Next big food truck event set for Nov. 12

In this week’s print edition, I have a story about the first-ever Dallas food truck meet-up, which took place last week in the Sigel’s parking lot on Greenville. Well, they are gonna try it again on Nov. 12 — same place, different trucks. Well, some different. Veterans 3 Men and a Taco, Nammi, Jack’s Chowhound and Gandolfo’s N.Y. Deli will be joined by confirmed newcomers Butcher’s Son, Cane Rosso, City Street Grille, Entice Ice and Gennarino’s. See you there.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Truck me!

Dallas’ food truck trend hits terminal velocity at massive meet up

dining
FOOD ON WHEELS | The lines were long at every truck in the Sigel’s lot last week, as Dallas foodies turned out for the first major food truck event. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

The food truck has been an American tradition — as expected as corrupt politicians —  for decades. But if you don’t recall seeing them in Dallas much in the past, there’s a reason for that: a city ordinance that required them to move every hour. Being itinerant is one of the joys of the food truck, a mobile kitchen that can bring its unique flavors to where the people are and migrate with them. If they high-tail it like the revenuers after a moonshine still every 60 minutes, it seems less like a convenience and more like a grey market transaction. And how do you follow a restaurant that moves all the time?

The solution has been two-fold: Repeal that pesky ordinance (the City Council did that in June), and let folks track you via GPS and Twitter. Now, a truck can hole up for as long as the business is booming, and when it goes on the move, it’s easy for tech-savvy foodies to follow. I first saw the new semi-permanent advantage put into practice this summer at the Bath House Cultural Center along White Rock Lake during the Festival of Independent Theatres: Patrons didn’t have to scarf down Doritos or speed a few blocks to a Whataburger to eat between performances, they could just go outside and sample the automat-on-wheels.

It’s become hugely trendy in the past few months — In-N-Out Burger with mobility. It reached, arguably, its peak last weekend with a festival in the Sigel’s lot on Greenville Avenue, as half-a-dozen trucks set up shop for three hours to show Dallas what it has been missing.
But it ended up as something of a clusterfuck.

Organizers underestimated the demand for rolls that actually roll, even on a sweltering evening in August. There was simply too much demand and not enough supply.

One truck, Ruthie’s Rolling Café, announced it would not take new orders for its gourmet grilled cheese sammies until it caught up with its backlog. “Half-hour, 45 minutes,” the girl there sympathetically apologized. Ninety minutes later, my order still hadn’t been taken.

I could hardly blame the chefs, who worked like 8-year-olds in a Chinese shoe factory to get the dishes served but still couldn’t seem to get their heads above water. And honestly, looking at the menu whetted my appetite to finally track them down. The Bomb cut off new orders of its fried pies well before the event was set to end. (Not so Nammi Truck, which has a long line and a two-hour wait for their bahn mi bites.)

The only dishes my party and I were actually able to sample were from 3 Men and a Taco. Figuring this might be my only chance at actual food, I tried a trio: beef charkalaka, pork and pico and an alligator taco. The gator, which I generously spritzed with the spiciest of their spicy salsas, was tender, and the sauce didn’t cause my eyes to roll back in my head (a failing — I like spicy — but tasty nonetheless). There was something unnerving about the texture of the pork, which had the consistency of wet cottonballs, though the flavors were solid. I’ll return to try the rest of the menu, just not when the line’s so long.

In the end, we ditched the parking lot and scooted over to Mariano’s Hacienda for frozen swirls and some flautas. It cost more, but at least we left with our bellies full in less than an hour. Food trucks are meant to sate you, not sap you.

Ah well. Kinks will be worked out. By the time the permanent food truck lot opens next year on Lower Greenville, there’ll be a rhythm. Until then, it’s back to playing Twitter detective and seeking out the trucks when the lines are shorter. It might be less communal, but at least you get fed.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Happy Birthday, Donna Dumae!

Donna Dumae

Over the years Don Jenkins, through his drag alter ego Donna Dumae, has helped raise thousands of dollars for charitable causes — most notably HIV/AIDS services — in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

This week, Don(na) turns 50 years old, and true to form, is using the occasion as yet another opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause.

Donna Dumae and Empress Anita Martini (who is also celebrating a birthday this week) are hosting the “Golden Oldies” fundraising show and birthday party on Sunday, June 19, at The Brick/Joe’s, 2525 Wycliff Ave. Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit Resource Center Dallas’ Food Pantry, which helps feed people with HIV/AIDS.

Donna and Empress Anita are also inviting performers to join in. If you are interested in strutting your stuff for charity, get there by 6 to be part of the line-up. And if performing isn’t your strong point, then bring your wallet and show your appreciation for these folks who have been doing so much for so long to help others.

