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Noshing Around

Fatdogs vs. the Tucson Mall

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Mobile Mangia

I was downtown for Second Saturdays last month and saw a massive motor home being used as a food truck, with a custom paint job that read "Jozarelli's Italian Street Food." Being a constant consumer of food and being of Italian-American heritage, it piqued my interest, to say the least. At any other time, I would have marched right up to the window, cash in hand. But I had just been fed plate after plate of dishes created by perennial Tucson Iron Chef winner Ryan Clark and I had no room left for more food.

After some research and an email from Tucson Weekly webmaster Henry Barajas, I got the lowdown on this new addition to our mobile food scene. Jozarelli's was opened by father-and-son team Daniel and Joseph Sotomayor. They're serving pizzas, stuffed sandwiches, salads, wraps and snacks from their most-impressive custom rig. You can follow them at facebook.com/Jozarellis.

Fat Cats Versus Fatdogs

I do not like to start off a new year with negativity, but this story really grinds my gears (as Peter Griffin would say). Fatdogs was a food truck that I had come to enjoy. When I heard they were opening a restaurant in Tucson Mall, I had an odd feeling, sort of a parental pride. It was exciting to see local boys mixing it up with the Burger Kings, Subways and Panda Expresses of the world, and holding their own.

Then the heavy hand of the mall bureaucracy came down on the food court party. Fatdogs' owners, the Quijada brothers, had added carne asada and pollo asado to the menu alongside their bacon-wrapped buns of joy. Well, this seemed to have upset big, bad, McBurrito, aka Chipotle, (or at least scared mall management with the thought of McBurrito becoming upset). The Quijadas were told they must remove the items because they too closely resembled what was available at the juggernaut of fake Mexican food. As if 10 people buying a chicken taco from Tucsonans instead of from Chipotle is going to have a serious effect on that chain's stock value. As a result of the confrontation, Fatdogs has ended its venture in Tucson Mall, and the Quijada brothers are planning to relaunch elsewhere. From now on, I am going to refer to Tucson Mall as Corporate America Mall because I do not claim it as my own, like I do Fatdogs. Happy 2000 and food-teen, everybody.

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