Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First Annual LA Street Food Fest: Gentleman Start Your Engines!

The 1st Annual LA Street Food Fest this Saturday in Downtown LA.

A couple of weeks ago I was at the Tiara Cafe for the LA Street Food Fest vendor's meeting. The gracious host Fred Eric, Tiara Cafe's tireless chef/owner, fed us and then left the room to Shawna Dawson of Sauce LA, and Sonja Rasula of Unique LA.They are the dynamic duo behind this very timely, 1st Annual LA Street Food Fest.

Shauna and Sonja have put together an impressive fleet of the über-fashionable food trucks that have swept LA by storm and some stars of the LA street food landscape.

Gathered around tables with notebooks and pens at the ready were Don Chow, team Nomnom,QzillaBBQ, Buttermilk, Fresser's,Antojito's Carmen, and Sabor da Bahia.

With the popularity of these trucks I would have expected a group of fans to mob the street truck chefs and empresarios for their autographs. This pre-game rally had the feeling of a Food Truck fan fest with all the stars in attendance.

The festival will give the attendees a bit of time to reflect on the tremendous leap into LA street food culture in the past year. It's the year that Kogi changed our world. It's been a couple of years since the traditional street vendor in LA ducked for cover because of the authorities, amrks the end of an era when makeshift grills and fryers on Breed St. were silenced.

More than ever, the lonchera, or food truck, has become a symbol of Los Angeles food culture. Where rap from Compton and Long Beach became mainstream in the late 80's, the new fangled food trucks of 2010 are a little bit of East LA and San Fernando for everyone. LA has its very own melting pot........and it resides in a mobile kitchen. The majority of LA's food trucks are still predominantly Mexican, but the concept has moved into the nucleus of the Los Angeles dining scene.

At the festival you can get your crack at all these places in one convenient location. The city of Los Angeles hasn't quite caught up to the public, and as a result we have found our trucks and stands shooed away or hassled by the authorities at times. Street food is the ultimate form of democracy. Good stands and trucks draw hordes and the bad ones collect dust. This is Be Delicious, or die! And, Angelenos want food trucks and street food. We want tacos from a lonchera after we leave the club at 2AM. We want a banh mi from that cute girl in the Nomnom truck on our lunch break. We want to wait 45 minutes for a grilled cheese sandwich in the cold. We want to eat a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a stand near an abandoned warehouse.Street food is and will always be a part of Los Angeles.

This is the foodie Super Bowl of street truck dining. At the LA Street Food Fest you can enjoy street food and food trucks as they were meant to be. All your favorite street foods will be there without anyone to send them away. No jealous brick 'n mortars to spoil the fun.

Come out and sample all the great street foods and savor the potpourri of the Los Angeles craze. The trucks and street vendors will be offering small versions of their foods so you can taste many items.

There's going to be beer and wine, Unique LA's valentine's marketplace of local designers and artists for last minute shopping. Get your girlfriend a handbag while she's using the portapottie, just don't get caught!

There will be entertainment, and special guest street food gourmetChef Ludo Lefebvre will be making his now legendary fried chicken from Ludo Bites 3.0.

The event will be raising funds for the LA Regional Food Bank, so show your support for their noble cause and the cause of LA's native culinary movement. See you at the LA Street Food Fest.

What: 1st Annual LA Street Food Fest
Where: LA CENTER STUDIOS (Enter on 500 S. Beaudry Ave, LA, CA 90017)
When: Saturday, February 13th, 11am – 5pm
Admission: General Admission will be available at the door the day of the event on a first-come first-served basis.
More info at the official website


Mintykins said...

Great post! Though Shawna Dawson spells her name with a W. I'm the Shauna with the U. :)

streetgourmetla said...

Oops, corrected.Thanks!

Glennis said...

We tried to go and just driving past the studio it was so packed and the lines were so long (around the block!), we decided to bag it and go elsewhere.

I hope it was successful for them, but we didn't want to stand in line that long.

streetgourmetla said...

g, the lines were tremendous. I'm sure you found something great in the neighborhood, DTLA is on fire these days. I'm sure the next event will be in a larger venue to accomodate more people. Soory you missed it.

Anonymous said...

The lines were crazy and there was only one entrance. To wait in line for hours and then wait in line for the food...ridiculous...there could easily have been three different entrances. Poorly planned for all the publicity the event got.

streetgourmetla said...

Hello anonymous. Well, there's not much you can do when something is so popular, as this turned out. There were simply too many people that showed up, and you can't fault organizers for trying to promote their event. But, having been to many food festivals, there really aren't any food festivals around with popular food that don't have lines.The best way to enjoy such an event is to get some beer, and socialize and take in the scene while you wait. Don't get in the longest lines, try something unknown.

There were those that split up and were able to try many things, great way to overcome the lines. I got some friends food from shorter lines while they waited for Ludo's chicken.

But, I'd like to see the festival were they have popular foods, and really short lines, and only the right amount of people show up.

I think they should have charged a bit more, had a bigger space, and a few more stands/trucks, but when it's the first festival, this isn't easy to assume.

I'm sure the next one will be even better.

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

I can't believe I missed all the fun! Work gets in the way of life sometimes. From all the tweets and flikr albums it looks like one tasty time! Maybe you can take me on another food crawl soon =)!

Aisha Menon said...

We endeavored to go and simply driving past the studio it was so pressed and the lines were so long (around the piece!), we chose to sack it and go somewhere else.
I seek it was effective after them, however we would not like to remain in line that long.
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