- Denise Mojica
- There’s nothing boring about these grits
The Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market has seen its fair share of food trucks come and go, but it may have finally found a mobile vendor that gels with the market’s local-local-local mantra. After launching in early June, LocaVore has settled into making tasty and varied farm-to-table eats that pair with local market finds.
Chef Nick Fuentes and partner Jessica Vargas are dealing out morning and lunchtime fare that’s as enticing as it is unfussy, and that’s how they like it.
“We’re not trying to push the envelope. There’s no molecular anything … it’s just straight comfort food your grandmother would make,” Fuentes, whose résumé also includes a four-year stint at Jason Dady’s Tre Trattoria, just recently stepped down as sous chef from Bruce Auden’s Biga on Bank to focus on LocaVore. For her part, Vargas has been working on hospitality for the last several years. Most recently as a manager at the Fairmount Hotel, where the two met.
While the food is simple, it’s far from boring. “We’re attracted to more colorful food,” Fuentes said.
Their shared passion for simple food is evident in the varied menu, which already has some favorites such as the Braised Bits on Blue Grits with Guajillo pepper-braised pork (via Loncito Cartwright of Peaceful Pork) on organic blue corn butter grits (out of El Paso), topped with a sunny-side-up egg and charred okra (purchased via fellow market vendors). It’s farm to truck to your mouth in a matter of hours.
“The other vendors now know who we are and we’re consistent with the orders so they’re ready,” Vargas said.
Other brunch items include a chorizo hash and variations on eggs Benedict with fresh hollandaise, but LocaVore is stretching its legs to include lunch and dinner options.
Although the mission of LocaVore is to stay local when sourcing ingredients (the couple also uses prickly pear from around the area for a sweet punch), don’t expect the menu to hone in on any one particular cuisine. A lobster roll landed on the menu after Groomer Seafood’s crustacean-centric fest; Fuentes also whipped up a “porchetta di testa,” using hog jowls, tongue and ears in the same style as a pancetta; a house-made mortadella was also a hit; and a light ceviche using scallops, shrimp and baby octopus wowed market-goers.
“That’s what we’re trying to showcase—that you can do so much more with Texan produce,” Vargas said. “You can make beautiful stir-fries, Italian, Puerto Rican … it can be anything.”