The Evolution of food trucks:
My childhood memories, as a born and raised New Yorker, contain many experiences of acquiring food from hot dog carts, which I would then happily consume on a sunny park bench. As time passed by, I noticed the addition of more and more vendors of shish kabobs, or what is now being referred to as “street meat.” And then … the world was introduced to the awesome phenomenon of food trucks! I have been a fully fledged food truck fanatic since I attended a
Where many of them gathered together in 2011. However, one of the best events I have attended to date was last week’s Choice Streets.
On May 7th, I entered the Choice Streets event located at the Intrepid Museum and the atmosphere was vibrant and energetic: twenty-six food trucks, a live DJ, and a beautiful spring evening were the perfect combination of taste, sound, and ambiance. (Although let’s forget about how crazy long the general admission line was; it makes me wonder what the maximum number of tickets for sale was and why was this number so high?) Despite this one flaw, I must give the Village Voice a great deal of credit: their outstanding coordination of a variety of excellent food trucks was a pleasure to witness. (Some of you might also remember how much fun I had at their
2013 Choice Eats event.)
Considering the number of food trucks and even exponentially larger amount of people at Choice Streets, I was fortunate enough to try eight samples. Here are my four Blind Food Critic approved favorites:
Wafels and Dinges:
Perhaps it is because I really like all of these ingredients, or because this creation speaks directly to my sweet tooth, but here is how I feel about Wafels and Dinges’ entry at Choice Streets: You just have to admire a food truck who creates a dish especially just for such a large event as this. (Not to mention how outrageously decadent their waffle was). To clarify, they topped a chewy waffle with candied bacon, bourbon-infused maple syrup, and fresh whipped cream! (In hindsight, consuming this probably breaks laws in certain religions and in most dietary codes, but it’s simply splendid!) As someone who concentrates on issues of the senses like taste and smell rather than on visual aspects such as presentation, I found this combination of flavors and textures to be brilliant. (I’m sure it was visually appealing, but my focus was clearly elsewhere.) In each bite, there was the crisp and sweet bacon, along with the dual contrasting flavors in the syrup, with the chewy texture of the waffle and foamy whipped cream. Some of you might not like the sound of this dish, but love it or hate it, we must recognize the genius of Wafels and Dinges.
Andy’s Italian Ices:
I can recall visiting various Italian ice vendors in my youth, most of which evoke thoughts of refreshing and enjoyable moments. However, Andy’s Italian Ices takes this frozen treat to the next level! While standing on line, I overheard that they make forty-five flavors of ices, some of which are water-based and others are cream-based. I assumed that only a few varieties would be available for sampling, but I was wrong! After mentally debating over which flavor to try, I decided on two: Mango (water-based) and chocolate fudge brownie (cream-based). The mango ice was akin to a wonderful sorbet: the texture was extremely smooth and I was surprised how much of the real fruit flavor it retained. This was one of the best Italian ices I have ever tried… not to mention the chocolate fudge brownie. Imagine a sherbet with a deep chocolate flavor, mingled with little bits of brownie. I couldn’t determine if the mango or brownie was better; all I knew was that I needed to do some more research about this remarkable food truck!
Kelvin Natural Slush:
There are few things, in my opinion, which are quite as refreshing on a warm day, as a beverage from Kelvin Natural Slush. I found that with so many combinations of bases and purees to choose from, I was able to discover a new creation despite my several visits. (Warning: if they ever introduce a coffee base for their drinks, my Starbucks cravings will be in danger!) At Choice Streets, I selected an Arnold Palmer slush: this icy drink contained citrus and tea bases blended with a green apple puree. My beverage was everything I wanted it to be and more: invigorating, extremely tangy, aromatic and light.
Before Choice Streets, I didn’t necessarily think that there was a need for a Japanese food truck. (Don’t we have enough of those restaurants already?) However, noticing that they had the longest line of the night and receiving a strong recommendation from another attendee of this event ended up piquing my interest in Hibachi Heaven. I am happy to report that their selection of the night, vegetable teriyaki fried rice was worth the wait. The combination of vegetables seamlessly merged elements which were crisp, sweet, and hearty at the same time. While the fried rice and sauce itself were both well made and delicious, unfortunately my taste buds’ impression was that neither particularly stood out. However, I was generally impressed with the intermingling of flavors which made for a very satisfying snack. This food truck deserves extra credit for having one of the largest serving sizes, but their merits go beyond sheer quantity. Hibachi Heaven’s vegetable teriyaki fried rice is an excellent example of a whole dish being greater than its parts and I now understand what the hype is all about!
I would like to thank the Village Voice once again for the opportunity to attend and cover this excellent event. Judging by my
Audio highlights of Choice Streets
I believe that you will agree with me that this experience was a definite success. Bottom line: if you can deal with several long lines in order to sample a multitude of interesting and tasty cuisines, then I highly recommend that you check it out in the future. (To complete your sensory journey, take a look at my video which I have included after this review, I humbly consider it to be my best so far!) Thanks for reading the Real Blind Taste Test, and don’t forget:
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
– Mark Twain