I am, without a doubt, the biggest food nerd in my immediate group of friends. This is not new. Probably the most glaring example of this, as of late, has been when the current food truck movement in Atlanta has come up in conversation. Or, more accurately, when I bring it up in conversation.
It is then that I realize that, unfortunately, only those of us that go out of our way to stay abreast of the goings-on in the Atlanta food scene know that there is currently a butting of heads between our city’s outdated food service ordinances and folks like The Atlanta Street Food Coalition. The good news is that the street food movement has been picking up steam, thanks to events like the Urban Picnic and Souper Jenny’s recent Food Truck Extravaganza. I’m all for a good battle with city hall, especially if it means that I’ll have an entirely new class of restaurant to frequent.
Damn the man. Fight the power. Talk hard.
On earth day, April 22nd, Souper Jenny, owners of their own food-mobile, offered up their parking lot in Buckhead to host a slew of the forerunners in Atlanta’s burgeoning street food scene. The man won’t let you sell your food on the street? Use our parking lot.
A hearty kudos to soup-diva Jenny Levison for putting this awareness-raising event together. And if you bought food at the event, she’d pour you a complimentary glass of wine. Double kudos.
Vendors included The Incredible Flying Soup Mobile, The Good Food Truck, Black Tie BBQ, Taqueria del Sol, The Pickle, and The King of Pops. I know that there were some other vendors there, but I could only eat so much, and didn’t write everyone down. If you feel left out, shoot me an email, I’ll happily add you.
But what good is a street food movement if all we get out of it is a couple of hot dog carts? Fortunately, even in its infancy, there is already a much better selection than that.
I started things off with some Cajun Chicken Eggrolls from The Pickle. These were definitely satisfying, and good way to start things off. The won-ton was flavorful and the fillings were fresh. In hindsight, I wish I had gone for the etouffee, mostly because I’ve eaten a lot of chicken eggrolls in my life and would have liked to mix it up. But this was a good one to share. And aren’t they pretty?
The Extravaganza was also my first chance to catch up with one of the hotter-on-the-scene mobile food proprietors, The King of Pops. Dude is L-E-G-I-T. It sounds simple: high quality, fresh, and REAL ingredients, in a popsicle. But the reality is so much better than what you imagine. Just ask Chloe. The woman ate 10 popsicles that day.
This is the Grapefruit-mint, and it was spectacular. My lady got the Banana-cinnamon. Then she went back and got it again. It most definitely did not suck.
*Note – Souper Jenny is now slinging KOP’s from her shop as well. Now you Buckheadians have no excuse. Go get you some.
As you can tell, he was not lacking for customers.
Next up is the one item that I was probably the most excited about. The fine hippy-folk at The Good Food Truck had some great looking menu items that I didn’t get to try, like the Tamarind or Parmesan savory cones. Why didn’t I try them? Because of this.
That is The Poodle – a French toast hot dog bun, all beef hot dog, and apple/maple slaw. I was totally fascinated with the French toast bun concept, but I’m also big on sweet/savory combinations. The first Poodle that I ate was good, but the second? Christ on a cracker.
What was different you ask? Because the woman working the window told me to put spicy mustard and pancake syrup on it, then looked at me like I was insane when she heard I hadn’t done that the first time. And she was so, so very right. Adding the mustard and syrup took this from novel to exceptional.
Attention Good Food Truck folks : You guys just need to start putting that on every poodle you sell. Don’t let your patrons walk away from the window without it. Run them down in the parking lot if you have to. Seriously. The difference is that significant.
Next stop was the “Truckeria” del Sol. Of course, being pre-occupied as I was with the act of eating the taco, I didn’t actually write down what was in this. And it is the only taco they were selling that isn’t on their normal menu. Soooo, sorry guys…all I got for you is that it had beef in it, and it was good.
I didn’t get any pictures of it, because we were too busy meeting face-to-face for the first time, but Spence over at Black Tie BBQ hooked me up with a fantastic smoked chicken skewer, drizzled with fresh lime juice. Dude knows how to work a grill and they frequent all sorts of outdoor events here in town, so keep your eyes peeled for them.
I’d encourage every one of you to do a little homework on the street food movement here in Atlanta. Or, more importantly, get your ass out and track some of these trucks down. Most, if not all, of these vendors update their respective Twitter or Facebook accounts with their daily location.
Eat their food. Then ask yourself “Why the hell don’t we have more things like this in Atlanta?”
Why the hell indeed.
P.S. Gold star to the first person to correctly identify the Christian Slater reference in this post.
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