Friday, Apr 19 2013 12:31 PM

THE DISH: Chef just keeps on a food truckin'

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Baseball and barbecue fans line up at Uncle's BBQ food trailer at CSUB's Hardt Field during a recent baseball game.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Parked behind the home plate grandstands at CSUB on game day, Uncle's BBQ owner Garlin Frink checks the progress of his signature baby back ribs and tri-tip.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    The baby back ribs and tri-tip of Uncle's BBQ.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    The baby back rib sandwich from Uncle's BBQ.

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BY PETE TITTL Contributing writer

Portable restaurants continue to grow in popularity and one truck, Uncle's BBQ, has become a fixture at CSUB sporting events.

It's operated by Garlin Frink, 45, using recipes from his dad, Willie, who had worked as a cook in the Army and a chef for a lot of years before going into construction, specifically cement contracting.

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A taste of Uncle's BBQ

The food truck veered away from CSUB last week for a stop at the Third Thursday event at Central Park. I ordered the baby back ribs dinner ($14), which comes with two sides and a roll, while my dining companion ordered the links dinner ($7). The dinner included four ribs, notable for their tenderness and flavor. Eating on the go can be a concern when it comes to saucy ribs, but the meat was basted with just enough sauce for taste, not a total mess. The sauce on the two links seemed seared in, giving them an almost caramelized edge. I was pleased the potato salad had no hard-boiled egg, although it was standard otherwise. The chili beans had a smooth tomato flavor, balanced with ground beef, and were delicious as part of my companion's barbecue chili cheese fries. Also of note was the dessert (they change daily): a rich butter pound cake layered with caramel sauce.

-- Stefani Dias, Californian assistant lifestyles editor

"You can see his name stamped all over Bakersfield," the younger Frink said. "He was the biggest cement contractor in Bakersfield."

Frink got the truck about a year ago, started marketing on Twitter and Facebook and has worked at events for Mercy Hospital, the Kern High School District, Chevron and other businesses. During the off-season he often sets up at Sports Authority on Ming Avenue. He is the official food vendor for CSUB sporting events and has worked baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, soccer and basketball games, parking right outside the Icardo Center for the indoor contests.

"Some customers tell me they come to eat and don't even go to the game," he said.

Frink said the truck is operating three to five days a week and almost every weekend.

The offerings include chicken, tri-tip, baby back ribs, hot wings, hot dogs and french fries.

Those interested in finding out the truck's schedule can email him at uncles_bbq@yahoo.com. The Facebook address is facebook.com/pages/Uncles-BBQ/369006723151698?ref=ts&fref=ts

Readers, do you have a favorite food truck? Drop us a line at pftittl@gmail.com and we'll work it into a future column.

Flame Broiler coming to Bakersfield

Last August we wrote about one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the country, The Flame Broiler, which we had sampled in Long Beach and San Clemente. Now they're working on opening their first Bakersfield store on Coffee Road just north of Rosedale Highway, right next to the new Dickey's BBQ. Interior construction is ongoing and we were unable to get a projected opening date, but they do have signs with the menus already posted on the windows.

The chain, which calls its fare "A Healthy Choice," has most of its restaurants in Southern California, with some in Florida and Arizona. They offer bowls and plates of white or brown rice, steamed vegetables (cabbage, carrots and broccoli) and broiled beef, chicken or marinated short ribs. The menu says the food is made with no skin, no MSG, no trans fats and no frying. The website: flamebroilerusa.com.

New and different

Kern River Brewing Company and Lengthwise, the two most prominent brewpubs in Kern County, have teamed up to make a hoppy pale ale called Kernwise. It uses signature hops from the Centennial and Simcoe brews. It's available at both locations for a limited time ... A new restaurant is preparing to open in downtown Bakersfield. The Fusion will specialize in gourmet waffles and Asian fusion cuisine. It's located at 1823 Chester Ave. ... IHOP is now offering French toast made with brioche ... Panda Express has a new premium entree, Samurai Surf & Turf: marinated shrimp, sweet red peppers, green beans, diced potatoes and Angus top sirloin beef. It will be available through September ... For a limited time, Quizno's is offering a chicken fajita sub made with sauteed onions and peppers, cheddar and fajita lime sauce on jalapeno cheddar bread ... California Pizza Kitchen has two new seasonal menu items: spicy Korean Barbecue pizza and a Spring Market Vegetable Salad, available through June. The pizza has charred Korean barbecue poke, garnished with a non-traditional spicy kimchi salad. The salad features field greens, spring peas, Granny Smith apples, radishes, toasted pecans, raisins and a Greek yogurt vinaigrette.

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