The Frenzy of the LA Street Food Fest

The idea of an entire area of food trucks and street food vendors sounds appealing. After all, who wants to drive all around town chasing down food trucks and carts? So in comes the (assumingly) First Annual LA Street Food Fest. Which really should have been called the Food Truck Fest, because as Hadley from Grub Street kindly points out in his own wrap-up of the event, it was missing so many of those street food vendors that we have grown to love in this big city. Where were the MacArthur Park tamale vendors, or the 2am Echo Park hot dog lady?

If you read this blog, you most definitely would have read all the reports around town with event coverage so I won’t bore you with too many details. Overall I thought it was a successful event, while still failing on a few levels.

This was early in the day, and yes, it got even more crowded as the day went on.

We arrived early, but heard that the fire marshal was still surveying the property, and they would open shortly. The only thing our VIP tickets saved us from was the one to two hour long line that had formed at General Admission by the time we got there at 10:45. The fire marshal gave the OK, the the doors swung open as hundreds, and eventually thousands of people lined up at a three dozen or so food vendors and trucks. You can imagine the wait at each, 45 min to an hour for most of them, and longer for trucks like Grilled Cheese, Buttermilk, and Ludo.

We divided and conquered between all of us, waiting in line at one truck while others foraged for food at the less popular trucks with shorter lines. Eventually every truck would have a long wait, and that’s when we decided to call it quits. I’d rather find the trucks on their own turf, serving a full menu, than wait for an hour, just for a small bite of what they have to offer.

Some highlights from the day included the pastrami at Fresser’s, succulent juicy meat, that nearly rivaled Langer’s. The bites from the Gastrobus we tasty, as were tacos from Komodo. Ludo’s fried chicken balls were good, but hardly the second coming. The fries from Frysmith were swimming in oil, but were crispy and flavorful. For our VIP entry, along with the short wait to get in, we had access to a special preview of the upcoming Dim Sum Truck serving Peking duck tacos and siu mai dumplings, and I’m looking forward to trying more from them.

Ludo's Fried Chicken, the juicy dark meat chicken rolled up and deep fried. The rosemary was a bit overwhelming, and the whole thing sort of disolved as you ate it.

My favorite of the day was the Pastrami from Fressers. We got to sample some tasty bites from Gastrobus and Frysmith too.

I’m hoping they do this event every year, but hopefully it’s more organized or at least not as crowded. I’m sure there are some people that don’t mind the crowds at all. But I couldn’t deal with the sea of people. The idea of a weekly pop-up truck stop in a parking lot seems more appealing to me. Plus, the price of paying extra for VIP wasn’t as VIP as it should have been. Sans missing the two+ hour wait to get in the main gate, I didn’t really feel like a VIP. May I suggest earlier entry for those willing to shell out the extra bucks?

See more photos from the day over at my flickr account.

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Author:Matt Mitchell

A lover of everything LA has to offer, Matt created Dig Lounge to tell his friends about all the fun things to do in the city. Matt has worked in the dot com world since 1996, including some of the top online entertainment companies and digital marketing firms. He currently works as a Digital Producer.

One Response to “The Frenzy of the LA Street Food Fest”

  1. Matt Mitchell
    February 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    UPDATE: I just read over at Street Gourmet LA that a lot of the street vendors bailed out at the last minute. Read more here