted trip to the inaugural LA Street Food Festival Downtown back in February, I decided to give Profiled Lunchers Shawna and Sonja another chance on Saturday- and hit up Pasadena for their massive tasting event, featuring food trucks and street food inspired restaurants all handing out food on the field of the Rose Bowl. The lines weren’t much shorter this time around, but they moved a lot quicker (that happens when you don’t have to take money for each dish) and *most* (but not all) of the vendors seemed a bit more prepared for the crush. Plus, getting to hang on the field at the Rose Bowl while drinking beer and tequila makes waiting 30 minutes for a taco much more palatable.

Truthfully, for a guy like me even the best run tasting event is stressful. My strategy is always to get there as early as I can (buying the VIP tickets is definitely the way to go), and run from booth to booth eating as much as I can as quickly as I can before the lines get to be too long (which happens pretty quick when an event like this is sold out and thousands of people are waiting at the gate to get in at the very beginning.) Not fun, right? And it’s tough to really taste or enjoy the food. And yet something about these events keeps me going back again and again- excited for the prospect of being able to try so many places, from all over the city, in one spot, even though it’s not always a good representation of what you’d get if you went to actual truck or restaurant. After all, sometimes a great restaurant will serve up something that is not nearly as good as the food made fresh at their actual location, and bad places can easily pull it together to serve up one good bite.

And yet- despite my running, and face stuffing, one dish did manage to stand out above the rest. Not just to me, but to “The Guru” as well. And that place is now at the top of my list of must try spots…

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