Spring Garden Food Truck Festival 2012

I have a question for you:

"What starts with an F and ends with UCK?"
Currently, it's very difficult for food trucks to exist in Forsyth OR Guilford counties. For years there has been debate over the location, sanitation, taxation... and the list goes on, about food trucks' feasibility and viability in our communities. Food trucks are 100% banned from downtown Greensboro and this website is chronicling the change that is about to take place: click here.
I won't get into the politics of it all, but everything in regards to the food trucks in our area is under review and up in the air. WFMY 2 ran a story on it in early September. Since then, Greensboro City Council drew up a provisional food truck program for downtown Greensboro.
But for tonight: it was all about the food trucks, baby...
The Spring Garden Food Truck Festival had over 1,500 r.s.v.p's on its Facebook page and I knew of personal friends talking about it months ago. I did a little research beforehand via the official event website and I knew each and every truck that was going to be rolling through and I knew which ones I was going to hit and which ones I was going to visit, if I had time.
First stop: My Dream Cakes
The lines were long, crowds of people were swarming and all were mashing up with lines from other food trucks and patrons from The Tasting Room, but after assuring the queue I wasn't trying to jump ahead, I headed for the polka dot utility van for a cupcake (or two). For $2 each, I ordered red velvet and vanilla buttercream cupcakes. Much to my surprise, they were selling 3 for $5, so I got a strawberry cupcake and made it a trio. I knew that I couldn't just stop there, I forged ahead to find the end of the Parlez-Vous Crepe line.
My model, Jack, proudly displays his vanilla cupcake on his head

One. Two. Three cupcakes, ah ah ah! --Count Von Count
Second stop: Parlez-Vous Crepes

Popular in the Triangle, owner Jody Argote came down to Greensboro and brought her crew and crêperie on wheels with her. This line was the longest from where I was standing (directly on the corner of Spring Garden and Chapman streets) and people told me they'd only been in line 10 minutes, but 10 minutes is only 600 seconds and I bet it'd been longer.

Lucky me, I ran into Kristi from Triadfoodies along with her whole family. We started talking and I slid in line with them. I won't say I cheated the line, but I was somewhat of a placeholder while they tended to their children. I think I was a helper (of sorts). Anyhow--I ordered the Bonne Maman (sliced brie, sliced granny smith apples, apple butter, organic greens) and one with raspberry marmalade and dark chocolate shavings. Hot, crispy and delicious. Both of them. And the crinkly brown paper they were wrapped in helped me think the crepes were crispy. 

That's my crepe! Right there! Being made! Do you see it?

After stuffing my face with crepes, it was on to Gussy's for their Greek Street Food. 
La Bonne Maman. My very own maman and I shared this one.

If you remember, I am vegan before 6:00 in the evening. Sometimes I have to resort to vegetarianism before 6, which is easier but not always what I want to do. But with planning and calling ahead, I usually get my way. At 6:07 on the dot, I had a fat, juicy piece of gyro lamb in my mouth.

Trying to dodge cars while chasing after lamb

Look at all of those people! You can't see the food trucks for the trees people...
Another 40 minutes in line yielded a great bounty: a Classic Greek gyro with extra tzatziki sauce (by my request), Greek fries ( lemon, oregano and sea salt), fresh garlic-scented, lemony hummus and soft, hot pita points.
Hand-cut Greek fries, lamb gyro, and my mother's fingers stealing my fries.

Hummus and pita bread. Humph, you try holding food & snapping a photo...
Fourth and final stop: 1618 on Location

So 1618 Wine Lounge has a food truck there 6 days a week and they travel to different events around and the owners would have been remiss to not be a part of this monumental public food truck experience. And what an experience it was!

The menu. Click to enlarge
Parked next door to The Blind Tiger, surrounded by live music there and across the street at Sessions, the line for 1618 was hopping.

I decided on a flatbread (grilled peaches, beef, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, caramelized red onions, balsamic glaze) for my mother and a chorizo hot dog (with kobe beef chili and charred corn relish) for myself. As soon as I ordered the hot dog, I instantly wanted sliders instead. Each entree was accompanied by a choice of pasta salad or truffled fries, according to the menu, but someone had 86'd the fries from the list and it was barely 6:30 P.M. People surrounding me in line were piiiissed that there were no more fries. They had to settle for the healthier, yet potentially unfulfilling pasta salad.

A singular coveted truffled pomme frite
Even though the pomme frittes could no longer be ordered, there were dozens of people in line who'd ordered them and were receiving them. One patron grabbed his plate so fast, one frite fell to the ground and you should have heard the ruckus! Hungry people don't like it when you waste food in front of them. A brave soul stepped forth about two minutes later, picked up the fry from the ground and ate it. Laughter and gasps were heard equally, but everyone was rooting for him and asking him how it tasted. He waxed poetic about potatoes and then his 15 seconds of fame came to a halt. 1618 started serving fries again.

O food! My food! Our fearful trip is done;
The hunger has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
45 minutes of waiting in line yielded the best food of the night for me. I forgot about the sliders I thought I wanted. The pasta salad beat the pomme frites ass. Seriously. Rotini pasta full of Kalamata olives, pepperoncinis, and flavor, I would have eaten the pasta and shut up about the fries had I known how delicious it was going to be. I was eating fare from 1618! How could I have NOT known?!

It's dark and hell is hot, but this was gooood.
By 8:15, I was ready to go home--Full, tired, and ready to pull off my boots. 3 of the 15 trucks had already closed up shop and a few others were running out of food. The lines were still wrapping around the block for Gussy's, the resident Taqueria El Azteca (home base for them is Fordham's Cleaners' parking lot) and the Ice Queen. I didn't even think about standing in line for the popular Chirba Chirba dumplings or any other truck.

I hope Winston-Salem copies Greensboro. We are the City of Arts and Innovation. What is more innovative than a gaggle (gang, convivium, bevy, flock, herd, band??) of food trucks coexisting with restaurants? We don't care if the trucks are downtown or not. We just want trucks. And lots of them.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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