Jun 29 2010

My First Food Truck Drive In

The 4th Annual NYC Food Film Festival took place last week.  The week was organized around multiple events featuring food films, both short and long, and food tastings.

The only event I attended was luckily the one event I really wanted to attend:  The First Annual Food Truck Drive In!

Despite the hassle of contradictory and confusing regulations, New York and Brooklyn have some incredible food trucks!  (As a side note, it pains me to read about the problems that existing food trucks often have in finding a parking spot or navigating the different permits--we need to celebrate this creativity, not squelch it).

Before the Food Truck Drive In, the only New York food truck I'd eaten at was Frites 'n' Meats.  However, I keep walking by a few that consistently catch my attention, including Wafels and Dinges and Anita Lo's Rickshaw Dumpling Truck.

We arrived early to the Drive In, our goal being to eat as much as possible in the two hours before the US-Ghana World Cup match.  The event was set in and around the Tobacco Warehouse, a fantastic roofless brick warehouse shell that offers funky views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.  Upon entering the warehouse, the first vendors we encountered were many of the Brooklyn Flea favorites.  While a lot of these artisans are not technically food trucks--though that would be amazing--I was excited they were there. (Whimsy and Spice, Asia Dog, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Milk Truck)

Our first matter of business was immediately joining the small line for Red Hook Lobster Pound, recognizing that this might be our only shot at a line this small...ever.  We showed self-restraint and bought one Maine lobster roll, with a side of Cape Cod chips, to share.  One word:  sinful.  I'll go ahead and say that it's the best lobster roll I've ever had.  The rich, tender lobster meat was topped (with restraint) by homemade mayonnaise.  A few celery pieces were mixed in and the bun was toasted just enough to be slightly crispy.  We painstakingly tried to eat the lobster roll in small bites, but that proved to an impossibility.

After some lemonade from Whimsy & Spice, we moved on to Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, truck sister to Rickshaw Dumpling Bar.  Luckily they were selling vegetarian dumplings, and even luckier, the vegetarian dumplings had been as carefully prepared as their meat dumplings.  Unlike some vegetarian options, there was no sacrifice in flavor.  The dumpling was filled with pureed edamame.

Our other stops at the Drive In included Wafels and Dinges, a truck with impressive theming.  Their menu runs the gamut from your most basic waffle to your most outlandish (pulled pork waffle--any takers!?).  We chose the mini wafelini  (waffle on a stick).   It tasted like a sweet kabob, something that would be perfect for a dessert or afternoon snack.

After passing by Pizza Moto, which had set up a wood burning brick oven, we finished our lunch with a Greenmarket pressed sandwich from Milk Truck.  The sandwich was filled with Vermont Cheddar, an arugula pesto, and Greenmarket tomatoes.  We hustled the sandwich back to our apartment just in time for the game! (And that's all I'm going to write about the game....)

Overall, our experience at the Food Truck Drive In was incredibly positive.  The food trucks and booths offered a variety of flavorful and creative options, even beyond what we tried. (We didn't have room for pizza, Korean barbecue, burgers, and/or a myriad of sweets.)  We gladly used the small lines to our advantage, assuming that the crowds probably picked up later in the day.  In the few days since the event, there have been a few internet based mumblings about how restricting the free tickets negatively effected the crowds.  I can't truly comment on this, as I was only there during the first 2 hours.  If that was the case, I am hopeful that the organizers take these lessons and apply them for an even more successful 2nd Food Truck Drive In.