Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Outing FAIL: The Los Angeles Street Food Festival

You're probably thinking, "Wait. Is she going to write about something she didn't do?"

Yes. Yes she is.

In the past year or so, the people of Los Angeles have developed a bit of an obsession with food trucks. To name a few, there's the Grilled Cheese truck (which I visited last week), the Buttermilk truck (which I'm told serves chicken & waffles - made famous locally by Roscoe's), and the very popular Kogi Korean bbq truck.

Having only experienced the Grilled Cheese truck, I can't pretend to be an expert on the trend. I'd imagine, though, that's it's owing only partially to the delicious fried foods one can purchase for a relatively cheap price. I think the big draw is that these restaurants are totally mobile - and since (I'm convinced) it's impossible to stumble across anything in this city, if you want to sample their yuminess, you have to do some detective work and track them on their websites, or hope they park for a few hours at an area near your home or workplace.

Or, you can hope that all of these fabled trucks park in one place on the same day, and offer up their treats at discounted prices. Then you'd have the first annual Los Angeles Street Food Festival, which took place downtown this past Saturday.

After spending my Saturday morning getting a haircut and a pedicure, I was feeling quite perky and eager to check out the festival. And I was starving. So I bullied Devin into thinking that making the journey downtown was not only necessary, but also the greatest idea I'd ever had. Also, the weather was beautiful... sunny and warm, bordering on hot. I was happy to wear sandals for the first time in months.

We decided to avoid freeway traffic and overpriced downtown parking by taking the Metro. Many people don't know L.A. has a subway. Even people who live in L.A. don't know there is a subway --possibly because it doesn't go anywhere on the westside...and because the stops are pretty spaced out so you sort of have to drive to the Metro stop, which sort of defeats the purpose...

I'm not selling this very well, but I swear in recent months I've become a huge fan of the Metro. Did you know you can take it all the way to Long Beach? Well. You can.

And for going downtown, it's definitely the best option.

So there we are, riding on the train and our car gets more and more crowded with every stop. I overhear several different conversations that include the words "food" and "festival" and "truck." It occurs to me that I am not the only Angeleno with this marvelous plan.

After about 20 minutes, we arrive at our stop and make our way above ground. As we walk the several blocks to the festival, I notice we are just 2 people in a crowd of perhaps 35 heading in the same direction. When we finally get to the event, we encounter the longest line I have ever ever seen in my whole life. This line went for 2 blocks before folding into a large parking lot, then continuing along the entire edge of the parking lot, making almost a complete square and then leaving the parking lot, continuing straight along the sidewalk, then hanging a left and going on for god knows how long. I couldn't see where this damn thing ended. The entrance was nowhere in sight. It was a line that might have been appropriate if the festival had the ONLY food in Los Angeles. Or perhaps if it was the line for a vaccine against The Sickness in the zombie apocalypse.

We took one look at this insanity and said, in unison, "Fuck this." Then we started walking off, in no particular direction, to see if we could find something else to do. I snapped a few pictures.

Downtown really is a neat area and I always think it's a shame that I can't spend more time exploring. But honestly, on weekends the place is pretty much a ghost town. Devin's last job was downtown and I'm jealous that he got to get out and about on his lunch breaks. I'm sure during the work week it's very lively.

But there we were on a Saturday. All of the good restaurants were closed. Other than that, the only things within walking distance were a Brooks Brothers store, a creepy mall, and a Coffee Bean. Oh, and there was a California Pizza Kitchen, but Devin hates that place and also it was already packed with all of the other would-be festival goers who didn't want to brave the 4 mile long line and who were now directionless and ferociously hungry.

So, back on the train we went. By this point it was 3pm, I really had to pee, the beautiful sunshine had made me too hot, and I hadn't eaten a thing all day.

We wound up grabbing lunch at a pub about a mile from our apartment. It was a very long journey to go a very short distance, but I don't regret it. In the end, I still had a little day trip, I still enjoyed the weather, and I still got to cram fried food into my face (fish and chips!). Plus, this place had cold beer. Mmmm.


  1. Here you go, http://findlafoodtrucks.com

  2. Everyone is saying how much of a fail this thing was for them! I'm sorry about that.

    PS: Change of address! I'm now thewayaliseesit.blogspot.com. :)

    Let's hang out soon? That one lovely time we had wine together should repeat itself.

  3. 1) of course Barry would know a website address to FIND the trucks. 2) don't forget the in n out truck! I've never gotten to eat from one of the trucks. I can only hope I'll find one one day.