After skipping out on First Friday last month, I made it a point to try to make it out this month. Although most of our friends couldn’t make it (we really did miss you guys), my brother cousin, his wife Deb, their friends, Chonchis and Jeffrey came out to join in the feast. Some time later Louie joined in, and even later we briefly met up with Ryan.
I left the SCV around 6pm, and hit major traffic. It actually took over an hour to get down to Venice last night. Not wanting to brave the parking situation once reaching Abbot Kinney, we took advantage of the $10 valet at the Brig.
Hsiawen and Louie did the valet at The Otheroom, which was only $6. I highly recommend taking advantage of either valet, because finding a decent parking spot can be a nightmare during First Friday.
Both the Gastrobus and the Border Grill truck were parked at the Brig last night. Since I was waiting for the rest of the gang, I walked around to see what other mobile dining opportunities there were.
And that is when I noticed that there are actual shops and art galleries along Abbot Kinney. Who knew? I thought it was all about the food and Intellivenice!
I was particularly drawn to the Dia de los Muertos window display at this shop. It was pretty amazing.
Eventually I ended up walking to the end of the street to where Equator Books is located because I had heard that they were now selling Blue Bottle.
I figured I had some time to browse and maybe try the coffee, but deep down inside, I knew I should wait for Intellivenice. I didn’t end up trying Blue Bottle tonight, but maybe one day I’ll be back.
As I was walking down the street, I noticed all of the trucks, but one in particular caught my attention. It was a white, unmarked truck and didn’t seem to specialize in one specific type of food. In fact, it was a mix of sandwiches, sodas, tacos, and other plain food selections.
Could it be? An OG “roach coach” at First Friday? YES! Props to them for coming out. Although, honestly? They didn’t have much of a crowd.
And that was about the time that I got a text indicating that the gang was here. We met up at Baby’s Badass Burgers, which Deb really likes. While they were waiting for their food, Hsiawen, his BFF (I always forget your name) and I headed back across the street to Skewers on Wheels.
And that is where I learned that Marked5 is now partners with Skewers on Wheels. I proceeded to introduce my brother cousin Hsiawen to my more loyal younger “brother” (from another mother/father) Luis who is now the manager of this truck. Congrats Luis! I talked to Luis a little longer, while Hsiawen and his BFF headed back to Deb, across the street. Soon after, I walked down to The Otheroom to meet up with Louie who had just arrived. And that is when we crossed the street to join the gang at India Jones Chow Truck! One of my favorites!
Hey! These two kids look familiar! Here is Hsiawen and his BFF. I can’t remember his name. Josh?
There was quite a line at India Jones (definitely a good sign) and they were out of some things already. I ordered the butter chicken over rice. It was very good, yet very spicy (for me).
Louie ordered a frankie (which I forgot to get a picture of) and Hsiawen ordered something that most closely resembles a quesadilla, but is really a paratha.
Since the butter curry was very spicy, Hsiawen ate it, and I ate the paratha. THIS was simply amazing. I loved it! India Jones is definitely still one of my favorite food trucks of all time. Chef Sumant Pardal is also very nice and helpful! I heard they later sold out! Good job guys!
Around that time, Louie and I separated from the gang and kept going on our own. We passed Fishlips Sushi, which is one of my favorites, but since we had both eaten there plenty of times, and we had so many new trucks ahead of us, we skipped it.
Then we passed the South Philly Experience, but since I had already eaten there, we skipped it too. Then we spotted Tran holding it down at Marked5! Louie was talking to him first and then I joined the conversation. I think Tran was surprised to see that Louie and I know eachother and were at FF together. Guess what Tran? We know eachother BECAUSE of Marked5…Trufax!
Finally, after a couple of blocks and crossing the street, we reached our destination! The Nom Nom truck! I happen to love Banh Mi! Louie ordered and then the waiting began.
Turns out there was some sort of confusion with the order ticket and that led to the massive wait time. In fact, the wait was so long that Hsiawen and the gang were able to catch up to us.
After the Nom Nom truck, it was time to head over to one of my favorites! The Border Grill truck. On the way to the Brig, we passed the Barbie’s Q truck which was handing out samples! I guess, now technically I have tried it, amiright?
On to Border Grill! A couple of weeks ago, through Twitter, they had a contest and whoever was able to name the animal on the door of the truck would win 5 free tacos. Well, I knew the answer was pig, so I won! And that is why we had a nice sampling of 5 tacos between us.
I don’t remember all of the names, but we had 5/6 of the types of tacos they sell. My fish taco was pretty fabulous.
Hsiawen also ordered a tamale cone, which he really enjoyed.
After Border Grill, Louie and I snuck away to Casa Linda, which is a brand new sit down Mexican restaurant that just opened a few days ago on Abbot Kinney. I was really curious to check it out!
Even though we had just eaten tacos, they have a spit with al pastor, and I couldn’t pass that up! Well, turns out they put salsa on their tacos by default, and since I don’t eat spicy…well I ate around it. But, even then, my taco was cold and I have definitely had better. I would like to come back one day and try something different.
There was a decent crowd downstairs, but turns out they have a second floor that was empty. This is what the upstairs area looks like:
From our table we had a nice view of the downstairs. It was nice to just sit and talk for a while before heading back out to the street.
After leaving Casa Linda, there was only one place we wanted to go! Intellivenice! Saving the best for last! I never get tired of this glowing coffee cup!
Here is the latte artist (Nicely) at work! I have never been able to catch a pour in action (on camera) before, and my attempt tonight didn’t turn out too great. For some reason my camera chose to focus on the labels to the right, instead of Nicely’s hand! Take my word for it, it was pretty amazing to see in person.
This is Louie’s drink of choice. It certainly looked amazing, and I’m assuming it tasted great too!
As we were at Intellivenice, Ryan was there too, so we got to meet him and talk to him briefly. If you are wondering where the rest of the gang is by this point? Well, we never ended up seeing them again after Border Grill. Thanks to a text later that night, I found out that after we wandered off they couldn’t find us, and ended up calling it a night anyway. Still, a fun time was had by all. This visit will definitely be added to the list of most memorable moments.
So, I leave you with this final picture of what our table looked like before we ate/drank everything. You may notice my usual Angeleno didn’t stand a chance of being photographed, I drank it too quickly. And my elusive affogato didn’t happen last night either. I figured it was too late and the lemon tart was dessert already. One day I’ll have an affogato! One day…
Thanks to everyone for coming out, and hopefully the rest of the gang will join us next month! Start clearing those calendars, getting homework done, etc!