Street Eats Food Truck Festival, Day One: Shorter Lines, Better Organized Than Last Year, and We Share Our Favorite (and Not So Favorite) Tastes
And now, Lauren Saria's impressions:
My companion and I arrived around 2 p.m. We were hesitant...ok, really hesitant, about arriving mid-afternoon after last year but everything -- from the well-organized parking situation to the lack of lines at most of the trucks -- made us glad we came.
With $30 worth of tickets in hand we charged into the action fully expecting to battle hungry, impatient crowds of eaters. But to our pleasant surprise we were able to use all our tickets and eat plenty of food in under two hours -- the length of time we waited in line at just one truck last year. We wish we could have eaten more, but ultimately we maxed out our stomachs and our budget. If it hadn't been for the chilly weather, it would have been an A+ afternoon.
Like Ando, we couldn't resist a stop at Old Dixie's -- but we tasted the red beans and rice with Andouille sausage. No wait and friendly service, not to mention the great food, made it a perfect start to the day.
Jenn and Mike of Old Dixie's Southern Kitchen.
Next we headed to Rockin' Ray's Highway Diner, a retro silver truck based in Queen Creek. For three-tickets ($6) we snagged a good-sized portion of San Francisco crab rolls with sweet chili sauce. The eggroll style rolls didn't much jive with the diner-themed truck, but the taste left us with no complaints.
San Francisco crab rolls from Rockin' Rays Highway Diner.
My dining companion's eyes lit up at the sight of Totally Baked, a baked potato food truck, and not because of the clever pot reference. The mesquite smoked baked potato came topped with butter and sour cream and delivered on its promise of smoky flavor -- but not much else. Not a total disaster, but not memorable.
Mesquite smoked baked potato from Totally Baked.
From baked potatoes we made our way to Satay Hut, a Phoenix-based truck serving Indo-Dutch cuisine. Two tickets bought a small taste of satay babi, or marinated grilled pork, with a side of spicy peanut sauce. Moist and flavorful, it was the best thing we ate all day, making us happy to know you can find them regularly around the Valley.
Grilled pork satay babi from the Satay Hut.
Mac Attack's beer and brat macaroni and cheese sounded too funky to pass up...but to be honest, we wish we had.
Finally, we tried the rib tip sampler from the Tom's BBQ big pink Pig Rig. The pile of mean chunks, bones still intact, looked better than they tasted. Last year we were equally dissatisfied with Montana BBQ (back again this year) though, leaving us wondering if slow cooked meats should ever come off a truck.
Tom's BBQ rib tips (left) Mac Attack beer and brat macaroni (right)
The longest lines -- in fact, the only lines we saw -- were for Mama Toledo Pies (you go, Mama!), The Grilled Cheese Truck and California-based Devilicious, which appeared on the second season of The Great Food Truck Race. We didn't elbow our way to the front of the crowd, but those walking away from Devilicious reported hour-long wait times for the $10 lobster grilled cheese sandwiches.
There's always tomorrow....
924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