—  admin

Students from W.E. Greiner Middle School donate 65 frozen turkeys to HIV/AIDS food pantry

Macario Hernandez, left, assistant principal of W.E. Greiner Middle School, and Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC #4871.

Last week we reported that Resource Center Dallas’ food pantry for people with HIV/AIDS won’t be able to offer turkeys to its clients this Thanksgiving, due to increased demand and declining donations. However, it turns out the pantry will have at least 65 frozen turkeys to give out that were dropped off last Friday by folks from Dallas’ LGBT chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. According to LULAC #4871 President Jesse Garcia, the turkeys were donated by the families of students at W.E. Greiner Middle School.

“I want to publicly thank Greiner Middle School and their assistant principal Macario Hernandez for donating much-needed protein to the Resource Center Dallas food pantry,” Garcia said. “This food pantry helps people of all ages from every part of the city who are affected by HIV. These clients have to deal with being sick and at times are unable to work. Some have to sacrifice between paying for their expensive medicine or affording a good meal. Greiner Middle School just made a big difference.”

Read Garcia’s full press release below.

Resource Center Dallas facilities manager Lionel Solis, left, and volunteer Luis Zarate.

—  John Wright

Food Pantry needs help as demand soars

Resource Center service for people with HIV gets most of its stock from NTFB, but even NTFB doesn’t have some of the items they need

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

Food pantry volunteers restock items
STOCKING UP | Food pantry volunteers restock items in the refrigerator as the pantry gets ready to open on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Food pantry manager Micki Garrison said budget cutbacks have made the pantry even more dependent on volunteers. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

What’s on your menu for Thanksgiving? Probably a turkey. Or maybe a ham, or a pot roast. You will most likely have some stuffing or dressing, and plenty of vegetables. Add to that a slice of pie or cake for dessert, and your stomach will be plenty full when you move to the living room to settle in front of the TV to watch football.

If so, then you are one of the lucky one. There are plenty of people out there who would be thankful to have a can of soup as their Thanksgiving meal.
“According to a report just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas is the second-hungriest state in the country,” said Micki Garrison, manager of Resource Center Dallas’ food pantry for people with HIV/AIDS. “The number of people going hungry in Texas is over 17 percent. That’s higher than the national average, which is 14 percent.”

And Garrison had some more sobering statistics to offer up. She noted that the food pantry is “closely tied” to the North Texas Food Bank, getting most of its stock there, and that with the recession lingering on, NTFB has itself been struggling to keep up with demand.

“Demand on the North Texas Food Bank is up 20 percent and donations are down 12 percent,” Garrison said.

Although Texas hasn’t been hit as hard as some states during the economic crisis, those on the lower end of the income scale — food banks’ usual clients who already had to stretch to try and make ends meet — have definitely felt the impact. Those who were scraping by before now have to ask for help, and those who already needed help now need even more.

And with the holiday season upon us, the situation will likely get worse.

“We usually serve between 600 and 800 clients a week. During the holidays, that will go up to 1,000 to 1,200 a week,” Garrison said. “We go through five to 10 tons a food each week. It’s a massive undertaking.”

Daniel Sanchez, nutrition center coordinator, said, “Just yesterday, we had 125 people through here in the first hour we were open.”

One thing the food pantry won’t be able to do this year, though, is provide its clients with turkeys for their holiday meals.

“In the past, we have been able to give each client a turkey for the holidays. But we just can’t do that this year,” Garrison said. “We just can’t afford it.”

While all food banks are struggling to keep up, Garrison and Sanchez said that their food pantry faces special battles because their clients all have HIV/AIDS.

“If you are HIV-positive and unable to work, you are probably already dealing with Social Security or disability, and you are probably facing tremendous medical expenses,” Garrison said. “A lot of our clients are struggling every day to make some really touch choices, like choices between buying food or buying their medications, between buying food or paying the rent and the bills.

“A lot of people have to make those choices, yes. But what makes it even more difficult is that for people with HIV, food is medicine. You just can’t take that regimen of medications that HIV-positive people have to take if you don’t have any food in your stomach,” she said. “It’s our mission to do as much as we can for them so they don’t have to make those choices. We can’t meet all their needs, but we do our best to meet as many as possible.”

There is another problem, too: the kinds of foods available at the pantry.

“We have a lot of clients who are feeling bad a lot of the time, and they just aren’t up to cooking a big meal for themselves,” Garrison said. “They just want to be able to open a can of soup and heat that up. Something easy.

“And a lot of our clients experience homelessness. If they come here and we give them a bag of dried beans and some raw chicken, they have no way to cook that. It doesn’t do them any good,” she said.

