Street Food Blast From the Past

Street Food
A boat of the Chef’s duck fries from our food cart days.

Recently, I happened upon a funny little article from our past: Something New Under the Sun. It appeared in the Ann Arbor Observer not long after the Chef and I fulfilled our dream of opening a business. That business we opened, Debajo del Sol, was a food cart featuring street food inspired by our tour throughout Catalonia. What made me chuckle was that the food reviewer called me a chef in the article. I am not a chef now, nor was I one then. I just made my mother’s almond cookie recipe as a little sweet side to accompany the Chef’s many wonderful savory dishes.

Our Time at the Cart

The Chef was really the recipe guy, the guy who created the menu and came up with the dishes. I dished out the food and did all of the customer service kind of stuff, or most of it anyway. That’s probably why the reviewer mistook me for the chef. I talked up the food to anyone who came to our window. I liked to call the cart the Chef’s food lab. There, he played around with flavors and dishes he remembered from our travels and developed ways to translate that into street food you could carry with you.

We made a good start of it. The Chef even got a nod for one of his original dishes in the Chicago Tribune: Street food keeps tailgates on a roll. The reviewer and her friends more than kind of liked his duck fries.

The funny thing about those duck fries is they were an afterthought. They emerged from leftover duck bones we had after creating a duck sausage and pear mustard homage to a duck and pears dish we had eaten in a little village of Beget in the Pyrenees. The Chef was always trying to find a use for everything. He used the duck bones to create the duck ragu, sprinkled a bit of his house made smokey chorizo and some blue cheese, and the duck fries remained on the menu throughout the duration of our time in business.

Using What We Find

This was a painting I made on a wooden box sign I pulled from our dumpster area. Neighbors will set things out there for other neighbors to claim.
Grilling with a view.

That was a long time ago, but it all brings me in some round about way to what we do now at home. I call the Chef the master of using what we have. We don’t have duck bones lying around, so it’s not quite as decadent as that. Since our move to the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains we made a commitment to live small. We try to only take up the space we need for the most part. We landed in a place we love where the river is only steps away and we like to reclaim and re-use as much as possible. For instance, I am constantly reclaiming things tossed in our dumpster area and refurbishing them.

The Chef, he does his best to come up with delicious dishes with what we have in the pantry. This weekend, he went simple. He pulled out the little portable grill and skewered some shrimp we had in the freezer along with zucchini and pear.

Not only is the Chef handy with minimal or leftover ingredients, he fixes things. He repaired the small grill we’d purchased a year ago from the town yard sale. Again, we are keeping it small. He set the grill on our stone porch and let the skewers cook through. We threw the grilled skewer pieces on red rice and we had a simple and delicious meal.

Summer at River Cliff

Summer is my favorite time of year around here. The river is running and it feels good after working to walk the dog to the river’s edge an dip my toes in. I have even planted a few things in the community garden down by the river. Although, the got off to a slow start because of the late frost. I’ll go into more about our growing things from seed and finding places to plant with no actual yard in another post. For now, we are just returning to this Mountain Maven and the Chef space, giving it a bit of a go in our own way.




  1. I’m not sure which is prettier: the sunflowers, the duck fries, or the zucchini/shrimp/pear skewers! Life on the river is good.

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