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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Dining on a Dime: Conscious Eatz Food Truck

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 1:58 PM

Conscious Eatz food truck - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Conscious Eatz food truck
Burlington's vegan scene got a bit bigger — and more mobile — this month.

Conscious Eatz rolled into town on September 3, spending a week down near the waterfront before parking in its current location near the top of the Church Street Marketplace at 6 Clarke Street.

Partners Jane Morgan and Tyler Weith have followed a plant-based diet for a few years. After moving back to Burlington last summer, they noticed a "major gap in vegan and vegetarian foods," Morgan said.

"For such a progressive city, it really surprised us that there weren't more options," she continued. "We love to cook, and love to make plant-based things, so we figured we could bring plant-based options to Burlington in a really approachable way."

Buffalo-cauliflower tacos from Conscious Eatz - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Buffalo-cauliflower tacos from Conscious Eatz
Approachability is key to the food truck's menu. Items like buffalo-cauliflower tacos ($12) — a play on a buffalo chicken wing adapted into taco form to make it street-food friendly — and the maple-glazed tempeh burrito ($11) have been popular from the get-go.

"I've found that friends of mine who aren't plant-based can get intimidated by some of the vegan ingredients and foods," Morgan said. "We really tried to make all of our ingredients and menu items things that would appeal to anybody."

Morgan and Weith had started conceptualizing Conscious Eatz prior to the pandemic, and their planned business model has adapted well. "It's mostly takeout, and now we're set up with some of the delivery services," Morgan said. "Everything's pretty contactless, and it's working out well for us." 

The mission of Conscious Eatz is to serve food that has a positive impact on the environment, animals and personal health, Morgan explained.

"If one person who typically eats meat decides for one of their meals, one day a week, to not eat meat, that in itself has a positive impact," she said.

Chickpea tuna sandwich - JORDAN BARRY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Jordan Barry ©️ Seven Days
  • Chickpea tuna sandwich
With that in mind, my dining companion and I skipped our usual omnivorous lunch plans over the weekend and placed an order for two sandwiches from Conscious Eatz: the chickpea tuna sandwich ($9) and the Lucerne club ($9), both of which came with an ample side of potato chips.

The "tuna" successfully mimics the classic sandwich. The combination of chickpeas and smooth hummus — spiked with celery, of course — has everything except the fishiness.

It would be a perfect polite solution to a tuna craving at the office, if sitting near coworkers for lunch al desko were something we could actually do.

Lucerne club with carrot bacon, shredded carrots, sprouts and peanut sauce - JORDAN BARRY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Jordan Barry ©️ Seven Days
  • Lucerne club with carrot bacon, shredded carrots, sprouts and peanut sauce
The Lucerne club strays further from the original (no frilly toothpicks), but it's a twist worth trying. The sandwich is piled high with shredded carrots, sprouts and crispy "carrot bacon," and slathered with a Thai-inspired peanut sauce.

In a world of increasingly expensive sandwiches, these felt like a good deal at $9. We'd been tempted by the desserts — particularly the blueberry cheezecake ($5) — but skipped it to stay under our $12 per person limit. That ended up being for the best, as we were stuffed.

Conscious Eatz can typically be found on Clarke Street Wednesday through Sunday, barring special events that take the truck elsewhere. Check out the weekly schedule online and on social media.

Dining on a Dime is a weekly series featuring well-made, filling bites (something substantial enough to qualify as a small meal or better) for $12 or less. Know of a tasty dish we should feature? Drop us a line:

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Town Hall Theater Opens 'Spinning Plates,' a Food Truck Alley in Middlebury

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 11:05 AM

The Tourterelle truck in front of Town Hall Theater - COURTESY OF TOWN HALL THEATER
  • The Tourterelle truck in front of Town Hall Theater
Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater launches a new food truck venue called Spinning Plates this Friday, June 21.

An alternating lineup of trucks will post up on weekends this summer in the alley between the theater and the building that once housed the Diner on Merchant's Row. The space will also hold a small seating area, where customers can buy beer and wine from the theater's bar during dinner.

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Evolution Kitchen Rentable Food Truck Gears Up at Foodaroo

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2019 at 6:15 PM

Brian Hayes of Silver Maple Construction working on the Evolution Kitchen truck - SABINE POUX
  • Sabine Poux
  • Brian Hayes of Silver Maple Construction working on the Evolution Kitchen truck
After years of working in the culinary industry, Lisa Mitchell has come closer than most to nabbing her childhood dream job.

“When I was 5 years old, the first thing I wanted to be was an ice cream lady and have an ice cream truck,” she said. “I remember being really fascinated with the idea of vending food out of a truck and making people happy.”

Now Mitchell, 45, and husband Andy, 44, are co-owners of Evolution Kitchen, a mobile eatery that will debut June 23 at the fifth annual Foodaroo festival in Middlebury. While Evolution Kitchen won’t be serving up Firecracker ice pops or Chaco Tacos, its core concept is just as exciting: The Mitchells will rent the truck out to a changing cast of culinary characters that will peddle their wares at events in and beyond Addison County.

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Make It Maple Revs Up on the Food Network

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 12:07 PM

Paulette Fiorentino-Robinson, left, Charlie Aldrich and Sue Aldrich - COURTESY OF THE FOOD NETWORK
  • Courtesy of the Food Network
  • Paulette Fiorentino-Robinson, left, Charlie Aldrich and Sue Aldrich

A trio of food-truck and showbiz rookies from Montpelier are contestants in the upcoming season of  "The Great Food Truck Race,” a Food Network TV show that kicks off its 10th season Sunday, June 9, at 9 p.m.

