Tuesday, February 16, 2010

1st Annual Food Truck Fest

If you have a short attention span here's my recap of the 1st Annual Food Truck Fest.

Holy bad planning Batman.

If you have a slightly larger attention span, I'll expand.

Ok, so if you've been here before you know I have a deep unexplainable love of the food trucks. I find it obvious, even if most of the people in my life think I'm crazy - good food, cheap and in not huge portions. Seriously, its like a dream come true for a foodie girl who doesn't cook. So, imagine my glee when one of the creators of Unique LA (one of my favorite events) teamed up with another person who does this sort of thing to create the 1st Annual Food Truck Fest AND she was going to have some Unique LA vendors there too. WIN!

I was able to control myself and not buy the $30 VIP tickets. (Yes, I did strain my shoulder patting myself on the back, thankyouverymuch.) But, I did jump at the $10 pre-sale tickets. Duh, an extra $5 so I don't have to stand in line. Easy. So, in true me fashion, Todd & I left at 10am for this extravaganza. It was set to start at 11am but since I didn't know exactly where I was going or parking, I felt a little extra time wouldn't hurt.

We scored $5 parking right across the street from our pre-sale entrance. However, when a group of us were wandering, looking for the pre-sale entrance, we were all a bit worried of what was to come since there wasn't a sign. Seriously, no sign. We didn't need a big one, just something that said "Pre-sale Entrance" or "Bike Valet Entrance." We're not picky. We just hoped for a sign.

Being the bright people we are, we figured out which unmarked gate to stand at. And we stood. And I stared at the volunteers on the other side of the big black padlocked gate. And I relayed their announcements to the waiting pre-sale masses. And we waited. After the fire marshall did his walk through, at 11:20am, we stormed in.

First up, Ludo Bites. Ok, all you Top Chef people know this dude. I've read about him but, uhm, yeah, we got in that line first because we knew it would be the longest. And, let me tell you, this was the best planned truck of the bunch. They served ONE THING. Freakin' brilliant for this crowd. $5 = two balls o' fried chicken. It was good. It didn't change my life, but it was good.

Komodo. Yes, those of you who are subject to my tweets know I've been hunting the elusive Komono for weeks. And by hunting I mean I've been waiting for them to show up within 5 feet of wherever I am. Finally! Todd & I accidentally double ordered at this truck. But, neither of us minded. I would totally go there again. They weren't serving burritos on Saturday (tacos only), but I hear the siren-song of the burrito. It must be mine. Yes, their "signature" taco had beef and guac good enough for me to wistfully dream meeting them again in burrito form. Not that the chicken didn't rock my world. It did. Twitter. Web.

QZilla. I don't think these boys knew what they were in for when they signed up for this event. Don't get me wrong, they had the best potato salad I've ever had IN MY LIFE. Yeah, it was that good. But if they had known what they were in for, I think they would have modified their menu just a touch. But holy crap, the potato salad? And their smack'n'cheese was darn tasty too. If you held a gun to my head and told me I had to pick a food truck that would appeal to EVERYONE I knew, foodies as well as picky-non-adventurous eaters. This one would be my choice. Besides, I'd be able to have their potato salad again. Twitter. Web.

Cool Haus. What? Why am I mentioning a truck I've already blogged about? Because, they get 1st runner up for proper planning for this event. Though I didn't understand the menu (thankfully Todd was on hand to explain it to me in small words), their plan of having mini-ice-cream-sammies in groups of two with pricing to mix & match the twosomes was freakin' brilliant. These ladies rock my world again, first with edible wrappers (with advertising no less) then with fabulous ice cream sammies and finally, their fabulous handling to this event.

But wait Jenna, why are you talking about trucks you've already had. Why are you not regaling us with tails of Japanese hot dogs and other trucks you hadn't yet tried.

I'm so glad you asked that.

Uhm, I think the THOUSANDS of fans on the Facebook should have tipped off these crazy kids that they might be over their head. That the 30 or so trucks/vendors they had might not be enough to serve the masses. Yeah, we were there for about an hour and a half, walked the whole space, ate, got our free drink (pre-sale tickets AGAIN FTMFW!) and knew that if we got into one more line, it would be at least an hour before we would get food. And really, I don't roll like that.

