Food Trucks – A Poor Health Safety Record

The dark side of trendy food trucks: A poor health safety record

It’s a daily culinary performance that plays out across Los Angeles: Top food truck chefs whipping up gourmet meals in spaces no bigger than a restaurant’s stockroom or walk-in freezer.

But even as the trucks have become a popular staple of the local food scene, with Twitter followers and long queues, they have been lagging behind restaurants and even sidewalk food carts in one important category — health safety, a Times data analysis found.

About 27% of food trucks earned lower than A grades over the last two years, according to a Times review of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health data. By comparison, slightly less than 5% of brick-and-mortar restaurants and about 18% of food carts fell below that mark.

More than 4% of food trucks inspected this year were forced to close — a rate three times higher than regular restaurants, the analysis shows. The health department has closed more than 70 food trucks this year, most of which were allowed to reopen after passing follow-up inspections.

Experts say food trucks face unique challenges to stay sanitary. Workers must do their jobs in confined spaces — typically less than 8 feet wide by 20 feet long — and trucks often lack the equipment of a full-sized restaurant.

That can lead to more cross-contamination, USC accounting professor Ruben Davila said.

“If I serve you and I also prepare the food, there’s a little bit of a problem right there with health issues, potentially,” said Davila, academic director of the Food Industry Management Program at USC.

Storage temperature is also more difficult in mobile cooking, so it must to be closely scrutinized to make sure ingredients don’t spoil, he said.

Truck owners must also deal with the elements that come with being on the street rather than inside a building.

Inspectors look for health issues that pose a risk associated with food-borne illness outbreaks, including improper storage temperatures, contaminated equipment and poor personal hygiene, according to the health department.

Some food truck purveyors run a tight ship.

El estrella food truckHoused inside a black and chrome rig, the La Estrella taco truck typically parks in a gas station lot at Normandie Avenue and West Adams Boulevard in South L.A. In the window sits the familiar blue A.

To keep their truck in good shape, the La Estrella crew cleans at the end of each night and the owner comes by to make sure everything is in order for the next day.

“We like to be ready so we don’t have to get ready,” employee Rigo Torres said. “If we’re ready we don’t have to worry about inspection at all.”

On a recent evening in Pico-Union, Eunice Soto, 23, waited in line for the Tacos Tamix truck with its hard-to-see B grade posted in the window.

Soto wasn’t surprised about the lower grades of food trucks and said it wouldn’t stop her from gorging on late-night grub.

“I mean, it’s kind of iffy, but it’s good,” Soto said. “I’ll probably still keep coming here. As long as they don’t have anything lower than a B, I guess it’s OK.”


Blue Apron – Who Are They?

Blue Apron Details

Blue Apron ImageFounded:2012Contact: Employees: 4 in CrunchBase
Blue Apron is a New York-based start-up that is changing the way people cook at home. Our weekly subscription service delivers everything you need to make fresh meals. We go shopping for our customers at wholesale, and deliver all the ingredients in exactly the right proportions, along with beautifully printed recipe cards. It’s like having your own private chef– you’ll discover new recipes, eat fresher food, and save both time and money.Beef Tartines


Recipes per week:
Price per serving: $9.99
Weekly total: $59.94

Shipping is always free.
Skip any week. Cancel any time.

Recipes per week:
Price per serving: $8.74
Weekly total: $69.92

Shipping is always free.
Skip any week. Cancel any time.

I personally have not tried this service. The meals look impressive. The shipping is included in the price. It seems like this would be a nice alternative to cooking to have the food delivered to your door to make an impressive, nutritional meal after a day at work.

We welcome your comments – would love to hear from you!

Blue Apron


Ginger-Turmeric Herbal Tea

Ginger-Turmeric Herbal TeaTurmeric Tea


“If you are having trouble including these anti-inflammatory spices in your diet, here is an alternative to supplements. Actually quite tasty! I believe this tea is popular in Okinawa, Japan. Just remember turmeric stains. I make mine in an old mason jar, wrapped in an old tea towel! Turmeric is used for medicinal purposes in India.”

  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; add turmeric, ginger, and Tumericcinnamon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain tea into a large glass; add honey and lemon wedge.

Peanut Curry Chicken Recipe

Peanut Curry ChickenChef John’s Peanut Curry Chicken

Chef John

Chef John

“I decided to not follow any specific recipe from any particular country or culture, but instead I made a simple composite of every peanut curry I’ve ever come across. I didn’t use coconut milk, as I feel that’s a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter. I loved how this came out, and I can’t imagine it being any richer.”



  1. Turmeric Spice BottleMix salt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a separate bowl and add 1/2 of the spice blend. Mix together thoroughly to coat each surface with spice blend.
  3. Heat oil over high heat in a heavy pot. Brown half of the chicken pieces on all sides. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add onion to pot. Saute until onions start to turn translucent and golden, 1 or 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook about 1 minute. Stir in remaining spice blend; cook and stir one minute. Pour in chicken broth. Add browned chicken along with accumulated juices. Stir in peanut butter and ketchup; add brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain a gentle, steady simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer zucchini, red bell pepper, poblano pepper, and peanuts to the pot. Stir to mix. Continue simmering until chicken and vegetables are fork tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve over rice with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of peanuts and chopped cilantro.

Turmeric Spice – Key Ingredient to Curry

Turmeric has many health benefits, as pointed out in a recent blog. In an effort to find ways to use Turmeric, we are passing along some Turmeric recipes.

Be well!

Mild Curry PowderCurry Powder



“A fragrant yellow curry powder to use in soups, sauces, rice, and anything else you can think of!”

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Add all ingredients to list

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, and ginger. Process to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.

