Rick Garcia, the Chef/Owner of the Dia de los Puercos Savage Chefs Grub Truck, is a man on a mission. He’s spreading his love of pork and Mexico’s street food throughout Los Angeles. According to Rick, “in East L.A. they have taco trucks by the boatload, but they don’t have, and I hate to call our truck a gourmet food truck, I user the term ‘street food truck’, because everything on our menu is Mexican street food. People ask, ‘Do you have nachos? Do you have burritos?’ and I have to tell them that we don’t, but the reason that we don’t is that those are not Mexican street food items. If you go to Mexico and you ask for nachos or burritos they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy”.
The Dia de los Puercos (day of pigs) Savage Chefs Grub Truck will be making an appearance this Saturday, August 2nd, at the Big Bite Bacon Fest on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Over forty chefs and cooks will be serving up bacon related dishes, desserts and even candies. In addition, more than forty local breweries will ply the crowd with samples of craft beers they can purchase at the event. Rick said, “I’m excited for it, I think it’s a perfect venue, especially with the weather that we are having recently”.
Rick continued, “I think that the crowds will come out. I think when people have come up to the truck, we did our coming out for the food truck was at the L.A. Street Food Fest at the Rose Bowl on June 28 and we served about 3,000 people. We did the tinga tostis, they were asking where would we be and we said that they could follow us on Twitter and that our next big event was the Big Bite Bacon Fest. People who didn’t know about it were just like ‘OMG, I’ve got to get tickets!’ so we told them they better get them fast because they’re going to sell out. I can only imagine that it’s going to be crazy. I think it’s a great venue and a great city to have it in. L.A. has been waiting for something this size to have for bacon”.
Bacon as the theme for the Big Bite Bacon Fest fits right in with what Rick likes. “Bacon is it’s own food group as far as I’m concerned. It’s just an awesome cut of meat. People think, bacon; and when I say ‘people’ those who are not culinary-minded, foodies or food enthusiasts; and I really don’t like to call them foodies but prefer food enthusiasts, they know the multiple uses of bacon. We have a special item on our menu that’s not listed on the website. We call it the ‘Death Mariachi’. What it is is an unsliced slab of applewood bacon. We cube it up and then we deep fry it. As the description, we put it out as ‘applewood chiccharon’. We put that in a corn tortilla with some cabbage, sour cream, fresh pico de gallo, our signature guacamole sauce on it and some cotija cheese”.
The Dia de los Puercos Grub Truck will be serving up a few specialties for the Big Bite Bacon Fest “At the Bacon Fest in San Diego, we served our Hog Pockets, it’s our version of a Hot Pocket. We’ve got peanut butter and grape jelly, stuff the empanada shell with applewood bacon and then we batter it in a sweet batter, we fry it up and then we roll it in chulo sugar, which is granulated sugar and cinnamon and then we garnish it with lechera, which is sweetened condensed milk and more applewood bacon bits. We’re going to do the tinga tosties and the hog pockets at the Queen Mary”, said Rick.
Rick described the tinga tostis, the other item they will have at the Big Bite Bacon Fest. “We’ll have pork tinga style, which is originally from the D.F., which is the heart of Mexico. Depending on which part of Mexico you are coming from, it is prepared differently, so there’s pork tinga and chicken tinga. It’s usually made with potatoes and chipotle and cumin, but we do it a little differently, we do a shredded pork, we take the potatoes out and we cook it with chorizo, chipotle and some garlic and we serve it on our little tostis”.
As someone born and raised in East L.A., Rick likes to remember and support his old neighborhood. He said, “On Tuesdays, we can be found at a tattoo shop on Beverly Boulevard in East L.A. called ‘Old Number 13’. We chose that location because of where we grew up in East L.A. So, we’ve selected that location because of our areas where we grew up and the people that we know, family and friends and gained a lot of recognition with locals that are very involved in the community and who have invited us to participate in the events”. Rick emphasized the local sourcing af some of the items on the truck by telling me, “Our bolillos are fresh every morning. We support other small local businesses where I grew up in East L.A., so I get my bread from a bakery that has the weirdest name in the world, called Meatland and we get tamales from another family owned business in East L.A. called Tamale Man. We try to support them and they show support back with nice pricing and a great product.”
