Last night I went to the Awesometown Gourmet Food Truck with my friends. We aren’t rookies to the whole food truck game. Not at all. We are seasoned experts at this point, having been aware of the scene for years. No, really. We were ahead of the game. So naturally, we were a bit excited to have this happen so close to home. Usually we have to drive to LA to hit up the trucks, but for once, the trucks came to us. Of course, sometimes we go to the trucks that come to Newhall but this was different. This was a buffet of 22 trucks in our own backyard.
We knew there would be lines. We knew there would be crowds. Everyone we knew had heard about it, but we are an adventurous bunch. We had a meeting place, a meeting time, and tried to come up with a strategy. The festival was set to start at 5pm, but after talking to Mike D. about it, it was decided that 4:30 would be a better meeting time to account for parking. It was the best decision ever. By 5:30pm we were hearing stories of people having to park in Bridgeport Elementary parking lot.
At 4:30 we met up and set out to divide and conquer. Arnold and Mike D. were holding it down in line at the Ludo Truck, and the rest of the crew went off to see what else was out there. By the time 5pm rolled around we had ordered and were already eating Chef Ludo’s famous fried chicken. Mike D. and I agreed that if we ate nothing else that night, we had deemed this event a total success. Some of the best fried chicken in all of LA by one of the hottest chefs in LA at the moment? Yeah. Success. Times 100.
Yes, there were lines. Yes, the lines were long, but so are the lines at Disneyland. The point to surviving any festival without feeling like you are wasting your time standing around is to divide and conquer and pair up. Bring a group of friends and/or family. Figure out a game plan and a meeting place. We quickly decided that the wall/seating in front of the dry cleaners would be our home base. Aptly dubbed the SCV Crew Fort, it was our meeting place throughout the night. We could leave our stuff there and come and go. Jay was holding it down as we all came and went. He even got drinks for everyone. We were having a blast from the start!
After Ludo, we moved on to the Sprinkles Cupcakes truck. The line was deep. I’m not going to sugarcoat. We were in line for almost 40 minutes. Yet, time passed by pretty quickly. We ate some of our chicken while in line, and we were joined by Mike Cruz and Zigler. The conversations made the line go by quicker. Plus, while we ate our chicken, the boys had already hit up Lake Street Creamery and were finishing up some donut ice cream. Before we knew it, we had all stocked up on cupcakes and were on our way back to the Fort. About an hour later I heard that Sprinkle’s had run out of cupcakes. It makes sense. They can’t carry an abundance of cupcakes in their van. It was smart to go early and save them for later. In fact, as I type this, I’m enjoying a lovely red velvet. I was telling Zigler that I’ve waited longer for Sprinkles at their shop in Beverly Hills. This was nothing. Plus, like I said, I had my friends keeping me company. I also told Zigler it would change his life…
Once back at home base, Andreanna and Susan were eating their falafels from the Great Balls on Tires truck. Susan was very happy with the staff at that truck. They were really nice and they even gave them chips for having to wait. Since we are all friends, we didn’t have a problem sharing and letting others try our food. Things were working out quite well for us. After finishing up and hanging out for a bit, I decided I wanted some Sushi so I left my bag at the fort and headed over to my friends at Fishlips Sushi. This would be the longest I had to wait in line that night. However, it wasn’t that bad because I was talking to Mike M. as I waited to order. He had already ordered for himself and for Kendra. At this time Greg was in line at another truck. Scott, Bree, Nate and Aleks were over at Lake Street Creamery. Divide and conquer, right?
As we were hanging out, we kept hearing people complain! Left and right people were complaining. But, we weren’t. Sure, I think it was awkward to place the tables in the middle and to have the trucks be so close together. It created a major cluster. Maybe closing off the road in front of Frankie’s, Daphne’s, Kabuki, etc. would have made more sense to set up the tables instead of in the middle. We all agreed at COC would have been a better location, sure, but heard various reports that they were denied. Total hearsay so don’t quote me on that. Who knows if the source is reliable. But, the point is, effort went into organizing this event, and it worked for us. All almost 20 of us left happy and sincerely hope for a repeat.
Around 8:30 I ended up going back to the Ludo Truck as well as the Del’s truck and the wait time for this famous fried chicken was only about 20 minutes. Of course, it felt like 5 minutes because I was with friends. It was also incredibly awesome to see Chef Ludo out front posing for pictures and really being a great sport. So surreal. This was happening in Valencia.
I didn’t take very many photos tonight. I was too busy socializing, eating, hanging out, having fun, and enjoying myself. I think it was one of those nights that brought us closer as a group of friends, and proved that we really are down for anything. This event was a total success in our eyes. Most of us didn’t end up leaving until 9:30 as the event was ending. Time really went by quickly and we were eating and laughing. No complaints.
I think our next stop should be Coachella…
Here are a couple of Pro-Tips for surviving any sort of food festival.
Sidenote? These tips were picked up from hearing stories about past food truck events from seasoned pros
Vinh and Ryan T.
1. Gather a circle of friends. Make sure it is people you really get along with because you might be stuck in line with them for an hour. Make sure they can hang and are adventurous. Whiners aren’t allowed.
2. Arrive early. Set a meeting place. Dress comfortably. Shave your legs. Inside joke.
3. Know that there will be a crowd. Accept it. I don’t like crowds, but act as if you and your friends are the only ones there.
4. Bring CASH! Some trucks to accept debit/credit cards, but Cash just works out better. For example, if you see your friend in line for sushi, you could just slip them a $5 bill and ask them to grab you something.
5. Have a home base. A fort. Somewhere that you can actually sit and enjoy your goods. You waited 40 minutes for that falafel. You want a place to enjoy it. We had a good location away from the madness but still close enough to see the action. I saw some people set up chairs in the parking lot by their cars. They must be the alternate SCV Crew because they had a good idea going. They looked like they were having a blast too.
I’m sure there are more tips I’ll think of…but these are the ones that always seem to work for us. Thanks to the organizers for putting on this event. No complaints from the SCV Crew.
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