Sunday, June 15, 2014

Food Truck Festival - Whole Foods: Cherry Hill, NJ (Photo HEAVY)

Food Truck Festival - Whole Foods: Cherry Hill, NJ
Last Thursday I stopped by the Food Truck Festival celebrating the new Whole Foods that's being built in my area. Sadly the weather wasn't ideal, it had been raining all morning, so only three trucks participated in the festival, but I still got some yummy food and interesting photos!


This is what I saw when I first pulled up. The parking lot had a few charging stations for electric cars, lush new greenery on the concrete islands, and a few tents, food trucks and pop-up kiosks. It had finally stopped raining so everything was set up really nicely. There were tented eating areas with wooden tables and mason jars filled with flowers, which was really nice, and information about local bee keepers (yes!) and eating organic food. To be honest the event was much smaller than I anticipated, but there were a lot of people so it was still cramped.


There was also a live band covering Bruce Springsteen songs. (I live in New Jersey, so I might lose my Jersey girl card if I don't call him "The Boss" at least once.) The band was very lively and they kept playing rain or shine. 


The first thing I did was get a free glass of mango coconut-water lemonade that was being handed out at the Whole Foods booth.



I know that coconut water is all the craze, because it's very hydrating, but I hate the taste. It's salty, but lightly sweet, kind of like Gatorade. Thankfully, this drink was really refreshing and watery without being too coconut-water-y, I could taste a little bit of the saltiness but the sweet mango covered a lot of that up. As for the lemonade, I couldn't taste any lemon at all.

This stuff was really mild, similar to fruit infused water, and very refreshing. It was great to have a little something to sip on while I waited in line for the food trucks.


First, I stopped by Milk + Sugar, a food truck specializing in cookies, cupcakes, and sweets.


Sadly, they were sold out before I even arrived. Even though I came there straight from work I still missed out. I was bummed because I really wanted to try their banana cupcake, but it's great their items were so popular that they sold out so quickly. (Good for them.) I'll have to track down the truck again in the future, their logo and brand identity is right up my alley! (I will have that banana cupcake one day.)

Looking around, new families with very young children seemed to be the majority of the guests, which seemed odd to me. Sure, families are the main audience for supermarket chains, but this was a food truck event, and the trucks had very specialized menus.
I think that's why the sweets sold out so quickly, they were more appealing to small children than the other two food trucks selling specialized savory foods.


Right across from Milk + Sugar was The Tot Cart. This food truck has a fun and quirky humanized tater-tot logo and design, and they specialized in gourmet tater tots.


Most of their menu was really alluring for older teens and adults, what with the beer cheese and all, but I noticed a lot of the young families ordering the plain tots as well. (They are a very finger-friendly food for the little ones that were attending.)

There was a long line for this cart, but I still managed to get some before they shut down! I opted for the "G-Parm" with their garlic and Parmesan coating.


The line was long, but my order was ready really quickly and it smelled super garlic-y. I sat down in one of the seating areas (note: my mango lemonade is now ice water) to give them a try. Even though the weather was really crummy, this spot turned out to be quite photogenic. Maybe I should distress some wood for my photo backdrops...anyway, the fried tots smelled strongly of garlic but the Parmesan cheese was still noticeable. I took a bite, and the tots were perfectly fried.


The outsides were crisp, the insides light and fluffy, and they were covered in dry seasonings that were intensely flavored, I didn't need ketchup, cheese, or any dipping sauce. Although I think the seasonings are just garlic power and shaker-style Parmesan cheese, these were still really yummy. It makes me want to season my own tater tots more heavily in the future.

My only warning about this specific flavor is that this is some intense garlic, you probably shouldn't kiss anyone after eating these, but they were really delicious and satisfying. Especially on a rainy day like this one, and the nostalgia factor of being an adult eating tater tots for dinner is a lot of fun too.

I would love to visit The Tot Cart again to try some of their loaded tot breakfast bowls.


After that I got in line for the last food truck, Foo Truck. The menu here was really interesting, but they sadly sold out of a lot of items. Thankfully the item I was most interested in, the Thai Curry Quinoa Foowich, was still available when it was my turn to order.


The truck was really vibrant and colorful, and it had water/pond theme with flowers and social media icons painted in a bold graffiti-syle. (I also loved the Hank Hillism sticker on the napkin box.)  The line was really long, but this truck seemed to be the most prepared since they didn't run completely out of food before the event ended.


Sadly, it started raining again, so I snapped a few quick pictured of my foowich against their beautiful truck before running to my car for shelter. A foowich appears to be a soft tortilla, or burrito wrapper, stuffed with fillings before it is grilled and cut in half.


My Thai Curry Quinoa sandwich was filled with chunks of zucchini, delicious quinoa, some kind of green-curry sauce (Thai style?), chickpeas, cauliflower and bits of eggplant. It smelled like curry powder and it was grilled in a press so my tortilla-casing was nice and crispy.


I ran to my car and started eating. I was really impressed after just my first bite. The veggies were fresh and still had a nice amount of texture, the quinoa was well cooked, and the curry sauce was nice and spicy. The curry spices weren't overwhelming, but the heat slowly built up as I ate my first half of the foowich. Out of the two food items I got to try at the food festival, this was my favorite. It was new, interesting, and extremely satisfying. I felt really full after eating only half of my foowich so I wrapped the second half up for my lunch the next day. Not only did it keep well in the fridge, but just half of this meal kept me full all day at work on Friday.

I really liked the items I bought, which were reasonably priced and portioned, and the event was a lot of fun for a foodie like me even if I did get rained on. (It's just a little water.)


A little off topic, but I want to take a moment to appreciate those who work in these trucks
, this event was small but a lot more people showed up than the event planners originally anticipated. Working in the food industry is hard, whether you're a cashier at a fast food restaurant or a chef at a 5 star eatery, I've said this before but people can really be jerks when it comes to customer service and they are especially testy when it comes to their food. (All of you who have worked in the food or retail industries know how hard it can be.) The people working in these trucks were hot, humid, cramped, and they had to deal with all kinds of miserable and grouchy people who were getting rained on all while keeping up with supply and demand. I was surrounded by noisy complainers in line while waiting for my food and I was pretty disgusted by the way people were talking about the food vendors. Someone even stated they were posting a "nastygram" (Is that even a thing?) since they were mad they had to wait in line for so long when only two trucks were open. All of the vendors, employees, and the live band did a really great job. Running events like this takes a lot of hard work, and I didn't hear many attendees saying thank you, but I wanted to give all of you a little appreciation, even if it's just on some Jersey girl's food blog.

I would love to visit all of these food trucks again and I plan on stalking them on Facebook so that I can do just that.
© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net
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1 comment:

  1. Honestly, there are naysayers everywhere - of course there will be lines at an event like this! I haven't been to a food truck festival yet this year but can't wait to go over the summer.

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