Restaurant Peek: The Orange Crunch
By Mary Jeneverre Schultz | Asian Avenue magazine

OrangeCrunch

Parked at local breweries, The Orange Crunch showcases favorite snacks from the Philippines.

The snacks include empanadas, fried nanners (fresh bananas sautéed in brown sugar inside a pastry wrap, topped with a thin layer of powdered sugar and lumpia (Filipino egg rolls). Other menu items include siopao (steam bun with seasoned chicken filling, crackling pork belly, pancit and adobo over white rice.

Co-owners Leshner and Sarah Del Rosario
Co-owners Leshner and Sarah Del Rosario

Filipino empanadas usually contain ground beef, pork or chicken, potatoes, chopped onions, and raisins—similar to the Cuban picadillo—in a somewhat sweet, wheat flour bread. There are two kinds available: the baked sort and the flaky fried type.

Empanadas in the northern part of the Ilocos are different. These usually have savoury fillings of green papaya, mung beans, and sometimes chopped Ilocano sausage (chorizo) and egg yolk.

The food cart shares its humble beginnings through a visit to Batac, Philippines. The husband and wife team, Leshner and Sarah Del Rosario, learned how to make the delicious snack from a local vendor.

The Orange Crunch started its food cart enterprise in May 2012. Since then, the family business developed relationships with microbreweries. Hand in hand, microbreweries and food cart business entice brew lovers and foodies to The Orange Crunch and various breweries.

“Great beer comes fresh right at the microbreweries and great food should be approached the same way as well – made fresh in front of you and made to order,” Del Rosario, co-owner of The Orange Crunch.

They have parked at local breweries including: Left Hand Brewing Company, Industrial Revolution Brewing Company, Echo Brewing Company, Former Future Brewing Company, Odd 13 Brewing Company, Big Choice Brewing Company, Westminster Brewing Company, Wit’s End Brewery, Gravity Brewery, Station 26 Brewery and River North Brewery.

“Since our opening, we have developed great relationships with microbreweries,” Del Rosario said.

OrangeCrunch2Pairing the Filipino food complements the brews offered at these breweries north of downtown Denver. For example, Del Rosario shares the Milk Stout Nitro of Left Hand Brewing Company is ideal with the cart’s award-winning hickory smoked bacon and four-cheese blend “Special Empanada.” Another winning combination is the Bison Empanada with Left Hand brews of the Stranger and Sawtooth, respectively.

The Orange Crunch is hosting “Foodies and Breweries”: A Colorado Gathering of Beer and Food Enthusiasts on February 23 from 4pm to 9pm at Wings Over the Rockies, 7711 E. Academy Blvd., #1, Denver, CO 80230.

Tickets are selling at $45 before the event at www.brownpapertickets.org, while at the door the costs will jump to $50. More than 20 microbreweries, seven food carts and a live band will be on hand for this event. Funds will go towards the victims of the Haiyan /Yolanda Typhoon in the Philippines.

Visit The Orange Crunch’s website at www.theorangecrunch.com. To check Orange Crunch’s schedule, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DenverOrangeCrunch or the cart’s feed on Twitter at @DenverOC.

SAMPLE MENU

The Special Empanada
Fresh egg, shredded green papaya, mung bean with choice of meat: bacon, bison, sausage, chef special

Filipino Traditional
Chicken adobo over a bed of rice with a choice of lumpia, whistle bomb or fried nanner

Fried Nanners
Fresh bananas bathed in brown sugar in a pastry wrapper topped with powdered sugar crackling pork belly

Crackling Pork Belly
Pork belly over a bed of rice with a choice of lumpia, whistle bomb or fried nanner

Pancit
Fresh egg noodles, carrots, celery and chicken