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LA Street Food Fest

Because I'm a sucker for street food and large crowds, I'll be attending the First Annual LA Street Food Fest this Saturday. Someone on another topic said to steer away from anything called "First Annual", but I ain't afraid. Also, I don't have any other plans for the day.

So, what should I eat from amongst the thus far listed participants? I'm intrigued by this Bahaian fried turnover thingy, and I'll get some pastor as well. Any other trucks attending that are outstanding? Any I should avoid? How does Fresser's pastrami compare with Langer's or Brent's? I won't be getting the sushi, since mobile and raw fish seem like a bad combination. What else?

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  1. i am debating going. i really, really don't like large crowds and i suspect this is going to be a madhouse.

    i have only tried a few of the trucks, but i can say that the pork belly bun from the Flying Pig truck is just divine. i could eat my bodyweight in those.

    the Grilled Cheese Truck is probably going to have the longest lines, but it's worth it. their mac and cheese and pork sandwich is amazing. even just their plain regular grilled cheese was top notch. but i don't like their tomato soup. tastes like pasta sauce to me.

    4 Replies
      1. re: lizziee

        Got there early @ 1030, half an hour before the scheduled opening and there were ~150 people in line to get in ahead of us.

        Went straight to the ludo fried chicken line as that was the only truck i was keen to see. It was a ~30 minute line to order and another half hour to get the chicken. The chicken was served off bone - two chunks of dark meat which had been brined. Served with a tangy sauce on the side. $5. No choices. It was delicious - lots of crispiness and the sauce had a nice flavor in small quantities (i didnt want the fried chicken essence to be overwhelmed).

        A compatriot got us fries with shredded chicken on it to eat from the adjacent Fry Truck while we waited to order the LFC. It was good. $3.

        We escaped after eating our LFC at a table. So hot and so mobbed. The line looked insane at LFC and the line to get into the event still stretched around the corner and through the parking lot I had parked in.

        It seemed like a go early or don't even bother showing up kinda event. I would have been frustrated had I been planning on hitting a bunch of the trucks....

      2. re: Jelly71

        i feel like i have undereaten pork belly, despite its current popularity. i will try this pig truck this weekend. thank you for the suggestion.

        i've never been a passionate fan of grilled cheese, and especially not mac n cheese since i barfed it up when i was 10. thanks though.

        1. re: Rosiepigs

          The Flying Pig truck was at a foodie function in Pasadena a while back, serving their pork bun plus duck tacos. We thought the bun was okay - just a bit too much bun and not enough pork - but the taco was really good.

      3. The first annual Great American food & music festival this past summer in the bay area was an unmitigated disaster - see this thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/627131

        Which makes me nervous about these things.

        1. It sounds fun, but why do I have to pay $5 to get into a place to buy food from food trucks?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Ideefixed

            Cause - someone has to pay for the permits and security not to mention the trash clean up and the insurance

              1. re: Kymmie0862

                And, the venue, staff, promotion, etc. $5 is a steal.

            1. Trucks that I've tried that I like and would and have done repeats on are:
              Fressers, solid pastrami. Meat is juicy, well spiced, good texture.

              Phillysouthexperience, a very good cheesesteak

              Lomoarigato, peruvian food. The fried rice actually has decent wok hey

              Frysmith, fries with different toppings. The fries are tasty, crisp, good toppings and sauces

              Gastrobus. Good soup, corn crepes were also good. Everyone at the office seems to like their sandwiches.

              Getshaved, killer shaved ice. Make sure to get it with ice cream. I don't like it with beans, but it is more traditional.

              Average to me, I'd get them if they were nearby and had a hankering for that type of food but not go out of my way:
              Baby'sBB burgers, good, if not a bit overpriced for the quality and quantity

              Barbiesq. The pulled meat sandwiches aren't bad. I didn't care for the ribs

              Tastymeat. I've only had them once, liked it and would probably try their other stuff. It's a gyro type truck. I liked the one with a mix of beef and lamb. Option for a spicer tsatsiki type sauce. Co-worker had their falafel and liked it.

              Dogtown. Your standard gourmet hot dog in their various permuatations and toppings

              The nothing special, you can get equivalent or bettersomewhere else.
              Grillemall, melted cheese. The cheese was kind of gloppy and not melted into the bread properly, it had a weird texture to me. Didn't care for the soup.

              Loukstogo. Greek with the gyro/pita bread wraps. The lamb was skimpy and average. Light and non distinctive tsatsiki sauce

              Nomnom. Bahn mi sandwich. Expensive for skimpy average meat/portions. Silly taco pricing strategy.

