Tag: Food

Food trucks offer variety, unique aesthetics

Barbecue. Street tacos. Sweet treats.

Among other options, food trucks offer a variety of choices that encourage individuals to try new foods that cannot be found anywhere else.

Food trucks are growing in popularity across the United States, creating a local and authentic vibe that people of all ages can enjoy. The mobile food industry is rapidly becoming a popular sensation that almost everyone is taking part in, especially in Lubbock.

Hungry college students and residents within the community are beginning to see that some of the best food in Lubbock lies in the up-and-coming food trucks.

Hundreds of people brought their appetites to the first West Texas Food Truck Championship on Oct. 7 in south Lubbock.

The event was hosted by Hub City Food Trucks at Cook’s Garage, with all proceeds going to the Boots and Badges non-profit organization to help benefit first responders and their families who experience traumatic events.

Early in the morning, despite the windy weather, long lines quickly began to form in front of the variety of trucks available to choose from. According to many attending the event, the favorite was of course, Barbeque.

Chopped and Sliced, a food truck that has been around for almost 10 years, has become even more popular during the past three years.

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“Lubbock is finally catching on to all the good food that these trucks have to offer,” says Shawn Stevens, owner of Chopped and Sliced.

“You know, I think the people of Lubbock are getting more into food trucks because there is such a wide variety of choices, and it’s something to go out and do with your friends and family,” Stevens added. “Just walk around and enjoy all there is to be offered.”

According to Stevens, the best seller on their menu is the pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches and frito pies.

From brisket sandwiches, smoked ribs, and a variety of sausage, the employees of Chopped and Sliced all agreed that the biggest complement they have been given would be attributed to their homemade barbeque sauce.

“We try to go to as many events like this as we can,” said Rachel Wills, who attended the event. “My favorite truck so far definitely has to be the street tacos. It’s convenient that they are super cheap, but the tacos are so good.”

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Josh Gutierrez, owner of Now We Taco’N, ran one of the more popular street trucks at the event.

While attending a music festival in Michigan, Gutierrez waited in line for more than 30 minutes for a $9 taco. He knew that he could make a better street taco for half the price.

After returning to Lubbock, he and his brother, Albert Gutierrez, began their business in 2014. For him, the taco business is a fulfilling way to positively impact people’s daily lives.

“I’m a person who enjoys cooking,” Gutierrez said. “Making people happy and seeing how much they enjoy your food is the best part.”

Gutierrez explains that they mostly sell their food at music festivals or food truck festivals. They have plans to expand all the way to Colorado in 2019 and bring their truck to ski resorts for the summer.

“We mainly serve tacos, burritos, and quesadillas,” Gutierrez said. “Although, we are trying to expand our menu and serve full plates with sides like beans and rice, or fajitas.”

Another food truck at the event had an interesting menu, as a crowd of people waited patiently in line to buy waffles that were mounted with sweets.

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The truck was started by Texas Tech student Brandon Bell, who started experimenting with breakfast items one day with his sisters.

“I started the truck myself, and for the past three years, I have been trying to perfect my recipes for different waffles,” Bell said. “What I sent to the judges is one of my most popular items on the menu, the Mama Mia.”

It featured a waffle with a Nutella spread, layered with strawberries, bananas, a scoop of ice cream, a sprinkle of crushed Frosted Flakes, and finally a drizzle of caramel and chocolate syrup.

Bell says that he normally caters to smaller events. However, this was his first competition and is excited to have the opportunity to share his creations with others.

His mother and sisters also drove out from San Antonio to support Bell during the event.

After a full day of food, live music, fun games and more, the judges announced this year’s winners at the first West Texas Food Truck Championship. They are: Best Drink, The Coffee Can; Best Dessert, Kurbside Sweets; Best Mexican / Street Taco, Dos Hermanas Restaurant & Food Truck; Best Barbeque, Lubbock Pacific Grub; and Best Main Dish, Angel Star Food Truck.

Servers not treated fairly in food industry

It’s a horrible feeling whenever you are a hard-working person and the establishment you’re working at belittles you.

I’m not going to mention the place of my previous employment, but I will certainly tell you the horrors of being a server.

First of all, servers don’t get paid enough, and automatically many believe that earning tips is enough to cover the lack of pay. Wrong. Somedays I didn’t even earn enough to cover what I was supposed to earn in tips during the day.

