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Jersey Shore Food Truck Wars

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HillJ May 13, 2012 07:35 AM

All the fun details can be found here:
http://jsfoodtruckwars.wordpress.com/

Fellow NJ Chowhounds who have shared so many great reviews about food truckers in our state-I hope to see ya there!

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  1. flourgirl RE: HillJ May 14, 2012 07:47 AM

    I want to go to this so bad!!! My son plays travel baseball and of course we have a tournament that weekend - but I am going to do my best to squeeze this in somehow...

    1. njfreqflyer RE: HillJ May 19, 2012 05:02 AM

      List of participating food trucks recently updated here:

      http://www.facebook.com/JerseyShoreFo...

      1. seal RE: HillJ May 21, 2012 03:07 PM

        Going Sunday without a doubt.

        Taking the whole family and looking forward to my afterpost.

        4 Replies
        1. re: seal
          stack_c RE: seal May 24, 2012 10:35 AM

          Super excited. Especially for Red Hook Lobster. Here's the updated list:

          Ahh! La Cart
          Wafels & Dinges
          Burger Box
          Max's Hot Dogs
          Red Hook Lobster
          Pudgy's Street Food
          Rickshaw Dumplings
          Kona Ice
          The Taco Truck
          Lil Dans Gourmet
          Deliano's Food Service
          The French Quarter - A Taste of New Orleans LLC
          Mustache Mobile
          Cupcake Carnivale
          Thai Elephant Truck
          Fork in the Road
          Gozen Yogurt

          1. re: stack_c
            seal RE: stack_c May 27, 2012 11:12 AM

            And the winners are:

            ( well, at least IMHO)

            Red Hook Lobster - lobster blt w chipotle mayo was off the (red) hook!
            Wafels & Dinges - I had the pulled pork, crazy good on a waffle. The kids loved the ones with ice cream and gobs of sweet stuff
            Rickshaw Dumplings - chicken and thai basil!

            Didn't see The French Quarter truck.
            Thai truck had a very weak papaya salad.

            Lots and lots of people eating! Go NJ economy!

            1. re: seal
              t
              taste test RE: seal May 27, 2012 12:21 PM

              I just got back. The place was mobbed and the lines long so we only got to the lobster truck. I got a Maine roll and husband got the Bacon, Lobster, Tomato. Both were great. After that we watched the band and then a race, which was fun.

              I'm not the best reviewer for food festivals because I'm always trying to keep my weight in check and so can never go all out with the food. Still, I enjoy going and trying at least one thing.

              I hope they do this again with more trucks next time.

              1. re: seal
                chefMD RE: seal May 28, 2012 08:56 AM

                Bet we were in line waiting for the waffles at the same time! you probably got yours as I was at the end of the line...

                agreed on the chicken thai basil dumplings. by the time we got to lobster truck they were 80% sold out... bummed as i was looking forward to the blt (shocker, i know). i believe the french quarter truck had a problem with it's permits and had to leave (that was the word going around)

                 
          2. b
            benn2009 RE: HillJ May 27, 2012 02:50 PM

            Just got back as well. Was really hoping I'd be able to try a bunch of different things, but as it usually goes with events like this, unless you show up right when it starts, you'll spend most of your day in a line. We arrived around 2PM and the lines were insane. It was incredibly difficult to find out what line pertained to which truck, and once you did, there was no turning back. We stood in line for the Rickshaw Dumpling truck for about 45 minutes. Of course, once we were about 2 orders back, they ran out of the side that we wanted to order with our dumplings. What we did get to eat was fantastic (pork dumplings and chicken dumplings), but since we had no patience to wait in another line, we ate our entire lunch from the one truck. The trucks were doing the best they could given the number of people, so there really isn't anyone to put the blame on - it just sucks that you either had to show up at 11:30 or divide and conquer (and spend 45 minutes alone) in order to fully enjoy all of the trucks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: benn2009
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              larrycl RE: benn2009 May 27, 2012 04:31 PM

              We went as well.... and the lines were soooooo long, we didn't even try waiting on them. And when people say the lines were insane, they weren't exaggerating... lines were 50, 75, 100 people deep.

              I mean, I love street food & food trucks as much as the next chow-hounder, but at the end of the day, these are FOOD TRUCKS we're talking about; I wouldn't wait for an hour to try a small hole in the wall no matter how good it was, and I wasn't about to wait an hour in line to try one food truck.