That’s why, Sanchez said, donations from the community are particularly helpful for the pantry, especially when those donations come in the form of easy-to-prepare items. Canned meats — like tuna, chicken, chili or Spam — are especially welcome, along with canned soups and ramen noodles, canned fruits and vegetables, boxed cereals, dry staples like rice, beans and pasta, juices and condiments.

“Things like that that are really helpful for our clients are the kinds of things we can’t get a lot of from the food bank,” Garrison said. “Getting cash donations is great. I mean, if someone goes to the grocery store and spends a dollar on a can of corn to donate, it’s great. But for that same dollar, I can get five cans of corn.

“Still, I can’t get those other things — the soups and stuff — from the food bank. So we need those donations from the community. We need all the donations, all kinds of donations,” she said.

Sanchez added that the food pantry also needs donations of time. Budget cutbacks have impacted staffing capabilities, which means there is a lot of work available for volunteers.

“We especially need volunteers during the holiday season,” Sanchez said.

Garrison added, “We need people to get the things we can get from the food bank. We need people to donate money. We need people to donate their time. We just ask that people find out how they can best fit into that structure.

“This food pantry is all about the community and how the community can show its love,” she said. “All we are is a vessel for the love of the community.”

Resource Center Dallas Food Pantry is located at 5450 Denton Drive Cutoff in Dallas. The pantry is open noon to 7 p.m. on Mondays, and noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. The pantry is closed Fridays through Sundays. Donation drop-off hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. For information, call 214-521-3390.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Local briefs • 10.08.10

Danny Dean holding benefitat Dallas Eagle for RCD pantry

Danny Dean presents “Danny Ray’s Country Gravy and Biscuits Drag Show,” benefitting Resource Center Dallas’ food pantry and hot meals programs, on Friday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave.

Emcee for the event will be Lips LaRue, and performers include Messy Panocha, Anita Protest, Selena and Patti Le Plae Safe, along with live singer Anton Shaw. The event will include a 50/50 raffle and an auction for gift baskets.

Those attending are also invited to bring in donations of dry goods and canned goods to be donated to the food pantry.

GAIN program to feature Dr. Mitch Carroll discussing healthy living

GAIN, a program of Resource Center Dallas for LGBT seniors, presents “Keeping Up Your Health: Challenges for Today’s GLBT Seniors,” on Thursday, Oct. 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the center, 2701 Reagan St.
The program will feature Dr. Mitch Carroll, medical director of ambulatory clinics at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, discussing health issues affecting LGBT seniors and suggestions for living a longer, healthier life.
His presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session, and hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

For more information, call 214-528-0144, e-mail gain@rcdallas.org or go online to RCDallas.org.

Postcard project marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Resource Center Dallas is currently conducting a postcard project designed to allow LGBT community members discuss their views and share their stories and art related to domestic violence.

The postcards are blank on one side, allowing people to write or draw a message. The center’s address is preprinted on the other side. Participants can either put a stamp on the card and mail it to the center, or bring it by the center themselves.

The returned postcards will be assembled in a collage. Some may also be used in future advertisements and promotion for the center’s Family Violence Program.

Cards will be available at the center, 2701 Reagan St., starting Friday, Oct. 8. They will also be available at Gaybingo, on Saturday, Oct. 16, at S4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road.

For more information about Resource Center Dallas’ Family Violence Program, call 214-540-4455.

The North Texas LGBT Family Violence Coalition 24-hour hotline is 866-620-9650.

HRC presenting Family Project town hall on LGBT family options

The Human Rights Campaign presents “The Family Project: A Town Hall on Creating LGBT families,” on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, for individuals and couples interested in adoption, foster care or surrogacy.

The event will include a panel discussion on options, with panel members sharing their own experiences in creating families through adoption, foster care and surrogacy, as well as the legal and financial considerations involved. Local attorney Lorie Burch will facilitate.

The event is free and open to the public.

Vendor tables are available. For information, contact Leo Cusimano at 214-893-1075 for details.
For more information about the event, contact Cooper Smith by phone at 214-329-9191 or by e-mail cooper@coopersmithagency.com.

For more information on the HRC Family Project, go online to HRC.org/issues/parenting.asp.

The Group holding 4th anniversary

“The Group,” an organization for black men who are HIV-positive, will celebrate its fourth anniversary Thursday, Oct. 14, with a meeting beginning at 7 p.m.

The theme or the evening is “Thankful! Celebrating Four Years of Education, Empowerment and Support,” and guest speaker will be Sabrina Y. Taylor, MSW, of Tibotec Therapeutics.

For more information or to become a member of The Group, call 214-455-7316.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 08, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas