Monday, August 5, 2013

LA Street Food Festival

My family and friends know that I like some gourmet food trucks. I follow them on Twitter and have gotten a few friends and family members to track them down with me. I have even suggested that they go to a certain truck when I know they will be in the same neighborhood. When I heard about this year's street food festival, I knew that I wanted to go. I had heard about it in the past, but I never seemed to make it for some reason. This year, I convinced my mom to go with me (even in 100+ degree weather).
Once we got in the gates of the Rose Bowl, we were given fans (pictured above). And boy did we need them. We began using them immediately. The next stop was to one of the water tents which was nearby. As you can see above, Hawaiian Springs water was provided for the event. I loved it because it reminded me of my trip to Hawaii a few years ago. The water wasn't chilled, but we were happy about its abundance throughout the evening since it was so hot.
Our first food stop was to The Grilled Cheese Truck. We've been to their truck before and couldn't resist hopping in line for the famous Cheesy Mac and Rib melt. The sandwich consists of barbecue pork, caramelized onions, and macaroni and cheese.  Before I tried it, I was skeptical of mac and cheese on a sandwich. Pasta on bread? Once you've had one, you will taste what a delicious creation it is. I can remember my mom saying AT LEAST a couple times later in the evening, "I want to go back to The Grilled Cheese Truck."
There was an area designated as the Taste of Mexico. There were lots of different types of Mexican food and drinks. One of the things we tasted in this area was the chicken mole taco served with an avocado salsa from Frida mexican cuisine of Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, I was so full at this point, I could not totally enjoy it. They had one of the longest lines though. 
One of the highlights for me was Big Mista's Barbecue. They were serving an open-face pulled pork sandwich. I don't have a picture of it because I devoured it before I could take a picture. It was a piece of French bread (I think) with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw on top. I loved every bite of it. A lot of other people must have liked it too because they had a long line (maybe 30 people deep) every time we passed by them. Not only was their food delicious, but they were fun too. They were playing music, singing, dancing, and talking to each person. I hope I can track them down for some more barbecue one day.
While walking around the Rose Bowl concourse, we came across this fire truck. It's now a food truck with a wood-burning pizza oven in the back. How cool is that? It definitely stands out among all the typical food trucks.
This truck is the Dang Brother Pizza truck. It's kind of ironic having a fire on a fire truck. Just for that reason we hopped in line to see what pizza made on a fire truck tasted like. When we got to the front of the line, the pizza that came out of the oven was topped with pesto, prosciutto, and cheese. It was really good. I would love to taste more of their pizzas. My only complaint is that they are from San Diego. Who wants to go on a little road trip?

