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Del Mar’s Gourmet Food Truck Festival

The Del Mar Fairgrounds was the host of the first ever Gourmet Food Truck Festival.  It was a gorgeous day out and perfect for gorging ourselves with amazing food.  Now as  I seat here after some “down” time, I am going through all my pictures and reminiscing about the eat-a-thon with my friend, LA.

We arrived at the fairgrounds with a tentative game plan: hit as many trucks as we could, and share everything we get.  Oh look!  This sign told us where our adventure would begin…

To kick off the eating, we started at Dogzilla:

To wet our appetites, we started with the Yakisoba Dog ($6) – a spicy hot link topped with stir-fried Yakisoba noodles with cabbage, bean sprouts, and green onions, Okonomi sauce, red ginger, finished off with Ao-Nori.  I was excited to try this because it was everything I love, in a bun!  And not just any bun, but a sweet Hawaiian bun.

The sausage gave the meal the spicy kick I prefer my meals to have.  With the lack of Sriracha and only ketchup, the sausage provided that spiciness that made my tongue happy!  The yakisoba was good, slightly sweet and salty, and the sweet bun helped wrapped everything for mobility.  I think this was one of the best starter for this food adventure!

Next…Great Balls on Tires:

Specializing in well…great balls!  Of meat :).  While waiting in line, we talked with two fellow foodies and had a great conversation with them!  As LA said, I make friends where ever I go and you know what?  Food always tastes better with great company! 🙂  Also, during our conversation, LA came up with a perfect phrase that even our new friends found to be quite amusing, and reflected myself perfectly – “food stalker”.  There needs some definition to go with this new phrase….here’s a shot: a food stalker is one who stares at others, known and unknown, solely to drool/obsess/investigate food that is not at one’s own plate.  Who will ask many questions to inquire about the food item being consumed and occasionally proceed to request for some.

Maybe that’s what a food stalker is?  If anyone has a better definition, send it to me!  For now, under this definition, I am a bona fide food stalker extraordinaire!

This bona fide food stalker and her accomplice went for an order of the Ballywood and Buffalo Balls (respectively and $6 per item).  The Ballywood was garam masala chicken balls, topped with coconut madras curry, crispy fired onions, and served with saffron basmati rice with tomato and cilantro chutneys.  The Buffalo Balls were buffalo style chicken ball, mac & cheese, blue cheese dressing, and served with celery and carrot.

The meatballs were amazingly juicy and tender – both of them!  The curry was not spicy (how I like mine), but rather on the sweet side.  However, it was flavor packed and I couldn’t help but lap it all up (my half) along with the somehow decently cooked basmati rice!  The buffalo sauce on the other hand was not spicy, and was sweet with a bit of vinegar tang.  Again, not my usual go-to flavor combo, but the meatball itself was so good, plus when I took a bite with the mac & cheese (with panko bread crumbs at top!!!), it made for a great bite!  Overall – this red, black, and white truck satisfied me and LA.

Next stop – the Tornado Potato:

We went for the “Tornado” with cajun seasoning.  As you can see, it’s a towering spiral of a whole potato on a stick!  LA and I had this at the County Fair this year, but we both wanted a fried potato item so we went with this place!  We both agreed that the potato should be sliced thinner to get that crispiness of a chip on the exterior, while remaining fluffy inside like a fry.  It was still tasty and we both love our potato treat!

Having had so many savory items, plus with the sun baring down on us for sometime now, we both needed a cool off and something sweet.  The answer to our prayers?

Longboard’s Ice Cream:

The recipe of this truck is simple: pick your ice cream flavor on a stick, then your chocolate coating choice (milk or dark) and finally your topping to coat the whole thing.

My choice: coconut ice cream, dipped in dark chocolate and topped with half graham cracker crumbs, and half rainbow sprinkles.  I loved the idea of how this worked and I loved the freshly dipped items, but my only issue was that ice cream bar on the stick was too icy.  It must be from keeping the ice cream frozen in order to dip them, so I can understand yet it did bother me a little.  However, it was still quite enjoyable!  Oh!  And since I forgot to take an individual pic of LA’s pop, she chose: pistachio ice cream, dipped in dark chocolate, and covered with rainbow sprinkles.  According to LA, the pistachio ice cream was only ok and didn’t have enough pistachio flavor to it.

After our pops, we decided to sit and rest for a bit, to let all the food mix in our stomachs and begin to really process it.  That was when the food coma started creeping in!  Oh man…I knew from there, it was only going to go downhill.  However, after sitting, then walking, and watching a race, we dove back into the crowds (which only grew even larger at that point).  I met up with a couple of friends and a colleague, watched what they ate and decided I had to make one more last haul!

