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When I think of food trucks, I rarely envision all of the comfortable, homey touches that Chef Zach of Regal Ravioli has put in place! He has a nice, sturdy tent with lights across from the trailer that is decorated with flowers, succulents, and herbs. So how do I know it’s a sturdy tent? Why it was pouring down rain during our interview and I didn’t get wet!
Chef Zach Adams opened Regal Ravioli in August 2011. His New Jersey, Italian heritage served him well as he first learned to cook by watching his Grandmother. Later he spent fifteen years trying different recipes and a variety of recipe variations. But all of his hard work paid off because he makes all of his mouthwatering food from scratch.
How do you define fresh food? Chef Zach does it by bringing in a mountain of fresh herbs each day. I asked him if he used his own herb garden to supply his food. He said that they were only for emergency use and that his garden would only supply twenty-five percent of the herbs he uses each day.
Chef Zach has come a long way since he opened in 2011! In 2011 and 2012 he was running the truck and cooking everything by himself. Therefore he needed something he could make ahead and serve. So he offered one salad and four types of ravioli. Of course his business has changed greatly since 2011. He’s added six employees and he has expanded his menu to include ravioli, sandwiches, spaghetti, meatballs, gnocchi, and two daily specials. Sound good? It is!
Our first dish was the Pear and Lentil Salad. It consists of green lentils, roasted red pepper, pecans, blue cheese, and citrus vinaigrette. The green lentils have a robust, somewhat peppery flavor that works really well with the pears. Green lentils keep a firm texture even after cooking, so this makes them ideal for salads! In addition, the pears, citrus vinaigrette, and blue cheese have collective flavor affinities as do the lentils, red pepper, and citrus vinaigrette. Therefore the ingredients come together to create something extraordinary!
Our second dish was the Mushroom Ravioli. The ravioli is made with roasted crimini mushrooms, goat cheese, thyme, and scratch made pasta. Roasting crimini mushrooms brings forth a hearty meatiness within the ravioli. The goat cheese adds richness to the mushrooms and glues the filling together. The thyme has a subtle, dry aroma and a slightly minty flavor that brightens the flavors in this dish. The ravioli is then tossed into a pecan pesto and their Gouda Valoute, which is a vegetarian sauce made with romano and gouda cheeses. One great thing about this meal is that it makes you feel full, while providing protein and texture. The other great thing is that it’s DELICIOUS!
Our third dish was the Cheese Ravioli. It consists of ricotta, mozzarella, asiago, fresh basil, and lemon zest. It is topped with Chef Zach’s tasty marinara sauce and a sprinkling of romano cheese. While the ricotta and mozzarella have mild flavors that are excellent conduits for other flavors, the asiago has a sharp flavor that resembles parmesan or cheddar cheese. This pairs well with the marinara, which is a complex combination of tastes that stimulate the tongue in three key areas: sweet, sour, and savory. Together, the flavors are phenomenal!
Our fourth dish was the Meatballs. The meatballs contain a harmonious mixture of ground pork, ground beef, roasted garlic, basil, romano cheese, and a little bread crumb. The meatballs are then covered in Chef Zach’s marinara and garnished with romano cheese, which has a sharp, piquant flavor. The fresh basil adds a sweet, but savory note to this scrumptious Italian meatball.
Are we full yet? Yes, but we’re doing this for the people!
The Jabroni sandwich was Chef Zach’s final offering. And boy was it worth the wait! The Jabroni sandwich is comprised of a delightful herb roasted pork that is simmered onsite in pork au jus. Then he adds provolone, sautéed broccolini, and hot banana peppers. The broccolini, which is milder flavor than broccoli, gives the sandwich a sweet, earthy taste. On the other hand, the hot banana peppers are tangy and sweet, which perfectly complements the roasted pork. We were in heaven!
So out of all of the delicious dishes we tried, what were our favorites? Well that’s a hard call to make because it was all so good. But we finally agreed that the Jabroni sandwich was our favorite! In Italian slang, Jabroni means loser. However, this sandwich was definitely a WINNER!
Does Chef Zach have plans to expand? You bet! He is currently looking for a second generation brick and mortar location where he can do some of the cooking. He also plans to use some of the space to sell his scratch-made ravioli as well as a variety of wine. Now that sounds like a place I’d like to visit!
Regal Ravioli is located at 1502 South 1st Street, Austin, Texas. To go orders are welcome!
PHOTOGRAPHY: DESIREE DUNNING