September 16, 2013 Food Truck Festival – Natick
I had read several blog posts about food truck festivals in the city, how people said you should get there early because the lines are so long and the food runs out…that being said, I figured a festival outside of the city wouldn’t be as crowded. I bought tickets online ahead of time, but you really didn’t need to. The tickets were $7 in advance, and $10 at the festival. A portion of the ticket sales were donated to the Red Cross. The tickets got you special prices at the food trucks, usually $1-3 off. Parking was good- we didn’t have any trouble finding a spot, and it was Sunday, so it was free. We headed toward the park in Natick Center and get our tickets. The line to buy tickets was shorter and going faster than the advance purchase tickets. You could also buy tickets from any one of the volunteers walking around the event.
Here was the lineup: Amanda’s on Wheels, A4 Truck, Batch Ice Cream, Benny’s Crepe Cafe, Bon Me, Boston Super Dog, Captain Marden’s Cod Squad, Chicken on the Road, The Chubby Chickpea Mobile , Compliments, The Dining Car, Frozen Hoagies, Insanewiches, M&M BBQ Ribs, The Pasta Pot, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Sweet Tomatoes Pizza, The Happy Taco, The Whoo(pie) Wagon, Trolley Dogs.
With two of us, we felt like we needed a system. We each waited in one line and bought food for the two of us to share, hitting more trucks than if we waited in line together. There were some trucks here that I knew were around the city, so I didn’t feel an urgency to go there. Some, however, don’t make it into the city – so we wanted to hit those up for sure.
We started with the Dining Car. One of my all time favorites – they hit up Back Bay during the week, but we decided to wait in line anyway – it was moving quickly. We picked up the pulled pork sandwich with picked cabbage. We loved this – the pork was tender and the sandwich had a nice sweetness to it from the picked veggies and the sauce. We ended our day by going back and grabbing a second one of these babies.
Check out the menu from The Happy Taco. We were dying to try the lobster taco, and made the mistake of not waiting in line early. Since the line was long, we figured we would go over to City Hall where there were some other trucks parked. Big mistake. By the time we walked back from that lot, they had run out of everything but fish tacos.
There were certainly people grumbling about trucks running out of food, a woman next to me in line was quite upset. Lady, it’s not like the trucks have unlimited storage space…I’m sure they packed the trucks with as much food as they could.
Frozen Hoagies, another favorite of mine. Every time I go here, the sandwich sizes are different, the first time, two cookies and boat loads of ice cream, the second time, one cookie broken in half and ice cream, this time, two mini cookies and ice cream. Here is the fudge brownie cookie and chocolate chip ice cream.
We waited in line for about 45 minutes for the Pasta Pot. They were running what looked to be a full menu, as opposed to an abbreviated menu like the other trucks. Many of the people in line were waiting for fried dough which held up the line.
The trucks parked around the outside of the lot while people formed lines inside the parking lot. Snapple was in this lot giving away free samples of their drinks while WAAF was blasting music in the far corner.
I’ve had the vanilla and the coffee (delish!), today, we tried the salted caramel. Really tasty – and the flavor wasn’t overwhelming (like some salted caramel things can be). Love the truck, it’s super clever – I am definitely a brand fan.
The mac and cheese was good, the sauce was light. The meatballs however were in a red sauce, which was a little weird on top of the mac and cheese. The meatballs were tasty and bite sized. I might recommend that they cut down their menu next time they do a festival – it would certainly cut down on the wait time. The food was good, but I probably wouldn’t wait in line for an hour again to try something else.
We ended the day at around 3:30 (we started at noon). Our bellies were full and we were ready to throw in the towel. For next year, I would like to see more vendors here – this would be a great opportunity for brands to get out there and sample their products. Need ketchup on those fries that you just bought? Try this gourmet ketchup. I think people would really appreciate snacking on some free samples while they are waiting in line for the food trucks.
Local Pickins was at the festival – asking people to sign up and take pictures of what they were eating. You had a chance to win a a $20 gift card to a food truck, I won for my Frozen Hoagies photo!