Saturday February 13, the first LA Food Fest was held on the outskirts of Downtown LA, with dozens of local food trucks converging in a huge lot next to the 110 freeway.
Unfortunately, the event was too popular for its own good. Promoters expected a crowd of 10,000 but by early estimates nearly tripled that. Many people waiting in the hour-long line for entry were turned away as the crowd inside grew to capacity.
The lines were between and hour and two hours to sample treats from the most popular trucks, like Frysmith, Coolhaus and The Grilled Cheese Truck. Chef Ludo Ludovich staged a pop-up one-time-only fried chicken truck that had to give people tickets to return for their food an hour later, like a Fastpass at Disneyland. We did get a peek at the hunky chef, the food, and his adorable wife working the window.
Treats we were able to sample were from three enterprises that haven’t yet got their trucks up and running. Piping hot donuts from Frygirl were dipped in cinnamon or powdered sugar.
Har Gow, Duck Tacos and Sui Mai were three varieties of Dim Sum presented from the upcoming the Dim Sum Truck.
Dogzilla, a Japanese fusion hot dog is still unsure as to whether they will purchase a truck or scout a permanent location. Unfortunately, their dogs didn’t compare to Japadogs in Vancouver. The excess of bread and fishy nori overwhelmed the bland hot dog. It’s too bad because they were really, really friendly.
The first truck we were willing to wait in line for was Fresser’s Hot Pastrami and the wait was not in vain. The pastrami was East coast-style, made with thick slabs of brisket. The bread was the perfect balance of intensity to mildness to match with the pastrami. A sample of Pot Roast made us wish we had a huge plate, along with potatoes and baby carrots. A Caprese sandwich used farmer’s market fresh ingredients and a nice french bread.
A smiling face at Fresser’s
Next we hit the Gastrobus. Their sweet potato fries were double fried and absolutely to die for. Pairing them with a mustard dip was a little odd, but they were delicious on their own. The pulled pork was nestled in a comforting bed of grits. They also offered a refreshing heirloom beet salad in a vinagrette with goat cheese and an adorable lemon meringue in a lemon half, which I did not try myself.
This is a lamb dish from a Greek Bus that a passer-by let me photograph. I don’t know what it is, but it sure looks good!
The most memorable stop of the day was King Kone ice cream, with house made ice cream dipped in rich chocolate. The sundae we ordered layered caramel and oreo pieces with a pure vanilla ice cream. Pure heaven.
The final taste was from the holy grail of trucks, The Grilled Cheese Truck.
We watched one customer ooh and ahh over her mac and cheese sandwich with smoked pork, and the amazement in her eyes when she finally took a bite.
We tried the brie and pear and another sandwich with roasted butternut squash and gruyere. The brie sandwich was heavenly, though the squash sandwich was like something my mother would do to trick me into eating my veggies.
There was also a craft station, a few shops and a photo booth with lots of fun props.
So yes, the lines were ridiculous, the day was hot and the crowds were insane. True, we did not get to try a number of trucks on our “to-do” list. But the crowd was friendly and we ate some truly excellent food. Best of all, every bite was priced between $3 and $5 so we came home with change in our pocket.