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Jan 29, 2011 03:35 PM

Santa Anita Food Truck Festival -- disaster!

Did anyone else try to attend this event? I'm awarding it the prized "Epic Fail" badge of dishonor.

There were 28 gourmet food trucks set up around the perimeter of the infield. For $10 admission & parking, you got access to the trucks and the park. All food purchases were extra. However, I knew that going in, and if I had been able to actually get food, well...

I spent about eighty minutes in line for the Lardon truck, which features a variety of bacon dishes. I picked that truck because the line was long but didn't seem to be as long as some of the other lines -- such as the Grilled Cheese Truck or Border Grill Truck. During my wait, they ran out of about half of their menu items. I placed my order, then joined the mob milling around waiting for their food to come out.

Another hour passed. They finally closed the order window.

Then another half hour passed. Still no food. I went up to the window and asked for a refund. It looked like my ticket was still another 45-60 minutes away from being filled, believe it or not!

Unfortunately, this experience appeared to be typical. Most trucks were running out of food and running 2+ hour waits. The only exceptions were the dessert-themed trucks, where you could get a cupcake or ice cream sandwich after a mere 30 minutes or so.

I don't know if they ridiculously oversold this event, or if food trucks are by their nature not suited toward serving large gatherings. When I complained, I did get a refund, so I appreciate that. However, this was an epic fail, and a waste of a day for my family.

Border Grill
1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

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  1. Jordan, I agree 100%. This event was HORRIBLE. They completely oversold the event, and waiting 2 hours for a friggin grilled cheese was not worth it. We went to one of the shorter lines, the BBQ truck and enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich, which took 52 minutes. They ran out of pork 5 people after we ordered at only 1PM. We got nothing else and left the cheese sandwich line after 1 hour and moving twenty feet. We didn't ask for a refund because we had already ordered some food.

    I enjoyed the horse racing but will NEVER come back to this event again.

    1. Sounds like the LA Weekly / UCLA event.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        That would be the LA Times/UCLA event. It will take a month of Sundays before I forget that one.

      2. I'm not surprised. I am done—done, done, DONE—with food truck "festivals". There was just one in Irvine, at the Hyatt. They graciously gave half an hour's parking free. Riiiiiiight. When was the last time you got through a food truck festival in half an hour? After some outcry, it was extended to an hour... still not good enough.

        There was one in Fountain Valley, at Boomers on Magnolia. $5 to get in, but you got a $4 card for Boomers. I'm thirty-mumble years old and I do not need a card to Boomers.

        Done. Done, done, done. If I see a food truck I might stop, but I'm not going to any more of these stupid festivals.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Most food trucks are mediocre at best. Anybody who would wait an hour for a grilled cheese sandwich should have their head examined. At least at the JGold event, once you get in, all the food is included. I remember the first year and I went crazy at the Animal booth. It was Pork-a-palooza!

          BTW, I went to Din Tai Fung and the Arboretum (across the street from the festival) today. Waited about 15 mins for some fantastic dumplings and had a nice walk with the family on a very beautiful day. I was probably done in the time it took to get a grilled cheese sandwich from one of the food trucks!

          Din Tai Fung Restaurant
          1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

          1. re: bsquared2

            Most food trucks are mediocre at best.

            That good, huh? I think you give them too much credit.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              But they often have such clever and funny names. They must hire the same people that make up the names for the Westside Pho joints. They are Un-PHO-gettable!

              1. re: bsquared2

                I just hope that the food bus trend spreading like wildfire up in NoCal doesn't trickle down here.

            2. re: bsquared2

              bsquared, you could have had your delicious din tai fung lunch and gone to a movie before those in the back of the line got their cheese sandwich.

              This was my last time going to any food truck festival, especially at Santa Anita racetrack

            3. re: Das Ubergeek

              Your thoughts above should be an original thread unto itself, Das.

              Agree completely.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Oh, I concur. If I see a truck, and I'm hungry, and I don't have to wait more then 10 minutes ... I'll try it.

                Otherwise, fuggadaboutit.

              2. I was supposed to go to this, but decided against it at the last minute. I had a feeling the lines would be long, and I wasn't up for it. I'd rather check out food trucks when they aren't so busy. Glad I didn't go. Can anyone recommend where to find the best food trucks? I usually just hit up the ones on Fair Oaks in Pasadena. These tend to be taco trucks. Thanks for the review. Let me know if you have any favorite trucks, and I'll try to find them on my own time, outside of the festival scene.

                1. It was almost impossible to find the end of the lines. Waiting 2 hours for food from a food truck crosses the line from foodie to cult worshiper.I would recommend avoiding these events until sanity returns. Clearly they knew how many tickets they had sold on the internet.for this event.