Small Food Cart with Large Menu | Local News

As the pandemic has dragged on, forcing adaptations for nearly every facet of life, Taos has begun to see its fair share of food carts pop up. What has become a phenomenon in almost every part of the country has finally made its way to our small northern New Mexico town, with local entrepreneurs looking for an alternative path to business ownership and restoration.

Inside one of the newest, and perhaps the smallest food cart to hit the scene, is one of the biggest menus in terms of variety. Aly’s Taos Eats, located in Arroyo Seco until the end of the 2021-22 ski season, serves an eclectic variety of foods.

From his 7ft by 5ft silver trailer, Aly Hyder serves up gyros (the smell of spit-roasted lamb/beef is sure to entice customers), falafel, freshly baked savory pies and treats like muffins and baklava. More recently, Hyder has started offering a weekend breakfast menu, which includes its unique twist on the traditional breakfast burrito, sausage rolls, and “pizza egg muffins.”

Hyder was born in New Zealand and moved to Taos 19 years ago after traveling the world. After turning 20, she opted to drop out and move to London, staying there until she was 32 before ending up in Taos.

The 51-year-old has since found herself busy with local bureaucracy, community and food. “People constantly say I’m recreating myself, but I guess I’ve fallen into jobs that welcome a sense of change,” she said of the roles she’s held over the years, including as manager of the Alpine Village Suites. and the director of the Taos Ski Valley Village Chamber of Commerce.

During his career in the village, Hyder decided to leave the Chamber of Commerce after seven years to open a “central reservation booking business” to help visitors book hotels and air tickets. Unfortunately, like many businesses, COVID-19 eventually forced its closure.

But through her previous relationships, Hyder was able to secure a position at the Austing Haus Bed & Breakfast, where she was able to rediscover her passion for food. Hyder said working at the Austing Haus “allowed me to bring back my love of cooking – and that’s breakfast.”

Regardless of the success of the B&B menu, COVID-19 ultimately took its toll on the Austing Haus as well. From then on, she decided to focus her efforts on creating an environment where she could express her true creative passion.

“I bought these food trucks in February [of 2021] with the anticipation that I would lose my job at the end of the ski season, and I did,” Hyder said of his position at Austing Haus and his subsequent decision to branch out.

The timing was perfect. Having a good relationship with Taos Ski Valley Inc. officials, Hyder began serving food from his new cart for the first time in late 2021.

Hyder said she doesn’t consider herself a chef, but said “I can cook.” The New Zealander said she draws inspiration from a variety of sources and her menu showcases flavors from many parts of the world.

During her travels, Hyder said she developed an appreciation for many types of food. She said she was just serving “some of my favorite things, like the song… That’s what I can do.”

One of the staple foods she brings from her home country are meat pies. “Every suburb [in New Zealand] at this dairy that sells meat pies. It’s just one of those things we grew up with,” Hyder said. “Even at gas stations, there is a meat pies stand. You can get a hot meat pie everywhere.

These days, she said pies have a higher status in the restaurant world, using meats like venison. Hyder offers a chicken chipotle pie, a beef bourguignon pie, a “traditional” ground beef and cheese pie and a vegetarian pie.

Since Hyder started serving breakfast on weekends, she started cooking a unique breakfast burrito with turmeric, roast potatoes, cilantro and feta cheese. She also makes sage and green chili sausage rolls, bacon and egg tart, and blueberry French toast – one of her signature dishes.

His gyroscopes are another popular item. Hyder credits the addition of gyroscopes to his time in London. “Every night after you came out, that’s kind of what you had. It was just a staple, and I love them. So we made them better and healthier.

Making it work during a pandemic

Due to Hyder’s timeline, she had to juggle many unpredictable circumstances. When she originally chose to lease her commercial kitchen space at the Quail Ridge Resort (on the site of the former Common Fire Restaurant), she hoped to expand into the restaurant space. But a fledgling restaurant was no match for a global pandemic.

“I ended up opening in Quail Ridge to support the pool,” she said, adding that she plans to be open again through next summer. Hyder said they have a “really awesome” pizza oven, but unfortunately commercial access is limited. “It’s just such a weird place to try to get in here,” she said of her space at Quail Ridge. Luckily, she had her cart to fall back on.

By the time Hyder received all the permits to get the cart running, it was January 2021, and the ski season at Taos Ski Valley was already well underway. She decided to set up her cart near the entrance to the TSV landing stage, attracting customers when they came to ski or returned home.

Hyder began exploring his options throughout the summer, appearing at Taos Town’s 4th of July event, Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance, Wool Festival, El Comeback Fest and more.

Now his cart remains fairly stationary, sitting in Arroyo Seco just south of Taos Cow and across from the Wake & Take. Hyder praises the spot to Seco Live and said they originally gave it a try until January 8, “but everyone loved it so much and the feedback on Seco Live was so positive they renewed it until the end of the ski season.

Sooner rather than later, Hyder hopes to move to town. She said she currently had a spot in mind for her second cart, but was still waiting for the clearance process to be completed. With two carts, she will be able to cover twice the ground, but she may not stop there. “I’m looking at all the festival routes this summer, so we’re starting to sign up for all of them, which potentially means a third carriage, which I’m also looking into,” she said.

The hope is to branch out into Santa Fe events and hopefully the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.

So far, she said things are moving at the right pace. “I definitely wish it was busier, but I think the way it’s all going is just perfect,” she said. “It gave us time to get the carts ready to be super efficient for people, because we’re really small.”

She also plans to change the map. “I don’t like to be bored so we are constantly adding new things,” she says. The hope is to expand gluten-free and vegan options. With the help of her crew of five, she has a solid base from which to grow.

Regardless of the various food cart projects, Hyder’s future remains set on one thing: a permanent restaurant where she can showcase her food.