Wednesday, June 02, 2010

HFF On The Scene: Silver Lake Jubilee

Editor's note: Okay, so apparently I have the memory of a gold fish. I also don't read my own blog very closely, so.... Wow.... This post's better anyway.

I know this is two weeks belated, but the damn festival would've been over regardless so it's not like you missed out on anything you would'n't've had to wait another year for anyway.

First, some serious props to the Silver Lake Jubilee folks for putting on a great festival. Fun, relaxed and very mellow. A few blocks of Myra Avenue below the Sunset Bridge were blocked off and stages were put at both ends, each with a Firestone Walker beer garden. In between the stages were two rows of local vendors and roughly thirty food trucks. Inoccuous-to-good live music, good more-or-less reasonably priced beer, food trucks. A nice combination. Plus it wasn't crazy crowded, just crowded.

Even now, 2+ years post-Kogi, the food trucks were still the main draw and I'll confess, despite seeing a newly-unemployed and re-bearded Jeremy Sisto in the beer garden while a pretty cool band was playing, the food trucks were the main draw for me too. As someone who is ambivalent to the whole food truck scene, it was nice to have an opportunity to taste multiple vendors without having to exert too much effort. My report follows.

Calbi: I'd been curious about this Kogi rip-off, especially since Kogi apparently doesn't want to come Downtown anymore. I don't count the weekly residency at Market Lofts in South Park. That's not Downtown. I had a spicy pork taco and it was a reasonably good facsimile, though lacking the full richness and depth of Kogi's marinades and sauces. But Calbi parks a few blocks from my house and Kogi's definitely not drive-across-town better.

India Jones: My personal favorite of the day. A really good paneer "frankie," basically paneer cheese, egg, onions, and a cilantro/tamarind chutney rolled up in a fresh roti. It was nice to find a modern food truck actually serving real street food. Warm and fresh and perfectly snack-sized.

Coolhaus: Okay, so this was pretty good, don't get me wrong. I had the bacon brown butter ice cream in a snickerdoodle sandwich. But, the line was ridiculous. It's just ice cream folks. And even though LA isn't the Bay Area (there you can't swing a dead cat with your dick without hitting a crazy gourmet ice cream shop with weird flavors), but it's still LA and shmancy iced cream is still somewhat readily available. And, to be honest, standing in line for (literally) 45 minutes for the privilege of paying four bucks for an ice cream sandwich was embarrassing for me. The eleven-year-old me being thrown naked into the girls' locker room at my middle school would've been less embarrassing (and I didn't grow pubes until my second year of grad school!). Plus, if I had to listen to another hipster douche ask to taste every fucking ice cream flavor before committing to something I was going to beat him with his own Vans and strangle him with his own moustache. Christ. No wonder your girlfriend dumped you for an ugly lesbian. Next time Coolhaus, at an event like this why don't you pick like three pre-made ice cream sandwich combos instead of doing the choose your-own-thing. Also, don't have only ONE FUCKING GUY TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE making the ice cream sandwiches. But the ice cream was good. Still, doubtful I'll be back.

World Fare: As LA's only "bustaurant" (as far as I know), World Fare is pretty cool. Kitchen is on the first floor and there's seating on the top of the double-decker bus. Though it has many global rotating specials, World Fare is known best for its "Bunnies," which are a South African street food dish consisting of chili or slow-braised meats served in bowls made from scooped out bread rolls. Smaller than what you're imagining, the Bunnies are perfectly sized to be able to enjoy a couple different flavors for your meal. I didn't have one though, instead I had the smoked cheddar mac and cheese balls. The verdict on those was "meh." They lacked enough cheese and salt to be interesting and tasted mostly like breaded and fried macaroni.

My basic impressions of food trucks were generally reinforced: the vast majority are slightly poorer quality versions of your basic neighborhood go-tos for slightly less money. I'd rather pay the slight premium to sit in a nice space and support my neighborhood businesses. And the cult of the food truck has reached the point where some have a miniature Grateful Dead-type followings, defeating the point of the food truck: fast cheap and convenient. The trucks that stand out, the Kogis and the India Jones' of the world, work because they remain true to their roots, offering upscale and/or innovative takes on what is, at its core, your basic global street cuisine.

But do go to the Silver Lake Jubilee next year. It was a grand time.

1 comment:

David J.D. said...

That's what I get for writing a blog post while watching SVU.