With the food truck trend taking the restaurant scene by storm, UCR had the privilege of hosting its first-ever Food Truck Festival last Wednesday, May 15. Unique culinary options were provided, from The Viking Truck, Garlic Scrapes, Goodwin’s Organics and UCR’s own Culinary Chameleon to name a few. Muffled hip-hop projected from the Wednesday Nooner as the lines grew long and the heat bore down. Rather than choosing what looked tastiest, it became a decision of which line was shortest. And it wasn’t just students enjoying the food; a girl’s dog made a leap for her burger and began devouring it on the hot concrete. Everyone was in a scramble for something to eat.
Eager students were greeted by trucks that housed foods one would not usually find on campus. The Meat the Greek featured kebabs and salads that embodied the authentic ingredients that could take you to the shores of Greece. However, it was a bit expensive, as the food prices were high as $14.50 for a feta salad. The Garlic Scrapes truck served garlic feta fries for $5 that featured a gargantuan of a side order: mounds of French fries piled high with feta cheese, parsley and a garlic “scrape” sauce. All components worked well with the star of the dish: the garlic sauce. Rich and creamy, the buttermilk-based sauce had bits—or scrapes—of garlic that carried a hearty flavor and a deathly stench. The quality, price and size was worth the measly $5.
Food on a stick seemed to be a reoccurring trend throughout the trucks as students held wooden skewers heaping with spiral-cut potatoes. The line at the Viking Truck line ran from 30 minutes at the beginning of the festival to two hours at its peak. Their best seller was the Nemesis, a smoked bratwurst fried in a crunchy batter shell. A bite into that bratwurst provided a snap, letting any food truck foodie know of its freshness. The smokiness and spiciness of it mixed well with the creamy corn batter and filled up the hole in my stomach. People complained about the prices, but the food wasn’t low-quality orange chicken that was prepared using heat lamps; you were actually paying for high-quality ingredients cooked to perfection.
The Viking Truck had virtually the same wait time as Space Mountain at Disneyland. In the line, first-year creative writing transfer Karla Lara enjoyed the Mighty Melt cheeseburger provided by the OC Burger Monster, which contained caramelized onions, barbecue, cheddar cheese, onion rings, bacon and coleslaw all on a soft bun. She said it was “the best burger [she] has ever had.” The melt was $10, but it totalled $12 after her tip.
Unfortunately some of the trucks weren’t quite prepared for the onslaught of starving students. One of the reliefs from the heat was the snow cone truck, but it broke down before the festival was halfway over. Waff-N-Roll, which specialized in pulled pork and fried chicken sandwiches held between crunchy waffles, somehow managed to run out of its waffles. This led to much longer lines for the other trucks and students standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a glazed look over their eyes and sweat beading down their foreheads, wondering when it would be their turn to eat.
Although the crowd became restless and many were disappointed with the wait, the festival was still an enjoyable afternoon for UCR. “It’s a really nice change of pace compared to what’s being offered at the HUB,” said third-year student Daniel Nickfardjana. “I just wish it was offered more often.”