Thursday, September 1, 2011
Food Truck Social
In theory, the Food Truck Social was a great idea. It exposed many of the food trucks that operate on our streets to many people who otherwise wouldn't be able to catch them. Most of the trucks work during the week in the Loop and River North so those people that don't work in those areas probably couldn't catch them. It gave the food trucks more business which was good for the trucks. The admission price went to several good causes including Share Our Strength, a non-profit that fights to end childhood hunger in America. Timeout Chicago, the sponsor got Ommegang Brewery for the beer sponsorship and the Empty Bottle for music. It was a great idea but it suffered from organization. It was so popular that there were many long lines and the only trucks that didn't run out of food were those that could prepare their food in their trucks. As the present food truck law in Chicago does not allow trucks that cook to operate on the streets, the only trucks that didn't run out were the Wagyu Wagon , which essentially operates out of parking lots because it does have a mobile kitchen, and Hummingbird Kitchen which was serving cold sandwiches. There were a few trucks that I was excited to see and a couple that I was disappointed not to see. I was disappointed not to see The Southern Mac and Cheese truck and was also disappointed not to see Meatyballs although I was not surprised, with the animosity that one of Timeout Chicago's food writers has for Philip Foss, the owner/proprietor of Meatyballs. Despite my disappointment, I did visit several trucks despite having to stand in line for an extensive period of time for a few of them. I started out with a truck with a line that looked kind of long but moved pretty quickly. Lillie's Q was serving pulled pork sliders with 3 different barbecue sauces and a cole slaw side. I tried the Carolina sauce with the slider. Overall it wasn't bad but it was a little overpriced. I then found a truck that I was very excited to see. I have been lookingg for years for pasties in Chicago with no luck. Then I saw Bridgeport Pasties here and was very excited. When I got to the truck, they were sold out and waiting for more pasties. Luckily it was close to the time that they were supposed to reopen and the line was short. They only had a chicken and a veggie on the menu and while the veggie did look good, I had to go with the chicken. It had many of the same ingredients that a regular pasty would but it also had curry. It was very good and I am very excited to see them operating in Chicago. They will have to be one of the trucks that I follow on Twitter because they are very good and I love pasties.
While it would have been nice to get something from Gaztro-Wagon, the line was long and they were operating with rotating chefs (including Bill Kim, Michael Carlson, and Stephanie Izard) so you would have had to get in line several times to try everyone's stuff. I nstead got into the longest line in the festival, the Tamalespaceship. I love good tamales. Unfortunately, they are very hard to find in Chicago. I had heard that these tamales were very good. Apparently, so had everyone else. I waited in line for over an hour and they ran out twice. Looking at the menu that they had, they had been selling 8 tamales including three veggie style. By the time I got to order, there were only meat varieties left. I decided to go with the standard pork tamale. It was enormous and you get two per order. While the masa was a little different from that that I was used to, it was still very good. As I said, the Tamalespaceship ran out twice while I was in line. While we were waiting several people ran over to Hummingbird Kitchen to try their food. They were selling a tuna nicoise sandwich and fries. After hearing it was very good and having the people behind me volunteer to hold my spot, I ran over and got a very good tuna sandwich. The line started moving shortly after I got my sandwich so I got my tamales and sat down to eat both the sandwich and the tamales. Kind of full but hot, I decided to make myself really full and got Starfruit which is frozen kefir.
I left the festival pretty full. The music and the beer were good but if they do this in future years, they will have to figure out a better way to do crowd control.