Latest Adventures

LA Street Food Festival 2010


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For a good friend's birthday, we decided to go to the Los Angeles Street Food Festival, a premier event in the food truck industry. This was held at the Rose Bowl in beautiful Pasadena, a place I have never been to, although I consider Pasadena my hometown. Getting into the event was pretty much a zoo, but once within the gates of the formidable stadium, a good strategy to get food is essential, because the lines get super long, super fast. So here are all the foods I've sampled... are you ready?

First up, Antojitos Carmen, which served us potato taquitos, pork tacos and vegetable enchiladas. The taquitos were awesome, crunchy, well seasoned, and perfectly complemented by a chipotle salsa. All the other samples were simply okay, typical Mexican food flavors.
Next, we waited in a long line for Dogzilla hotdogs, which were basically hotdogs with exotic toppings. The one pictured below is a Yakisoba, a hot dog topped with Japanese yakisoba noodles. Although I only had a small bite of this, it was really good, and I can certainly understand why the line was so long.
Then we got some from the Dim Sum Truck, which was serving pork shumai and (shrimp) har gow. It was served with a soy-garlic dipping sauce. Delish! I will admit, however, that it is not the same as the real deal served in Chinese restaurants throughout Los Angeles.
Next booth over was Dumplings Deluxe, serving a potato dumpling, as well as a cheeseburger dumpling. I didn’t think that it was a successful fusion of East and West, as the cheeseburger dumpling tasted pretty bland. I personally thought that the potato dumplings had more flavor.
The Manila Machine served some tasty Filipino street food. Pictured below is Pork Belly with Pineapple Adobo (I ate the pork belly party already), served with steamed jasmine rice and one piece of lumpiang shanghai. The lumpia was crunchy and flavorful – there was no need for the standard sweet chili dipping sauce. The pork belly was very tender, with the perfect soy sauce and vinegar flavors that define adobo. I thought of the pineapple more as a nuisance to the dish.
Fresh Fries offered some fries with guacamole and sour cream, but I disliked the guacamole, and maybe the fries had been sitting out too long, because it tasted soggy. I couldn’t say the same about their sweet potato fries, though. It was crunchy, and went so well with the Nutella and the peanut butter – I don’t even like sweet potatoes.

We also got a sample from the Kebab people. It was chicken marinated with herbs, skewered with some yellow squash, red pepper and onion. I’m thinking that they ran out of marinating time because the chicken was flavorless. A little salt would have gone a long way for this.
Crepe’n Around made two kinds of crepes for us, a savory and a sweet sample. We sampled the Maple Braised Pork crepe with apple chutney, and served with a green salad dressed with honey-dijon vinaigrette. I loved the tenderness of the pork, and the apple chutney did not disappoint, either. The salad served to cut the sweetness of the crepe, but quite honestly, it didn’t really need that. The fine folks at Crepe’n Around were kind enough to allow us to wait for the sweet crepe sample of fresh berries with pastry cream. The tartness from the berries contrasted against the rich and sweet cream made this sample one of the better dishes I tasted that night.
We got to sample some tequila infused mini tacos from the Camarena Tequila truck. The meat was flavorful, but I think was overpowered by the flavors of the tequila. In other words, I tasted the alcohol more than I tasted the actual taco. It also didn't help that the "promoter" was rude.
Next, we sampled some pineapple coconut goodness from the fine folks at Sedthee Eatery. Pineapple combined with coconut flavors just worked, and the toasted coconut was an added bonus. Pictured below are two more samples, but honestly, I have completely forgotten what they tasted like, so it wouldn't be fair to give a description of something I don't even remember.
We also got to try some potato rajas from Border Grill of Susan Feniger fame. It was really cheesy in a good way, and bland in a not-so-good way. But I was still left satisfied.
The star of the evening was the fried shrimp tacos from the Mariscos Jaliscos truck. They were the rightful Best-of-Show winner of the Festival. It was crunchy, spicy, savory, and zesty all in one. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and the avocado on top provided a cooling effect from the spiciness of the salsa. A great way to end the evening.

Kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Clark Kent for the recommendation - definitely a great way to celebrate good friends and good food.