On January 28th, I drove to Chinatown to observe the Lunar New Year Parade. This was going to be my first Lunar New Year in LA so I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. What ended up happening was me spending an hour desperately searching for parking while being trapped in a horrific traffic gridlock. This was certainly how I envisioned Carmageddon to be like. In addition, the parking lots costed anywhere from $20 to $30, and most spots were already taken. When I did find parking, I was over a mile away so I eventually gave up. What did I take away from this experience? I learned that I need to show up extra early for the parade or take public transportation, despite my disdain for it.
So instead of watching the parade, I joined Golda and Julie (the newest writer for our blog) at the Santa Anita Food Truck Festival in Arcadia. Although the festival began at 11AM, we didn’t arrive until 2PM. We had to pay a $5 admission fee, most likely as a result of the event being held in a private race course. They were offering free lawn chairs, but my mind was too preoccupied with the image of food to care. In order to reach the food trucks, we navigated through the large crowd at the betting counter. (There was horse racing going on at the same time, and we even saw some riders feeding their horses upclose.) We eventually reached our destination, and it was quite a sight to witness so many food trucks parked in one location. There were so many food trucks that they seemed to disappear into the horizon. Unfortunately, despite the festival boasting 50 food trucks and 20 different California craft beers, most selections simply ran out by the time we showed up, and it was only the middle of the day. The Boba Truck, my favorite place for milk tea due to their wide selection, was out of milk tea and only offered Thai tea instead. Kogi BBQ, a truck known for their Korean short rib tacos, ran out of short rib. The festival also ran out of most brands of beer, including the popular Shock Top.
We ended up making the most out of our situation. We ordered spicy pork tacos from Kogi, which were sweet and tangy but their pork unfortunately lacked the juiciness that only short rib could provide. We also ordered from the Tornado Potato, a favorite of mine, which we previously reviewed here. For a change of pace, we tried some Argentine empanadas from CambalaCHE’s Gourmet. Julie ordered the chicken empanada; I got the spinach and cheese empanada. They reminded me of a giant samosa. They had a crunchy exterior with the filling just oozing out from within. The food truck of the day definitely went to the Grilled Cheese Truck. They had the most number of people lining up, and if you read our previous review on it, you’ll know why. While Julie managed to get a grilled cheese, they also ran out before Golda could purchase hers.
Despite its name, the Santa Anita Food Truck Festival wasn’t all about food. LA’s local rock band, The Shiny Toy Guns, also came out to perform. Carah, the vocalist for the group, did an excellent job getting the crowd riled up from their music, which is an energetic blend of pop, rock, and electronica. Afterwards came the highlight of the day for the guys in Santa Anita Park, the bikini contest. The contestants were both gorgeous and intelligent with many of them having college degrees in biochemistry and the like. When it came down to answering questions from the hosts, they gave different answers to win over the crowd, ranging from innocent to flirtatious responses. It was often difficult for me to see them clearly since I’m not tall and there were a hundred guys in front of them flashing their cameras and cellphones. While it didn’t make up for the subpar experience from the food trucks, the bikini contest most likely helped bring in more patrons to the festival.
While the number of food trucks that showed up is impressive, it isn’t worth paying $5 for admission and $4 for parking, especially when most of the food trucks couldn’t offer their complete menu. Acquiring a program booklet for the event also costs extra. Parking on the street did save me $4, but it meant that I had to walk for 15 minutes. I’ll rather go to a smaller venue with less food trucks for free like Artwalk instead, especially since I know I can’t eat at all 50 food trucks in one day.
You can check out our 3D photos of the Santa Anita Food Truck Festival at our Phereo page. you can also check out additional 2D photos on our Facebook page, which also include photos of the beautiful ladies in bikinis. Make sure to check out our previous post for suggestions for Valentine’s Day as well!!!
Until next time,