Chef About Town

Keep an Eye Out For These Meals on Wheels and Grab a Bite This Summer
Cucina Rustico · Taqueria Los Cunados · Yalla Food Truck

There is something nostalgic about eating outside during the summer. Where I come from in the South, bare feet and something in your hand as you run through a park or sit at a ball game is the quintessential, hallmark movie moment that come to life. I think this is what I love most about tasting my way through the Wasatch Back; it reminds me that great food and good-hearted people make a community shine. Come with me as I taste my way through what I have affectionately called “My Heber Food Truck Summer.”


Frank and his amazing pizza!

If you haven’t tried Frank’s pizza at his Cucina Rustico on wheels, please immediately stop what you are doing and treat yourself. My first experience with the food truck scene in Heber was with Frank. I was new in town and wanted to get something quick. As a chef, I love mixing ingredients and flavors. As a new body in Heber, I had social anxiety over knowing where to go for a simple lunch. I found Cucina Rustico online and instantly fell in love with the array of ingredients I could mix and match on my wood-fired pizza. I ordered The Franco, but added black olives, because who doesn’t love olives, but I tell you — as soon as I put that first bite into my mouth, I was instantly transported to culinary school where my classmates and I would stay late in the kitchens making pizza and scrubbing stainless steel countertops. The power of that bite made me feel welcome; like I belonged in Heber and to the untrained eye, I’m sure I was just another customer that Frank looked at and said, “Interesting combination on your order.” But to me, as I walked back to my office, I had a few tears roll down my cheek, knowing that as overwhelmed as I felt breaking into a new job in a new city, I had a moment of feeling right where I belonged.


Authenticity in every taco bite!

A little-known fact about this chef about town (me) is that I was raised by a Cuban stepfather. I can remember at the tender age of three meeting my Abuela (Grandmother) and smelling empanadas and tacos al pastor coming from her kitchen, and how every meal was served with a very strong Cuban Café for my Abuelo (Grandfather). That memory is a reality for me every time I eat at Taqueria Los Cunados! I’m sure they don’t really know me over there, but I know them. My first dish was their fish tacos with lime. You cannot help but feel the spice in combination with the freshly squeezed lime run up into your nose as you take your first bite, and to tell you the truth, that first bite carries on with each one thereafter. Their Tacos al Pastor taste every bit as amazing as my Abuela’s, and that is saying something. Summers in Miami, inside of Little Havana where my grandparents lived, could not compare to the call of this unassuming taco truck, but please know — you can find me there ordering a little of each and every taco just because!


I might just be in love!

Give this happy chef a great sandwich, and I just might love you forever. Enter, please, on the scene, as one of the best newcomers to the crowd, Yalla’s Food Truck with their addictive Middle Eastern cuisine. I honestly did not know where to start first when I paid them a visit. I wanted to sample it all. I tend to be a little stealthy when I try new places to eat. I want to experience everything from the food quality to the service to watching other customers order and enjoy their meals. When I first went to Yalla’s, I just people watched. Customers were genuinely enjoying their food, and there was a line to order. I noticed that no matter which side of their truck you were on, it smelled enticing, and the spices drew me in. I ordered the Sabich Baguette and Falafel Bowl. May I just mention on its own a well-deserved shout-out to…the eggplant! Oh goodness, even as I write this, my taste buds remember how delicious and perfect that eggplant was. Delightful! The falafel was tender and aromatic, as it should be — it could stand as a meal itself, but surprisingly I did not need to add anything to these delicious little treats to enhance the flavor. I became so wrapped up in my experience of tasting the food; I truly lost track of time. In this visit, I had my daughters with me, and needless to say, it was a fight even to get enough of a taste to write about it. I think my favorite cap to my jaunt into another part of the world was the Hummus. It was so creamy and refreshing — not overwhelming—all in all, a magical tasting experience for this chef.


In the words of one of my favorite mentors in this space, Chef Thomas Keller, “A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” In the words of this chef about town, the chefs at Yalla’s, Taqueria Los Cunados, and Cucina Rustico do just that!