I felt bad. I was full, Todd wanted a hot dog. And really no one should attend an event like this and leave wanting a hot dog. That's just cruel. There are Japanese hot dogs just steps from us and yet the wait would have been an hour. Yeah, event fail.

With our positive attitude and love of the food we had already eaten, I promised Todd a hot dog for Valentine's Day and he was fine with that.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Quilting Gone Wild

Nothing says Christmas like February!

It's raining, it's pouring, the two greyhounds are snoring. I'll be spending the weekend sewing, staring at the kitchen ceiling and spending time with friends. And in the spirit of friends and projects I bring you the pajama quilt.

Anyone out there who has any skills (computers, cars, knitting, sewing, etc...) will understand how this quilt came to be. I was sitting with my mom in the kitchen of our adopted family, eating dinner, decompressing from work when I heard the following words:

"Hey, could you do me a favor?"

Uhm, ok.

"Lexi has all these pajamas that she can't part with so I thought you could make something out of them."

Uhm, ok.

"Here's the bag."

Uhm, ok.

That bag sat for about two months in the same spot in the entry hall. I didn't move it. Mom didn't touch it. Finally one Saturday I opened it up, spread it out on the dining room table and saw what I had to work with. I moved the feetie pjs around like fabric swatches trying to figure out what would match what and what I could actually do with them.

And, in case you ever wondered, size 2T & 3T pjs don't give you a whole lot of usable fabric. You have to cut off the zipper, the cuffs and the feet. And, again, in case you were wondering, cutting up a small child's old pjs feels oddly rude. I mean, I was asked to do this, but I still felt like I was punching a teddy bear.

Without further ado, I present you with...

The pajama quilt! I have to admit, doing projects like this make me feel a little less odd about quilting. I mean, when you think quilting do you think of a fabulous 30-something who wears 4 inch heels on a daily basis. Sorry, off-topic, just something I think about.

Here's a close up:


Yes, this wee lady has a thing for dinosaurs. She LOVES dinosaurs. And Shamu.

For the back I just did a piece of baby blue minky fabric. For those of you who don't hang out in kids stores or fabric shops, this is minky:

You've seen the super soft nubby fabric. Yeah, this is it and its called minky (minkee? minkie?). I said I worked with it, I didn't say I knew the proper spelling of it.

I'd love to show you a picture of Lexi with her quilt but she was sick on Christmas so this had to travel to her house with one of Santa's volunteer elves. But, I did receive a plethora of texts about the quilt so I deem this project a success!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Food Truck Fundraiser - Part II

Hi! See, I made it back, two posts, ONE WEEK. I can hardly stand myself.

Eat Phamish - I'll admit, before NomNom I'd never even heard of Banh Mi. But, now that I have, I'm hooked and apparently picky. We asked the kids on Eat Phamish which of their sandwiches was their favorite. (Vegetarians, skip down to the Buttermilk write up). Steak. Sold. I never thought I'd use the words "light" and "steak" in the same sentence without the help of Mad Libs, but here we go. This was, no joke, the lightest steak sandwich I've ever had. And, I make the statement with nothing but love in my heart. It was wonderful. I loved it. It would have been the perfect lunch today. Or tomorrow. Thursday? Maybe in this weather Pho would be better. Either way, I need to find the Phamish this week. Yum. Twitter. Web.

Buttermilk Truck - Ok, so this was supposed to be an update but it seems I can't navigate my own blog to find the first posting. Hmm, a promised post that never came to be? That's so not like me. Anyways, so Steve & I went to the opening of this truck. And, after surviving more (real) Louis Vuitton bags than I'd ever thought I'd see at a food truck we knew this truck was good, but give it a few months and it would be EPIC. Yeah, it was epic. Pancake bites, french toast sticks, homemade donuts...a definite stop. Our group was quite thankful we had each other as if any of us had been alone, we could have easily ordered & eaten all three of the above foods and not had any issue finishing them one by one. Twitter. Web.

King Kone - This is one of the first trucks I followed. An ice cream truck. Sounds obvious right? We've all grown up with the ice cream trucks with the annoying music and selection of Bomb Pops. Well, this ain't that truck. This truck sells, and I'm not kidding when I say this, the best dipped cone I've ever had. And, if you've met me, you won't be surprised to know that I've met many a dipped cone. And they have shakes, and they have sundaes, and they have all sorts of magical treats. If both Cool Haus & King Kone were in front of me, my head might explode if I had to chose between them. Twitter. Web.