Turmeric – A Miracle Spice

TumericTurmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiationtreatment, and fatigue.

It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, recovery after surgery, and cancers. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, swelling in the middle layer of the eye (anterior uveitis), diabetes, water retention, worms, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tuberculosis, urinary bladder inflammation, and kidney problems.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and Turmeric Spice Bottleswellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.

Turmeric is also used as an enema for people with inflammatory bowel disease.

In food and manufacturing, the essential oil of turmeric is used in perfumes, and its resin is used as a flavor and color component in foods.

Don’t confuse turmeric with Javanese turmeric root (Curcuma zedoaria).

How does it work?

Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin. Curcumin and other chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling (inflammation). Because of this, turmeric might be beneficial for treating conditions that involve inflammation.

It would be easier to ask, “What doesn’t it do?” Right?

Taken from: Web MD



Caffeinated Pancakes?

Guys, this is the biggest breakfast game changer since poached eggs: Daniel Perlman, a biophysicist from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, has invented coffee flour, enabling you to make things like caffeinated pancakes, cookies and bread. Here’s everything you need to know.


How is it made? Green coffee beans—that’s the raw stuff before it typically gets roasted—are par-baked, then ground into a finely milled flour. Just four grams of this stuff (about 1/2 tablespoon) contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Is it good for you? Yep. The flour contains an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (CGA), which is typically lost when beans are roasted. Some scientists think this is why coffee makes you live longer and could reduce the risk of heart disease, liver disease and type 2 diabetes.

I don’t care about antioxidants! What goodies can I make with it? Any baked goods you can make with wheat flour: caffeinated doughnuts, muffins, pancakes, coffee cake (hooray!), you name it. Perlman intends to use the flour as an enhancement rather than a one-to-one ratio to wheat flour, because this stuff is expensive and a little bit goes a long way.

Where can I get it?!
Calm down. It’s not available in stores yet. It was just invented, like, this week.

Taken from: Huffington Post


Google Picks Food Trends for 2016

Having just read a Google article about Trending Foods in 2016, my mouth drops. It’s not anything like I thought it would be – like trending real foods. 🙂

Google imageHere are some of the thoughts…

Now, the focus of people’s diets is less about eliminating foods than about adding them.

“If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” There is a health food fixation and there’s no question it’s coming from the web.

To eat right, people are going online to raise their food IQ and make more informed choices. In what-do-I-eat-moments, they’re searching for the best foods to eat for certain physiological benefits. According to Google Trends, “best foods for” searches have grown 10X since 2005,1 often followed by terms like “skin,” “energy,” “acid reflux,” “your brain,” and “gym workout.”

While the concept of functional foods has been around for decades, interest in these specific foods is growing faster than before. Turmeric, a spice that’s purported to cure everything from cancer to depression, is the breakout star, with searches growing 300% over the last five years.

In what-do-I-eat moments, searching on mobile and Mondays

Mobile Phone ImageIn what-do-I-eat moments, people pull out their smartphones to find information on healthy foods. For five of the top 10 trending functional foods, over 50% of the searches are on mobile. In fact, according to a recent study of people who searched for food and beverage terms, 35% did so exclusively on a phone.

These moments happen most at the start of the week, when people may be planning meals, making grocery lists, or redevoting themselves to healthy eating after an indulgent weekend. On average, searches for the top 10 functional foods across devices peak on Mondays, and slowly decline throughout the week until interest reaches its lowest point on Fridays.

Taken from and references: Google Food Trends


Rosemary – Increase Memory by 75%

Rosemary has many well known health benefits but scientists are now studying its specific effects with regard to memory with outstanding results. Rosemary


Rosemary is a wonderful herb with a tradition of use spanning millennia. It has innumerable uses in both the kitchen and in herbal medicine.

Did you know that rosemary has been associated with memory enhancement since ancient times? It is true – and it has even been referred to from the latter part of the Elizabethan Era to the Early Romantic period as the herb of remembrance.

Because of this seemingly esoteric association, rosemary has at times been made into a sort of herbal-amulet, where it was placed beneath pillowcases, or simply smelt as a bouquet, and it was believed that using rosemary in these ways could protect the sleeper from nightmares, as well as increase their memory.

What’s fascinating is that several scientific studies have now found remarkable results for rosemary’s effects on memory:

Rosemary essential oil’s role in aromatherapy as an agent that promotes mental clarity was validated by the study of Moss, Cook, Wesnes, and Duckett (2003) in which the inhalation of rosemary essential oil significantly enhanced the performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors of study participants.[3]

More recently, in 2012 a study on 28 older people (average 75 years old) found statistically significant dose-dependent improvements in cognitive performance with doses of dried rosemary leaf powder.

Now if you are asking “How is it even possible that an aroma can enhance memory?” – well, that’s a great question. Here’s a fascinating quote from one of the scientific papers referenced: “Volatile compounds (e.g. terpenes) may enter the blood stream by way of the nasal or lung mucosa. Terpenes are small organic molecules which can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore may have direct effects in the brain by acting on receptor sites or enzyme systems.” [5]

I’m interested to know if anyone uses rosemary as a memory enhancer. Rosemary OilMaybe you could take some with you next time you have an examination and see if it helps with recall? One last tidbit to inspire you further: Lavender. In a 1998 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, rosemary was found to increase alertness but lavender was found not only to increase alertness but also to increase accuracy in math tests! [8] The way this is going, I can sense the possibility of a magical custom oil blend for total recall! ;)



[1] Henry Lyte “Niewe Herball”, 1578, p.264[2][3] Moss M., Cook J., Wesnes K., & Duckett P. (2003). Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. International Journal of Neuroscience, 113(1): 15-38. Retrieved 24 March 2013 from[4]

Taken from: