Jada Brotman, The Discriminating Glutton: World Food Fast With Leira Satlof

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jada Brotman

The Arcata Eye

It’s always nice to hear about a hometown girl making good. Leira Satlof, spawn of Dell’Arte founders Jane Hill and Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, is doing just that with her food cart, Nature’s Serving: World Food, Fast!

The adorable white caravan can be seen at various Humboldt locations, including regular gigs at Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, Mad River Brewery and outside the Arcata Playhouse until recently (check her website naturesserving.com for the schedule).

Like any red-blooded Humboldtian, Satlof left at a young age to learn about the glories of The Outside before returning a year ago to stoke us out with Israeli delicacies.

Nature’s Serving: World Food, Fast! is a welcome addition to the Arcata food scene. Satlof learned how to cook professionally at K and C Caterers, a kosher catering company in Manhattan, and her menu is inspired by Israeli street food. The Mediterranean-style cart offers favorites like falafel, baba ganoush, Yemeni-style hot sauce, hummus, and seasoned French fries, all housemade.

This reporter, as a fellow Israeli food aficionado, is particularly juiced about the ‘Israeli Fries’, seasoned with za’atar & garlic (I’m a huge fan of za’atar.  It’s a Middle-Eastern spice mix, easily duplicated at home, made of sumac, oregano, thyme, and some other goodies; it makes anything savory taste extra).

Leira delivered an amazing lunch to the Arcata Eye office one day. KLH | Eye

Leira delivered an amazing lunch to the Arcata Eye office one day. KLH | Eye

Nature’s Serving also has some nice large sandwiches on offer, like the Athens (feta cheese, Greek Salad, greens and tzaziki) and the Istanbul (beef or chicken kebab, greens & tahini). Try the mango popsicle with the caramel center; the word on the street is yum.

After her youthful sojourn in Manhattan perfecting the art of all things kosher, Satlof ended up in Santa Rosa for two decades. She worked on the adjunct faculty at Santa Rosa Junior College and as the liturgical soloist and assistant to Rabbi George Gittleman at Congregation Shomrei Torah, where she no doubt sang like an angel.

In 2012, she decided it was time to return, prodigal-style, to our fair shores. “The thing about Sonoma County” Satlof claims, “is everyone is pretending they live in Tuscany. Humboldt is full of real people trying to live real lives”. Amen, sister! Satlof expounds: “Farmers are younger here; the farmers I work with are all younger than me. Small farms aren’t a dying breed.”

Satlof likes working with seasonal vegetables, which can make a fixed menu less confining; as the vegetables change, so can her ingredients. But she always keeps her popular handmade pita coming – it’s her favorite thing to make; it “is so tactile” she says, “like caressing a baby’s butt.”

Satlof is planning on moving her cart back to the Creamery District in August, so all the business folks and theater-goers down there can have that to look forward to. For you Freshwater types, Satlof is pleased to announce her spreads, salads and pita are now on sale at the Indianola Market; save fuel AND get your daily hummus fix!

Nature’s Serving: World Food, Fast! lists their daily location at naturesserving.com.

Nature’s Serving expands products, services

INDIANOLA – Nature’s Serving: World Food, Fast! needed a new commissary kitchen and Indianola Market wanted to attract some new customers. So Shelly O’Brien  decided to let Nature’s Serving construct a new commissary kitchen at the rear of the market, located off Highway 101, just north of the Indianola cutoff on Old Arcata Road.

Just a short distance from Over the Hill Farm, the truck and herbs garden for Nature’s Serving, the new location had many advantages. Leira Satlof, owner and master chef at the mobile food truck which specializes in home-made pita bread and unique Mediterranean foods made fresh daily, quickly put husband Carl McGahan to work constructing the new facility.  Restaurant-quality equipment was installed and the new kitchen passed inspection and was ready to function by May 1.

Commissary kitchens are a major component of mobile food trucks. Like most municipalities throughout the country, Humboldt County requires that a mobile food unit be parked at such a location when not actively traveling to food service locations – and that their food storage and preparation be handled by a certified commercial kitchen.

Finding or creating a commercial kitchen that works is an integral part of bringing a gourmet mobile food truck to life. The benefits of having your own, rather than a shared kitchen, are endless. You do not have to worry about kitchen availability, and you can purchase or lease your own equipment to ensure that you have everything you need to execute your menu.

The Indianola Market location now means that Nature’s Serving can expand service to that location on Fridays. Some signature items may even be available as retail products from Indianola Market, once the two businesses learn how best to interface their activities.

Now county residents – especially those travelling between Eureka and Arcata on Fridays – can easily find gasoline at bargain prices, convenience items and at the same time fill up on unique and reasonably priced food for the weekend.  Nature’s Serving can provide an affordable lunch or a delicious dinner for family and friends as you head home to begin a relaxing week-end. Friday food service hours at Indianola Market will be 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.