Monday, May 24, 2010

HFF Quickie: Food Trucks at the Silver Lake Jubilee

I spent last Sunday at perhaps the best street fair ever, the Silver Lake Jubilee. Besides enjoying some relatively reasonably priced Firestone Walker beer and a beard-y (and newly unemployed) Jeremy Sisto, there were a shitload of food trucks. I ate at some of them. This is my story.

Calbi. I've been wanting to try this dubious Kogi knock-off for a while, since there's always a truck parked in my neighborhood. The first attempt at a true corporate food truck (a team led by an ex-Baja Fresh exec is spearheading the franchising), Calbi is pretty much a textbook cynical ripoff, which I admire. Overall it was okay. The spicy pork was solid and similar to Kogi, though the accompaniments were not as good and the tortilla kinda sucked.

Maui Wowi. So I'm not 100% sure that this is where I ate, but I'll go with it. I had a crispy tofu bun (bao) and it was delicious. Crispy, nicely spicy tofu on a very fresh, moist and soft bun. The pork belly bun also looked good.

India Jones. Perhaps the highlight of the day. I had a paneer "Frankie," which is onions, tamarind, egg, and (in this case) paneer cheese, wrapped in a roti. Densely flavorful and very inexpensive. And it's one of the few food truck snacks that was really built to easily eat on the go.

Cool Haus. So, look, the ice cream was really good (I had the bacon and brown butter) and the cookies were good too. But.... over a half an hour in line for ice cream haphazardly slapped between two cookies? For $4? The crowd got to Cool Haus and they were sloppy with the service. And despite the hectic crowd, the one (that's right, one) guy making sandwiches was talking on his cell phone. Each sandwich took close to five minutes to serve because of a weird insistence on allowing the teeming mobs of hipster douches to taste and customize every sandwich. Next time at an event like this? Pick like three or four combos and pre-make the sandwiches. Everyone will be happier.

World Fare. The coolest food truck in town because it's in a double-decker bus with seating on the roof. Had the macaroni and cheese balls (smoked cheddar, because truffles are for mumblegrums). The balls were alright, needed more salt.

And that was the extent of the compelling trucks. I suppose I should've hit up Frysmith and I would've hit up the Dim Sum Truck except it wasn't there. But there's time.

So, some pretty good food truck opportunities presented themselves--this was what the Food Truck Food Fare wanted to be but failed at in its ill-conceived Icarus-like aspirations. Good stuff.

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