I have just returned from the LA Street Food Fest. Josie needed a nap and I need to reflect. First, let me say who could have planned for that weather? It was beautiful and perfect. Hard to believe that 70% of the USA right now is covered in snow and I may have gotten a sunburn. Josie and I arrived there only 10 minutes after the event started. We were volunteers so we got easy underground parking, checked in, and got our working aprons in preparation for our 2-5 shift. Of course, we put them on immediately so we could look official and have a bib for all of the eating we were planning on doing. Minty was to be leading a crawl once inside but we arrived before her and began our eating process. At this point, all of the lines were beginning to grow and it was only 11:30. We are both sandwich lovers but if you have begun to know our taste buds than you know Josie loves fried eggs and I loved pickled things. That means Josie started with a croque at Monsieur Egg and I had a mini bahn mi from the Phamish truck.
Both sandwiches were exactly our flavor profiles and it was a good opener that required no real waiting. It was around this time we realized some very important things. First, we were listed as the top prize on the Raffle List. Never has a date with the UGs been such a commodity.
Secondly, we realized that neither one of us was prepared. We both had cell phones that were on the verge of dying. Not smart when we were on the lookout for friends and our crawl leader. We found our group in line for the India Jones truck and they all still had some Don Chow in hand. We sampled both and would have tried more but we were on the lookout for something refreshing. You should know us well enough to know that refreshing for Josie means an ice cold beer and for me (Carina) means something fruity and/or bubbly and cold. Jose grabbed a beer and I got the most delicious popsicle from Popshop.
Now it was 12:30, that the sun was beating and the lines were growing. We were planning on hitting up Flying Pigs with the crawl group but the line was too intimidating. Instead we waited for 20 minutes for Fish Lips Sushi. I have heard great things about this truck but this was my first time trying it. While in line, Minty used her feminine ways to get some red velvet pancakes from the Buttermilk Truck that had a 40 minute wait. They were light fluffy and tasted just like you would imagine with sweet cream cheese on top.
Josie did a beer run for the crawlers but requested I order her one of her favorite foods, karagee, Japanese fried chicken. I got something I never eat a crunchy roll. My new line is, “I am SO over eating cooked fish”. However, this was a bargain philosphy. They had the temari sashimi plater for $5, which looked amazing. It was rolled into a ball and perfectly bite sized. I was going to order that until I realized that the crunchy roll was the same price, $3, as the California roll. Hold the phone, you’re telling me I can add in shrimp tempura in the roll for free. Of course, I had to order this. It was pretty good and the tempura was still crunchy. We got princess seating on the (fish)tail end of the truck.
Josie was not that into her fried chicken. I get it, this is a sushi truck and apparently that isn’t even normally on their menu. Josie is allergic to most seafood, so this is what she was stuck with. However, even before arriving we knew that there was one person’s fried chicken that everyone was dying to try and that was Chef Ludo‘s. The time now was about 1:20pm and we were already getting word that people were waiting 45 minutes to order from the truck and then another 30 to grab their fried chicken. We didn’t have time for this because we were set to volunteer, or else maybe we would have waited. Thankfully, while we were working our awesome friend Kane was sweet enough to bring us over some to try. I don’ know how Ludo makes it so moist (not trying to be vulgar) but it was such delicious chicken. Would we have waited an hour? Probably not, but it was finger lickin good.
At this point we knew the place was packed. Far upwards of the expected 10,000 people. We ran into a bunch of friends: yelpers, bloggers, interns, and more. We knew we would be working the front door and as we were walking over there we heard that no one else was going to be allowed in. We could see the line and there were thousands of people. The lines inside were getting bad and they had to put a stop to the people coming in, it wasn’t a simple problem. Being that close to the door and organizers, I can tell you that they really tried to ease the situation. Announcements were made, drinks were given out to those people waiting, and they truly tried to be accommodating. Around 3:00pm people were slowly allowed in and at 4:00 the gates were open to anyone that wanted to come in. Josie and I have been to a ton of food events and whenever it is a 1st annual there are always glitches. However, they are reports that 15,000 people showed up; no one could have predicted that. We left our shift early a little beat up from the sun and by this time both of our phones had died. We lost one another in the crowd and it wasn’t easy to get reunited. It took about 40 minutes to find each other and then we left exactly at 5:00pm, the end of the event. There were still trucks serving, people in line, and it was still nice outside. Here is a shot only seconds before we left:
I am sure that a lot of people will have a lot to say about the event in the upcoming tweets, hours, and days but I must say that all in all it was a very fun event, I really liked what DJJEWLZ tweeted:
Lines aside, @lafoodfest was a fun place to eat some food, hang out with other Angelenos, enjoy DTLA and soak in the AWESOME weather.
Also, EatingLA‘s tweet was what made me think of the title for this post:
Oh oh! Backlash against @LAFoodfest building quickly — lotsa pissed-off comments on my blog already. Guess it was TOO good an idea.
Having too good of an idea doesn’t seem like a crime to me. I truly commend SauceLA and UniqueLA for dreaming up this event and making it happen. Josie and I love downtown LA, trying new food, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This event offered all of that. Whatever people say about LA, there are a ton of real people that love street food and are looking for a gathering place. City of Santa Monica, please take note and consider reopening the Santa Monica Food Truck Lot.