Saturday, September 1, 2012

Veg-Friendly Food Truck Event!!

Geeze! This is what happens when you start a blog the same week you start back at being a full-time college student…your sleeping hours get cut into half, you wish God would have considered 36 hour days, you wish that you could work from home…and then you get angry realizing you work for 8 hours a day but devote 12 hours to work including getting dressed and traveling. Who’s with me!? That’s why they say do what you love and love what you :)

So I have bit of an obsession with Food Trucks; a bit less than before, now that I no longer travel to DC once a week for work, but all the same an obsession. Why? Well, besides the fact I’m a foodie and love to seek out new vegan eats, supporting the food trucks supports small businesses which are extremely important to the local economy. Not only that, food from a Food Truck is unique, fresh and amazingly delish! There has yet to be a Food Truck that disappoints me. It’s seriously gourmet food on wheels. 

Now our Food Trucks have a slight advantage over all the rest. Between the newly renovated Half Street Fairgrounds, event coordinators, Wonky Promotions, and Food Truck trackers,, our DC Food Trucks get a lot of advertising and selling opportunities. Monthly Truckeroos, special Food Truck events, showdowns, and each one of them I crave to attend. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, but when I do go, I want to make sure I’m going when there are tons of vegan options available. It’s my chance to have a feast J. Then I came up with a crazy idea: why not have an all veg truck event!? Of course in my mind was the offspring of Truckeroo and Vegfest (I can’t help it I think big!) but none the less it was an idea and I was determined to act on it!

I made my rounds of contacts to find the right person to help me with this: Jeff Kelly with Wonky Promotions. I sent him my idea, we chatted and his offer – a four truck deep pre-Nats game tailgating event. Reminder! Have to start SMALL! Of course, I agreed! He gave me the date, the trucks involved and now it was in my hands to advertise!

But then life happened…I was on travel for a week with limited access to the internet; my partner in crime, Ms. K couldn’t make it; my husband had soccer, my parents were busy…and if anyone knows me, I’m a loner, except for my family and Kerry, and worse, I hate traveling alone because my sense of direction and street sense both SUCK! So of course, I worried…for two weeks. I did all the advertising I could do, and while I did get “Goings”, very little communication was made. Did I make Jeff do all this work for nothing? I hope not! And then some very exciting moments happened!, the Veracious Vegan, and Loudon Veg advertised the event on their FaceBook page, and DC Vegan Drinks sent out a newsletter about it! Now to you all that may not sound like anything to be excited about, but to me, it was something! It was thrilling and it provided me some hope…until the day arrived. 

August 17th arrived and all I could worry about was one, if people would arrive and two, trecking it into DC by myself with my five-year-old. I could have backed down and not attend, but this was important to me and that was NOT an option. I picked my daughter up early, who was thrilled to ride the metro and off we went. We arrived safe and surprisingly, earlier than I had expected. I walked into the Fairgrounds, weather, overcast, but perfect – not too hot, not too chilly - and the place was packed…with Nats pre-gamers doing one thing..DRINKING! No line at the Food Trucks! Perfect! So I walked up to the first truck Surfside and ordered vegan tacos with guacamole. Yumm! Next, I walked up to DC Empanadas and asked for vegan empanadas. “No vegan ones today. Just the vegetarian.” I was told. Hmm okay I thought. Veg is veg. So I walked over to DC Slices and asked if they had vegan pizza available. “No, we don’t have vegan pizza today. Sorry.” Now all I could do was scream in my head, “WHAT THE FUDGE!?”. I ordered my daughter a pizza, grabbed drinks, fast walked my way to a table and immediately freaked out. I was starving so as I tried to make posts on Facebook, e-mail Jeff and call my mom to see if she can post notes on Facebook (since we all know FB mobile lacks needed capabilities!) – aka freaking out – I scarfed my tacos down, not realizing that I forgot to take a picture! AAAAH! I breathed, told my mom not to worry about it and waited for a response. Jeff responded. He came down, fixed the situation (apparently they forgot…I’ll forgive them for that. They are, after all, busy people who just had to go through lunch rush a few hours before) and I got to meet the man behind the scenes. That was cool! I finally relaxed, made my updates, and waited as the trucks prepped their vegan creations. After all, I came here to support them and I also came for a feast. I was going to wait! And then my five-year-old got winey and antsy wanting ice cream….great!

