It’s the perfect weather for a Sunday afternoon picnic, and that’s exactly what’s going on at Bird Park. Tents are up for both loungers and vendors like Aloha Sunday, bocce ball and beanbags are in full effect, speakers are blasting jams from Ice Cube, The Pharcyde, and De La Soul – and at the center of it all, Stand + Deliver is serving up hot dogs to a line of hungry visitors stretching nearly halfway across the park.
The vast majority of hot dog stands wouldn’t sell out half their inventory in under three hours, but then again this isn’t just any hot dog stand. It’s the newest venture of Juan Miron and Kevin Ho, the pair behind seminal San Diego food truck MIHO Gastrotruck. When I roll up to the park at 1:30 the crew is operating full-steam to keep party-goers entertained. But after the smoke clears and the last in line is served at around 3:00, and I’ve long since devoured my “Big Trouble in Little China” (a hot dog topped with char siu Berkshire pork and a ginger scallion sauce) and washed it down with a cup of jamaica, I’m able to pull Miron away for a few minutes to discuss the new project.
“A big inspiration for us was the fact that we wanted to keep it still at a street level,” he says, perched on the concrete wall surrounding the park and sipping a well-earned red cup drink. “People kept asking us if we were going to do something with brick and mortar, but we just decided that this was the best way to continue what we’re doing, keeping food accessible and keeping it fun.”
All right, but what is Stand + Deliver? In a nutshell, says Miron, it’s a downsized food cart concept developed especially for catering and private special events and primarily helmed by Brian, MIHO’s main barbecue and meat guy. Accordingly, the concept is based around two simple concepts: hot dogs and tacos. “We decided that since the Fourth of July is right around the corner, a lot of people, it’s a perfect park day, and nothing goes better with that than hot dogs and beer,” he says, explaining why we got one over the other today.
“We’re not doing anything that hasn’t been done before, you can rent people in San Diego to come and do taco parties for you,” he points out. “We’re just putting our twist to it.” In the case of MIHO, that twist means food that’s at once simple and creative – today, the cart is only offering four hot dog varieties, but they’re all unique to the point where it’s hard to choose. There’s the aforementioned char siu pork, there’s a sausage topped with kimchi and crunchy chicharron, a “varsity dog” with handmade cheese and lamb chili, and a vegan black bean sausage with pico de gallo that flies off the shelves before the day’s half over.
The MIHO twist also involves enjoying the perks of a strong reputation: Stand + Deliver is barely out of the gate, but it’s already racking up catering gigs sight unseen. Miron notes that the outfit is already slated to cater the next board meeting for the Tony Hawk Foundation in August, is working with 5&A Dime downtown on an event to coincide with Comic-Con, and is planning further collaboration with Aloha Sunday.
For Miron, working with apparel stores is a natural extension of the brand. “I think that’s what the MIHO experience is about: creating events or environments where it’s not just the food,” he says. “The food is obviously the most important thing for us, but Kevin and I are very big fans of music and design and fashion, so we like to incorporate all those things. When we can collaborate with other like-minded businesses, it’s a really fun time.”
But make no mistake, the food – and the MIHO crew’s commitment to fresh and local ingredients – remains at the forefront with grass-fed beef hot dogs from La Jolla’s Homegrown Meats and custom-made Berkshire pork sausages from Mission Valley’s Iowa Meat.
“Just like with MIHO, all of our sourcing is local as much as possible,” says Miron. “We make everything as much as possible. For the mustard we used today, we used Ballast Point beer. Brian, who’s heading the project – he’s a big fan of Asian cuisine, specifically Japanese food and Korean, so that’s why you saw a lot of inspirations from [Asian and Mexican cuisine].” TJ dogs and Chinese influence, meanwhile, hail from Miron and Ho’s own favorites and childhood memories, further solidifying the idea that this is about an experience as much as a meal.
“We try and incorporate things that we were really big fans of growing up, or that we like to eat on a regular basis,” he adds. “Most importantly, it’s things that are just fun for us. Food should be something that’s eaten communally, that brings people together and keeps it fun. We love doing it with the truck, and we do a lot of catering without the truck, more traditional style, but this is just another element, another way we’re able to do that.”
Want to book Stand + Deliver for your next event? Get in touch through MIHO Gastrotruck's catering page.