LA Street Food Fest: the aftermath
Approximately five months ago, Shawna Dawson of SauceLA told me she was cooking up the LA Street Food Fest with Sonja Rasula of UniqueLA . She said it was going to be Valentine’s Day weekend and to save the date. I didn’t blink and said I was in.
I bought VIP tickets when they were on sale for $5 off and anticipated the day along with apparently 25,000 other people. I even planned my February crawl around this event.
It was a good thing I did because that meant I had a lot of bodies to wait in various food truck lines. I sampled 7 trucks/vendors that day though I didn’t get LudoBites’ fried chicken. The friend I asked to buy the chicken for me waited 2 hours and was told it’d be another hour once he ordered so he gave up. It didn’t upset me too much since I’ve had Chef Ludo’s chicken before though it would have been nice to try it last Saturday. I was more sad he left the fest entirely without trying other vendors.
I got to the event around 11:30 and waited 15 minutes to get in. Apparently they were delayed letting in everyone because they were waiting for the go-ahead from the fire marshall. Once in, we made a bee-line for the Don Chow truck where I asked my food crawlers to meet me. I joined forces with my noodles partner so we didn’t accidentally over-eat/order.
*Photo Credit: Jenny B, my noodles partner
We tried the carne asada chow fun, kung pao chicken taco and BBQ pork taco. All were good but I was surprised how much I liked the BBQ pork (considering I don’t normally like Chinese BBQ pork). In retrospect, it was my favorite of the fest.
(side note, is my hand really that dry looking- looking for a rec on hand cream!)
Next, we hit India Jones where we got a shrimp frankie, beef paratha and samosa spring rolls. The noodles partner and I liked the samosa spring rolls the best but we also liked the raita for the beef paratha. I thought the frankie was too dry and the shrimp were rather small.
The noodles partner ran off to Popshop and gave me a bite of her popsicle. It was pretty refreshing as the day was getting warmer but we weren’t ready for more ice cream. We probably should have gotten something from Cool Haus as there was no line but I wanted more savory.
At this point, we were looking for our next truck. We decided the line for Flying Pig was too long and ended up waiting for Fishlips. We ordered the temari set and the fried chicken (it’s not Ludo’s chicken but what is?). I know some describe this sushi as great, better than some actual sushi restaurants but the tiny temari left me hungrier than when I started.
*Photo Credit: Jenny B (yes, that’s me holding ’em)
I got my first deliveries while waiting in line at Fishlips. Josie of the UncouthGourmands went in search of beer for us and a friend ordered me red velvet pancake bites from the Buttermilk Truck.
I saw for myself how insane the line was for LudoBites. My thoughts to try Fresser’s Pastrami, Dogzilla, Komodo and Grilled Cheese Truck were dashed by the lines snaking in every direction. At this point, I decided to take a booze break and had a cocktail while plotting our next direction.
We opted to try the Kabob & Roll truck since there weren’t many in line (this means a “short” wait of 15 minutes). Some were ordering dolmas and decided to get back in line for more food rather than to wait in another line. I found this amusing. It’s the amusement park mentality. Find something and keep doing it rather than a new line.
After trying the dolmas and the chicken kabobs, I was going up to the VIP lounge but stopped off at Sabor da Bahia where I had tried acaraje (a fritter), coxinha (a fried thingy with chicken), and a chocolate ball. When I ran into StreetGourmetLA, he mentioned to me how he was so proud of his peeps including this vendor. I am glad they stuck around unlike some vendors who didn’t show but this event was starting to sound somewhat intimidating and overwhelming with all the press it was getting. I heard they had to stop letting in people around 1:30 p.m. At this time, they gave people in the long general admission line water and gave up them updates. I really believe the founders when they said they were heartbroken not everyone got in.
Up in VIP, I was able to sample doughnuts from the Fry Girls and dim sum from the upcoming Dim Sum Truck. There was more free booze and the astroturf lounge provided a comfy area to rest.
This is my friend Stephanie who’s resting after a long day at the Fest. She was the poster girl for them. Don’t believe me? Check out the great photo shoot!
Overall, I think this event was wildly successful and I’d attend again but only if I did everything exactly like I did this time around- buy pre-sale VIP tickets, go with a large group of friends and come with a relaxed attitude.