              Really a fail of a day, after paying $3 to park and $9 to get in for the three of us, to not even be able to try any of the trucks .... it wasn't the trucks fault; I fault the organizers for over-promoting it (and having the truck rally during a racing event) and not having enough trucks to service the crowds. I would certainly NOT attend if they hold it again next year.

            2. w
              wujamie RE: HillJ May 27, 2012 04:53 PM

              I definitely echo the sentiments regarding the long lines. My girlfriend and I got there pretty early so the lines weren't to ridiculous. Here's what we had:

              Fork in the Road - By 1:00 they were already sold out of the short rib sandwich, but I got the pork shoulder sandwich with broccoli rabe and muenster cheese which was actually quite good. Also got a grilled chicken sandwich with cheddar cheese and some sort of really tasty bread.

              Red Hook Lobster - My girlfriend waited in line here while I was in line for Fork in the Road. She got us a lobster BLT which was very tasty.

              Thai Elephant truck - we waited in a quick line and ordered drunken noodles and spicy basil chicken dish. We were given a number which we soon realized meant anothe 45 minutes to an hour before we actually got the food. Luckily the beer garden was right next door and we were able to kill the time in style sampling micro brews. The food was pretty average Thai cuisine, but it was nice and spicy.

              Rickshaw Dumpling - We had a couple of friends there who we found waiting in this line so we asked them to get enough for us to try. They got 6 each of the pork, thai basil chicken, and vegetarian. They were all pretty good, but the vegetarian (edamame with peanut dipping sauce) was actually the best.

              All said and done, we waited in a lot of long lines, spent a lot of money, drank a lot of beer, and ate some pretty decent food. Not a bad day. I would have to say that the best bite of food I had all day was the vegetarian dumpling from Rickshaw.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wujamie
                h
                HillJ RE: wujamie May 27, 2012 05:04 PM

                We must have been standing in the same lines around the same hour, wuj. Your selections nearly outline my own. The veg dumplings were very good but the lobster blt was my fav of the day.

                I also agree with the frustration of long lines, some trucks running completely out early and the general lack of planning for crowds. Hopefully the organizers will rethink the hits & misses for next time. I think a venue like this needs a location that is entirely focused on the food trucks..not a shared space.

                But I do hope this runs again and again and attracts some of the terrific trucks missing from the day (The Cinnamon Snail for one).

              2. h
                hcentro RE: HillJ May 27, 2012 05:25 PM

                I agree the lines were crazy. Also not being 100% sure you were in the right line was frustrating. The only truck my group even got to was the taco truck. The pork and chicken tacos were good. They had a fried catfish taco that was excellent. Crispy fried catfish with an excellent sauce. The only thing better was the couple of wins I had betting on the ponies!!!

                10 Replies
                1. re: hcentro
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                  coldsolderjoint RE: hcentro May 27, 2012 06:46 PM

                  We had a good time but lines where insanely.

                  Dumplings where great but not worth the wait in our opinion.

                  Waffle truck was awesome. Had a sweet one with beer flavored ice cream and gingerbread sauce. And also the pulled pork waffle.

                  Mustache mobile had one of the best cheesesteaks I've ever had. I don't really like spicy stuff but this thing was incredible. Pizza was great too.

                  My complaints are the same as everyone else. Hopefully next year they will have more space for the lines.

                  Looks like they wherent expecting this many people. Trucks where overwhelmed and running out of stuff. Next year I'm sure they will be better prepared.

                  Other complaint was it was next to impossible to just buy a bottle of water. But beer everywhere. Guess we will just bring our own water next year.

                  Wish I coulda tried more trucks but all in all a good time.

                  1. re: coldsolderjoint
                    foobuc RE: coldsolderjoint May 28, 2012 03:56 AM

                    Pretty much same as what everyone else said. Waited for about an hour at the Max's line for my Mom(would have been easier just to drive to the main Max's joint). I wanted to try the Cajun joint but couldn't even see that truck and i wanted to try the Chicago beef and the waffles. I think they should have had the trucks lines up on all of one side and spread them out all along that road outside the front of the track. Too many lines intertwining with each other. I can understand them running out of food as it was a first year event and also with the weather so unsure. I wouldn't want to be a truck owner and get stuck with tons of left over food if it was a light turnout. Just read that the Cajun truck was not allowed in or turned away by the Fire Marshal? Maybe too many people there or ???? anyone know???