Dels (update) - Don't worry, I still love them. But I wanted you to know that they're adding flavors. I still love the lemon but you can have other things too.

Fishlips (update) - Again, the love is still there. And, I've been told by people <*cough*Jason*cough*> that the sushi served on this truck is better than some actual sushi joints (like with real tables and chairs and waiters and stuff). Just thought I'd share.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Food Truck Fundraiser

Seriously, you put 26 trucks in one location? And then you tell me a portion of the money goes to charity? How fast do you think I can walk over there after surviving my first yoga class in months? Ask Regina & Todd, they'll tell you.

Oh, and before I forget to tell you, mark your calendars for 2/13/10. LA Food Truck Fest...somewhere in downtown. Check their website/twitter/facebook for updates since you know I can't be trusted to let you know in a timely manner.

Sorry, back to the trucks. So the nice people at T Lofts hosted this event. 26 trucks. Epic. Here are the new kids (and a few other kids that redeemed themselves).

Grilled Cheese Truck - I stick to what I said about them the first time - Their grilled mac & cheese with pork and grilled onions is BRILLIANT. And now that their grill works, all of the sandwiches are fabulous. If you're on a diet, run away. If you want a d@mn fine sandwich, run towards. Twitter. Web.

Louks - I've been wanting to try this Greek truck for awhile now. And, I was not disappointed. We shared the feta fries & the honey louks. Yum. If I could find this truck for lunch/dinner, I would love to try one of their gyros but in a group it just doesn't make sense. In the meantime I'll dream of what it can be. Another positive, the owner came out to see what we thought. He was everything a Greek food truck proprietor could be. Awesome. Twitter. Web.

Willoughby Road - Another truck that has eluded me, but no more. This southern theme truck did not leave the group disappointed. I could have eaten the shrimp grits all by myself (and happily...stupid sharing) and the fried chicken wasn't at all what we expected but we totally loved it. The party was divided on the coleslaw. I wasn't sold since it had too much kick for me, but there wasn't any left at the end of our visit, so I was apparently in the minority. I can live with that. I'd totally visit Willoughby Road again. Twitter. Web.

Vesuvio - I have two words for you: Rice balls. Really can't we just stop there? If you're anything like me hearing those two words, you're already sold. But, if you need more, keep reading.... I had completely forgotten that my mom made these a year or two ago. And anyone who has had food at Chez Gramma knows that once she makes something, the standards are high. So when I was noshing on the aforementioned rice balls, I was not disappointed. I think a meatball sub is in order the next time I chase down this truck. Twitter. Web.

Ok, more tomorrow...Eat Phamish, Buttermilk Truck (update), King Kone, Dels (update), Fishlips (update).

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Monday, January 11, 2010

First Friday, Thought Not on First Friday

Ah yes, another month, another blog post. I don't know why I can't pull myself together on the craft portion of this blog. Oh well, onto the food!

With January 1st falling on a Friday, the fine First Friday folks decided to move it onto the next week. This gave both good and bad results. Good: There were fewer people so you didn't want to punch anyone to get anyone out of your way. Bad: There weren't as many trucks. Oddly, even with our merry band of 5.5 people, we managed to find enough trucks to fill our rumbly tumblies. Though the dearth of good dessert options did not go unnoticed.

FrySmith - This review is a little late as I've now tried over half their menu. But, at least I can speak with authority! Whatever, the most important thing about this truck is that they killed a sad rumor. When you get the In-n-Out truck, why don't they have fries? Word on the street was they couldn't do fries on a truck. At least that's what they'd tell us at work every year when the truck would pull up. LIARS, ALL OF THEM. FrySmith fries are FABULOUS and their combinations sound frightening but they're AMAZING. Please do the following to appreciate the FrySmith:

1. SHARE - If you try to eat this alone, its VERY heavy...not recommended with all of our post-holiday food issues. Oops, that might just be me.

2. USE A FORK - Yes, I know fries are traditionally finger foods but to get the magic of the FrySmith you need to get all the tastes into one bite.