Now, it's time to talk about the sweets. I was excited about this because I have such a big sweet tooth. There was a whole section of the event called "The Ice Cream Social." There was all kinds of desserts besides ice cream too. Below are some of things we tried.
I like beignets, so I made sure to stop by The Beignet Truck. That was one tasty treat. I am going to find them at one of their truck stops so I can get some more and try them with the dips that they make.
Since my mom and I both love ice cream, we had to stop by The Cream'wich booth. My mom had the chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream sandwich. She loved it. I had the peanut  butter cookies with maple bacon crunch ice cream. I thought it was good, but I could only taste peanut butter. I was looking for the maple bacon flavor, but my palate could not pick it up. I would love to try some of their other flavors. They are made and sold at the Manhattan Beach Creamery in Orange County. You can also find the Cream'wiches in various locations  throughout LA and Orange County. They also have a cart that travels to different locations.
I kept seeing people walking around with these cute little cups with striped straws. I didn't know what they were drinking, but I wanted one because it looked so good. While eating my way through the ice cream social, I saw the Float booth. I had this root beer float and my mom had the peach lemonade float. I've never really been a fan of root beer, but I tried it anyway. I've never seen a red root beer float and I'm not sure what makes it red, but it looks pretty. Well, I'm still not a root beer fan, but I would love to go try another one of their floats, sodas, and food. My mom loved her peach lemonade float, but I don't like peaches so that one was another no-go for me. (Maybe you can tell I'm a bit of a picky eater now.) Anyway, I still plan on making another trip to Pasadena soon to check out another Float.
Mwokaji Cakery had these tasty looking mini cupcakes. The one on the left is red velvet with bacon and the one on the right is chocolate peanut butter. I ate the red velvet one and my mom ate the chocolate one. They are topped with what tasted like a whipped cream frosting. I think this made my red velvet cupcake taste a little lighter than other red velvet cupcakes I've had. The bacon may have overpowered the flavor of the cupcake though. But I love bacon, so that was ok. My mom said that the sweetness of her cupcake and chocolate peanut butter candy on top balanced well with the frosting. If you don't like buttercream frosting and prefer something lighter, then you will probably love these cupcakes.
I will take you back to the Taste of Mexico section for a bit. The Loteria Grill served a dessert taco for part of the event. This taco had mango and grilled pineapple, cheese crema, hibiscus and red wine reduction, chipotle salsa, micro churros, and corn croutons. It sounds like a lot going on, but it was delicious. I would order this if it's on their menu.
The Churro Borough was something I definitely had to try. I love churros (especially the ones at Disneyland). Then, when I saw that they were ice cream sandwiches, I was even more excited. The churro cookies were just made, so they were still warm. They sandwiched some vanilla custard. It was so good that it made me say "Mmmmm!" out loud. The warm churro cookies made the vanilla custard melt a little bit, but I didn't have any problem eating it before   it started to drip. This got my vote for the best dessert that day. I would love to get my hands on another one soon.  From the looks of their Facebook and Twitter pages, they only do pop ups every so often. Stay posted!
Another notable dessert or breakfast item (depending on the time of day) were these donuts from The Donut Snob. They served pistachio orange and maple cinnamon bacon mini donuts. They were incredible. The crowd favorite was clearly the maple cinnamon bacon donut. They had a long line with most people waiting for that one, while quite a few pistachio orange donuts sat waiting on the table. I had one of each flavor. They were soft, airy, and delicious. The maple cinnamon bacon was also my favorite of the two. My favorite type of donuts are maple and as you read above and in a previous post, I love bacon. My mom loved it as well. She said, "It tastes like Christmas morning." I would have to agree with her. It has that nostalgic comfort food feel. I would recommend everyone try them. A great thing about The Donut Snob is that they deliver to LA and Ventura counties. They are a little pricey at $3 per donut, but they use fresh, high-quality ingredients. I really want another one of those donuts now.
I had to share a shot of the sun setting behind the Rose Bowl from the Ice Cream Social area. I loved those little ice cream cone decorations.
A nice surprise was to see that Cupcake Vineyards even has a truck. The cool thing about this truck is the little lounge in the back of it. It has a seating area, a TV, and air conditioning. I wished I had found that earlier in the evening. 
This picture is of the bottom portion of the truck that shows all the different wines that they make and their descriptions. I didn't realize there were so many that they couldn't all fit in the picture. They poured samples of 3 or 4 of their wines. I have had one of their white wines before (and really like it), so I tried the red velvet wine. I really enjoyed that one as well. I would pick some up to have at home or take to a party.
Well, that was it for me. Here's a picture of me at the end of the night: full, hot, and still using my fan. Now that it's all over, I thought I'd share our favorite eats of the evening.

Mom's picks:
Big Mista's Barbecue
The Grilled Cheese Truck
Dang Brothers Pizza

My picks:
Big Mista's Barbecue
The Grilled Cheese Truck
The Churro Burrough

I've clearly found some new places that I'd like to venture out to from attending this event. I'm really looking forward to going again next year. There was so much that I didn't get to try, but maybe next year I will have a plan of attack now that I know what to expect. Who's coming with me?