Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cambridge Food Truck Festival

          Food Truck Festivals of New England has kicked off a season of fun festivals throughout Greater Boston with the first in Cambridge this weekend. I've only tried a handful of Boston's food trucks, and was excited for the opportunity to check out so many in one place.

          Some of the things that struck me most about the trucks I tried was their commitment to quality and (many trucks use locally sourced ingredients, and the food was comparable to a casual sit down restaurant) fun stories behind the trucks (Mei Mei is owned by siblings, and Compliments is a couple who name all of their menu items with some reference to love and relationships).

          I went with Jen first thing Saturday morning, and we tried four trucks before getting too full and calling it quits!

          Our first stop was Mei Mei, a sibling-run food truck featuring creative, local Chinese-American fare. The rotating farm-sourced menu includes only humanely raised meat, butchered in house.

          We shared the Double Awesome, a scallion pancake sandwich filled with Vermont cheddar, pesto made from local greens, and two slow poached eggs. It really was awesome, and even better with the spicy ketchup!

          We hit up Compliments next, a truck featuring made to order dishes crafted from local, fresh food and their secret ingredient -  pure love.

          I tried the grass fed beef sliders, served on buttery bread and topped with crumbled cheese. They were fresh, delicious, and didn't even need any of the assorted condiments available on the side.

         Our next stop was Fugu, a truck featuring Asian street food with fresh ingredients and locally sourced produce. 

          I tried a taco with double braised pork belly, pickled red cabbage, onions, and hot sauce and the bibimbap, a Korean style rice dish with mixed vegetables and sweet pepper sauce. I enjoyed them both, but the taco was my favorite. 

          Our last stop was Area Four, a truck whose specialty is piadina (warm folded flatbread sandwiches) made from locally sourced ingredients. They are also very kid friendly, and children who can win a fresh baked cookie if they're able to complete a scavenger hunt and find all of the fun pictures hidden on the outside of the truck. 

          We shared two of the piadina, the classic made with proscuitto, blended cheese, arugula and lemon vinaigrette and the asparagus made with goat cheese, red onion jam, arugula and lemon vinaigrette. Each was amazing, but the asparagus was both of our favorite, and we loved the combination of goat cheese and red onion jam!

          If you weren't able to make it to the Cambridge Festival, don't worry there are more coming up soon! The full schedule is available online, and if you go here are some tips to get the most out of the experience:

1. Portions are big, so bring a friend (or 4) to share and try more things

2. While entrance to the festival is free (you pay for what you order at the trucks) wristbands are available for $7 in advance and $10 at the festival. The average full price was $7 and wristband price $3-$4.  If you plan to try more than 2-3 dishes the wristband is definitely worth it.

3. Have a plan. There are so many trucks, you can't possibly try them all. Do your research in advance and figure out the top trucks you have to try.

4. Ask for recommendations. We picked the top four trucks we wanted to try, then asked them what to order. We were not disappointed!

5. The Festival goes on all day. If you live in the area, come for lunch and back again for dinner!

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