3. FREE YOUR MIND - Seriously, the first time you look at their menu its a bit odd. But let me tell you odd in this case is fabulous. Web. Twitter.

Asian Soul Kitchen - I was so sad last month when I was too full to try these guys. They set up after we did our Abbott Kinney crawl. But this time they were there bright and early and so was I. First you start with the presentation of the menu. I have a feeling most people who try the truck aren't super familiar with Asian fare. So this nice man introduces you to their fabulous menu. Having spent many a night on Sawtelle I'm an EXPERT, except when I have to lean over to k8 and ask her what something is. But whatever, this truck's menu didn't scare me and I wanted to try one of everything. Instead, we tried the spicy mac'n'cheese (a slow burn...for the hot fans out there; the best mac'n'cheese from a truck yet), Lollipop Chicken (I would like some right now, please), sliders (soooo good, I'll take a few of those as well if you're delivering), and ying & yang rice (awesome.) Can you tell I'm a fan. Thumbs up. I'd definitely find them for a meal. I'd like to try everything on their menu. Web. Twitter.

Fressers - So every month, after First Friday, mom asks me about the trucks, what I ate, etc... She's infinitely amused that I eat off of trucks. Of course, she's much more amused when I bring the food home so she can try it, but that's another story. I'm going through the list on Saturday morning and I get to Fressers, they do Pastrami. "That's all they do?" asks mom. Well, who cares if they do it REALLY well. And let me tell you, they do it REALLY well. For a lunch run, I'd say this truck is perfect. (Ed. to add - Ok, so I just checked their menu and they do more than the pastrami. But, seriously, the pastrami is so. good. I was distracted that they offered anything else.) Web. Twitter.

DogtownDogs - Like FrySmith, I might have allegedly tried DogtownDog a few times before sharing my findings with you. I've now had three different dogs and they're all fabulous. Hands down the best dog I've had. And all the froo-froo stuff they do with the California dog and the Trailer Trash dog, yeah, that doesn't hurt either. You want a good hot dog, this is the truck to hit. Web. Twitter.

Slice Truck - Hmmm, pizza from a truck. For L.A. thin crust pizza, it's good. I would say this truck would be fabulous for a party but since the truck scene is all about the wack-ball fusion foods, this is, well, thin crust pizza. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Web. Twitter.

See you next month, unless I actually tell y'all about all the stuff I made for Christmas before then. Weirder things have happened.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

JennyLeeQuilt

As you know, in January I started taking sewing classes. I did pj pants, a skirt and the dreaded dress. By April, I finished my first quilt. (I'd insert a picture here but I worked on it until and after I gave it to Todd so I don't have one. But, you'll have to take my word that its the most fabulous turtle-themed quilt ever. Seriously, its fabulous.)

Since Regina & I had so much fun in our first quilt class we figured we'd take another one.
Now might be a good time to mention we did a really basic quilt class to start. Here's a picture of Regina's. Fabulous right?

Ok, where was I? Right, taking another quilting class. Then, real genius struck me. Why don't we each make TWO quilts, one for each of us and together we'll make one for JennyLee?! Brilliant right? JennyLee is getting married and it would be the Best. Gift. Ever.

Luckily Regina suffers from the same delusional disease I do and agreed.
I'm in Minneapolis giving Todd his quilt and no sooner is out of my hands that we're at my favorite fabric shop Crafty Planet. I'm pulling together fabric, trying to figure out what I'm doing (lets take a minute to note that I don't have a pattern, I don't know what kind of quilt I'm making or how much fabric I need). So, I buy a TON of fabric. Again, no definitive idea what sort of quilt it will be, only that it will be a quilt.
Regina & I get to class (Double Irish Chain for those keeping score at home) and she takes the fabric I bought in Minneapolis and makes it work for the JennyLeeQuilt; she tosses in a few accent colors to make everything pop and figures out what fabric should be the focus.
Six classes and countless Sundays later, I present you with the JennyLeeQuilt.

Yeah, its a queen size and if you've ever tried to photograph anything that big you can understand it why I hung it from the upstairs banister with binder clips.

Here's the focus fabric...