Rick serves his own version of an L.A treat on the Dia de los Puercos Grub Truck. “There’s different uses for bacon. I like to use it to wrap a hot dog. The only item that’s not pork on our menu is our beef hot dog. We wrap it in bacon and instead of putting it in a hot dog bun we use one of our bolillos. We dress it up just like an L.A. street dog and people have gone crazy over it. If you’ve seem our Twitter, when we work over in Westwood, over by UCLA, one of our fans hashtagged us as ‘legendary’, so that was very inspiring”.
Rick told me about his favorite items from the truck menu. “My first favorite from the truck menu is the Artesa Papitas. Artesa in Spanish means ‘trough’. So we did a play on the pig feed from a trough. I’m not trying to call anybody a pig, but I thought it was a good play on the name of the fries, because we put them in a paper bowl, we top the French fries with the mochomos, chili verde style and some cotija cheese andgarnish it with a radish for color. That is my favorite on the menu. After that would be our top seller, which is La m.e.s.a., which is an acronym for mochomos, eggs, salsa, avocado. La mesa is a table, so it would be a table sandwich, or la mesa torta, which is like ‘as big as a table’. It’s a good sized sandwich”.
The Dia de los Puercos truck schedule is available through their Twitter feed. “On Wednesdays you can find us in West Covina at a barber shop called the ‘Chop Shop’. The reason that I chose that location is that I have very good friends that own the Chop Shop and I get my hair cut there and I noticed, in the time that I was doing my homework and studying food trucks, that the crowd of guys who would be there and be there with their sons, their little boys, they would sit there and say ‘oh, I’m hungry, we want something to drink’, but they’d have to walk across the street and worry about whether it was their turn that they missed, just when they went across the street to the store, so I decided that this is the perfect location for me to park one day out of the week”.
Rick dishes about some of their other locations, saying, “We’ve booked ‘Ladies Night Out’ in Burbank at the end of the month. We’ll be doing Westwood Lot which is on the corner of Le Conte and Bailey. We’ll be doing other venues that I try to book through different organizers. This Thursday we’ll be in Azusa at a Concert in the Park. They’re having mariachis this week so it fits perfectly with our truck. Saturday nighs we do different events. With the high school football season coming up, we’re going to be working on a project that we want to call ‘Friday Night Lights’. That’s a term used in high school football so we’re going to call it ‘Friday Night Food Truck Light’. We’ll hit different high schools that would like to participate in what we’re putting together and benefit from some of the proceeds”. Because of the demand from many people, within a few weeks Rick will have a second truck finished that will cover the San Gabriel Valley, Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino counties.
The Dia de los Puercos Savage Chefs Grub Truck will be one of over forty great chefs and cooks paying tribute to bacon at the Big Bite Bacon Fest. Guests will have the opportunity to try many bacon-themed dishes there. More than forty craft beers will also be available for sampling and purchase.
In addition, there will be a cooking competition, where the top dishes and chefs will be chosen for the Big Bite Dish Awards. Cash prizes will be awarded totaling $3,000 and the winners will have a chance to move up and compete against the best of the best chefs at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.
Music will also be heard at the Bacon Fest, spun by DJ Dennis Owens and the Hawkline Monster. Info on the Big Bite Bacon Fest and tickets can be obtained at the event website, www.bigbiteevents.com. Info on the event can also be obtained through the Queen Mary’s website, www.queenmary.com.
Big Bite Bacon Fest
August 2, 2014
To be held at the Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802
Dia de los Puercos Savage Chefs Grub Truck