Sunday, July 22, 2012

L.A. Street Food Fest 2012

Lessons were learned. Churros were consumed.

Tip #1: Take someone with a handicap placard.

Do you see this parking space? Do you really?I could have judo-rolled to the front gate. It was awesome. Thanks, Tata!

We were a little worried about taking  my grandpa (bearer of said magic placard) with expected lines and crowds and wondered how much mobility would end up being an issue, but once we found a little nook by some drinking fountains to settle into, we used that as a base and ran around grabbing stuff and bringing it back to enjoy. Tata could also hold onto extra water bottles and coats and bags. It was much less of an ordeal than we were ready and willing to put up with which is a huge plus.

Another thing I will remember for next year is not to save desserts for last. If you try a few of your favorites first thing you'll barely wait in line. case in point: my mom saw a 20 layer crepe cake that looked spectacular. I told her to grab it but she wanted to wait after dinner. What a puritan.

"What?! No way! Try it now!" Turns out if you're the oldest of four and your Mom is the classic middle child, bellowing at her is still very effective.

She tried it and good thing because besides being muy delicioso, it was a total sleeper hit and was gone by the time we got back to the dessert side.

We washed down our samples with a hit of really tasty iced coffee from Secret Squirrel Cold Brew coffee. Besides having a good product to try they also gave out great sample sizes of their coffee concentrate! Sucking on the ice in the coffee held me over 'til we made out way to the west side of the Rose Bowl, what I'll affectionately describe as Food Truck Gomorrah :)

I got to try everything I was hoping to in my last post and so much freaking more I was sick it was great.

The thin crispy pigs ears from Haven were the ultimate bar food, the balls of lust  from Tiana Cafe with a fat piece of pork belly were indeed heavenly, the Kracken was fine but holy moly the Black Tide halibut ceviche with squid ink from Kokopeli was ice cold and just PERFECT.

Trying to balance 4 mini plates at a time? Not so awesome, so next year I'm going to join the cool kids and bring a little cardboard box tray to stash the goods.

I also got to try poutine for the first time and the cheese curds, gravy and excellently crisp fries from gravy Train will definitely be tried again. Before the next street food fest!

Pork was everywhere. Even on the cupcakes. This one's called the Breakfast Cupcake: buttermilk cake with maple frosting and bacon :)

Best named food was the "Cachetada": a chorizo tostada with guac and a little chipotle aioli. My mom says "cachetada" is basically the Mexican word for a bitch slap. See? Educational too!

The uncontested winner from yesterday, although I had some pretty great stuff, has got to be the original Kogi Truck. I was totally ready to hate on this truck for no good reason and just assumed they were overrated ("who wants a sweet taco?!" see how dumb that sounds?) but crap they totally made me eat my words.

With hot sauce.

They had the most perfect quesadilla I've ever had in my life, and I'm not a huge quesadilla fan so that's saying a ton. The portion was generous, the tortilla was deliciously crisp, there was a great amount of cheese mixed in with a super generous amount of kogi, topped of with a kimchi sauce about as thick as a fluffy pesto. I had it 4 times it was that good. I'll be thinking about that one forever.

Now if only I'd had something to wash it down . . .

So I'm not going to rail against the sponsors or coordinators right now because I'm positive they've already gotten an earful from everyone else attending but I will say this: when I go back next year, I'm going to have a 3 liter camelbak full of ice water strapped to my back. Either the drinks I got were warm (bottled water, coconut water) or were cold but iceless and served in a thimble. C'mon Honestea, you're owned by Coke. You could spare a little more juice. I could hear people and having tiny portions loses more money in the long run than a few thousand bottle will cost you.

My grandma checked out the Scion IQ while we waited for more water. She loved it.

I will say that the good folks from Cascal stepped up with FULL CANS of ICE COLD refreshment and I for one will remember them for it. These were promoted as more "adult-flavored" sodas, not because of booze or anything but because they mix fruit flavors with aromatics like jasmine, chocolate and even magnolia for peet's sake. There's no alcohol but the company ferments it's ingredients, giving them a definite mixed drink taste. I enjoyed the Tropical and Crisp White flavors especially and think they'd be great mixers. And my whole all natural can had only 70 calories. Into it. Having one of those instead of a full Jamaica or something left me with plenty of insulin left to take on the desserts :)

The rest is a blur. Or a haze. Or a fog. Of powdered sugar.

Astro's Mini French Toast Donuts were 100% delicious. And they gave everybody 2 of those bad boys. Longboards Ice Cream handed out halved chocolate bananas covered in chocolate and awesome toppings like potato chips, oreos, or peanuts. I had the Bam Bam covered in fruity Pebbles!

Sweet wheels offered the BEST BEGINET EVER along with a big half gluten free churro with homemade caramel sauce. I don't know where that Rocky Road thing came from at this point were were throwing food onto each other's plates to try.

Churro Borough had a delicious mini Ice cream sandwich made with horchata sorbet and lighter-than-air roundish churros but I bet the guy making them had the biggest hand cramps ever after. It looked painstaking but the kept the line moving really nicely.  And are they cute or what!

There was also a really nice confection called Tiger Whiskers which was like a spun sugar made from honey wrapped around a peanut. That was awesome.

About 1 in 20 people at the event were wearing these hokey cowboy fedoras. At first I thought they were all from the same group but actually Knott's berry Farm pulled up outside and gave away free hats for everyone. My Grandma saw them and booked it over there to get hers and what do you know, it looks great on her!

The lady's got class and could pull off a potato sack if she wanted to.

Can't wait to get back together again and do it next year.

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