Episode 3: The Great Food Truck Race, Daytona Beach

“If ain’t first, you’re last.” -Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights; The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Well, as we all come to find out, that isn’t necessarily so. As Ricky Bobby’s father Reese puts it so eloquently.

That’s right. There’s wisdom there, and we really learned it this week!

Wow, what an amazing place, full of energy! We were vaulted onto the Daytona Speedway …ON the Racetrack with our Food Trucks! Very cool lifetime experience. You never realize how steep that bank is until you (try) and drive up on it. Food Trucks, unlike stock cars, are NOT built for speed.

We find out that that one of the contestants is going home. Citing emotional strain, and there’s no doubt about it, it’s tough! Being away from your loved ones and your life, sacrifices from all our support network and ourselves, plus the added stress of a competition really burns your wick at both ends! We were sad to see her go.

Sad and of course that leaves Sol Food Collective in a difficult situation, now with two team members. It’s hard enough with just 3! They were sure catching some rough breaks!

Also, at this greeting meeting we are told of our next challenge, Donuts. I’ve made many donuts, specifically a Maple Bacon Bar. I tell my team members, we got this. I know how to do this. We were given an instant mix of sorts with inaccurate directions but in hindsight, I should have been able to figure it out. But I don’t and the donut we put in front of Tyler makes him gag. The oil was not hot enough and the donut dough was like a funnel cake batter! Again, should have added more flour and rolled them out. Word to myself, “Stephen, donut make that mistake again!”

So, what we lost was time. The winners got to open, and the rest of us must play corn-hole against the other 6 trucks, and score 50 points before we can start selling. Because we have Kyle and Craig who are good a corn-hole and my luck beginner points we quickly advance back to our truck in 10 minutes and start selling.

Daytona Beach was very slow in sales, not many on the Beach on the Boardwalk, and not many buying any of our food. Travis with Rolling Indulgence lands a big one with the Arizona Sate Gymnastics team but other than that, nada, zip… very few people. Also a disappointment that it was the MEN’S Arizona State Gymnastic team….but I digress…..

Our saving grace through this, is that we are all in the same boat, er truck.

We have made a connection with our fellow competitors, and are becoming a family. Sol Collective struggled with a team member leaving and Malyessa going to the hospital with a Kidney Stone! We don’t want our friends, (any of them) to get eliminated. Seems odd, it’s a competition but we are bonding as a strange little family. 

We have a legendary goodbye party for our friends, and we take 3RD place. We are starting to maybe figure this stuff out? After all, as our former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “America is all about speed; hot nasty, bad-ass speed.”

On to Tampa Florida, full speed ahead!

Episode 2; Hilton Head Island, SC-Back 9 BBQ

Hilton Head Island South Carolina, beautiful place. One of the Golf Meccas of the US. We find our self on the 18th green at Harbor Town Golf Links and Sea Pines Resort. The first Challenge is to make a 5 ft putt, so that you can pick your side dish; the dish that you will need to go along with your Carolina BBQ. Naturally, it’s me, I am a Golfer (did I mention that before?) So I’m like, “oh I got this, yeah baby…”

But despite my hubris, I leave the 5 ft put 2 feet short, but we still get the side dish that we wanted. We picked Hush-puppies of course! Sorry to all my golf buddies for my leaving it short!

We get settled in for the day of selling with slow prep times, a missed putt and Boiled Peanuts..what the heck are boiled peanuts? We get buried with orders and seems like we are going down in flames! Ugh, we are going to go home with nothing but peanuts to show for our efforts! But that’s enough peanut and putting puns.

We are trying to learn how to run this food truck. Every time Tyler calls or texts it’s an interruption followed by a challenge… ugh. So, week two with no frozen fries and the culprit now comes to our truck and tries to steal our customers. So then begins The great French fry debate.. fresh cut or frozen?

Peoples Fry takes all the frozen fries and then comes to our truck and tries to steal our customer’s, but Kyle shuts him down… he can’t even answer Kyle’ Question, which is better Fresh or Frozen? It’s all fun and we love our competitors but back off our customers with your Frozen French Fries!

So happy that we advanced to Daytona Beach and our fryer works now. We are starting to get some synergy with the team. We are going to DAYTONA!

And the race continues…

Episode 1 The Great Food Truck Race – Myrtle Beach South Carolina

What did I get myself into? I arrive at the hotel, and immediately I have given up control of my life. At least I didn’t have to do it alone, besides my two comrades in pain and suffering on the Frank n Slides team, there are 24 more souls just like myself with that deer in the headlights look. The only thing worse than being confused, is being confused alone.

We are in a Food-Truck-on-TV boot camp with producers, assistants and such barking orders like drill sergeants (OK, that’s a little extreme). They are nice folks, but the first thing I noticed is that Television is NOT efficient, business-wise, at least the making of it. I do see that the results are amazing, but when you are in it you think, what the crap?

 Our first attempt at cooking on the food truck was the Beach Bite challenge; make a dish that represents frolic and fun on the beach. Previously I had borrowed a recipe from Craig called a Egg Roll S’more, and I had made it for trail crew in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. Craig wants to us to lead with that item, and of course I am ALL IN! I know in my heart we will win this challenge with this dish!

 We are given a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the 10 guest judges. Their reactions confirm my confidence. Seeing some of the other truck’s dishes from a distance, I think there is a lot of talent here. Next to us was a Vegan-themed truck, and they produce a beautiful grilled ear of corn. I thought, well that is very nice, in fact amazing but it doesn’t push the culinary boundaries and its not really a summer Beach bite. I am feeling very confident.

 Well, we along with the other 7 trucks are shocked when we got beat by a @#$%#* ear of corn! An ear of corn, won the Summer Beach Bite challenge. OK, really, what did I get myself into?

 Additionally, we are beset by our truck challenges. Our fryer only worked when it wanted to (kind of like a millennial), and when it rained it also rained through the roof of our Food truck. It feels certainly feels like we are going home.

 So, by now, you know that we made the first cut, on to Hilton Head Island South Carolina! We were just happy to make it here period, and now we are on to the next event!

Stay tuned to see how we did next week, on Season 10 of the Great Food Truck Race.


Eat (and drink) Well Outdoors.

Valentine’s Day Poción de amor pasión arándano (Cranberry Passion Love Potion)

Spoil your Lovemate in the Backcountry with this winter cocktail

Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day in a tent under the stars with your honey, or snuggled up indoors, this cocktail is sure to make them buckle at the knees (maybe literally if …)

The key ingredient here is Patron Reposado Tequila. Delicious for sipping on its own and extremely smooth. Reposado is spicy and sweet at the same time, touches of earthy agave, hints of vanilla and honey caramel sweetness, nice linger, full of pepper and spice, lingering sweetness of honey and caramel. Known for its naturally romantic palate.


1.5 oz. Patron Reposado Tequila                                                      
.5 oz. Cranberry-Vanilla Simple Syrup
Squeeze of one lemon
At Home
To make the syrup, combine ½ cup sugar, ¾ cup water, 1 cup frozen cranberries, and 2 vanilla beans in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before proceeding. Combine tequila and simple into a zip-top bag. Slice 1 lemon and pack separately.
In the Backcountry
Squeeze the lemon slice into the zip-top bag, and chill in a cold stream or under snow. Optional to add a small scoop of clean snow and a cranberry garnish.
To Enjoy at Home
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and serve over ice with a cranberry garnish.

Use good judgment, don’t get hurt and leave no trace in the backcountry.

Eat (and Drink) Well Outdoors!