Liz and Zeph Courtney are the guitarist/vocalist and drummer, respectively, of Brooklyn rock outfit Diehard (download a free track from their upcoming LP here), and now the recently hitched couple has another creative endeavor: a bio-fueled food truck called Snap, through which they’ll sell Chicago-style hot dogs, along with burgers and fries. The truck itself still needs a bit of work, but they made their official dog-vending debut at the Bell House in Gowanus just a couple weeks ago, and they hope to be hitting the streets by next year. Avocado fries with chipotle aoili? Yes, please!
Liz and Zeph chatted about the B-52s, Liz’s lack of microwave skills, and the tunes you’ll be hearing from the truck when it’s out on the road (it won’t be Frank Zappa).
HOW SNAP GOT STARTED
Liz: I grew up in Chicago and have always thought that it was a shame that good old fashioned Chicago style hot dogs were hard to come by in NYC. I’d played with the idea of starting my own hot dog joint some day, but it wasn’t until I met Zeph that I took the notion seriously. He’s an awesome cook, and when he started thinking about a new career in food, it was the first thing that came to mind: Chicago dogs. The truck, the burgers, the fries all were natural additions.
WHEN YOU HAVE AN ACTUAL TRUCK, WHAT MUSIC WILL YOU BE BLASTING IN IT?
Zeph: The Smiths, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Zappa–
Liz: No Zappa. It will scare away the customers!
HOPES FOR THE BUSINESS IN A YEAR?
Liz: By next year we’ll have our bio-fueled truck on the road, so I hope to have a good daily following of hungry New Yorkers and some recognition in the press for quality fast food. A year from that? Maybe a storefront, a second truck, who knows. Right now we’re just focused on getting some regular gigs for the grill this summer so we can get the word out while fixing up the truck.
WHAT KIND OF DISHES DO YOU MAKE TOGETHER AT HOME?
Zeph: I like to have fun and make elaborate dishes that I’ve never made before and go on ingredient hunts around town. I make Vietnamese bun, I slow cook in a tagine, and just try to make more out of our small kitchen than I probably should.
Liz: I stick to more of the Rachel Ray style 30-minute meals. I love to cook with basic, fresh ingredients, but I also don’t have a lot of patience, so I keep it simple. My favorite cookbooks are by Donna Hay, and there are rarely more than five or six ingredients.
FAVORITE MUSIC TO COOK TO?
Liz: The B-52’s. They have lots of songs about food.
Zeph: Lately, Frank Zappa. When Liz isn’t at home. Or the Rolling Stones.
Liz: I can get down with the Rolling Stones.
Zeph:Or Howard Stern.
Liz: That’s not music.
Zeph: But that’s what I listen to.
LIZ, YOUR PERSONAL BLOG IS CALLED HOME SWEET HOMEWRECKER. WHAT’S YOUR WORST KITCHEN DISASTER?
Liz: How do I pick just one…? The only time I can remember having to completely throw a meal away was when I tried cutting dow n a recipe for Chinese spare ribs to just one or two servings. It was a microwave recipe, and clearly I didn’t consider the science of microwaving, that smaller portions require less cooking time. The ribs were completely carbonized. That you really shouldn’t cook in the microwave was the lesson here.
DO THE DIEHARD FOLKS HAVE ANY FAVORITE PRE- OR POST-SHOW SNACKS?
Zeph: We rehearse dangerously close to Pies N Thighs in Williamsburg, and their chicken biscuit is only $5. It’s hard to resist.
Liz: We also love Nha Toi, a Vietnamese place nearby.
FAVORITE NEW MUSIC?
Liz: We’re psyched for Radical Dads‘ new album Mega Rama.