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Meet the 2012 Vendy Awards Street Food Finalists

Scene from the first annual Vendy Awards. Flickr/<a href="">palminator28</a>
Scene from the first annual Vendy Awards. Flickr/palminator28

Finalists have just been announced for LA's second annual Vendy Awards, a competition to celebrate this city's best street food vendors. Last month Angelenos were roused to nominate their favorite street seller, and these are the seven finalists that will compete in a cook off at Pan Pacific Park on June 24 to win the People's Choice Award and the coveted Vendy Cup: Tacos el Gallito, India Jones Chow Truck, Karina's Food, Buttermilk Inc., Martha's Tamales Organicos, The Lime Truck, and "El Palomo" Hot Dogs.

Owner: Christian Llamas
Years vending: 22
Born: Jalisco, Mexico
Food: Authentic Mexican
Specialties: Tacos, Quesadilla, Burritos and Torta
Tell us something about you or your business: Food is in my blood. I come from a long line of chefs and food business owners -- I learned about food from everyone in my family, from my grandmother who is a butcher and my uncles who sell carnitas.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? We have been in business for over 20 years and we deserve to win because we have been working hard everyday to make our food better and better. We are built to last and my family hopes to fill the stomach of hungry Los Angelos for many years to come.

Owners: Chef Sumant Pardal
Years vending: 3
Born: Jaipur, India
Food: Indian street food and curries
Specialties: Frankie’s
Tell us something about you or your business: Chef Sumant has been in business in the greater Los Angeles area for over 25 years, it is his pleasure to create and serve food to friends... this man has never met a stranger.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? We competed in the first annual LA Vendy Awards, now with another year under our belts, dishes perfected, we'd enjoy the opportunity to represent Mobile Food Vendors—I have integrity, work hard hours, our small business is operating in a grass roots economic recovery, and also I serve as Board of Director of the the SoCal MVFA.

Owners: Caridad Vazquez
Years vending: 10
Born: Colima, Mexico
Food: Mexican food
Specialties: Pozole and Pambasos, Tostadas, Quesadillas and more
Tell us something about you or your business: I have been a street vendor for many years. I have always wanted to have our Mexican food be recognized and to keep our traditions alive. I want people to come see me in Boyle Heights to try all the different plates that I offer. This is street food at its best.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? The most important thing for me is that people of different parts of the city have the opportunity to taste my food. I want the community to be happy with the food that I make. That is what will give me the most satisfaction. The Vendy Award would be a great bonus.

Owner: Gigi Pascual
Years vending: 2.5
Born: West Covina, CA
Food: Breakfast FACS such as pancakes, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, donuts
Specialties: Red velvet chocolate chip pancakes, chicken and waffle, Buttermilk Brick, and Hawaiian bread French toast sticks
Tell us something about you or your business: We bring a variety of original recipe breakfast favorites to the LA masses morning, noon and night.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? We serve some of the best breakfast in LA all prepped, cooked and served in our mobile unit. We love our fans and we know our food and fans will pull through for us.

Owner: Martha Garcia
Years vending: 10
Born: Mexico
Food: Tamales and other treats
Specialties: Delicious Mexican food with healthier ingredients. I use grape seed oil in order to make our tamales healthier.
Tell us something about you or your business: I initially did not know how to cook but was able to learn through trial and error. I have perfected my tamales so that they are not only tasty but also healthier. I am a street vendor trying to make a living while also organizing so that we can legalize street vending in Los Angeles.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? I think that if people taste my tamales and they know that they are healthier they will be very surprised. Sometimes people think that traditional Mexican food cannot be healthier and I can show them that it can.

Owner: Daniel Shemtob
Years vending: 2
Born: Orange County
Food: California style flavors (we’ve done over 800 items on truck)
Specialties: Carnitas Fries, Blue Crab Ceviche, Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos
Tell us something about you or your business: The brand is a fun, innovative, constantly changing model with a simple rule: make sure it’s an amazing experience! The experience consists of starting with a ridiculously fun staff and backing it up with insane new flavors that leave you feeling good after. It’s also so amazing to see it evolve throughout the last 2 years; we started this brand as 2 friends in an apartment, and now we have a national name.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? I am not sure why we would deserve it over any other truck, but I can tell you that we hold a really high standard and that might be the reason we deserve to win the Vendys. We believe in being good to the community that supported us, so we lead movements like bamgam, hunger drives, and huge fundraisers for local food banks. We also respect all of the local restaurants, customers, and so much more. I would assume if we were to win the Vendys, it would be a combination of the respect of the community and the great food and experience we offer at the truck.

Owners: Rafael Garza Quiroz
Years vending: 12
Born: Distrito Federal, Mexico
Food: Mexican style hot dogs. In addition to bacon, mayo, mustard, ketchup, El Palomo hot dogs are served with grilled onions, jalapenos and original Mexican guacamole. Guacamole is prepared with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos and avocado.
Specialties: Mexican style hot dogs.
Tell us something about you or your business: “El Palomo” hot dogs was established 12 years ago. Customers keep coming back because of the fresh products, clean space, and fresh guacamole made every morning. In addition, everyone is treated with a friendly and polite customer service.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? Based on the quality, customer service and fresh products, El Palomo Hot Dogs deserves to win. The guacamole is what distinguishes El Palomo hotdogs from the rest.

·All Vendy Awards Coverage [~ELA~]

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