I love the birds. I love them even more since JennyLee used this fabric in her wedding. And no, I didn't know that when I bought it. We're just on that bird level.

And these swirls. I just loves these floral swirls. And, if you know me, I'm not a floral swirl kind of girl. I'm not sure what came over me when choosing fabric.

Another thing about this quilt that really worked was the division of labor. When it comes to quilting, there is a fair amount of work, especially one of this size. It just so happens that Regina & I loathe different things so the aspects we like least about quilting, the other person actually enjoys. I was happy to iron and do the top quilting while Regina is brilliant at accurate cutting & making all the wee squares match up. So, oddly the work division was 50/50. I don't think anyone was more surprised than we were.
Yeah, I took this as JennyLee was opening her gift. Nothing says thoughtful like Yeah,-sorry,-forgot-to-take-a-decent-picture-of-the-borders-&-binding. But, I LOVE this wood fabric. Its the backing for the quilt in case you were curious. Its among my favorite prints. And, we hand-stitched that binding shut. Its the only part of the quilt that's hand-done so if you had visions of Regina & I hunched over the quilt for months, make sure you have large sewing machines in that picture. We did the hand-stitching on our lunch hour in various available conference rooms because nothing says investment banking like two girls hand-stitching a quilt.

And, we figured if JennyLee didn't love it, we could share custody of the quilt. Its PERFECT in my yellow guest room. (I threw it over the already made bed so no the quilt doesn't have any lumps.)


But, JennyLee did love it, so she gets to keep it.
Happy Wedding JennyLee!!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Westside Food Truck Round-Up - An Ongoing Series

I don't think I've told you Dear Diary about First Friday. My bad. First Friday on Abbott Kinney is well, the first Friday of the month along Abbott Kinney between Venice & Westminster. The shops & restaurants stay open, the food trucks come en mass and everyone walks their dogs, kids, and friends along the street. Its now a staple in my social calendar. Join us....just don't take my parking spot. Get there after 6pm, after I park. That works for me.

Where to begin? Obviously, I'll start with my new FAVORITE truck and it isn't just because of the name....

The Flying Pig - Its big, its pink and its FABULOUS. Duck? Braised pork? Crab balls? Yup, you betcha. So. Good. Steve & I have decided this is our new favorite truck. Now, I don't think I can say its better than the Godfather of all nouveau Food Trucks but it is my current favorite. Twitter. Web.

BoolBBQ - When I saw the menu I can tell you I honestly wasn't expecting much. It looked like several other trucks we'd seen. Then Steve spied a piece of paper taped up that read "Fish Taco." SOLD! Seriously, best fish taco I've had in years. I'd like another one right now actually. And, k8 & mrk were very taken with their taco. I can't tell you which one it was but they LOVED it. I'll be more open-minded next time and just order one of everything on the menu. Twitter. Web.

Dainty Cakes - I'm a food truck nerd. I admit it. And when I saw these guys running amuck I wanted to make sure they were going to be at First Friday on Abbott Kinney since there was a derth of desserts last month. So I messeged them on Twitter. And they wrote back! I was so excited. And then they were at First Friday! And I was even more excited. And then I told them about Twitter and they were so happy to see me. And then they gave me an extra cupcake with my order because they're nice people. And the cupcakes were good, way better than Sprinkles. The red velvet was excellent, probably one of the best I've bought. So, go support a nice food truck and have a cupcake. Twitter. Web.

Fish Lips - I've seen these guys around. Sushi chefs making each order fresh. And, I can honestly report, the food was just as good as I had hoped it would be. I think we'll need to time our next lunch-time JoAnn's run on a day when these guys are parked over at T Lofts (Tennesse & Butler). Their sushi would be an excellent lunch. Two thumbs up. And, as an added bonus, an actual MARKET, like one that doesn't move, will be carrying their sushi. Twitter. Web.

Dosa Truck - This truck has been quite ellusive. I follow it on Twitter but until tonight it was just a myth. Well, the myth is now fact and I can report that this would be another great lunch stop. Their wraps are yummy and not at all heavy. Mina & I both agreed that the bread (I'm sure there's an Indian word for it) for the wrap was great. And, unlike most of the food trucks roaming the streats, Dosa is very vegetarian friendly. Twitter. Web.

Next up, Buttermilk!

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