Sue Aldrich, her son Charlie Aldrich, and her friend Paulette Fiorentino-Robinson  form a team called Make It Maple. It’s one of nine food-truck teams competing for a $50,000 prize by cooking and peddling food on a southern road trip along the Atlantic seacoast.  The teams, including Brunch Babes (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and the People's Fry (Nashville), also compete in various culinary challenges. Each week,  the truck that makes the least amount of money is eliminated from the competition.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Dolce VT Food Truck Owners Open New Restaurant, Poco, in Burlington

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 4:17 PM

Pork belly on pita (left) and Thai grilled chicken - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Pork belly on pita (left) and Thai grilled chicken
Fans of Dolce VT's truffle fries and fried chicken sandwich no longer have to eat outside the Maltex Building  on Pine Street in Burlington, where the popular food truck has often been parked in warmer months. The business has a new name, Poco, and a permanent location: 55 Main Street in Burlington.

Chef/co-owner Stefano  Cicirello opened his restaurant on April 11 in the space that most recently housed Doughnut Dilemma. He owns Poco with his sister, Susie Ely.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Is it Summer Yet? Previewing the Pioneer Food Truck

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Lindsay Taylor, Pioneer Food Truck - COURTESY OF PIONEER FOOD TRUCK & CATERING CO.
  • Courtesy of Pioneer Food Truck & Catering Co.
  • Lindsay Taylor, Pioneer Food Truck
While it's technically spring as of Tuesday, nature clearly missed the memo. But let's not let that stop us from dreaming of warmer days, in all their sunshine-y, warm-breezy, sun-dressing, food-trucking glory.

On that note, there's a new truck gearing up to hit the road in Burlington this summer and it's got a couple of foodie notables behind the wheel.

Pioneer Food Truck & Catering Co. chef-owner Jean-Luc Matecat recently wrapped up two years in the kitchen at ArtsRiot. His past includes time at the Inn at Weathersfield, Pistou and other well-respected locales. Lindsay Taylor, his partner in life and business, will oversee the service operations. She has served at Misery Loves Co. and Dedalus Wine Shop, Market & Wine Bar, among others, and is currently at Butch + Babe's.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Longtime Regulars Purchase Beansie's Bus

Posted By on Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 7:40 AM

Chris and Tammy Corron with Haley - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Chris and Tammy Corron with Haley
They were high school sweethearts from Winooski who liked to go to Burlington to eat at Beansie's bus by the waterfront. She would order  a Michigan; he always got the fries.

"Of course we shared," Chris Corron said. "And we're still together."

Chris and Tammy Corron have been married 33 years. They have three daughters, six grandchildren — and one yellow food bus parked near the waterfront. The Corrons, who live in Williston, purchased Beansie's during the off-season.  In the spring, they started serving Michigans, French fries,  burgers, creemees and more at their erstwhile teenage haunt.

"We've been coming to the bus a long time," observed Chris, 52. "It's a tradition, it's a landmark. I wouldn't  buy just any bus."

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Dining on a Dime: Pingala Café in Williston

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 2:03 PM

  • Sally Pollak
  • ELT at Pingala
Kismet, the sign on the building announced — and my date with destiny came none too soon.

I'd been driving  and walking around one of  Vermont's least appealing landscapes: Taft Corners and environs. I was looking for Pingala Café, the Williston branch that opened in June.

By the time I found it — housed in a building called Kismet in one of a series of shopping development off-shoots — I was starting to think my fate would preclude an ELT.  That's Pingala's "world-famous" eggplant BLT, minus the B ($8.95).

Once I found the building, it was easy to locate Pingala. The eatery is in a stationary replica of a food truck parked in the lobby. Customers order and pick up food at a window-like cutout on the side of the faux truck and, when finished, bus their things to a dish tub set between headlights, where the grill would be.

The ELT is made with eggplant in place of bacon, plus tomato, scallion, lettuce and dill tahini on multigrain toast.


It was a sunny day in the suburbs, and I ate my sandwich at a picnic table by the parking lot. Mounds of dirt and the whine of a power saw suggested that sprawl was still creepin'.

But the sandwich was interesting and tasty enough to hold my attention:  It had crunch, it had glop (plenty of dill tahini sauce), it had flavor and raw veggies. The ELT also had an element of mystery: What process transforms eggplant into bacon?

After my meal, I asked the women staffing the truck how the eggplant became a pork-product substitute. They told me the vegetable was sliced thin, marinated, dehydrated and kept in a sealed container until needed.

On any given day, bacon and eggplant might vie for being my favorite food. They come together at a pretend food truck in the vestibule of Kismet.

Dining on a Dime is a weekly series featuring well-made, filling bites (something substantial enough to qualify as a small meal or better) for $12 or less. Know of a tasty dish we should feature? Drop us a line:

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Vermont Food Truck Finder 2016

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 1:03 PM


Note: Looking for the 2017 Food Truck Finder? Check it out here.

Curtain Call: ArtsRiot Truck Stop

In Chittenden County, food truck season really begins and ends with ArtsRiot's Friday night Truck Stops.Since convening its first mobile meet-up on Pine Street in 2013, ArtsRiot has expanded the series to Montpelier and Winooski. This summer, the Onion City has hosted trucks including Dolce VT, Taco Gordo, Southern Smoke and MaMa Dogs Catering on Saturdays since mid-July. But — just as October summons leaves to the ground — this week marks the end of this tasty summertime squeeze. Catch 2016's final truck-rally kicks at ArtsRiot in Burlington this Friday, October 14, and in Winooski, the following night.

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