I skipped lunch in prep but it did no good, as I still only managed to eat my way through a fraction of the LA Street Food Fest. With sodas, beer, alcohol, and plenty of sweet and savory snacks, it was like an adult take on school carnival, but with much more worthy food. It was the second go for the LA Street Food Fest and it was an all-around good time with not just food, and drink, but also shopping, silkscreening, and street dancing keeping it lively. The San Franciscan in me would’ve liked compost bins for the excess food and the Type A in me would’ve like better crowd control, as even during the VIP portion the lines were long, but I looked past that as I found good food everywhere I turned. Here are my tops picks:
Border Grill is an L.A. classic and I’ve always been a fan of the food of Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken and their truck is no exception. While some food vendors were doing mediocre takes on overambitious dishes like kebabs or dim sum, the Border Grill truck pulled out a simple but smartly presented sweet corn tamale topped with a fresh salsa that just made it pop.
I’m biased toward bánh mì because to me it’s a near-perfect combo of sweet-savory-spicy, with spiced meat, pickled veggies, chile peppers, mayo, and french bread. Mandoline Grill had both pork and tofu versions in rotation and they were the perfect pairing with the heat of the Rose Bowl and the free Singha Beer.
I had never had a breek before, so I it was not only my first one, but also the best I’ve ever had! A breek is a savory fried turnover that in this case it was filled with quail egg and tuna. It was the most exotic and high-end food we had all day and, while I wished it the pastry was cooked further and the salad had more zing, I’ll definitely be seeking out The Breek Truck the next time I need to tame my new-found hankering for Tunisian food.
Ok, Sedthee Thai Eatery isn’t a truck but a just-opened restaurant. I was just happy they were there because they’re based in Glendale and I make it out there almost never. The names of the dishes they served — Prosperous Baby and Jungle Feast — sounded more like Care Bear names to me, but to each his own. The ribs were a bit tough yet nicely seasoned, but I was into the Jungle Feast Curry with the sweet grapes and pineapple alongside the spiced meat and soupy curry sauce. I’m thinking it’s time to give Glendale a visit.
Growing up in SoCal, I know a thing or two about shrimp tacos so it was more out of habit than exploration that I sidled up to Mariscos Jaliscos. Turns out their shrimp tacos with a crisp shell, big helping of avo, bright salsa, and cheesy shrimp filling, was the best shrimp taco I’d had in years. Honest.
The icing on the cake was that there were nearly as many dessert trucks as there were savory ones. My fellow festival goer swooned over the brownie cone at Whisk, my sister was rightly obsessed with both the mint and red velvet cupcakes at Cupcakes a Go Go, and I was focusing on lowering my body temperature as I tried ice cream sandwich bites via Coolhaus, pineapple blossom Mexican ice cream from NaturaBar, and addictively well-made frozen treats from the O.C.’s Longboards Ice Cream.
Regrettably, long lines and a full tummy kept me from some trucks, but then I can turn to Roaming Hunger and chase after them as I please!