Unfortunately, pleasant pops wasn’t able to make it; the only sweet treats that I was aware of that would be available. Then, as we were walking around, hidden within a white and blue container, in the far back was Sweet Freeze, or ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, by Faithfully Sweets. All I could do was say “Thank You God!”. We walked in and we were immediately intrigued. They asked if we would like to sample some ice cream, and of course, I, by instinct, or maybe its habit, declined claiming that I was vegan, but offered my daughter up as a tester. Then the girl looked at me and said, “Well, we do have sorbet too”. My face lit up. She just made my stressful day better. While asking about the process, the girl behind the counter kindly offered to show us how it was done so I could take a few super cool pics. AmFam sampled all three: Cookies and Cream, Vanilla and Strawberry Mint Lemonade Sorbet. Of course I was all over the delicious sorbet, and well so was AmFam! Two scoops for $5 or three scoops for $7? Umm three scoops! It was way more than I expected but not a single bite was left after we were done. The sorbet was very well balance. Each bite was both sweet and tart and the mint gave a hint of savoriness that was both cooling and refreshing. After we downed our sorbet, we walked around a bit more, hoping to get some feedback from people who were planning on attending. Nothing.

The sugar rush made us hungry again, so we went up to DC Slices and asked for a vegan pizza. Jeff had suggested this amazing concoction of a tomato pie with tater tots and a choice of BBQ Sauce or Hot Sauce. As much as I wanted the hot sauce, I was sharing with AmFam, so BBQ it was! One slice was $5 (or maybe it was $4?)…it was a dollar less than a normal slice; a price I was willing to pay for their efforts. As I walked around, people were gawking over my pizza and asking me what that was. I explained it was a special vegan make for the day and people drooled over the idea. All I could think was Jeff’s a genius! I think he just gave DC Slices a brand new creation to try for vegans and non-vegans alike! I had been craving pizza for weeks and while it did lack the vegan cheese I was looking for, it still hit the spot perfectly! The crust was thin yet crispy. Perfect for that New York fold hold! The tater tots and BBQ sauce brought pizza to a whole new level! The crunchy, creamy texture of the tater tots along with the sweet and tangy BBQ sauce made this a serious winner! I couldn’t believe how amazing it tasted. I wanted it to be loaded with tots and wish I had bought one more, but I needed room for empanadas! 

Now DCEmpanadas had to bring their empanadas down from the shop, which meant we had to wait for them to arrive. It was getting close to 7:30, the possible closing time depending on demand, and AmFam was getting tired. It was also getting dark outside and I wanted to get through the metro before nightfall. As we were walking toward the exit, their, just recently displayed was the sign for Vegan Tofu Empanadas! And I thought I was going to miss out… at $3.50 a piece and with an already full belly, I was going to get one just to share with AmFam, but she insisted on getting two! I unwrapped my package to find a piping hot, golden brown large empanada, giving off that freshly fried aroma that so many love and desire. I took one bite, almost burning my mouth in the process, and fell in love. The dough was beautifully fried, crispy, crunchy and buttery and loaded with a mixture of silken tofu and veggies that were lightly seasoned with sweet, asian sauce. At this point the people around me, half drunk, had seen me get up and sit back down and eat something new at least three times. I can only imagine what they were thinking…but I didn’t care; I had just reached veg-food coma. AmFam decided to take her empanada home since it was too hot to eat. We headed me, me still worried about the outcome. My daughter, however, had me laughing the whole ride home, that I eventually forgot all about it. When we arrived home AmFam wanted to finally eat her empanada. Apparently, she had fallen in love too. She rambled on about how I should have told the man to put two in her bag and I should have gotten my own. The next morning, she was asking to go back. Best mother and daughter date night ever.

The following week I looked for feedback and got nothing. I worried what went wrong. I contacted Jeff and heard that DC Empanadas sold out of vegan empanadas and that the other two trucks had decent sales as well. So vegans arrived! Either that or non-vegans just really wanted the Asian empanadas and tots pizza – not something to complain about!! 

While it may not have been as hyped up of an event as I wanted it to be, the evening was not wasted. Not only did I spend an afternoon in my most favorite city, I also had an opportunity  to enjoy an evening alone spending one on one with my daughter. In addition, I had a vegan feast and the idea of a veg-friendly food truck event has not gone unnoticed. Could there be another veg-friendly food truck event in the near future? Possibly. Hopefully. We’ll see…

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