>> Saturday, February 19, 2011
Price: Varies for each truck
Location: Fifty-Seven Degrees Wine Bar, 1735 Hancock Street, San Diego, CA 92101
The Quick Bit:
+Food Truck gatherings are always nice
+Parking seemed fairly abundant
+Unlike most gatherings, wait time for food was < 15 minutes after ordering
ΔThe food trucks could have brought more food
ΔThe food trucks could offer smaller tasting portions as well as the regular size
ΔThe "wine bar" prices were $$$$$ with not much selection
This review will be a "shorter" review than usual as far as each truck and dish is concerned. It will focus mainly on the event itself, rather than the actual wine bar. For the wine bar itself, this seems to be one of the rare occasions where the four-letter reviews explain the situation rather well such as here, here, here, and here. Also I plan for the next blog post to be a focus on Devilicious, so less will be said about them here.
In my previous post, I discussed that in order to reduce the initial investment cost to open a restaurant, many enterprising young chefs were looking to alternative means to establish their budding culinary empires. The first method was the pop-up restaurant; in this followup I discuss the other method, the gourmet food truck
The current culinary movement can be likened to an Age of Culinary Imperialism. If this is the case, then the pop-up restaurant seems like the missionaries who carefully choose their locations while the food truck is more like the conquistador that roams around to find those that need to be converted. Or perhaps if I'm to fit the theme of the blog, the food trucks are like Apple; for a long time they were the bastard child of the industry that others looked down on as full of grease and selling frozen food that was otherwise reheated.
All of that changed when Chef Roy Choi started Kogi BBQ by mixing Korean BBQ inside mexican tacos. In addition, Chef Choi identified himself with the "street culture" and flexed his social networking skills to create a viral buzz around the truck. Soon, all chefs were learning about social networking and "copycat" food trucks were spawns such as Don Chow. Using either Twitter or Facebook as a repository, food trucks seed their locations where their followers can show up as a swarm, causing a gourmet culinary excellence to be distributed.
While LA and OC have been quick on the uptake of the food trucks, San Diego has taken the more relaxed approach to the food trucks. Part of this is that in SD, throwing some form of ethnic grilled meat into a taco and selling it out of a truck isn't very interesting. In fact by doing that, one may find themselves quickly going out of business as the truck would have to face the stiff competition of the Mariscos German taco trucks that have been serving amazing seafood tacos to San Diego for years. In fact, when I think of a taco out of a food truck, my first thought goes to the Gubernador taco out of Mariscos German.
Recently, the food truck movement has picked up steam within San Diego as more trucks focus on offering gourmet food, but with an underlying farm to table theme. Additionally, most trucks don't try to serve any form of taco, but instead focus on sandwiches and more "american" food. Thus, it was only inevitable that someone would organize a gathering of food trucks in one location.
Enter Fifty-Seven Degrees wine bar; the bar has an amazing 1 acre space close to the airport, and the interior is hip and trendy. It served as a good location to gather some food trucks and also serve alcohol (as the trucks cannot serve that). Unfortunately (or I think fortunate for me), the usually sunny San Diego weather did not cooperate and the event was conducted under periods of torrential downpour. Seven food trucks managed to show up for the event as detailed below:
|Chop Soo-ey Truck|
|Chop Soo-ey Menu|
|Kaminski's Super Q|
|Kaminski's Super Q Menu|
|Chef Andy Johnson's Street Eats|
|Chef Andy Johnson's Street Eats Menu|
|Braised Brandt Beef, Carmelized Onions, Smoky BBQ Sauce Sesame Bun|
|Miso-glazed Mahi Mahi with edamame-cucumber salad|
|Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich with Napa Cabbage Slaw|
|Brandt Beef Sirloin Burger with Avocado Puree|
|Seared Ahi Salad|
|Sweet Treats was there for dessert|
|Flippin Pizza Menu|
|India On Wheels|
|India On wheels Menu|
|Masala Paratha Opened|
|Fried Yummies - Risotto Balls|
|Inside was a panchetta and asparagus risotto with parmesan|
While there was bad weather and the food trucks seemingly were uprepared for the crowds, the owner of Fifty-Seven Degrees declared the event a success and that he would continue to hold the gathering every 3rd Friday of the month. Hopefully more trucks will show up to the next event and the trucks will also be more prepared for the large crowds.