A pulled-pork stuffed grilled cheese with blackberry vanilla balsamic caramelized red onions and Havarti cheese between Texas toast. A white American stuffed patty with tomato, shredded lettuce, bacon, Parmesan crisp, fried shoestring onions and an egg on top of a brioche bun.
It’s safe to say that this isn’t like the food trucks of the past.
“No matter what happens—economic collapse, doomsday, etc.—everyone needs to eat and not everyone knows how to cook,” Prachan Mokaves says.
This was something Mokaves says he heard once and became something that moved him to pursue the art of making food that made a connection.
Campbell residents Prachan and his wife Sarah own and operate the Blast Off Food Truck, in business now for about five months. They serve American cuisine with a twist.
Mokaves says that eating as a young boy with his father always comes to mind when talking about lasting memories involving food.
"The food that makes me happy is eating from a truck with my dad," he says. "Street food. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It’s what connects with people."
Mokaves and his wife were both executive Sous chefs at various San Francisco restaurants including The Waterfront, The Slanted Door and Straits before deciding to open their own business.
“I wanted to open a restaurant in Los Gatos or Campbell,” he says. “I want a place where there’s good food for the money—doesn’t have to be cutting edge, innovative, etc. If it sticks to your ribs, it’s good.”
The two began discussing what kind of food they’d serve.
“Everything that you see out there has been done,” he says. “It’s your twist on it that makes a difference.”
Sarah Movakes specialized in American cuisine and the two agreed that they wanted to offer up “comfort food.”
“We wanted to do comfort food, which made us think of something with a retro feel,” Sarah Movakes says. “We spend a lot of time at Coach’s and met a guy there that said he’d be glad to draw something up for us.”
The resulting image was that of a rocket with a mid-century feel.
“We both fell in love with it,” she says.
They began coming up with a menu for the truck—between eight and nine items—and tested out their efforts at Coach’s.
The food was served late at night with name like "Juicy Lucy" and "Are You Effin' Kidding Me" and the crowds wanted more.
For the first month, the couple manned the truck and worked out the kinks.
“People would wait around and just wait for our food,” Prachan Mokaves says. “We worked up the courage to look for another location and at about 1:30 a.m. we drove to downtown Campbell and parked outside The Spot. We stayed until 2:30 a.m. and sold about $600. It was non-stop.”
Encouraged by their success, the two went out again to the downtown but said Campbell Police shut them down.
“They didn’t want people to be loitering,” he says.
Blast Off Truck no longer goes to the downtown but every time it has a new menu item, it offers up free samples to its loyals at Coach’s.
Along with these, the truck also attends various events throughout the region, including the Campbell Veterans Fundraising Car Show, Westmont High School’s StreetEatz, the Winchester Truck Fest, the Los Gatos Food Fest at La Hacienda and the Food Truck Mafia meet-up in Milpitas.
“A lot of people still think roach coach,” Sarah Mokaves says. “The South Bay is just catching up. It’s a moveable restaurant rather than a cafeteria. We’re supplying higher standard food at lower cost because we don’t have as much overhead.
“People appreciate this and it’s why food trucks are catching on,” she says. “People are still penny pinching but still want quality food for their money.”
The Mokaves say that so far, the South Bay has received them with open arms, and it’s only the beginning.
“We reached out and next thing we know, we’re on the books,” she says. “We even have some truck groupies!”
The hours can be long and the space a little cramped but she and Prachan say that at the end of the day, this was the right move for them.
“It’s fun and its ours,” she says. “It’s the most satisfying thing. Even though its hard, knowing that your hard work is coming home with you. … It’s our turn.”
Blast Off Truck is Milpitas today at the Big Lots parking lot in the Serra Shopping Center, 200 Serra Way, from 5-9 p.m.