Food and Drink

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Roc and Ro Sushi On The Go gets the sushi rolling

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 7:48 AM

COURTESY ROC AND RO SUSHI ON THE GO
  • Courtesy Roc and Ro Sushi On The Go
Many foods come to mind as convenient food truck fare, but sushi isn’t one of them. That is, unless you’re former Jun Japanese Restaurant sushi chef Romeo Magat. He opened Roc and Ro Sushi On The Go in mid-2018.

“I had the idea about seven years ago,” he says. “It’s got everything a kitchen restaurant would have. It’s basically a kitchen on wheels.” Really, the biggest difference Maghe notes is moving the food around when he doesn’t have access to a plug-in for his on-truck cooler.

Maghe currently offers an assortment of sushi roll standards, including spicy tuna, Philadelphia and yummy rolls. Half of his menu arrives cold, while the other half, he serves deep-fried. And having made Roc and Ro his full-time gig in mid-January, he plans to expand his offerings and let his ambition grow.

“The latest special I put up on the menu is a lobster roll,” he says as an example. “I use grilled lobster claw meat. That’s a pretty popular one — people go for seconds on that one.”

Currently, he has three regular stops, which he lists on Facebook along with one-off events.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Iron Bird Pizza Kitchen to open under Piglatin Cocina chef's guidance

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 3:49 PM

Piglatin Cocina co-owner Andres Velez - ROBERT MITCHELL
  • Robert Mitchell
  • Piglatin Cocina co-owner Andres Velez
Iron Bird Brewing Co. has passed its kitchen off to Andres Velez and Aaron Ewton of Piglatin Cocina and Piglatin Food Truck notoriety, and they’ve rechristened it Iron Bird Pizza Kitchen.

“I have no idea [how it happened],” says Velez. “Aaron brought it up to me, and I said ‘Sure, let’s do it.’”

That was in December, and things have moved fast. Currently, Velez is waiting for his food vendor license to come through. He expects to open sometime in early- to mid-February, currently shooting for Friday the 8th.

Velez says the menu won’t change too much at first. He plans to simplify and change a few ingredients, but regulars will still be able to get most of their favorites. He will however bring back the spot’s meatball sub, instead packing it with lamb meatballs. He’ll also add between two and four new pizzas featuring flavors he’s honed at Piglatin.

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“We’re also going to have a pasta salad added to the menu,” he says. He and Ewton are also figuring out how to do takeout and delivery — Velez says they’ll likely pair with a delivery app.

Long-term, however, Velez says they will transition away from pizzas altogether, implementing a model that’s more in line with what he and his team do under the Piglatin name. That’ll include a name change and renovation, following a long and gradual transition over “many months.”

“I can’t give you a timeline because we don’t know that timeline,” says Velez. But whatever he does, it won’t change the brewing operations going on next door — they’re a separate business. For now, he and his team are figuring out a grand opening celebration, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 8, with details to be announced.
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Two new bars coming to downtown Springs

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 4:22 PM

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As mentioned in our review of Cork & Cask, local restaurateur Joseph Campana has more bar and restaurant concepts set to open in the downtown area in the near future. Coming soonest, Springs drinkers can look forward to Shame & Regret opening in the former 15C's alleway spot at 15 C East Bijou St.. Campana co-owns the spot, 51 to 49 percent, with Matt Baumgartner, who’s been the general manager at the Campana-owned Rabbit Hole for the last five years. Campana says he’s had his eyes on the spot for years now, and he and Baumgartner plan to overhaul the space in a big way. Perhaps the biggest change: it’ll no longer be a smoker-friendly venue.

“95% of people don’t smoke,” says Campana, “and a lot of people would come in here and [say] the place stinks like cigars... They just don’t want to deal with it.”

While some smokers will resent the change, the duo think they’ll do better business overall, citing their shared past at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company as evidence. Campana recalls that when the long-standing brewery prohibited smoking in their upstairs pool hall, business went up — by his estimations, as much as 80 percent — as people could now hang around and eat or enjoy a game without reeking of tobacco. Further, they’re ditching the “mysterious door in an alley” ethos for a storefront with actual windows and natural lighting.

“We want to open up the whole alleyway so people can see it,” Campana says.

They’re working with Katie Toth, an alumna of the Principal’s Office, the Rabbit Hole and Moxie, to build a cocktail program that will feature a mix of prohibition-era classics and modern craft options. Campana’s corporate chef, Josh Kelly, will design a small menu of smaller plates — Campana suggests we might see shrimp cocktail and beef tartare, as well as ‘40s and ‘50s-style bar bites. They hope to open the spot in mid-February.

Following that, Campana’s got a tiki bar and Hawaiian-style poké joint in the works. He and Supernova general manager Audriana Sutherland, again splitting that 51-49 ownership model, will open Kanaloa (333 N. Tejon St.) in the former Paloma Salon and Micro Spa later in 2019 — Campana’s hoping for a March or April opening, while Sutherland says she anticipates things taking until May or June.

Sutherland says Kanaloa started with the bar, a lighted jade green granite bar-top that caught her and Campana’s eyes. From there, Sutherland came up with the idea for a rum-centric menu of tiki drinks, typically brightly colored for a visual pop to match the planned vibe.

“At first we were looking to do more of a Japanese-style [menu],” Sutherland says, but after seeing pictures of traditional Hawaiian raw fish bowls, she fell in love. Sutherland will act as general manager and will plan the cocktail program, while Kelly will design the menu.