Every now and then someone at a big multi national corporation leaves the interns with the keys to the advertising department and great things happen. Take Hot pockets, produced by Nestle, and their latest online ad featuring Snoop Dog (who I thought had changed his name to Snoop Lion? Right??), Kate Upton and a few cameos. Remember Biz Markie? Take his hit song “Just A Friend”, make it about Hot Pockets, add in some Minecraft/getting high references and you get this…
Well you guys, I haven’t had a really good rant in a while and I was starting to think I was losing my edge. Never fear, Food Cart Fest to the rescue!! The plan was to head down to False Creek with Hayley and meet up with some local foodies (@mhchipmunk, @yvrbcbro and @foodgays). I got to the Athletes Village just after 12 and parked under Legacy Liquor Store. The parking ticket machine there never works and it seems like no one cares so free parking! Off to a good start.
I wandered over to the big empty parking lot where the festival is being held this year and saw a really long lineup of people along the walking/bike path. That couldn’t be just to get in could it? Yep, it was. There was roughly (and I’m under exaggerating) 400 people lined up to enter Food Cart Fest and this isn’t even the first weekend. I decided to see WHY the lineup was so long and discovered that it was because you have to pay an ADMISSION FEE to even get in??!! Last year The event was held in the parking lot at The Waldorf on Hastings all summer and there was no admission fee. Were there lineups at the trucks? Yes there were but that is totally acceptable. Yes the admission fee is only $2 but that makes the line so slow that someone with a young child >>>ME<<< has to stand in the heat for 30-45 minutes? This is the part where I lose all the non parents… Talk to you later. But it’s not just the parents, it’s EVERYONE!
This year you have to line up to pay to get in, to line up to pay to eat. Stupid. Vancouver’s food truck newbies envision a city that looks like Portland with food trucks parked on every corner and dedicated parking lots filled with amazing food and brimming with atmosphere. That happened organically for Portland, it wasn’t forced like they’re trying to do here. Why would I pay to have the privilege to eat at a food truck when I can eat at a food truck any other day of the week and just pay for the food? I love Vancouver’s food trucks. I love the people that run them, the people that own them, the food they produce and the choices they offer to the people of this city. This city is Vancouver, it is not Portland, it will never be Portland. Stop trying to make it Portland! Portland has become what it is without producing “events” like this contrived joke.
Calling your event family friendly because you have a bouncy castle is almost as ridiculous as the lineup to get in. If I put a bouncy castle in a strip club would that make it family friendly? No, No it would not. No parent I know would wait in today’s heat with their kid. I saw parents in line… I don’t know what would make them want to wait that long with a child.
So, I didn’t get to hook up with my foodie pals, I didn’t get to eat any yummy food and now I’m at home wondering if I should’ve just stayed here and watched the NHL draft, it sounds like it was pretty entertaining.
Every Friday, if I’m downtown, I try to have lunch at a food truck. This week I tried Pig on the Street which is probably the smallest food truck in Vancouver. It’s actually not a truck, it’s a Volkswagen camper van and it’s super cool. They make flatbread sandwiches, soups and delicious sounding (I didn’t have one) Bacon, Bourbon and Caramel Brownie Bites. Almost everything on the menu is “Pork-centric” with the exception of the vegetarian sandwich called the No Piggy. When you place your order you’re handed a small wooden pig with a pork related name on it, it works like taking a number but it’s way more fun.
I had The Porker which comes loaded with locally sourced double smoked bacon, sausage stuffing with apple and sage, goat Gouda, caramelized onion mayo and greens. $10 tax included is a pretty good deal for this epic lunch. I was FULL and very happy as I settled into my pork coma. The bacon is incredible and the smell wafting down the street from the little Volkswagen is intoxicating. The sausage stuffing is amazing, the goat Gouda is a unique but perfect choice and the mayo and greens finish things off nicely. Pig on the Street is the cure if you’re “achin’ for bacon”.
You should make Food Truck Friday a part of your routine. It’s easy, fun, delicious and affordable. Download the free Street Food App for you smartphone HERE and get started!!
When I walk up to a food Truck and they’re playing Grizzly Bear I know I’m going home happy. I found Off The Wagon Tacos parked on Dunsmuir and Burrard in their cool little red school bus. The tunes were pumping, the ladies inside were smiling and the tacos filled the air with with an intoxicating smell.
I had 3 tacos, 2 pork and 1 chorizo. I like the fact that Off The Wagon has such a small menu, they get the chance to do a few items really well and these tacos didn’t disappoint. The chorizo was may favourite, very rich with a little heat. The pork was seasoned well and of high quality and the toppings on all 3 tacos were fresh and paired well with the flavours of the meat. My only quibble is the use of double tortillas. I know that this is the traditional way to serve this type of taco and I know that a lot of other places serve it the same way but I’m not a fan. You end up with way too much tortilla compared to the amount of filling. That’s not to say that the tacos aren’t great because they really are, I’m just anti double tortilla.
The Roaming Dragon is the rock star of the Vancouver food truck scene and has been on quite the roll since I first met the team a couple years back. They’ve recently brought Chef Tina Fineza on in a consulting role to update and relaunch their menu on both the street food and catering sides of their business. A bold move for something that was already a success but Jason Apple and Jory Simkin. Roaming Dragon co-owners, are always looking to improve and grow their empire on wheels.
The venue for this relaunch was District 319 on Main St between Hastings and Cordova, not a part of town I frequent but the space was super cool with Asian inspired décor that suited the event perfectly. The new food was a big hit as was their well known basil lychee lemonade with a shot of vodka added for adults only. This event really showed what an awesome job these guys do with their catering business.