It’s not because I’m a bad server. I would know if I was. It’s because many customers don’t like to tip servers. They can spend $30 on a meal, but they can’t even tip their server 15 percent. At my previous employment, if you didn’t make a certain amount in tips, you got written up for it. Being a server, you have to rely on the customer that you’re waiting on to tip you. If you don’t earn tips just because customers don’t want to, you are the one that gets in trouble.

I used to make $3 an hour being a sever. It’s bad, I know. Tips are supposed to make up for the bad pay. How are you supposed to make a decent amount of tips whenever customers don’t feel like tipping you?

Another reason why I quit my previous employment is because of the way management treats their employees, especially servers. Servers receive bad pay, and we try to make the best of the situation. Management is supposed to help out servers and make sure their establishment doesn’t get a bad reputation. That’s pretty hard, considering whenever you’re the only server working for three hours and you’re expected to serve 50 people by yourself. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if a restaurant is busy and there is only one server, the smart thing to do is try to call someone in. But that’s the problem. A manager doesn’t want to call another person in because the fine establishment that you work at doesn’t want to pay for extra help. It doesn’t matter if customers are getting their food orders wrong, or late, and the service is slow (since there is only one server). All of that doesn’t matter. As long as they don’t have to pay for another server for a couple of hours, their reputation doesn’t mean anything.

My previous employer expected servers to do everything. We were expected to seat customers, take their drink and food orders, answer the phones, take care of the entrees coming out of the oven, fry wings, fries, and other sides, wipe down tables, take care of the salad bar, and, on top of that, take care of your ‘cut work’ before leaving for the day.

That’s not the worst part. The worst part of all of this is if you don’t leave at a certain time, you get in trouble. You’re supposed to do all these things, and you’re expected to the tasks at hand well and fast. It seems to me managers think you have super human abilities and you can do these tasks all at once.

The last time I checked, I’m just a normal person with only two hands. I can only do so much.

It makes me upset that servers don’t get the respect they deserve. You try so hard and you greet the customers with a smile, yet you don’t receive a tip. Then you have your manager in your ear all the time constantly telling you to do this and do that whenever you have a million other things to do.

If you mess up an order, they get on to you. It doesn’t even matter the situation. It doesn’t matter that the restaurant is filled with people and you’re the only server. It doesn’t matter that it was the only order you messed up on. You still get in trouble.

But if a manager messes up, it’s OK. It’s OK because apparently managers are worth more than severs. According to one of my previous managers, “servers are replaceable. Everyone of you is replaceable.”

Not all establishments are bad, though. I enjoyed some of my time where I used to work. They hired me whenever I wanted to earn some extra money. If I were to go back in time and knew what I know now, I wouldn’t even apply. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth my time.

Some may say I’m a cry baby, and I’m not cut out to be a server. That may be true. It’s true because I know my worth. I respect people who are servers. I will and have always tipped whenever someone waited on me. I know how it feels.

I hope this gives people a little more perspective on what the everyday server goes through. I also hope whenever you go into a restaurant you plan to tip. Because at the end of the day, servers are not replaceable, and we’re worth more than what we make.

New campus food pantries open for students, faculty

by BRANDI ORTIZ//News Editor

 

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The Food Pantry, located on both the Levelland and Reese Center campus, is currently open to all students and faculty of SPC. TOVI OYERVIDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

 

A new resource at South Plains College could help students and faculty in need of emergency groceries.

The Food Pantry, located inside Room 101 in the PE Complex on the Levelland campus and in Building 8 at the Reese Center campus, contains some food stables such as cereal, peanut butter, rice, pasta, and canned items, along with hygiene items and baby items.

“Most everything we have is to help students through emergency-type situations,” said Dee Dee Odorizzi, director of the Physical Education Complex. “[The pantry has] mostly convenience food, ‘heat-and-eat’, not always nutritious, but we always try to keep some canned meat, chicken, tuna, some peanut butter, things that have a little bit of protein to provide.”

Odorizzi said the main reason for opening the new pantry was to assist students, faculty and staff members who may struggle to feed themselves or their families. According to Odorizzi, some students who stay on campus during the summer also have issues, since the dining hall closes during summer classes.

“We have students that live in the Smallwood Apartments that are either waiting for their paycheck to come in, or some of the international students, who are not able to have a job, struggle when the hall closes,” said Odorrizi. “Now that it is open, we have slowed down.”

_DSC0122Opening the panty has been a “group venture” since the beginning of the summer.

