fun at first food fest!

Guess who’s back? Welcome to Blind Taste Test 2011! The first part of this year has been both difficult and rewarding, but I finally earned my master’s degree in social work! Here’s to a fresh start:
Today I attended the first annual Zagat’s food truck fest, which took place in Chelsea on 21st and 22nd streets between 10th and 11th avenues. Twenty-six food trucks were in attendance, from Sweetery to Kelvin natural slush to Korilla BBQ. The juxtaposition of positive and negative elements was astounding; therefore I will divide my impressions into good, bad, and ugly. (Juxtaposition? Sorry I needed a big word there; I guess the master’s degree was really worthwhile!)
The food of course! Thank you, good night.
Oh, you wanted details? A ticket to this event entitled me to four tastings, and this was particularly difficult considering the variety of fair which was available. Some of you are aware of my picky, or “selective” nature, bearing this in mind I narrowed it down to 7 possibilities out of 26.
I enjoyed two tastings on 21st street. My first selection was from La Cense beef truck, where I tried a mini Angus beef slider with sautéed onions. This hamburger, made from 100% grass fed Angus beef, was delicious if not memorable, but the quality of the sweet sautéed onions and crisp roll put the slider over the top. Next I became adventurous and tasted a dish from the Bistro truck called chicken pastilla: Moroccan chicken pastilla is 3 layers of food inside a phyllo dough shell. On the bottom is braised, shredded chicken, on top of the chicken are eggs poached in chicken jus, on top of the eggs are ground roasted almonds. All of this is inside a phyllo dough shell that’s topped with confectioner’s sugar. Why did I try this? I liked all of the listed ingredients and the nice man working at the truck confirmed that this dish is not spicy. I actually thought it was quite tasty, the layers of flavor matched each other well: the crispy phyllo with the sweetness of the sugar and other fresh ingredients blended into an enjoyable snack.
After those two main dishes, it was time for dessert and a beverage on 22nd street. The Brooklyn black out mini cupcake from the Cupcake Crew was everything you would expect from three types of chocolate in a cupcake form. However, when they said mini, that is what they meant, and I was disappointed in the miniscule size of this selection. I finished with a winner: from Kelvin natural slush I ordered a special: a citrus tea slush with mixed berries. This might be the best, or I might have been really thirsty. It actually reminded me of Starbucks’ discontinued frozen pomegranate juice frappuccino, but this was all organic. Imagine a high quality slushy composed of refreshing iced tea, tangy citrus juices, and fresh mixed berry puree. It was an energizing treat and I told them to please come uptown more often.
The bad:
As I said, some of these tastings were very small, and were not worth the entrance fee of $12 in advance or $18 on the day of the fest. (I’ll get to that later.) I found the people working at the check in table to be a bit abrupt, although the security guards were more than accommodating.
The ugly:
Here is the part which frustrated me: if you want more than four tastings, you must pay $18 for a new ticket! Zagat does not sell individual tastings or more tokens, and I paid $12 for my ticket in advance. If I had known, I would have bought more tickets ahead of time. Considering that I had to travel from the other side of Manhattan to attend this event, I was not happy about this.
Would I go back? If I was working in the area, probably so, but I certainly would not travel a long distance. It was an experience, I enjoyed all of the food and perhaps this has given me the motivation to check out these trucks in the future. Until next time, stay positive! As Helen Keller said: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows”.
Dan Read More