Friday, July 12, 2013
Vancouver Food Cart Fest Sunday July 6
I've been kicking myself for missing the all of the Food Cart Fest Sundays last year at the Waldorf Hotel parking lot. I was o so happy to hear that for the summer of 2013, Food Cart Fest was coming back!
This weekly event (every Sunday 12noon- 6pm from June 23- Sept 22) is now located in a massive parking lot right under/just east of the Cambie Street Bridge with entrance and exit gates from the False Creek seawall. They've signed up 30 food carts and trucks and plan to have a rotating roster of about 13 vendors a week. Be prepared- there was a long line to get into the food truck lot (but it moved really quickly) and there is a two dollar entrance fee (I don't really like when I have to pay money to be able to get in somewhere to spend money :$).
Once you're in, a variety of Vancouver food carts are spread out to tempt your tastebuds. Initially, I wasn't going to go last weekend because I had checked which carts were attending on the Vancouver Street Food App and there weren't many trucks/carts that had committed. BUT I checked the app on the Sunday morning and changed when I saw the final line-up which had a great looking roster of Vancouver veterans like Tacofino and rookies like Aussie Pie Guy.
We arrived around 12:30 - the food trucks and carts were set up in almost a semi-circle on the south side of the grounds with some covered tables providing shade and a DJ spinning tunes set up for entertainment. To the northwest of the gates, there was a little market with tables selling crafts and flea market fashions. Even only half an hour into the event, some of the line-ups were pretty epic looking (Tacofino and Yolk's) which actually helped me narrow down my dining choices since I didn't feel like standing in the heat for an hour to get fed.
I had previously eaten at a few of the truck on site but I was hankering to try one of many the food trucks that I drool over online but don't get a chance to visit since I don't work downtown. I ended up going with Mangal Kiss Mid East BBQ, one of the food carts regularly stationed outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. I've read a tonne of positive reviews, perved over tasty food photos and was eager to try their Shislaks. Their was a bit of a crowd in front of their cart but things seemed to be running quickly and efficiently. When I got to the front of the line, I noticed that they weren't offering their typical Shislak wraps but had a special menu with two offerings.
I ordered their Kefta ($9). About 15 minutes later, a received a hefty wrap that smelled delicious. My kefta was a pita with ground lamb and beef meatballs with lettuce and veggies smothered in a savoury, rich tomato cumin sauce. It was really really good. Everything was fresh, hot, quality and well made. Definite comfort food. I did have my heart set on one of their Shislaks from their regular menu with grilled persian flatbread, choice of meats, and the ability to choose your own veggies and sauces. But I understand that to accommodate the huge crowds and turn around orders quickly, they switched to a set menu without customization for this event. It's a really smart move. I really wish they had hot sauce on hand to kick this up a notch because I'm a spice addict and some spice would have made this wrap extra awesome. A word of warning, this Kefta is FILLING. I was so stuffed after eating this jam-packed wrap, that I wasn't interested in eating anything else. SO FULL. I really do want to try their regular Shislak wraps (because they sound sooo good)so I'll have to find a way to get to their cart on a weekday for lunch.
My buddy Hally ordered their Lamb Kebab $8; served on a pita with organic greens, cucumbers, radish, shaved daikon, fresh mint, and hummus with Turkish fig vinaigrette and sweet pepper harissa aioli. It looked a little lighter in the loafers than my hefty wrap with a ratio that seemed a bit more veggie than meat. He enjoyed his kebab but I think he definitely liked the look of mine better. Perhaps we would've shared but trying to cut and share these would have been a messy nightmare. He also ordered a glass of their Limonana ($2); Israeli mint lemondade with fresh picked mint, freshly squeezed lemons and sugar cane served on ice. He let me have a sip and I really liked it. It was simple, light, uber refreshing and the mint balanced out the sweetness nicely.
The Sous Chef went straight for one of the new trucks, Culver City Salads and ordered their Soba Noodle Salad ($9).
There was no line up at this truck (awesome), the portion was HUGE, and the salad was delicious. Great taste and texture with the noodles against the mixed greens, shredded carrots, cabbage, chickpeas, cauliflower, sesame seeds, avocado and the bright, full-flavoured Creamy Green dressing with miso, tahini, parsley, apple cider vinegar, and garlic. This was probably the best meal for a super hot day.
We met up with some other friends at the FTF and they were also sharing a salad from the Culver Truck- this was their Quinoa Salad with Chipotle Dressing.
Hally also picked up a grilled cheese sandwich for his little one, Weston, from Taser Grilled Cheese. I stole a bite of his LOLO sandwich; Swiss Gruyere and Cheddar melted on caramel onions and smoked bacon on sourdough. It was buttery, rich, crunchy, and big on flavour. Not the best grilled cheese I've ever had, but pretty good.
Tonnes of people I know have been raving about Johnny's Pops so I was really excited to try a tasty frozen blueberry mojito pop but after my Kefta I was just too stuffed. O well, something to look forward to next time.