Story Ideas

Hamilton’s booming food truck scene

Enjoy cupcakes to grilled cheese sandwiches

06 September 2011
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Hamilton is steering food in a new direction. Like so many urban centres, this city, located a 45-minute drive from Toronto,is home to a blossoming food truck scene, offering some truly tempting treats.

Watch for the hot pink Cupcake Diner on wheels, parked in the downtown core of the city as well as at special events. Owner Natalie Ravoi tapped into her love of baking and took it to the streets, literally, and created Canada’s first mobile cupcake shop. She bakes gourmet cupcakes daily with a retro twist.

People line up for varieties like caramel apple pie, chocolate and peanut butter, the 1950s Classic (à la Hostess cupcakes), lemon meringue and raspberry white chocolate. Plus she offers gluten-free and vegan variations, too.

But before diving into dessert, there’s heartier fare to be had. You can’t miss Canada’s only grilled cheese food truck. Look for the gorilla. It’s a sign that you’ve found Gorilla Cheese, owned by Graeme Smith and Scott Austin.

Smith went to Liaison College to become a professional chef and Austin is a grass roots foodie himself. They came up with the idea for a grilled cheese truck, a perfect fit for comfort-food craving urbanites. These aren’t just any garden-variety sandwiches, but gourmet, grilled-to-order ones, made with real cheese from Jensen’s, an Ontario cheese maker based in Simcoe. They’re gooey and wonderful, served alongside tomato soup and baked beans, all made from scratch.

Roving the area called the Golden Horseshoe, stretching from Toronto to Niagara Falls, is El Gastronomo Vagabundo. It’s a joint Australia-Canada project, thanks to its owners Tamara Jensen and Adam Hynam-Smith, a professionally trained chef from Down Under.

They have been serving up tantalizing mobile eats, like heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, Asian specialties, and gourmet tacos like Thai coconut red curry and tempura salmon. Ingredients are sourced from small local producers, making this a true grass-roots operation. To catch El Gastro on the move, follow them on Twitter or Facebook. You’ll likely spot them at Flat Rock Cellars winery in Jordan on the weekend or the St. Catharines farmer’s market.

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