This summer, as you venture across the city on lunch breaks and weekends, keep an eye out for these four UAA-affiliated fixtures of the farmers’ market and food truck scene.
What to expect: Cupcakes!
Most Popular item: Red velvet cupcakes
It all started with Cupcake Wars. The Food Network competitive cooking show had just premiered in late 2009 when Kastle Sorensen, B.A. ’06, caught an early episode and thought, “That looks like fun.” When her husband’s mom entered a church chili cook-off, Kastle supplied the strawberry cupcakes to lure voters to stop by. “Someone asked if they could order some more of those and I thought… I guess,” she laughed. That first customer got the (dough)ball rolling, helping distribute Kastle’s cupcakes to friends and family, who then called in with their own requests. She opened her business in 2011, added the food truck 2012 and, fittingly, appeared on (and won) an episode of Cupcake Wars in 2013.
Kastle hits the road in her bubblegum-pink truck twice a week, serving sweet treats to cupcake customers in Anchorage, Eagle River and Wasilla. She rotates through 100 flavors (like carrot cake, pumpkin chip and Butterfinger) so her regulars always have new options, even if their cravings kick in just days apart. Though the menu changes, loyal fans know they can always count on Kastle’s top seller: red velvet cupcakes.
Where to find Kastle’s Kreations
Online: Facebook, Instagram and http://www.kastleskreations.net
On the street: Currently, you can find Kastle’s pink truck on Thursdays from 12-4 p.m. at Bailey’s Furniture (C and International). On Saturdays from 12-4 p.m., she alternates between the Eagle River Chevron and Wasilla Walgreens.
What to expect: handcrafted macaron cookies and more
Most popular item: Passion fruit macarons
Keep an eye out for the radiant colors on display at Sweet Caribou, a family-owned farmers’ market fixture that specializes in the sweet, delicate, finicky cookies known as macarons. Why so finicky? An individual macaron—made of two perfectly matched, perfectly whipped cookies melded by buttercream or ganache filling—can take up to 72 hours to cook and cure.
Owner James Strong, B.B.A. ’06, helms the family business, which also includes his wife Miranda, B.A. ’08, and his sister, who’s been baking since age 6. Sweet Caribous will move into a permanent storefront at 36th and Arctic this August, where the family will continue whipping up their 70 flavors of macarons.
Though French-inspired, the Strongs add an Alaska spin with recipes like maple bacon and the Fred Flintstone (Fruity Pebbles on a buttercream cookie). “You’d never find that in any patisserie in Paris, but whenever we feature it, people order full boxes,” James noted. And he would know. Each year, James and Miranda travel to Paris to take cooking classes and explore patisseries for the latest trends.
Keep an eye out for Sweet Caribou’s macaron-mobiles, two delivery cars that will soon hit the streets to deliver a range of lunch options for office-bound Anchoragites like fresh local salads with homemade dressing (accompanied, of course, by a mini-macaron)
Where to find Sweet Caribou
On the street: Currently, you can find Sweet Caribou Wednesdays from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. at the Center Market in Sears Mall and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.–2 p.m. at the South Anchorage Farmer’s Market at O’Malley Center. The storefront at 36th and Arctic is set to open on Aug. 11
What to expect: Fresh Alaska street food
Most popular item: reindeer corn dogs and empanadas
Who better to own and operate a food truck than Amy Green, professor of Culinary Arts, Hospitality & Restaurant Management at UAA. Not only does she teach classes on restaurant business (think front of house management and human resources), she also has the summers free to focus on her family’s food truck. And HR is easy enough when the only employees are her husband and two kids.
iFood, Amy says, was originally her kids idea, particularly the focus on technology. Though still in development, they plan to launch an online app so customers can order ahead of time. Another tech dream: a webcam that shows the crowds and atmosphere at iFood events (the name, of course, would be the iFood Feed).
Another big plan is to marry Amy’s food truck summers with her academic winters and create a ride-along program for her interested culinary students. The food truck academy would highlight food truck musts like menu development, social media marketing and health code compliance.
But Amy says those plans are all “down the road,” to use an apt food truck metaphor.
For now, here’s what to expect: exceptionally friendly service and fresh, fun ingredients in uniquely Alaska dishes, like salmon sliders and fish tacos. And don’t miss those popular empanadas (AKA “fancy Hot Pockets”) or the kegs of homemade root beer and cream soda.
Where to find iFood
Online: Facebook and ifood8.net
On the street: Look for iFood at private events across the city, including weddings and festivals. Check their Facebook page for food truck roundup destinations.
What to expect: Bottles of balsamic and a solid sense of humor
Most Popular Item: Borealis Berry Balsamic Buzzzzz
Like a mosquito in your ear, the Mosquito Mama booth can’t be ignored. Holly Thorssin, B.A. ’13, dedicates about two hours to setting up and breaking down her farmer’s market booth, and it’s easy to see why. With tapestries, tablecloths and a vast spread of vinegars—all sheltered by a decorative maroon mosquito net—Mosquito Mama is certainly eye-catching. And the balsamic samples will give you reason to linger. With eight years in the balsamic business, Holly’s customers have found countless ways to use these Alaska-made drizzles (on salads, on salmon, in bloody Mary’s and even to dribble over ice cream). So give in to the garlic. Whether you’re sautéing vegetables or marinating meats, just add what Holly calls “a little bite in every bottle.”
Where to find Mosquito Mama
Online: Facebook and Instagram
On the street: Currently, you can find Mosquito Mama at the Center Market in Sears Mall Wednesdays from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and downtown in summers at the Anchorage Market, Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Bottle are also available at NonEssentials (Palmer), Tinker’s Rain Forest Deli (Eagle River), Alaska Max (Anchorage) and Sunshine Health Foods (Fairbanks).
Written by J. Besl, UAA Office of University Advancement