Philly Vendy Awards Recap: What the Judges Ate

This Saturday at the Piazza at Schmidts was the 1st Vendy Awards in Philadelphia, a “street food showcase and intense cook-off between the best sidewalks chefs in Philly.” Tickets were completely sold out and the vibe was sweaty but happy. I was privileged enough to  be one of the judges who sampled the  offerings of all 8 trucks and voted to pick the winner of the Vendy Cup.  While I admit that coverage of events after the fact can be lame and not helpful at all, the venders here all provided food you could normally expect at their trucks, so reading ahead will not only let you recap the event if you attended or let you live vicariously through the pictures if you missed out, it can also give you a preview of what you could get at any of these trucks on a given day.

The King of Falafel presented a delicious falafel ball with hummus and perfect baba gonouj. I have reviewed them before but it was nice finding out about the background of the Syrian couple who has been running the truck for over 20 years. These former electrical engineers grind their chickpeas daily, no shortcuts here.

La Copine, a brunch centered truck gave us a healthy and refreshing quinoa salad, hash browns, and a sausage and egg sandwich. If only every breakfast food cart in the city used ingredients like they do, we would be a happier and less obese city.

Guapos Tacos presented an elaborately dressed mahi mahi. This was a perfect piece of fish and the tortilla was much improved from the one I had tried when they first opened.

The one picture I missed was of the newest truck and People’s Choice winner, Cucina Zapata. They have only been open for 2 months and serve Thai and Mexican food.  We tried their chicken curry and a short rib and chicken taco.

The big winner of the Vendy Cup was the massive platter of soul food from Gigi and Big R’s. These guys have been feeding Philadelphians for 10 years. They told us that they can’t stand anyone to go home hungry and it showed. Mac n cheese, green beans, fried fish, sweet yams, and jerk chicken- it was the embodiment of soul food. The judges were won over.

We also has 2 extremely talented dessert trucks competing. Both trucks were so well loved by the crowd that the People’s Choice winner, Sweetbox Cupcakes, won by only 2 votes over Sugar Philly’s Macaroons.

Sugar Philly didn’t have to win me over, since I was already a big fan, and their macaroons were lovely as always, and a favorite of Lindsey Ridge’s Grandma.

SweetBox Cupcakes spoiled the judges with 4 cupcakes each. These cupcakes has big flavor, I loved the dulce de leche and chocolate raspberry the most.

It was such an amazing day and for multiple good causes, like showing love for our food truck scene as well as raising money for  The Food Trust. I can’t wait until next year!

Michaelangelo Ilagan took some great pictures of the event, like the one below. Check out his flickr page for more.


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