It’s always great to see Jason and Jory, they’re really great people. Check them out for your next event! firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been blessed with a long term assignment that has me stationed smack dab in the heart of downtown Vancouver for the foreseeable future and I’m ecstatic. Why you ask? Well because of the food you silly little monkey!! My first visit was to a food truck I’ve been hearing great things about, Mom’s Grilled Cheese. I found them on Howe street right beside the Vancouver Art Gallery ( the VAG) which is their usual spot.
The menu is small but awesome and the obvious choice for a carnivore like me was the Meatloaf Grilled Cheese that comes with marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan all grilled around a delicious slice of meatloaf. It came with a slice of pickle and some nice kettle cooked chips. The sandwich was awesome, it kept me full through dinner time, no small feat for a sandwich vs. a big eater like myself.
The staff were awesome and very conversational with each other and the customers. It’s great to see people having fun while they work which is sadly not seen very often these days. I will visit Mom’s Grilled Cheese again, next time I’m taking on the Jackson 3 with bacon. Grilled cheese was also the subject of WFLBC’s April Fool’s joke last year so the timing of this visit was perfect! AND April is grilled cheese month, so, you kind of have to go with what the universe is telling you on this one. Get some grilled cheese!!
Soup is not a typical food served from a truck/trailer. It seems like something that wouldn’t work as “street food” given that it’s a liquid, it’s hot and it’s not very portable. Luckily if you decide to go “Food Truckin'” on a weekend in Portland a lot of trucks are closed providing ample eating surfaces and protection from Portland’s Pacific Northwest fall/winter weather.
Savor Soup House is luckily one of the spots open on Saturday and it provided the perfect warm up on a cool rainy day. The obvious choice for those who want to try more than one soup is the $6 soup flight, consisting of decent sized servings of 3 different soups. I went for the Vegan Tomato Fennel and Orange topped with Parmesan and Croutons, the Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice and finished up with the Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque topped with spiced pumpkin seeds.
The Creamy Chicken and wild rice (on the right) was good, loaded with tender chicken, rice and lots of mushrooms and nicely seasoned. The Tomato soup (on the left) was a surprise, the orange added a great citrus kick to it and the croutons were and nice fresh. The Butternut Squash and Apple bisque (center) was amazing, sweet, savory, velvety, rich and the spiced pumpkin seeds were a perfect partner to this delicious soup. Soup on a cold and rainy day is unbeatable, it’s like wrapping yourself in a blanket that came straight out of the drier, so good.
Once again Portland street food has blown me away.
The street food love affair continues, this post focusing on Portland’s Brunch Box, as seen on Eat St. on the Food Network. Known for their over the top burgers with even crazier names like the You Can Has Cheeseburger, the Slaughterhouse IV and the Redonkadonk, the later being named one of the most unhealthy foods in Portland. My weapon of choice was the OMG, a hand pressed black angus beef patty with cheese, bacon, ham, Spam, a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, ketchup, mustard and mayo. It sounds crazy right? It is crazy, crazy good. I think my heart rate dropped about 20 beats per minute after I was finished but it was so worth it. You would think that with bacon, ham and Spam that the burger patty would be totally lost but it was so good, super high quality and so flavorful. This is a messy burger so load up on napkins! All of the toppings are fantastic together (yes, even the spam) and the bun is made fresh by the Brunch Box.
The other burgers on the menu all look great but there is one that takes the OMG to a whole other level, the Redonkadonk. It’s an OMG with 2 grilled cheese sandwiches in place of the buns, one on top and one on the bottom. I wasn’t in the mood to visit the world famous American hospital system as I hear it’s quite pricey…so I settled for the less (not much) ridiculous OMG. Portland is crazy awesome.
Portland, a street food lovers mecca. What could make it even better? Bacon, specifically deep fried street food wrapped in bacon. Healthy, no. Delicious, yes. The Sausage Shack just so happens to be winners of Portland’s Illustrious 2011 Bacon Cup, the first annual. So what does one have at this bacon lovers utopia, bacon wrapped chicken wings, the Big Bacon Burger? Nope, it had to be the bacon wrapped corn dog.
This is the smartest thing anyone has ever done, anywhere. Wrap things in bacon and deep fry them. I don’t care who you are, if you’re a health nut or a marathon runner or whatever you will not be able to resist this food. The corn dog is just a regular corn dog but when it’s wrapped in bacon…wow. This is the only thing I had at The Sausage Shack due to a fairy intensive day of food trucking but I think I made the right choice. Check out the rest of the pics!
Lock your liquor cabinets Portland, I’m coming this Friday! That’s right boys and girls, What’s for Lunch BC is headed to America land over the Remembrance Day long weekend for a little R&R! Portland is well known for its restaurant and street food scene as well as it’s craft beer and it just so happens that eating and drinking are 2 of my favorite things!
I’m headed down with some great friends that I don’t get to see often enough due to my ridiculous work schedule and my even more ridiculous social media events calendar. I’m also planning to do this trip on a fairly frugal budget. I’ll be setting myself a daily limit and when it’s gone, I’m done for the day!! I hear you can stretch a dollar pretty far down there though, I guess I’ll find out.
If you want to keep up to date with where I am, what I’m doing and whether I’ve been arrested you can follow me on Twitter @whatsforlunchbc and search for the hashtag #WFLBCinPDX, feel free to wire me bail money, I’ll totally pay you back…