Having missed out on Street Food City (essentially, a collection of food trucks Downtown outside the Vancouver Art Gallery) the last 2 years, I decided to make that change this year by dragging my mother along with me on a cold Saturday afternoon. This event, as an extension of DineOut Vancouver 2014 between January 22nd-January 26th, featured supposedly 22 different food trucks, but on the day I went, there were probably around only 15 or less. As much as I wanted to try something from each food truck, there were 3 (maybe 4) things that prevented me from doing so: “SOLD OUT” options, long line-ups, the unwelcoming below zero temperature, and the price. If you are planning on going, make sure you go early. Oh and, dressing warm would be advisable.
Retrieving cash from my wallet with shivering hands was not the most pleasant experience, nor was sitting in the cold while eating – but I’m glad the organizers actually designated areas for customers to sit and enjoy their food. Maybe next year they can invest in some heaters like restaurants do in their patios. My mother and I narrowed our choices down to REEL Mac, Feastro the Rolling Bistro, and Yolk’s Breakfast (which also has their own restaurant, Yolk’s Restaurant & Commissary).
The Godzilla Mac & Cheese ($8) from REEL Mac boasted gourmet Mac & Cheese with a Japanese Twist, topped with nori (roasted seaweed), teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise. This was probably one of my favourites from Street Food City for its price and quantity, as well as its creativity – who knew something like Kraft Dinner could be fused with asian elements!? I was lucky enough to be at the front of the line receiving the first scoops of boiling hot macaroni, which made the whole thing taste better than normal. Or that could just be because I was freezing cold.
Next up, Feastro. I initially joined the line-up hoping to try their Lingcod Sandwich, which would have allowed me to savour buttermilk battered and crispy fried local lingcod with homemade tartar sauce, and a side of poppyseed coleslaw with sliced tomato on a toasted brioche bun. This is where I mean by arriving early so the menu isn’t scattered with “SOLD OUT” lettering. Since they ran out of buns, my alternative was to try their Fish Tacos ($5 for 1 or $9 for 2), made with chickpea battered cod, tikka masala yogurt and fresh salsa. Served on a 6 inch white corn tortilla with tomato chutney, shaved cabbage and fresh lime, this was the right place for me to try one of my first fish tacos from what I recall. We were given quite a lot of lingcod and I liked the tacos, but for $4.50 each, this was something that could easily have been made at home. The presentation I’d say was not bad though, for a food truck adventure that resembled one of fast food (hence this post is categorized as On the Go). I later found out that Feastro tacos were rated “the best soft tacos in the city” by Vancouver Magazine.
Customers were also offered an area filled with condiments, including the usual ketchup, mustard, and sea salt for a finishing touch on their tacos, fries, what not. REEL Mac & Cheese also had something similar on the side of their brightly painted truck, featuring a variety of Frank’s RedHot Sauces to drizzle over their macaroni.
Our last food vendor for the day was Yolk’s, whose name and baby blue-coloured trailer immediately stood out to me from the rest of the trucks there the moment I arrived. As anticipated by the name, Yolk’s followed a brunch and breakfast style with of course, poached eggs on their menu – which are to die for. My mother and I splurged here for 2 items on the menu even though 4pm was way past brunch time. With an hour until closing, she settled for a benedict-style English muffin (open-faced), with Portobello Mushroom ($10.50), aioli, fresh arugula, real hollandaise, two eggs and “double everything” atop. To be able to try as many options on the menu as possible, I on the other hand opted for a simple English muffin with Hand Carved Honey Ham ($7.50), fresh spinach, Yolk’s made dijon, aged white cheddar, and one egg.
Their menu is a little hard to explain without some visual representation, so here is my poorly composed photo of it. Yes, I take pictures of every menu I am offered at each restaurant in order to have a caption for my food pictures later. (Ha, then there’s me who is apparently 19 and still undeserving of her own menu according to the hostess sometimes…) Occasionally, I forget to, so I suddenly spring up halfway through the meal and flag down the waiter until I am given a menu again. If I somehow forget completely, then I usually pray for a .PDF version somewhere on the internet, often located on the restaurant website itself. If not, then I come up with a makeshift description and hope that nobody realizes the poorly constructed caption.
Street Food City turned out to be a fun food adventure; I really wish Vancouver weather was a little more lenient with us that day, because when I finally finished eating I dashed into Pacific Centre and stayed there for a good half an hour to “thaw” my hands. This was the first time I purchased food from legitimate food “trucks”, and although everything turned out to be a lot more expensive than I expected, I hope to try more similar food trucks in the future. They give customers a mobile option to try different cuisines all at one place, and that is something unique that cannot be catered to by traditional restaurants.