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Food Network's 'Great Food Truck race' films in Annapolis Friday

Annapolis will get a taste of food truck culture this week as the Food Network's "Great Food Truck Race" rolls into town Friday.

Co-executive producer Peter Woronov confirmed that Annapolis filming would begin Friday for the show, which the Food Network's website describes as "a multi-week showdown that challenges food truck teams to outsell one another in a coast-to-coast road trip."

But he was tight-lipped on other details, not wanting to tip off the contestants to what challenges lay ahead.

"We have tons of stuff in store for them," Woronov.

He also wouldn't say how many trucks are remaining in the contest, but Annapolis issued permits to three food trucks, and three trucks are promoting on social media accounts that they'll be in Annapolis: Tikka Tikka Taco from St. Louis, Aloha Plate Truck from Hawaii and Samboni Boys from Philadelphia.

As the Tikka Tikka Taco truck rolled along Interstate 70 on Wednesday afternoon, Shaun Swaleh said he was excited to bring his team's food to Maryland. The operation uses Indian and Mediterranean spices and flavors in a Mexican format, such as in tacos and taquitos.

Swaleh said he got out of the Army about a year ago and hopes the military connections in Annapolis will play in Tikka Tikka Taco's favor. He's joined by his brother Mike and their uncle, Sam.

A trio of friends from Northeast Philadelphia are running the Samboni Boys truck: Joe Toner, Erik Thompson and Christopher Turchi.

They've been making Philly-style cheese steaks and chicken cheese steaks — something that people in some parts of the country don't always understand or appreciate, Toner said.

He's counting on the fact that Annapolis diners likely know the value of a good cheese steak. And Toner has a possible secret weapon: His great-grandmother was from Baltimore, and she taught him how to handle blue crabs in the kitchen. He calls crabs "my favorite food in the world."

Aloha Plate Truck didn't respond to an interview request, but the team tweeted on Wednesday afternoon: "We're in Annapolis!! Come check out the Aloha Plate Truck this weekend!!"

The City of Annapolis has issued special event vendor permits for three trucks and a filming permit for the show that's good for Friday only, said Michelle LeFurge, special events coordinator for the city.

The trucks will be given information on where they are not allowed to operate, such as in residential neighborhoods and in the historic district, where City Council approval is needed for special event vendors, LeFurge said.

The county's Health Department is handling food licenses, she said.

On the last season, the winning Seoul Sausage team from Los Angeles walked away with $50,000 and the truck that they used during the show, according to the Food Network website.

The next season will air on the Food Network on Sundays starting Aug. 11 and the Annapolis episode will air Sept. 15, Woronov said.

The Food Network filming comes on the heels of two days of filming for the Netflix series "House of Cards" at the State House on Monday and Tuesday. Kevin Spacey, who stars as scheming Democratic Congressman Frank Underwood, was among the actors at the State House this week.

pwood@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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