By Laurie Heuston| MailTribune.com
Fresco, a new mobile kitchen that has emerged onto Medford’s street-food scene, offers wraps, sandwiches and rice and noodle bowls that are a cut above fast food.
Owner Alyssa Warner says she saw plenty of potential for her recipes after assessing the many taco trucks and the few hot dog stands operating around town.
According to a story in the Mail Tribune last month, Warner began cooking at an early age at her parents’ restaurant, Green Springs Inn. Rob and Barbara McHugh founded the inn near Ashland in 1981. There, Warner learned to prepare Italian food from her grandmother, Louise Tappero. She later learned to bake from her older sister, Angela Harris, who owned Angelina’s Pizza & Pasta in Talent.
Warner opened for business in March, and her trailer is parked from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Fridays in the lot in front of the Medford Armory, along the South Pacific Highway.
Always on the lookout for healthful, inexpensive meals for lunch, several of us at the Mail Tribune have sampled Warner’s quality cuisine.
Early this week, I tried one of her daily specials — a wasabi noodle bowl. The dish was served with ample amounts of Warner’s handmade noodles and bites of dark chicken meat, along with crispy, stir-fried carrots, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower. These ingredients were tossed in a slightly sweet, Asian-style sauce.
Food Editor Sarah Lemon dined on Warner’s risotto during a recent visit to Fresco, and Web Editor Anita Burke was lucky enough to catch a daily special of hearty chicken stew.
The risotto didn’t have the dish’s characteristic creamy texture, but it was full of rich Parmesan flavor. The dish was ample, with large amounts of vegetables and tender rice. Burke’s chicken stew was a thick mixture of meat and vegetables served over rice.
We’ve also been unable to resist Warner’s homemade cupcakes and fruit turnovers. The cupcakes are quite good, but our votes are all in for the cherry turnovers.
Fresco’s menu can be viewed at http://alsfresco. The desserts are seasonal and announced at the trailer’s site, along with the daily specials.
Warner makes pasta from scratch every day, and she bakes all her own desserts and roasts her own coffee beans. Diners can order her handmade pasta with a choice of meatballs and sauce, marinara, butter, garlic and Parmesan or pesto, along with a side salad and garlic bread, for $7. The hefty portions of risotto and wasabi noodles also cost $7. Wraps include chicken cashew salad and pulled barbecued pork served with a choice of sides — slaw, salad or fries — for $7.50. Sandwiches cost $6 to $7.50. There’s a beef hot dog for $2.50, or served as a meal with slaw and chips for $4.50. Turnovers and cupcakes cost $2.
When Fresco isn’t parked for lunch Mondays and Fridays at the Medford Armory, it’s available for on-site catering jobs, as well as deliveries.
Summer will bring lighter fare to Fresco, including more salads, homemade ice cream and popsicles. A new garden at Green Springs Inn will grow much of the produce. Until then, Warner says she’s using as many locally grown vegetables as possible.
Borrowing a tactic from food-truck fleets in Portland, Warner notifies customers by Twitter of Fresco’s whereabouts.
I once heard a food editor at The Oregonian compare street-cart cuisine as “the food of the future.” I know Fresco will be in my future.