Hence, LA and I made our way to Tapa Boy:


I ordered the Pork Longanisa Bowl with garlic fried rice (sinangag), an egg, and a side of papaya relish (atsara) with tomato and cucumber.  Man…when they say garlic rice…boy, oh, boy…did they really mean it!  The rice was packed with garlic and I loved it!  Their longanisa was sweet, which surprised me a little because I was expecting something spicy (are you noticing a trend here?…because I am).  The meat was super tender and yield to a plastic fork with ease, so it was still quite good. Though it didn’t blow my mind away.

To end a long day, though I didn’t have any…a friend bought herself a decked out waffle from Waffles de Liege:

This here is a liege waffle with chocolate drizzle, almonds, and topped with a giant scope of Fosselman’s English toffee nut ice cream.  I only had the ice cream and it was amazing!  My friend “Channy” dove into this with a huge smile on her face.  Judging from her expression, I think she liked it ;).

Well my friends, that was my first ever Gourmet Food Truck Festival!  I can’t wait for the next one, but until then…I am going to start having to find these food trucks around town for lunch!  Bon appetit my fellow food stalkers!

For more information on the food trucks visited:
Dogzilla
Great Balls on Tires
Tornado Potato
Long Boards Ice Cream
Tapa Boy
Waffles de Liege

Ethnic Food Fair @ Balboa Park

This past Sunday was the annual Ethnic Food Fair in Balboa Park. It is held at the international cottages and it was my first time attending this event. Man…I wish I had attended it in the past, the smells that hit you are absolutely WONDERFUL! I just wished I could sample the whole world, seriously.

How it works is that you pay the cash handler for whatever you want to eat, he or she gives you a ticket, and you exchange the ticket for the delicious food that awaits you. I had a really hard time choosing (really, could YOU just choose ONE thing to eat in this smorgasbord?!). From what I saw, they basically divided the foods to: savory – outside the cottage area, and sweets – inside the cottages.

Let the feasting begin!

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Well…after looking at EVERY booth and cottage, and with the help of my little sister and Chef Ma, we decided for sweets:

From the Ireland cottage:

Sample plate – the brownie was my favorite. It was just the right amount of moistness and packed with chocolate! And the small sample I had was more than enough to satisfy.

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Scone – I’m not sure what kind it was (and the seller didn’t know either since the baker who made it wasn’t in the cottage at the time) but I think it was currant. It was too dry in my opinion.

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From the Scotland cottage:

Whiskey walnut bundt cake – oh my goodness….it was everything I want in a cake: moist, dense but not heavy, and full of walnut flavor (but no alcohol flavor at all, sadly).

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And for my savory dish: A falafel sandwich from the House of Israel.

I had my reservations before I made my decision because I’ve had my share of falafels and most being bad ones unfortunately. There has been 2 places where I found the falafels to be truly amazing (Mama’s Lebanese Bakery & Deli, and Aesop’s Table) because it was not made from a mix. You can tell when a falafel’s made from a mix or if it’s premade. Being that this was fair, everything is made and sits, waiting for people to buy them so it becomes stale, greasy, and just not good.

But as I watched the booth, I saw a lot of people buying the sandwich and I watched the cooks assemble them with lightening hands to meet demand. I asked a family who was devouring into their sandwich with great enthusiasm how it tasted. They told me it was “sooo good” and “it’s definitely worth it to try.” Then I finally saw what I needed as the final confirmation: a little old lady in the back of the tent, scooping out the falafel mixture from a HUGE bowl and frying them. If a little lady is making them, heck…it must be worth trying

And oh boy…am I glad I did! The falafel assembly man would take a pita, slather it with hummus, drop about 4 falafels in it, put a scoop of vegetable mixture, then drown it in tahini sauce. It was“sooooooo goooooooood” as the woman I had asked claimed. Had it been fresh out of the fryer, it might have been up to par with the falafel from Mama’s, but alas, it had been sitting for some time yet it was still slightly warm. After polishing off that, I was fully satisfied with my choice.

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Now I will have to attend this event again next year and note to self: come EXTREMELY hungry and come with a group that are just as daring and willing to try EVERYTHING and ANYTHING!

Later that night, my friend invited me over to her house where her family was having a pre-Memorial Day BBQ. She needed someone to help with the Sangria….and being the bff that I am, I came to the rescue!

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I love the color…like I said, colors make me feel really happy and warm inside (it wasn’t just the alcohol!). But the best part of this drink was actually the blueberries after their soaking in the wine. DE.LICIO.US!