There comes a time in every blogger’s life where sacrifices have to be made for the better of the blog. The sacrifice I speak of is this follow-up to my first blog post on food trucks. This time, however, I did not go on a journey to “The City” (Boston Massachusetts) in search of glory on wheels, rather, I made my way to the July 14th, 2012 stop of Food Truck Festivals of New England at Elm Park, in Woosta (for those non-native New Englanders, that’s Worcester, MA). Now, I know you’re asking yourself, “Why would this be a sacrifice?” well I’ll tell you…the number of food trucks that were going to be there and the number of me (one) that went were not quite proportional. Skipping breakfast and not even thinking about dinner, I decided before I even made it to Elm Park that I would probably have to do eating for about…three people, and was I correct.
Parking parallel to the trucks, I could see them all as I made my way through the park; one, two, three…four, five…and I lost count from the excitement that was about to burst out of me. I approached the Food Trucks Festival tent to pick up my pre-purchased tickets (tickets are available for purchase at the festival or online ahead of time and then you trade in X-number of tickets for each food item) and they informed me pre-paid tickets were located at the tent in the middle of the truck line, which was fine by me; I had already planned on doing a preliminary walk from end-to-end, just to make sure those trucks that grabbed my attention would also grab my appetite. After the walk, I decided to concentrate on five or six trucks and the trucks I considered to be the best are the ones that are mentioned here.
If you were to ask me one of those horrible icebreaker questions, you know, the kind they like to ask you at freshman orientation, “what would be your final meal if you knew you were dying?” Well, my answer, without a doubt, would be a hot dog. Now I previously never gave much consideration to where I would get it and now I have an idea. Trolley Dogs was one of a couple of trucks focused on hot dogs, but was the only one that had the appeal for me to try it, and for good reason. Their truck was small and brightly colored and upon giving their menu a once over, I knew it was the place to order from. With 6 different dogs to choose from, I ignored my usual chili cheese dog (their “California”) and decided to go with the “Western.” Starting with their own “gigantic all beef ‘trolleydog’” it also included bbq sauce, onions and cheese. What I really would like to point out before I go any further is that they weren’t kidding; this dog was not your typical Fenway frank, this bad boy was about the size of a typical Italian sausage.
Taking the first bite, the dog had a nice juicy snap. There was nothing but pure flavor, from the tenderness of the dog to the sweet tanginess of the bbq sauce along with the thick creamy cheese and crunch of the onions, everything worked together all settled in a perfectly toasted bun. It’s tough for me, a self-described hotdog afficionado, to admit that this hot dog was too much for just one hand to handle and I had to use two!!!! That’s right, a meal meant for one hand, needed the assist of the other. It took a solid five minutes just to eat it, I threw away the plate and forged on.
Verdict: This is definitely not a hot dog for beginners in both taste and caliber.
Being born in New England and, more specifically, living in Massachusetts, I have grown to appreciate and love seafood. Aptly and correctly nicknaming themselves “The Cod Squad,” Captain Marden’s Seafood came to the festival and delivered on two accounts: 1) with incredible seafood and 2) thinking quick on their feet. On my initial rundown of the trucks I noticed Captain Marden’s had a lobster roll, one of my new favorite quick seafood dishes. Initially, it was advertised as fifteen tickets for a small, and ever mindful that my prepaid package came with a total of thirty tickets; that this was my second truck of the day; and that was half my total tickets, I was about to forgo my decision and get something else, when all of a sudden the ticket price was dropped to a comfortable 7 tickets. There was no need to contemplate further, so I stepped up and got one of the best catches of the day.
Mixed with the traditional mayonnaise, celery and, of course lobster, this mixture was placed on top of lettuce in a nicely toasted hot dog roll. From the first bite to the last bite, not one ingredient outplayed another. The mayo was on point, (there’s nothing worse than having mayo with a little bit of lobster) and there was enough celery in it to provide that extra flavor, but without taking it away from the main ingredient. Which brings me to the lobster. Fresh and cooked to perfection, everything about the lobster was right. It didn’t have the overcooked rubber taste, nor did it have the appearance of being undercooked and slimy. It was rich white with the traditional hue of red and nice and light.
Verdict: The Cod Squad does seafood right; even Poseidon would be impressed.
There was no question in my mind that Big Moe’s would be sampled. It should have been featured in my last post, but I ran out of time and had to forgo it; this would not be happening this time. Stepping up to the traditional silver, sheet metal truck, I knew immediately what I was getting. I mean you’re not dubbed “The King of Ribs” without good cause. Ordering up, I received my ribs almost immediately and doused them in their sweet and tangy sauce.
What came next I wasn’t prepared for…I mean, I thought they were going to be good, but I didn’t realize how good. There are people who probably will debate me on this, but I think the ribs were cooked just how ribs should be. The meat was very tender, but not so tender that it slid right of the bone; you still had to work at it when eating the last few bites. The outside had a beautiful smoked glaze while the inside was just a touch of pink. And as far as the sauce went, it lived up to its name. The initial taste was sweet with a little tang, but with each bite the tang became more prevalent. A creeper sauce, I like that.
Verdict: Big Moe’s packs a big taste and lives up to their title…”The King of Ribs”.
One might think that after forty-five minutes of eating that would be enough for someone. I thought so too, seeing that I only had about 5 tickets left and consumed more meat than one should in a day, I set my eye on something sweeter. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to look far because the truck that so happened to be sitting in front of me was the Sweet truck by Flour Girls Baking Co. I looked at the menu for about 3 seconds and then ordered the Apple Cider Donut Bits.
Like the other trucks, my order was taken care of swiftly and I had the bites within no time. Five in all, I was lucky I ran into some friends who had no problem sharing what looked to be one of the better donut holes I would ever eat. Being correct in that assumption, I may go as far as saying they were the best donut holes I’ve had to date. With a crispy outside and a soft fluffy inside, the donut hole was not dry and had the perfect amount of sugar so it wasn’t too sweet. The apple cider taste was there, could maybe have been a little bit stronger but I don’t think this affected the overall quality. After eating the 3 I had left, surprisingly didn’t feel any fuller.
Verdict: I was so excited to eat them when I smelled them I forgot to take a picture, which didn’t happen with any other of the foods I tried. That in itself is saying something.
Overall the food truck festival was by far one of the best activities I’ve gone to in a long time. I also may have needed to sit at a bench for a good 10-15 minutes after finally hitting my last truck just to take a breather (I should probably take that as a sign), but it was worth every bite. I do apologize for not giving a more detailed account of how many tickets each item was, but as you can tell, I get really excited about food, especially when there is truck after truck serving it and my job is to try the ones that look the best. There are several dates scheduled between now and October, so if I were you, I’d get my tickets now and prepare for one filling time.
Official website: Food Truck Festivals of New England