              Fishlips sushi. Mobile and raw fish shouldn't be a problem. After all trucks have refrigeration. It's average sushi and prices are decent. But I work near Nijiya so if I want quick inexpensive sushi, I'd rather pop into Nijiya to get their stuff. If you're craving sushi and don't have the Nijiya option, then Fishlips isn't a bad substitute.

              As always, your mileage will vary. It seems like many of the trucks can be inconsistent in quality and maybe some of the ones I didn't care for, I just hit on an off day. The ones I liked, even on repeat visits, the quality was there.

              1. Just got back. Thank the Lord we got VIP tix a few weeks back - The line for Gen. Admission was ridiculous. Great event turnout - Tons of people.

                Chef Ludo was awesome, as always. Posed for a few photos with us.

                A few thoughts on the food. Dogzilla (Japanese hot dogs) were a big hit with our group (despite the >1 hr. wait time!). Dim sum truck concept (VIP area) looks promising. Kebab truck: not so good. NY Pizza: so-so. Sweets Truck - excellent "crack bar" and red velvet whoopie pies.

                Many trucks ran out of their signature food by 2PM.

                Waits were ridiculous. There's gotta be a better system for these events. The long wait times almost don't justify the effort of going at all.

                6 Replies
                1. re: J.L.

                  The Flying Pig Truck also had an extremely long wait - we waited for an hour and a half in line to order and then about another hour and a half for our food (while walking around and sampling other food in the meantime b/c they were so slow). Didn't get to try the fried chicken from Chef Ludo due to the long wait :( But did try the blazin' shrimp taco and the komodo signature taco from the Komodo truck. Both were really good, but the shrimp taco was my favorite food item of the day out of everything I did have, including the pork belly bun from the FPT (mine needed more sauce on it). All in all, I think the event was a success, but I agree that there has to be a better system. The lines were really long for some of the trucks and you couldn't even see where they wrapped around to since the trucks were so close by each other and there were so many people. Looking forward to my toffee rice krispy treat from the Sweets Truck later :)

                  1. re: J.L.

                    Yep. My wife went down to check it out around 2:30 and there was a guy on a bullhorn telling people in the line, that was wrapping around the block by then, that they'd be better off not even trying to get in at that point.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      I want to preface this and say I am not a complainer and I try to find a good thing about anything I do or try (really). And I also want to say I really had looked forward to attending and I was fully aware this was the "first annual" and was ready to cut some slack. But......
                      We pre-bought the VIP ticket and we arrived shortly before 11...maybe 100 people in front of us. We went directly to LudoBites and waited over an hour to the point there were maybe 25 people in front of us. That's when they said they ran out of food and it would be another hour.
                      By that time, all of the other vendors had huge lines and at this point we didn't see the situation improving at all, especially when we could see 1000+ people in the GA line still waiting to get in.
                      We left about 2 pm and went over to Clifton's Cafeteria and finally had something to eat.
                      I am so disappointed that I spent 60 bucks and really got nothing.
                      The concept is a good one, the execution just sucked. Maybe do it again and totally limit the tickets so vendors and customers have a good time.
                      And don't get me started on the fact that the Blue Line had only one train running today.

                      1. re: mke2lax

                        I had a similarly negative experience due to the long lines. Got there shortly after 11, and got to go on the "short" entrance line since we got the prepaid $10 tickets. Waited 30 min to get in, went directly to Ludo Bites and waited on line 1.5 hours to order, than another hour to get the food...a total of 2.5 hours. Yes, the chicken was delicious, when we finally got it. In 5 hours there we were able to sample 5 things...but only because I left my husband alone in line and stood on other lines alone and brought them back to him. And I didn't manage to try most of the trucks I had been most looking forward to trying, because they had the longest lines (e.g., woman in line with me at the shave ice place said it took her 3 hours to get food from Flying Pig)...we basically put all our waiting energy into Ludo and then didn't have it in us to wait over an hour for any other single thing...we just focused on the least popular trucks. It was an adventure, so I'm ultimately glad I went, but I would never go again. This was definitely the most poorly organized food event I have ever been to.

                        1. re: Nicole

                          Hi Nicole, mke2lax,

                          I'm sorry to hear about your experiences. :( Kinda makes me glad I didn't go (my friends would've killed me if we had to wait ~1 - 2 hours per truck, and that they ran out of food by ~2 p.m.). I hope the organization improves next time.

                          1. re: exilekiss

                            Actually, I predict that this sort of gathering will soon evolve into a workable system (card stamps or "credits" instead of cash trading hands, ordering by cellphone texting or pre-set "order boxes", staggered pickup times, multiple lines per truck, etc.), with less wait times and more pleasant experience overall.

                            The energy from all the people there last Saturday was positive and upbeat, despite the long wait times. Food really does bring people together.