There’s a new Kickstarter campaign in town, and it’s got us dreaming of the day when we’ll be able to get blue bus balls whenever we please.
Vincenza Lapi is a Buffalo native, a classically trained chef, and a graduate of Johnson and Wales University with a degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. She also happens to be the owner of the miniature blue school bus above.
Lapi’s goal is to turn that ordinary (albeit blue) bus into the Blue Balls Bus – an arancini inspired food truck of Buffalo, NY.
After realizing her dream and buying the bus, she decided that a Kickstarter campaign was the perfect way to enlist some help with her goal of getting this “truck” up and running on the streets of Buffalo. (The same way The Black Market Food Truck came to be.) “Expenses add up and as it sits right now, it is just an empty shell with a lot of promise,” said Lapi. “The pledges (will) serve to help with the cost of converting the bus into a functioning mobile food truck, the kitchen equipment itself, such as fryers, etc. and the permits and licensing fees, none of which are inexpensive.”
The best part of pledging to a Kickstarter campaign? The fun backer rewards that usually accompany your pledge. “Anyone that pledges or backs my project has the option to choose certain rewards, like receiving free balls for a year, or having a Blue Balls Bus party once the truck is fully functional or even getting a ball customized in your name!”
Of course, if Lapi does not reach her goal of $20,000 by Thursday, August 28 (still very doable), she doesn’t receive any of the money that’s been pledged – and you won’t receive those free balls you’ve so been looking forward to either. “It would be a shame to deny the great city of Buffalo my great tasting balls!” said Zina. Even though we have yet to taste her balls, we agree. It would be quite a shame to never get the chance.
Lapi’s background is full of experiences at well-established restaurants such as Meat Market in Miami, Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Providence and Mike A @ Hotel LaFayette here in Buffalo. Her inspiration for the arancini bus all started while spending some time in Florence, Italy. “In Italy the sense of family, community and delicious food is overwhelming, and when I returned to Buffalo after graduation I knew I had to find a way to connect these two places that have had such an impact on me, and that is when I came up with my idea for creating a food truck. This is my chance to bring people together over a delightful quality product that for the most part has not been overwhelmingly represented in Buffalo,” said Lapi.
The concept for her food truck is “a fun innovative twist on the classic Italian street food arancini,” says Lapi. “Arancini done the traditional way is a rice ball stuffed with beef, peas and cheese and then breaded and deep fried.” Lapi plans to take it a step further than traditional – as most food trucks do. ” I will be taking some of Buffalo’s signature dishes, as well as popular ethnic dishes, deconstructing them and the putting them into the arancini format, with different garnishes and sauces to accompany each creation,” she explained.
What kind of deconstructed dishes can we expect in the form of Italian street food? “Without divulging too much of what is still to come regarding The Blue Balls Bus menu, one can look forward to trying the Buffalo Chicken Wing Ball, stuffed with homemade buffalo chicken stuffing, topped with a blue cheese vinaigrette, and garnished with shaved celery and carrots,” said Lapi. “Or the Stuffed Banana Pepper Ball which will be stuffed with four cheeses, sautéed banana pepper and sausage stuffing, and garnished with a homemade red sauce and homemade ricotta.” Sounds delicious, no? Not to mention the following list of what seems like just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to arancini opportunity.
- Cubano Ball – stuffed with shredded roasted pork loin and Swiss cheese stuffing, paired with a homemade spicy mustard and pickle garnish.
- French Onion Ball – stuffed with caramelized onion and gruyere cheese stuffing served with an onion brûlée au jus to dip.
- Peanut Butter and Jam Ball – crisped rice mixed with a peanut butter frosting shell, homemade strawberry jam, that will be served with a shot of milk of course.
- Foster the Banana Ball – stuffed with caramelized banana rum stuffing, served with a banana chantilly cream, homemade brown sugar and rum caramel sauce.
According to Lapi, who is committed to using homemade and locally sourced products, this is just a short selection from the 50+ recipes that will be featured on the rotating arancini menu.
There are tons of reasons why Western New Yorkers should help Zina fund the Blue Balls Bus. Number one on my list is that menu. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely need the chance to try a Foster the Banana Ball. So, in the words of Zina Lapi, “Let’s get these balls rolling!”
If you’re interested in donating to this wonderful culinary cause, check out Zina’s Kickstarter campaign here. Remember, she is aiming to raise $20,000 by Thursday, August 28, and if she doesn’t meet her goal, she doesn’t get any of the donations. Let’s “help a sista out”!
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