Loading...
Food Trucks

Takosher: Nation's First Kosher Truck Dishes Up Brisket & Latke Tacos

Comments (0)

By

Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 7:00 AM
click to enlarge A brisket taco (left) from the Takosher Truck and its co-founders (right). - GUZZLE & NOSH
  • Guzzle & Nosh
  • A brisket taco (left) from the Takosher Truck and its co-founders (right).

The People of the Book (finally) become the People of the Truck when Takosher (Twitter: @takosher), the nation's first kosher taco truck soft-launches on Monday, serving tacos with brisket, latkes, and more traditional fillings.

T.G.I.N.F. because the Takosher Truck, like the John Goodman character in "The Big Lebowski," doesn't roll on shabbos. It does, however, serve lunch on Fridays and re-opens late on Saturday nights to sate the club-hopping buccaneers of Pico-Robertson.

"I know for a fact that 90% of the kosher community has never had an authentic taco," says Takosher co-founder Lowell Bernstein.

The Takosher Truck is certified Glatt kosher, considered the most stringent level of kosher, by Three Line K, one of many kosher-certification agencies -- and the only one willing to work with Takosher.

Just as Kogi, once upon a time, created the template for nouveau food trucks, Takosher's founders spent a year-and-a-half doggedly working to develop a "kosher program."

click to enlarge GUZZLE & NOSH
Guzzle & Nosh

The fujita (left), latke (center) and brisket (right) tacos from the Takosher Truck.

That requires more than just avoiding pork or shellfish and not mixing meat with dairy. It means everything on the truck, from the aluminum foil to the chipotle peppers, must be kosher. Also, all of Takosher's food, including the brisket, which is slow-cooked for six to eight hours, must be prepared on the truck rather than in a prep kitchen.

"I didn't want to look for loopholes. I didn't want to cut corners. I wanted something that was legitimate," Bernstein says.

click to enlarge Even the sodas on the Takosher Truck must be kosher. - GUZZLE & NOSH
  • Guzzle & Nosh
  • Even the sodas on the Takosher Truck must be kosher.

The meat comes from Doheny Kosher Meats, one of Los Angeles' most respected kosher meat purveyors. Even the cleaning products had to be kosher. No mashgiach, someone (usually a rabbi) who supervises the kashrut status of an establishment, will ride on the truck. Instead, Takosher worked with Rabbi I. Yisroel Kelemer and his minions to develop stringent kosher accountability -- including surprise inspections.

It's hard enough to launch a new truck in L.A.'s increasingly saturated mobile food market. After the usual health department hoops, imagine jumping through another elaborate, sometimes absurd, set of regulations.

"We had a real problem with cilantro," says Takosher co-founder Moises Baqueiro. To ensure that no tiny, un-kosher bugs are accidentally consumed, all leafy greens aren't merely washed; they're inspected on a lightbox, similar to what you'd find in a darkroom.

click to enlarge The chosen taco. - GUZZLE & NOSH

Bernstein, Baqueiro and the truck's third partner, Chris Martin (not the Coldplay singer), developed a five-taco menu that includes traditional offerings like carne asada and chicken as well as Mexi-Jew fusion tacos. The brisket recipe, which Bernstein says he married into, involves chilli sauce, sauerkraut, raisins and secret spices. The latke tacos are filled with fried, panko-breaded mashed potato balls topped with a cinnamon-laced jalapeno/apple chutney. The vegetarian "fujitas" (to"fu" + fa"jita") are made with seasoned tofu sautéed with bell peppers and onions.

Price-point is a major challenge. Anyone who's ever eaten at the Kosher Subway on Pico Blvd. knows that the $5 sub you can get at any of the chain's other franchises costs $8-9 here. Kosher ingredients cost more, so Takosher's tacos cost more too: $2.50 - 3.50 apiece.

"Actually, we were worried that if our prices weren't high enough, kosher customers might not believe our food really is kosher," Martin says.

click to enlarge The Takosher Truck, ready to roll. - GUZZLE & NOSH

Rolling out of the Road Stoves lot, the Takosher Truck will cater to the synagogues and day schools of Jewish enclaves like Pico/Robertson, Hancock Park and Encino, but Bernstein also hopes to broaden the truck's customer base by appealing to non-kosher eaters. After a couple weeks of getting up to speed, the Takosher truck will officially launch on Sep. 11.

"Our chicken and brisket tacos will stand up to anybody else's," Bernstein says, "but nobody else has a latke taco, a brisket taco or a fujita."

click to enlarge The Takosher Truck with its doors up. - GUZZLE & NOSH

Related Content

Related

Now Trending

  • 10 Best Gluten-Free Pizzas in L.A.

    Pizza is something that invariably inspires heated debate.  Lately, it seems only one other thing invites such passionate argument: gluten. The gluten protein is what gives wheat dough its structure, loft and elasticity.  Which is why trying to find a really good gluten-free pizza has always been like looking for unicorns...
  • Hershey's Raises Prices After Cocoa Costs Soar

    Time to hoard the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (if you don’t already). Hershey’s, the No. 1 candy producer in the United States, on Tuesday raised its prices 8%, and that will affect Reese’s, Kit Kat, Hershey Bar, Almond Joy, Mounds, York Peppermint Patty, Kisses and every other piece of chocolatey...
  • How to Make a Cheap Bottle of Wine Taste Better

    Okay, we’ve all been there. You’re going to a party or a picnic, or maybe you’re going to check out the Twilight concert at Santa Monica Pier on Thursday night, and you don’t want to bring a really nice bottle of wine, but all the inexpensive bottles of wine just...
    2

Slideshows

  • Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
    Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar, with chef Jason Fullilove at the helm, is in the two buildings at the pier’s entrance that used to be Beachcomber Cafe and Ruby’s Diner. Those buildings, which have been overhauled completely, reflect both the pier’s 109-year-old history and the cultural import of Malibu itself.
  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.