Locations at facebook.com/bistrobox
Over in the Seattle area, The Bistro Box had regular customers who would line up for the coconut chicken, Wagyu beef sliders, hand-cut french fries and fresh salads and sandwiches. Dozens of fans cried out with the announcement in June that the food truck was leaving the area, but their loss may be Spokane's gain. The food truck pulled into town recently with hopes of winning over a new set of fans on this side of the state.
The Bistro Box may be the new food truck on the block, but its owners clearly already know a thing or two about Spokane — the truck made its local debut on Hoopfest weekend when the streets were filled with hungry crowds, serving sandwiches on fresh Petit Chat focaccia.
"It was a good starting point," says Barb Pagarigan, who owns the business with her husband Floyd.
She's from Spokane originally, and they moved back to be closer to family. They're adjusting the menu for the east side of the state, and looking forward to filling Spokane's growing appetite for fresh and creative fare.
Pagarigan recommends the coconut chicken, served served as dippers with a sweet-chili orange sauce or as sliders with coleslaw. The menu also features a variety of specialty beef sliders, such as the crowd favorite OMG Slider — beef topped with crunchy peanut butter, pepper jelly, bacon and cheddar.
Peruvian food is more than just quinoa
Sara Balcazar-Greene jerks the wok's long handle toward her sternum, allowing cubes of steak, red pepper strips, tomatoes and spices to spin through the air before they land back in the wok with a sizzle. She says this is stir-fry, but there doesn't seem to be much stirring involved. Instead, there's chopping and flipping. When plated, inch-thick rectangles of seared beef, surrounded by generous slices of sweet red pepper and tomatoes, sit in a deeply flavorful brown sauce imbued with the mellow heat of a Peruvian pepper. This traditional Peruvian dish, loma saltado, isn't complete without rice and a side of French fries. The ingredients are familiar, as are the cooking techniques, but the outcome is a different, and delicious, interpretation of our hemisphere's meat and potatoes.
Balcazar-Greene, born and raised in Peru, and her husband Brad, born and raised in Spokane, opened their marketing and consulting firm, The Purple Turtle, in 2005. Since that time Sarah has been perfecting her cooking skills. Though not a professional chef, she finds cooking to be a relaxing and entertaining way of sharing her Peruvian heritage with others. The couple frequently holds Peruvian-inspired culinary events at their downtown professional space — a large white room complete with a stainless steel kitchen area on one end and a baby grand piano on the other.
While many Americans are now familiar with Peruvian quinoa and know the health benefits of the ancient grain, we may not fully appreciate the celebratory, sensory nature of other Peruvian dishes. Balcazar-Greene wants to change that. Last year she started a blog (peruvianchick.com) that features Peruvian and Peruvian-influenced dishes.