Katherine Perez, assistant dean of students, Dr. Lynn Cleavinger, director of Health and Wellness, Nate Feddes, residence hall director at Smallwood Apartments, and Odorizzi have been organizing throughout the summer to find a way to help students and faculty at SPC.

“I’ve always had a desire to help,” said Odorizzi. “It came to my attention several years ago, about students who aged out of the foster care system. At 18 years old, they are kicked out, told good luck to you and many of those students end up going to college because their room and board and tuition are paid for. They are not here because they are prepared to go to college. They are here because they don’t know where else to go. So, I kinda have a calling to try and help those students. And through conversation with Katherine Perez, it [the pantry] just kind of happened.”

Students or faculty who wish to utilize the food pantry on the Levelland campus can make an appointment with Odorizzi at (806) 716-2236. Reese Center’s food pantry is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students do not need an ID to use the pantry but will fill out an intake form upon arrival.

“We are not here to provide people free groceries for an eternity,” said Odorizzi. “This is meant to be on emergency-type basis. If we see someone is coming to the pantry fairly regularly, then we might need to refer them to more permanent resources, get them on food stamps or try to help with employment or counseling. The need may go beyond the emergency pantry we have.”

The SPC Food Pantry is supplied through donations. To make a donation for the Levelland campus, contact Odorizzi or make a donation drop-off at the Dean of Students Office or PE Complex office, rooms 103 or 105. For the Reese Center, donations can go to Building 8 or call (806) 716-4615 or 716-4600.

“I want students to feel like they don’t have to be embarrassed to go ask for help,” Odorizzi said. “Any one of us are a paycheck away from needing help. If you are going hungry and you are living on nothing but Ramen noodles, you need to come see us. It does not have to be that way. We have plenty of donations, and we are more than happy to help. You can’t study or be successful in college if you are hungry.”

Dining hall expands menu to better serve students, faculty

by HANNAH NELSON // Staff Writer

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A variety of changes to the daily menus recently were implemented for Texan Hall.

These additions included four new menu options for both the lunch and dinner meal times.

Great Western Dining, a contract company, operates the cafeteria and snack bar on the Levelland campus.

“We have actually been here for 20 years, and he felt like it was time for some changes,” said Mike Rodreick, the food service director for Great Western Dining. “And I agree. I think it’s time for some changes.”

Before these changes, a variety of options were added, including main meals, a salad bar, sandwich bar, and more. Among the changes to the service are new food stations. They now offer a pizza station, pasta station, comfort station, and smokehouse station that students and faculty can choose from.

The comfort station changes from lunch to dinner.

“Things we put together that we know students like,” Rodreick said.

There is a change every day between the afternoon and evening meals. But the smokehouse station is a consistent option for students and faculty. The smokehouse station offers two smoked meats, along with a variety of side dishes including pinto beans, Macaroni and cheese, and potatoes.

“We have a huge smoker out in the back, and we are proud to have it because we can produce a lot of meat,” said Rodreick.

The cafeteria cooks freshly smoked meat every morning.

The other options offered in the cafeteria are a pizza and pasta station. The purchase of a pizza maker was approved so that they make a variety of pizzas to serve. Included are dscn0258vegetarian pizzas to accommodate those who come into the cafeteria who may be vegetarian.

“We felt like that would be a good change for the students,” Rodreick said, “because that is what we are here for, to take care of the students. And, of course, faculty and staff.”

Two trucks arrive each week delivering fresh produce and meat.

“We have people here that check the produce,” Rodreick explained. “And if they do not like the looks of the produce, they send it back.”

Cafeteria employees come in at 5 a.m. to start on the food preparation and the breakfast menu. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., a different group of workers come in.

“We have quite a few students that we hire, and we also hire high school students that normally work at night time,” said Rodreick.

More changes are planned for the future, according to Rodreick. This includes changing the cafeteria layout to better accommodate the number of people coming through.

“We want to bring the soda machines and the coffee machines inside the cafeteria, maybe make less flow in the serving area,” Rodreick said.

Due to plumbing accommodations that will need to be made, these changes are planned for the summer.

“I am looking forward to some of the changes,” said Rodreick. “I think that Great Western Dining and the college has come to an agreement that we need some changes.”

Great Western Dining Company is glad to be a part of SPC and wants to receive input from the students.

“We are here to feed the students,” he added. “So we make menus for the students. We’ve grown a lot in 20 years…Great Western Dining and the people that work here are very honored to be here.”

[Photos by HANNAH NELSON/PLAINSMAN PRESS]