Get Hungry for the OC Foodie Fest! An Interview with James Foxall, Owner of Taco Dawg Food Truck and OC Foodie Fest Founding Partner

Aug 19, 2010 by Sarah Roullard

The 2010 OC Foodie Fest is celebrating its first year with a hefty helping of gusto.

The event will host 50 food trucks, live entertainment, shopping and more at the Honda Center, in Anaheim on Saturday, August 28th. They’ll also be hosting a child’s play and learn area–so bring the whole family to enjoy the festivities!

The festivities at OC Foodie Fest will also help the following charities: Child S.H.A.R.E., Pretend City Children’s Museum, and St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels.

The OC Foodie Fest seeks to celebrate food truck cuisine, the rich community of Orange County, and their local charities. It will have a diverse array of delicacies with different and unique flavors from all over the world. Every food lover in attendance is sure to find the event a true epicurean delight.

I was lucky enough to interview James Foxall, owner of the fusion food truck “Taco Dawg,” and founding OC Foodie Fest Partner.

This remarkable entrepreneur and food connoisseur gives Travelin’ Local the inside scoop on the event he has worked so enthusiastically to make happen and what to expect for the event:

Congratulations on OC Foodie Fest’s first year! What aspect of the OCFF are you most proud of?

James Foxall: We have an amazing staff making this entire event possible. From the Event Producer Virginia Strickland, to our public relations manager, social media manager, designer, interns, 20 area managers, and 100 volunteers, the team has accomplished so much in a very short amount of time. I am simply amazed by their creativity, tenacity, diligence and I am extremely grateful to work with this group.

How did you get involved in OC Foodie Fest?

JF: My company (Taco Dawg) had been kicking the idea around since the beginning of the year. Virginia, a regular Taco Dawg patron, mentioned the need for a festival to promote Orange County trucks, so we shared our visions and the rest is history.

Have you collaborated on an event with OC Foodies in the past?

JF: No, this is our first time working together. It was a natural connection for our groups to work together to support the common interest of the Orange County food scene.

The event has so much going on! How long did the planning process take?

JF: We designed the event to have something for everyone, ensuring that the event will focus on all the amazing gourmet food trucks, while providing a festival environment with entertainment and shopping. The planning involved a lot of initial research to develop the perfect event structure. All of the detailed components fell into place over a course of six months.

OCFF will help out three charities: Child S.H.A.R.E., Pretend City Children’s Museum, and St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels. How were these benefiting non-profits selected?

JF: These are a few of the charities that we have worked with in the past. Giving back has always been a big part of my & Virginia’s life philosophies. The biggest personal payoff for us is knowing that at the end of the day everybody’s time, food and money will be going to some really great causes.

How did the OCFF committee determine which 50 trucks would be a part of the event?

JF: We reached out to all the local OC trucks, as well as those from the surrounding areas. We chose an equation of trucks that would best represent the variety of gourmet food truck cuisines and cooking styles that are currently being served in Southern California.

OCFF has a fantastic entertainment line up! Could you tell me a little more about the outstanding talent groups performing at OCFF?

JF: Although I haven’t personally met all of the groups, out knowledgeable staff extremely tapped into the local music and dance scenes. Our public relations manager and music manager, Ashley Eliot, has done a tremendous job creating the live music line-up in conjunct with the OC local online music magazine, Everyday Noise. Our event partners, Pacific Rim, have very strong relationships within the local dance community and helped make our amazing line-up possible. I’m already a personal fan of all these groups and will probably be the guy asking everyone to take a picture with me.

What three food trucks are you most looking forward to sampling from at OCFF?

JF: Besides Taco Dawg? Gosh, it’s so hard to choose since there are so many tempting options. The beauty of the festival is that I don’t have to choose one when I can have them all.

How would you best sum up the appeal of food truck fusion food?

JF: It’s just a reflection of what’s going on within the American people. Young people in particular, are starting to change the way they live. People are more conscious of what they put into their bodies and more aware of how much they spend. The gourmet food truck movement allows everyone to eat high caliber food without having to go into credit card debt to support it.

Does Taco Dawg have any celebrity customers?

JF: We’ve had our run-ins, but to me the real celebrities are the regular customers who find us on twitter and follow us in all kinds of weather, in all kinds of places. I get a kick out of seeing a familiar face when I’m at an event somewhere near his or her home or job. It lets me know we’re doing something right.

You have a surprising array of career experience in such areas as the armed forces, politics, public relations, sales, and non-profits. What motivated y into owning your own food truck business enough to get it all started?

JF: Yeah, I’ve kind of always been a jack-of-all-trades. This food truck idea is one that I’ve been kicking around for years. When I saw Kogi was having a good deal of success and the number of trucks that were sprouting from it, I knew now was the time.

When did Taco Dawg first open its windows?

JF: Halloween 2009…and yes I saved the twenty from my first sale.

How did you get the astonishingly delicious idea to combine tacos with hot dogs?

JF: Well anybody who knows me knows I can’t go more than a couple days without one of these two tasty treats. The inspiration for the name, which also influenced the whole concept, was my former roommate’s dog, “Shadow.” The dog had a proclivity to eat my tacos and one day I heard my then roommate yelling “Get away from that Taco, Dog!” And it was my light bulb moment.

What is your favorite item on the Taco Dawg menu?

JF: I would say The Beach Comber is my favorite taco and The Cowboy Dawg is my favorite dog. Off the menu, I would say is the Taco Papa. That’s our deep fried taco split open and stuffed with choice of toppings.

What is Taco Dawg’s most popular dish?

JF: The Cowboy Dawg hands down.

Can you tell me what items will be on Taco Dawg’s OCFF menu?

JF: The Cowboy & The Beach Comber for sure, along with our Seoul Man, Chili Dawg fried mac & cheese and nachos. There may also be an exclusive menu item just for the event.

Thank you for this fantastic interview! Where will you be at the event so we can meet you? 

JF: I will be everywhere… just follow me on twitter @thetacodawg

“Stay hungry!” Sarah is the author of brokeintheOC blogspot.

Photos courtesy of Meg Strouse, OC Foodie Fest, Great Balls On Tires, and bakerytruck

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