3 Lunches the L.A. Street Food Fest Got Me Super Excited For (And 1 That I’m Now Going to Avoid)
Over the weekend thousands of people flocked to the Rose Bowl for the 4th Annual L.A. Street Food Festival. Now entering its third year at the Rose Bowl (and not going up against Carmageddon), you could pretty easily argue that this was the best year ever… and I’m not just saying that because I had a booth on the field with Food is the New Rock T-Shirts, the food and music podcast I do with Chuck P from KCRW. (Ok, maybe that’s part of the reason I’m saying it.) And even though I spent most of the day on the field fielding “What’s a podcast?!” questions, I did manage to sneak away for a solid hour of face stuffing goodness. Plenty of Midtown Lunch faves were there, including Mariscos Jalisco, Frysmith, Kogi, Mexicali Taco & Co, Park’s Finest, Fat Spoon, Simpang Asia, Starry Kitchen, and Spice Table.
But I did discover three great new lunches that I’m super excited for (and one that I was excited for, but now I’m going to avoid)…
#1. Even shitty french fries are improved by mediocre gravy and cheese curds, but I was pretty excited to discover that the Gravy Train Poutinerie Truck’s french fries are far from shitty.
In fact, they’re amazing. And once you throw on a pretty tasty gravy and big hunks of cheese curd, it gets that much better. I will definitely be seeking this truck out on the streets of L.A.
#2. I was already cautiously excited for Seoul Sausage to finally open up in West L.A…
…but after trying their Korean arancini on Saturday, I’m in full blown excitement mode. Imagine kimchi fried rice, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried. Who cares about sausage, I’m going back for these. So good.
Ceviche Tostadas from La Guerrerense
#3. Lunch in Ensenada anybody?! Ok, I guess this one isn’t really fair since it’s not realistic for most of us. That being said, the line of Baja booths curated by Bill Esparza made me seriously consider moving south of the border and starting a Midtown Lunch: Mexico. Also- sea snail is officially my favorite ceviche. And it looks like I’m not the only one. They won “Best in Show” from the judges.
#3.1 Here’s an honorable mention for those looking for something a bit closer to home… Not only has the new Mo Chica (in DTLA) just added lunch options to their menu, but I discovered on Saturday that they’re also doing a lunchtime loyalty card. Get one free entree after every five visits. I’ve already been 3 times… I wonder if it’s retroactive!
It wasn’t all fun and games though. After reading about the new Rice & Roll Onigiri Truck on Squid Ink I was pretty excited to get a preview at the L.A. Street Food Fest. Sadly I discovered that the truck is connected to some gigantic company in Japan who hopes to use it as a springboard to getting pre packaged rice balls into places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
They weren’t the worst things I’ve ever eaten, but I think I’ll stick to Sunny Blue in Santa Monica.
Corporate rice balls aside, it was a great event (from my vantage point on the field, anyway!) It seems like they’ve finally worked all the kinks and things that have plagued other street food events over the past few years, making me totally excited to do it again next year…