Monday, May 4, 2015

The Kansas Food Truck Festival

This past weekend, I attended the Second Annual Kansas Food Truck Festival in Lawrence, Kansas. I went with a few friends and my husband and we had a pretty good time.

Fifteen food trucks, cold beer, music and good company, we had a great time hanging out in lines and grubbin' down on some street food. Each food truck had about a 20-30 minute wait, but that's nothing compared to last year. Last year, there were only five trucks and the wait was more like an hour to an hour and a half. This year was better, at least, I thought so.

I'll start with my least favorite.

Mac and Cheese
The mac and cheese at Deco Street Eats was probably my least favorite dish, (even though they did have one of my favorite items, continue reading below). It's tied pretty close with the buffalo tots, but I know I don't like buffalo sauce, so that wasn't really a surprise. I was excited about some creamy, cheesy mac and cheese, but that's not what I got. What I got was a mushy mess, with hardly any cheese and far less than al dente pasta. There were parts that had cheese in it, but not enough for my taste. I like free-flowing mac and cheese -- cheesy and thick. This was neither. I think I was so disappointed because my hopes were so high. I saw "mac and cheese" and I jumped for joy. There were kids in line who were doing the same when I told them the hope-inspiring menu featured mac and cheese. I wonder if the kids were as disappointed as me?

Anyway, I mentioned buffalo tots. I got these at the Street Wings food truck. Basically, tater tots with
Buffalo tots
bacon, sour cream, blue cheese crumbles and buffalo sauce. I thought I'd give them a try, (the hubs ordered them, I'm not a fan of buffalo sauce, as stated earlier). I wasn't a big fan. Maybe if there had been less of that nasty buffalo sauce, like, if it had been more of an accent flavor instead of smothered thickly all over everything. That was all I tasted, so I only took a few bites. I suppose if you're a huge buffalo wings fan and like tater tots, this dish would have been for you. It did seem to me like the tots were a little mushy and couldn't been fried a little longer so they'd stand up to the smothering of sauce. Eh, I'm not a good judge of this dish, but my husband really liked it.

On to better items.

Pork street tacos
I got street tacos at Deco Street Eats, a bright red truck, 2 for $3, so the hubby ate one and I had the other. We wanted to try as many items as we could. Shredded pork topped with cabbage, fresh lime and cilantro stuffed into a flour tortilla, this was my second favorite menu item at the entire festival. If I were to return and get a meal from any of these food trucks tomorrow, I'd get a few of these tacos to fill me up. The taco was fresh, especially with the addition of the fresh-squeezed lime, the meat was tender and flavorful and the cilantro added a flavor that can't be replicated. The only thing that could have made it better would've been some fresh guacamole or just plain avocado.

I found some surprisingly amazing Swedish meatballs, at the same truck. The sauce was creamy, the meat was highly seasoned, but good, and the noodles were done just right. I don't understand why, but there were two different types of noodles in this dish, but, either way, it was good.

Look at all the nasty mustard!
I made a big mistake and ended up hating the last item I ordered at this year's food truck fest. I should have paid more attention to what I was ordering. I ordered a chili dog from Brock Hops Food Truck. I knew to tell them no raw onions, but did I say no mustard? Heck no. I totally forgot, or didn't notice, or something. When I got it, my heart immediately sank. I didn't want to return it, so I took one bite, all's I tasted was mustard, and then I let my hubs eat it. He likes that nasty yellow mustard crap. I don't mind dark mustard, grain mustard and stuff like that, but not yellow mustard. Yuck. So, that one was a bust.

Creme brulee
My favorite item of the night was the creme brulee. Torched Goodness was one of the trucks that featured only sweets, creme brulee, actually. Of course they had the regular, vanilla flavor, but they also featured specialty flavors such as cookies n' cream, S'mores, a coconut one and a couple others. I ordered the vanilla custard and my hubs ordered the S'mores ones. The top was hard, caramelized sugar, the inside was creamy, sweet, cold custard. It was worth the 30 minute wait. I only wish I'd have ordered the cookies n' cream one. The S'mores one was chocolate custard inside, with toasted marshmallows and Golden Grahams cereal on top of the "torched goodness". That one was to die for. The custard was a little less thick and creamy on this one, but it still sated that sweet tooth I have.

Overall, I'd say the Food Truck Festival was a success. The hubs and I returned home full, tired and ready for next year.

Critical notes: I do think there should have been more music. It seems like we spent most our time on the strip that went North-South, so we weren't close to the music, which was on the far, North side. There were speakers set up, but it seems like music only played sometimes, and it was intermittent.  I also wish there had been more art. Maybe I was missing something, but the one place I tried to enter to look at art, I was told it was a private event, so I had to leave. I thought I remembered last year when the warehouses were open to the public and we were allowed to walk though and enjoy art in between food trucks. I probably would have stayed longer if there was something like that to fill time in between trucks, then I would probably have spent more money on food.