There's no surer bet these days than rounding out an event — a street fair, a concert, a community festival — with a few nouveau food trucks. Even the mediocre trucks, and there are plenty, are bound to be better than the grim array of vendors who usually populate these affairs. ($10 for a burnt and shriveled satay skewer with a cup of brown goo masquerading as peanut sauce? We can't wait!)
We have, however, finally met our match, seen our spirits broken, had our life forced nearly sapped from us. It happened on a gorgeous sunny day in Arcadia.
Held on Saturday afternoon and sponsored by food truck juggernaut Road Stoves, the Santa Anita Food Truck Festival promised to combine two of our favorite pastimes: eating at food trucks and degenerate gambling. (These clean modern Vegas casinos with their Sex Pistols slot machines leave us cold. We prefer the sordid dog tracks of our youth.)
With 20 food trucks on the roster, we were excited about the opportunity to try new trucks, like recently launched Naan Stop, and old favorites with new offerings, like South Philly Experience. So were other people. A lot of other people.
When we arrived around 1 p.m., almost no truck had a line less than an hour long. After 45 minutes in line at The Sweets Truck, which was nearly sold out of cupcakes and running low on most of its baked goods (except for pre-packaged goods from Babycakes; there were plenty of those), we came away with three brownies and a couple bonbons. Big ups on the plain chocolate brownie, which was soft and chewy and darkened with copious amounts of chocolate. (At only $2 for a generous square, a great deal and probably the gateway drug to the Sweets Truck's other offerings.)
Our companion at the Naan Stop wasn't so lucky. He had moved all of 40 feet and still hadn't made it halfway through the line. It was a complete clustertruck. The atmosphere was convivial. People seemed friendly, if ravenous. We had a choice: Brave the horrendous lines or place bets with racetrack lowlifes? We knew where we belonged. We made our wagers then cheered ourselves with the burgers and cheese bread at Clearman's Galley.