On Saturday we went to the first Riverside Food Truck Festival to try a bunch of exciting food trucks. We paid for VIP tickets so we could have access to the covered tent and the free drinks. This was a very good thing since it was unreasonably hot so my first suggestion for next year would be to hold it at a different time. The height of Riverside summer is not the best idea for an outdoor lunchtime event. In the end it made eating hot food (Which was what almost every truck served) an undesirable activity. This was made evident by the 20 minute line for the shaved ice truck. My second issue was that they ran out of all t-shirt sizes below XL almost immediately which pissed me off since I paid extra for a shirt. Aside from those two issues, the event was well put together and a lot of fun. With 50 food trucks and live music you can’t really go wrong.
On to the trucks! Virginia and I managed to eat at five different trucks including one truck that happened to be on my list! Our first stop upon entry was the Waffles de Leige truck for a Leige waffle topped with ice cream. The special piece of a Leige waffle is that they import these sugar pearls from Belgium. The sugar pearls go inside the batter and melt as the waffle cooks. What you end up with is this chewy sweet caramilized flavor that is unlike any waffle you have ever eaten. I had been wanting to try one of these for a long time and it did not disappoint. Add on top some thick and creamy vanilla bean ice cream and it made for a delicious first dish. Thumbs up for the Liege waffle, ten times better than any other waffle I have ever had before. Rating 8/10.
Next Stop, the Nom Nom truck. I stopped off here to get a pork Bahn Mi, which is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich. For five dollars I was extremely disappointed. Why you ask? Take a look at the size of this sandwich and ask that again.
This sandwich was about half the size of the ones I get monthly from the restaurant down the street for $3. This would be OK if the amount and quality of meat was through the roof but it definitely was not. The onions alone doubled the amount of pork on that sandwich and they were about all I could taste. While the bread was good I will stick to Pho Saigon and call it a day. Rating 4/10.
After that we stopped by the tent to hang out and caught a set by the UCR Tyco student organization. Take a listen to the talent at UC Riverside:
While that was going on I went out to get Virginia a burger but was sidetracked by the Bun Truck.
I ordered a Kalbi bun which was sirloin, onions, mixed greens, and an aioli. The bun was accompanied by some wonderful duck fat fries topped with garlic and rosemary. I am so happy that I stopped here. The bun was chewy and full of flavor and the few bites of the sirloin was sweet and tasted like braised short ribs. While the bun was good, the fries stole the show. This was the first time I ate fries cooked in duck fat and it will not be the last, that’s for sure. These fries were crunchy and hot even without ketchup (Though I really wanted ketchup). The garlic and and the rosemary were wonderful and had obviously been added right after the fries came out of the frier because they had adhered to the fries perfectly. Truly one of the best things I ate at this event. Overall 7/10.
After dropping that food off at the tent I went to Baby’s Badass Burgers to get Virginia her burger.
Though I didn’t get a picture of the girls on this truck I need to comment on their wardrobe. If you are in a food truck dressed like you are going out to a club it is pretty obvious that you are a novelty and not serious cooks. I don’t just mean this for women it goes the same for men. Wear chef’s clothes or at least some branded t-shirts that allow you to move and/or breathe. Seeing this I was nervous about the food but it was the only burger truck at the festival. Guess what, I was right….
The best thing on this dish was the buns but I could go to Ralphs right now and get a pack of them to make burgers ten times better at home. The meat, gross! Overcooked, low quality, and dry. I think they knew this but adding their “Special Sauce”. Newsflash, it was thousand island dressing at best. They added a bunch of onions and mushrooms to salvage the dish but too little too late. Badass burgers or maybe just Bad. Overall 3/10.
The last place we ate at was the White Rabbit Truck and it appears that I saved the best for last but you are going to have to wait until my next post because it just happens to be a list place!
At the end of the day we got to listen to a Journey tribute band led by an American Idol finalist. All in all a really great day albeit a tad hot and I can’t wait for next year!
Overall Rating: 9/10