The Food Truck Chronicles: MIHO Sets the Bar High
Article & Photos By: Esther Rubio-Sheffrey
MIHO first hit the streets in June of 2010 and is the brainchild of Juan Miron and Kevin Ho. The name itself is a combination of their two last names and an endearing term for â€œsonâ€ in Mexican culture. Each of the letters that spell MIHO is made of the various food philosophies that Miron and Ho feel are fun, thought provoking, and engaging, like Hoâ€™s personal favorite quote from Homer Simpson, â€œMmmm, donuts.â€
Miron and Ho pride themselves on using fresh, local, and thoughtfully sourced ingredients to create their handcrafted street food. â€œWe make everything on our menu in house from scratch, except for the cheese and the bread, which we mark with an asterisk. We think everyone should know who is making their food and what is being used to make it. Food should be fun and interesting, but also real and honest â€“ not gimmicky,â€ Ho said. â€œOut of all of the things that we spend money on, food is the only thing that actually becomes a part of who we are on a biological level. When you eat MIHO, you can be assured that we are using only the best ingredients without any preservatives, antibiotics, or hormones.â€
Having worked together at The Linkery, they find it easy to divide their responsibilities; and despite having had some difficulties in the beginning, they are enjoying a modest level of success. They recently added a second MIHO truck with which they hope to add a handful of new lunch locations, especially in North County. â€œWe’re also working on a couple of projects like making our own sweets and desserts as well as curing our own bacon,â€ Ho added. â€œLong term, we’d like to continue improving our catering offerings because weâ€™ve made a lot of great strides as a full scale catering company. Our goal is to be considered among the best caterers in San Diego.â€
Recently, San Diego Magazineâ€™s food critic gave the Best Take-Out award to MIHO. â€œThat is an honor,â€ Ho said. â€œOur goal is to be making restaurant quality food, so we’re happy to see that’s how people view us.â€
After tasting their food, it is easy to see why MIHO has not only won over food critics, but also continues to amass a large following of frequent diners. Known as a HOMI, it is easy to become one. During your first visit, you receive a card and a stamp for every entrÃ©e you order. Purchase a total of nine of the entrÃ©es and your tenth one is free.
I previously commented on the fact that all of my food truck experiences have involved some sort of sandwich and French fries; yet, each experience has been unique. But, MIHO really sets the bar the high.
Their menus change weekly, and because MIHOâ€™s ingredients change with the seasons, even the staple menu items undergo a few changes. Despite that, Ho said that regardless of the style, the Mozz Burger ($8.45) remains the most popular item.
Featuring an oversized grass-fed beef patty, the burger is served on a brioche bun and topped with mozzarella, lettuce, and smothered with a vanilla heirloom cherry tomato jam. Did I say jam? Yes, this is one of their many handcrafted sauces capable of putting secret sauces everywhere to shame. Every bite was a juicy and flavorful combination that required a lot of effort in order to slow down and properly savor the burger.
The Chimichurri Steak Sammy ($8.45) was our second main item, and quite honestly, my personal favorite. I will be keeping track of MIHOâ€™s weekly menu online to make sure I get another sometime soon. Served on a large local hoagie, the sandwich is overstuffed with sautÃ©ed grass-fed flank steak and topped with local peppers, onions, and provolone cheese. The best part is the smear of chimichurri sauce, which is a condiment that often accompanies steak in Argentina and is a blend of parsley, cilantro, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. â€œOf course we make it,â€ Ho added.
Both items were extremely filling, and although delicious, it was impossible to eat the Chimichurri Steak Sammy in one sitting, given that we also split an order of MIHOâ€™s Belgian style fries ($3.25). However, I should note that the Sammy was just as good and filling when eaten as a leftover.
Ho explained that true to Belgian tradition, their fries are blanched (briefly placed in boiling water) before they are fried a second time in canola oil so that they are nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. As an extra touch, they are sprinkled lightly with parsley and served with a side of Moroccan spice catsup. Crispy and fluffy is a dead-on description, and leaving the skin was a welcoming texture.
There are plenty of options for vegetarians too. Each week the menu features a salad, or something like their Farro Burger that is a patty made of an Italian grain similar to brown rice and highly nutritious.
All in all, the meal was well worth the extra cost. The customer service was excellent and while we waited for our order, we were given free spiced popcorn to munch on. â€œMIHO has been voted the Best Food Truck by CityBeat San Diego for two years in a row. Come see why,â€ Ho said. For the upcoming winter season, Ho said readers can look forward to the return of popular dishes, such as Indian curries, flatbreads, and soups. Follow MIHO on Facebook or Twitter @MIHOgastrotruck