On the Slide Adds Dash of Caribbean to Food-Truck Favorites

After spending most of her career as chef working for someone else, On the Slide food truck owner and head chef Sandi Saunders decided it was time for a change. The last straw came one day while working at Coral Ridge Country Club. Saunders had worked a late shift the night before and was home resting before having to go back in later that day.

"I was told my boss had a problem during lunch," Saunders told Clean Plate Charlie at the Broward/Palm Beach New Times Best Of party. "He began asking around so I could fix it, but I wasn't responsible for the mistake, and I hadn't even come in yet!"

Saunders had had enough; it was time for her to be her own boss. She spent her last year working at Fishtales Bar & Grill before getting what she needed together to open her own food truck. As with most new endeavors, however, some sacrifices had to be made.

"Make sure you know where you'll have steady business before committing," Saunders said when asked to give advice to someone looking to open a food truck. "Be prepared for a bit of instability at first. People don't necessarily want to buy food at bars. And if you plan to hit events where there are a bunch of trucks, unless you are well-known, it may be hard to make it worthwhile."

Saunders stuck to it through the hard times and began building a name for herself with her twist on traditional menu items. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale graduate spent her formative high school years living on a boat in Freeport, Bahamas. Her time spent there has had a big influence on her cooking.

"You'll see that I use a lot of fruits and spices like jerk and curry," Saunders said.

A good example would be Saunders' favorite dish -- her chicken sliders ($3.75 each, or two for $7). She grills the chicken and tops it with caramelized onions, bacon, smoked Gouda, and a delicious guava barbecue sauce. Her beef sliders get a chipotle aioli (essentially mayo, made from scratch) and her pulled-pork tacos a pineapple salsa. Depending on the location, her most popular dishes vary.

At Laser Wolf, where she slides in Thursday through Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight, the pulled-pork tacos are king. Next Saunders heads to Kim's Alley Bar until 2 a.m., where burgers go like hot cakes. Her night Thursday through Saturday usually ends at 4 a.m. on the Las Olas Riverfront peddling a bunch of tacos.

You can also run into On the Slide at Radioactive Records whenever there is free live show from a local band courtesy of owner Mickey Ramirez. Also, look for On the Slide at Festival Flea Market every other Saturday and Cinema Paradiso every Thursday for movie night. Contact Saunders at on-the-slide@comcast.net or on Facebook for more information.

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