On the Line: Bob Brown of Spudrunners, Part One
Photo by Mary Pastrana
Bob ran late for our interview, so I did the next best thing: Grill his team. Ben, Daniel and Justin were more than happy to share stories between orders. Like this one time, when their Spudrunners luxe lonchera's engine fell out while Daniel drove up the 57. Bob pushed it with his Kia rental, and they still had an excellent lunch service! Better yet, just ask the guys about their battle scars . . . .that anecdote involves a chain link fence plus a gallon of their signature Baconnaise.
Launched in February of last year, Bob Brown's wheels specialize in two core items: potatoes and grilled cheese. More family-friendly than upscale, his crew crank out hot and heavy meals all over OC. Their camaraderie is apparent as the guys keep us entertained with constant laughter.
Your earliest food memory:
My earliest food memory was making gnocchi at Napoli Pizza in Orange when I was in high school.
Favorite meal growing up:
My grandmother's spaghetti and meatballs.
Sonny's Pizza in San Clemente - thin, crispy crust margherita pizza and gnocchi.
Most undervalued ingredient:
Baconnaise dipping sauce (come to my truck to find out what it is).
Who came up with the foursquare check-in specials?
My main marketing person Justin Moore-Brown [Editor's Note: No relation. Justin says he's more Brown].
Tell us about your last catering event.
My last catering event was at an elementary school where we produced 210 meals in 45 minutes. It was a huge accomplishment for a food truck that has such limited cooking space.
I noticed you have a few Santa Fe themed items. Where did you get the inspiration from?
I really like a Southwestern flair, and decided to incorporate it into my American comfort food.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Aggressive, young chefs. Like Jason Quinn of Playground.
What fast food do you admit to eating?
Del Taco because my son loves their quesadillas! I love their green burritos.
What is your beverage of choice, and where do you get it?
I love orange Gatorade and can get it anywhere!
People rave about your lemonade flavors. What have been the most popular ones?
Blackberry has been the most popular, but people have also loved the more unique ones like mango and blood orange.
The sourdough in your grilled cheese . . . .where do you source it from?
That is something I can't disclose.
One food you can't live without.
Pizza, because it's cheesy and scrumptious! Either Margherita or topped with Canadian bacon and pepperoni.
Where was your most recent meal?
We just ordered delivery from Oggi's. My wife and I love their chicken Parmesan, and order delivery once a week!
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Don't burn it and don't forget the seasoning!
What do you think of people who take photographs of their food?
They must be passionate about what they eat, and I respect that.
Chef (Gordon) Ramsey because he isn't afraid to tell the truth and has a passion for anyone who has a true passion for the art of cooking. Plus, the amount of cursing on his show, Kitchen Nightmares, makes me laugh because I can relate to his frustration!
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Rocky Mountain oysters (deep fried sheep balls); I will never forget when I had these in Santa Maria with my buddy Russ Weitl when he was competing in a rodeo.
Sweet or savory:
Savory (see next answer).
Favorite places to eat (besides your own).
Sonny's Pizza and Ruth's Chris rib-eye with scallops.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Pancakes with syrup and butter.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
Pesto chicken sandwich on top of a baked potato; I create whatever the customer wants.
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