                    1. re: foobuc
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                      coldsolderjoint RE: foobuc May 28, 2012 09:54 AM

                      I was thinking that too, theres a lot of space in the front, but then, they'd have to re-arrange the ticket booths for people to pay. They aren't going to let you in unless you pay your $3 plus $3 for parking. Lol..

                      Looking at an Ariel of the track, I'm not sure how they would be able to do it next year and allow for more trucks and better organized lines, unless they use up a parking lot, and reduce the number of people who could physically get to the track.

                      Doing it on a day when there isnt a horse race might be better if we are thinking about it from soley a food perspective.

                      1. re: coldsolderjoint
                        h
                        HillJ RE: coldsolderjoint May 28, 2012 10:12 AM

                        Or just change the location altogether. I'm not at all convinced that the track was well suited for the event, or the subsequent proof that the public will come out in the thousands to spend $$ and enjoy it.

                        New location next year would suit me just fine.

                        1. re: HillJ
                          c
                          coldsolderjoint RE: HillJ May 29, 2012 07:00 AM

                          Well, yeah I agree with you there.

                          I have no idea of what the compensation/cost factors where for the trucks.. but I'm sure the track mgmt didn't let them in for free.. and it didn't cost the track nothing for the staff, clean up, etc.. and advertising..

                          So I guess it would be a money thing to have it somewhere else vs re-arrangement of the layout.

                          But the event was too busy.. which as a business owner/promoter.. is generally a good problem to have.

                          1. re: coldsolderjoint
                            h
                            HillJ RE: coldsolderjoint May 29, 2012 07:04 AM

                            Given the turnout, I don't think spending a few months securing sponsors for next time would be a waste of time.

                            1. re: HillJ
                              c
                              coldsolderjoint RE: HillJ May 29, 2012 07:15 AM

                              yeah.. come to think of it, might be a pretty good idea..

                              It would just have to be carefully put together. The thought of the AC Food Network stuff comes to mind. I haven't been to the food network things with celebrity chef's down in AC, but they seem to like to turn it into a "festival", then you have to buy tickets which are $30+

                              Yeah, it cost my fiancee and I $9 to get in ($3 each plus $3 parking).. but thats still a far cry from $60 or so just for the tickets to a food network event.

                              This event was cool because its basically street food that one could conceivably just go buy wherever the truck might be.. but all the trucks grouped together for an event.

                              Come to think of it, we didn't vote at all.. simply because we wherent able to try enough trucks to be fair (in our minds). And just from the replies here, seems like we might not have been too out of line with the norm. Not that the winning trucks didn't deserve it, but that point just irks me a bit.

                              1. re: coldsolderjoint
                                h
                                HillJ RE: coldsolderjoint May 29, 2012 07:20 AM

                                Oh yeah, I didn't vote at all. It wasn't a fair contest in the sense that the crowds overtook the premise. Next time if they run a real food truck war contest, time should be specifically set aside to focus on it. Or reps from each truck focus on the contest and other staffers run the crowds. But, time will tell.

                                Oh and anything run out of AC is going to cost ya.

                                1. re: HillJ
                                  c
                                  coldsolderjoint RE: HillJ May 29, 2012 07:40 AM

                                  Yeah, and its such a crappy place if you don't gamble.. lol.

                                  I'm just saying that if they go really big with sponsors and get a company like food network to come in, they can easily out price the spirit of the event and ruin a good thing. That's all my comment was meant to say.

                                  1. re: coldsolderjoint
                                    h
                                    HillJ RE: coldsolderjoint May 29, 2012 07:43 AM

                                    Sorry I didn't focus on that part of your reply. The thought of FN running this would turn me off. I'm thinking LOCAL and local sponsorship.

                                    I love a good horse race...but I was there for food inventions and a good meal!

                2. angelo04 RE: HillJ May 28, 2012 04:42 AM

                  I work in NYC and eat at many of these trucks. You typically wait minimum 20 - 45 minutes especially during the peak lunch rush. This event sounds like a great idea but sounds like they need to double or triple the # of trucks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: angelo04
                    seal RE: angelo04 May 28, 2012 05:56 AM

                    Reading all these posts makes me glad I rushed us out the door and got there early. We were done eating by 12:30 and out before 1 after listening to some music. Shame it turned into a nightmare as we had a nice time.

                    thoughts:

                    Have three times as many trucks next year and break it down into three separate areas.

                    Bring in some of the stands from the local farmer's markets, especially the ones who also sell breads.

                    Have a separate fee for those who want to also come into the track so as to eliminate the bottleneck line to pay to get to the food.

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