Street Food Profiles: Marination Mobile in Seattle, Washington
Note: It's time for another edition of Street Food Profiles. This week we scoot to Seattle for Hawaiian-Korean curbside cuisine.
Name: Marination Mobile
Vendors: Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison
Location and hours: Roaming the streets of Seattle six days a week. Equal opportunity neighborhood dwelling. Typically open 11a.m. to 2 p.m. The changing locations are posted on our website.
What's on the menu? Tacos (spicy pork, kalbi beef, "sexy" tofu, and miso ginger chicken), Aloha sliders (made with Hawaiian-style braised pork on a sweet bun), kimchi fried rice (served with a sunny-side up egg), and things involving Spam (like Spam sliders and Spam musubi). We regularly throw in specials too. We give away love for free.
How long have you been street fooding? So far just 4.89 months. To infinity and beyond!
How has Twitter affected business? It's probably the reason we can put gas in the truck and keep our chef around.
Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? Commitment issues.
Who are your typical customers? Any special regulars? The Marination mob! Our customers are people who are hungry and don't want to spend a ton of money on lunchfuel. More than half are walking distance from our daily location, but we have saucy diehards who drive to find us whenever the mood strikes. All of our regulars are special, and we know each other by name. Sometimes it's a nickname we've coined, rather than their real name, but still.
Describe a typical day from start to finish.
- Aloha! We start at the commissary where we flip flop between early morning grumpiness and group happiness.
- We prep. We stock the truck. We trade laughs with the amazingly cool legends also in commissary space. And we drink coffee. The commissary is part of Caffe Vita. Word!
- Then we drive. And park. And grill, and call out first names, and make jokes, we get and give hecklings, we run into each other on the truck and rock out to Violent Femmes or hip-hop or whatever chef Catherine makes us listen to.
- Then we close, we drive the truck back to the commissary, and we clean the truck for two hours.
- And then, Aloha! Because it also means "goodbye."
What are or were you doing before this? Marinating on a much smaller scale.
What makes your food so special? Can anything like it be found in the city? All food is special. It's the people on our truck and our customers that make us extra special.
How would you define "street food"? Cheap, tasty and easy. Like most good things.
The best street food city and why. Seattle! What kind of women would we be if we didn't give big ups to our own city? Seattle is the reason we were able to dream up this adventure and launch it to great big open hungry arms. But seriously, our street food community is small and strong. Vendors and eaters all stick together pretty well.
Your comfort food after a long day? Beer. Sometimes vodka.
Advice for an aspiring vendor? Invest in comfortable shoes, don't hire anyone you can't imagine being right next to umpteen hours a week, and don't wear anything on the truck that you want to wear elsewhere, ever. Don't think set-up and tear-down is a fast process. And always keep your creative thinking cap on.
When we got shut down for parking in a spot that wasn't allowed, we couldn't bear wasting all the food, so we turned it into a breast cancer fundraiser. We couldn't legally sell anything, so we announced on Twitter that we were giving away grub until all was gone and asked for donations which went straight to the Areola Borealis 3-day walk team. We got slammed. We ran out of food. We raised money. Win!
Oh, and if you're not a people person, this ain't the right road for you, friend.