Boy, did the crowds turn out for Saturday’s first Inland Empire Food Truck Festival. They were expecting 12,000 by the end of the day and looked on track to do it.
More than 50 food trucks from L.A. and Orange counties were parked in a lot at Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena, serving up trendy foodstuffs. Tacos, perhaps the IE’s comestible of choice, might have Chinese or Korean fillings. A hot dog might be topped with Japanese yakisoba noodles. Other items might simply be chefly takes on chicken or fries or ice cream.
I had an Asian chicken taco from Komodo, chicken balls and a biscuit from LudoTruck, a chicken pastel from Ta Bom, tamarind chicken sweet potato fries from Frysmith and a blood orange sorbet from Coolhaus.
(I meant to try Mandoline Tacos, which a reader had recommended, but forgot. The Grilled Cheese Truck, recommended by another, had a two-hour wait for most of the day.)
Did I enjoy myself? Mildly. Waits were often half an hour, and while a long wait somewhere for a single truck can build anticipation, multiple long waits when you’re trying to take a smorgasbord approach can be a drag, especially under the hot sun, or when you get to the front of a line to find the item you wanted was sold out (as happened at Coolhaus, where by mid-afternoon they were out of ice cream sandwiches).
The best strategy might have been to hit any place with a short line. I did a little of that. Another strategy would have been to go mid-afternoon. When I left at 3, the lines were a bit shorter, although the tradeoff would be that some items were sold out. Yet another strategy might have been to bring a book to help kill time in line.
Will there be a second festival? Based on the response, I’d imagine so, and I’m pretty sure I would attend.
If you went, what did you eat, and what did you think?