Fantastic Filipino Feast From the Foodee Festival

We’ve already established I have an alliteration addiction so let’s move past the title and talk about the f-ing food from Saturday. And by f-ing I mean food trucking. I’ve been waiting for this weekend semi-patiently for a month or so after first getting wind of the FoodeeFest that was going to be at the Anderson Mall. It promised 30 food trucks and other vendors and I love me some food trucks so there was no way I was missing it. Judging by the crowd I was not the only one.

Fortunately the mall provided plenty of places to park and still be only a short walk to the event area. Once I got there I did what any smart person does at an event like this and walked the full circuit to see all my options before deciding what to get. There was a nice variety of foods, beverages, deserts, and crafts in trucks, trailers, and tents. The first place that caught my attention was a wood fired pizza truck, then a Cajun truck, a soul food trailer, BBQ sauce and rub purveyor, and a cheesecake pusher, it was beautiful. Food trucks checking the international box had food from Greece, Italy, Mexico, China, Japan, Ireland (it was a loaded potato truck but I’m counting it), and a Kabob truck that covers any number of countries.

I almost went with the Kabobs since they looked mighty tasty on that grill but as you can guess from the title the Philippines was also represented. There were actually two selling Filipino food with very similar offerings and price points so I went with the one I was closest too at the end of the circuit. I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture of the vehicle but I got the signboard and picture menu covered here.

They had a combo plate that included either the adobo chicken or liempo, pancit, 2 lumpia of your choice and rice. Variety? Yes please, I got the pork lumpia, and the liempo to go with the pancit and rice.

The little flag was a nice touch. All of the food was great but I will say the liempo meat was pretty salty. The rice wasn’t so it was best to match the two bite for bite. The plate was $20, which for the portions and the fact that is was food truck fare was actually a decent deal. The lumpia dipped in the doctored up soy sauce were outstanding. The pancit noodles had a few green beans and carrots so I felt like I could count that as a healthy side. Overall it was delicious and I’d definitely try them again.

A couple of observations from this “festival”. On the whole these food vendors seemed to be turning the tickets faster than most food trucks I’ve been to. I don’t know if it’s just their overall experience traveling with the group setting up these events or what but the lines of waiting people were not quite as long as I expected. It could have been the volume of options as well. Regardless of the reason it was a good experience. Also asking if they prefer cash or card can save you money. I saved a almost 2 bucks paying cash. Lastly for my Augusta / Aiken / Columbia people this same group is rolling into Aiken May 3-5.

Food Truck Finale

November Food Truck Friday

I was both happy and sad to head to Food Truck Friday this month.  Happy because it was a beautiful clear fall evening after days of rain and sad because it was the last one of the year.  When I arrived I got to see a rare benefit of the time change and that was the darkness really settting off the decorations they put up around the park.

The Christmas tree felt a little early but it was nice to look at and people were digging it.

I had a plan in mind for the food truck I was going to hit since I’d seen the list of trucks and map of locations.  I swung by the brew tent on my way to the target.  I got a Lonerider Viggo which was a smooth Oktoberfest lager that paired well with the chilly evening.  Beverage secured I headed for the Carolina Seafood truck.  The designated slot was empty, just a lone cone with a space number designation.  My plans were dashed but the bulgogi quesadilla from a truck I passed on the way seemed like a reasonable back up plan and I turned around to retrace my steps.

I slowed down to glance at the menu board for the Comfort Food on Wheels truck and the barker decided to pull me in.  He stepped over and proceeded to tell me about the great things they had on the menu starting with mango jerk chicken wings and chicken and waffles and great big chicken tenders, etc, etc.  I stopped him and decided to get the mango jerk chicken and waffles.  Well I think what we did was make up something new because when he told them the order the two guys cooking in the truck just looked at him like they didn’t understand the language he was speaking.  He had to tell them twice how to make the order happen and they eventually got it and I got my meal.


Those were some jumbo wings and quite saucy.  I expected it to be spicy but it was all the jerk with none of the heat and that was ok but I’d have liked a bit of pepper.  The mango was so subtle as to be almost non-existent but that didn’t really matter as the jerk flavor was good and the wings were meaty.  The waffle was whole wheat and they provided cinnamon maple syrup to go with it.  The waffle had a spongy cakelike consistency that I took advantage of and just pulled into quarters and dipped the sections in the syrup.  I was a big fan of that cinnamon syrup I have to say.  After finishing up the meal and using every scrap of napkin I had clean my face and hands I headed to the other beer tent to secure an after dinner, listening to the band libation.

The lady working the tent asked what I wanted and I said I was checking out the selection and she said “Oh we have some interesting choices this time.”  Of course my response was “Tell me more about those interesting choices,” and she offered to let me taste for myself the most interesting of the lot in her opinion.  The beer was from Amor Artis Brewing Co in Fort Mill just up the road and was called Walk in the Woods.  So as I was bringing the cup up for a sip I got a whiff of the beer and wasn’t quite sure what I was getting until the beer hit my tongue.  Pine, it was pine I was tasting.  She looked at me and said “what do you taste?” and of course I mentioned the pine and she added that there was also some oak bark and other stuff.  I took another sip and decided to go ahead and get a full cup.  When I asked for it her reaction of “Really?!?” and the face she made was worth it.  I took the what I now know was a Belgian golden ale with locally gathered pine needles, sweetgum leaves, and white oak bark and grabbed a seat to listen to the band.

I got about half way through the Walk in the Woods and decided even though it had some nice citrus notes as well the overall experience was too much like a beer that had a pine tree air freshner dunked in it.  The trio line dancing to Play that Funky Music also pushed me towards the exit even though they were kind of pulling it off.  So until next spring I’ll have to go afield if I want food truck fare.


Nana & The Kids

Oct Food Truck Friday

Well it was another Food Truck Friday in Old Town Rock Hill and out I went looking forward to another good time.  As usual I stopped by the beer tent to get a little something to walk around with.  They had a beer called Ghost Rider Spiced Ale from Palmetto Brewing Co.  I got it because of the name, Ghost Rider being a comic book character appealed to my nerd side.  I took my first sip and it was a bit of a surprise as I discovered where that name came from.  The initial impression “This is just another IP..Hey!”  The Ghost in the name comes from the ghost peppers they add to give it a little bit of a burn.  It was interesting but honestly I’m not a fan.  It did keep me going until I got around to deciding on which truck I was dining from.

This week Nana’s Porch struck my fancy as the place to pick up a comforting meal.  I mean what says homey like Nana’s porch except maybe her kitchen.

They had several things that sounded good but the Barnyard burger won out with a side of smoky mac & cheese just to keep the comfort coming.

It doesn’t look pretty but it tasted good.  The burger looked hand patted and it was a generous portion.  The burger was sitting on top of some grilled onions and topped with pulled pork and homemade pimento cheese all sandwiched in a grilled bun.  The burger was cooked more thoroughly than I normally prefer but it had a good flavor especially garnished as it was.  The mac & cheese got its smoky flavor from gouda cheese plus paprika sprinkled on top.  It was dense, cheesy, filling and tasty.

I enjoyed the meal to the musical stylings of Kids In America playing on the stage.  They played early 80’s music that made you feel like you were sitting in an MTV flashback.  You know, when they actually played music.  I kept expecting Downtown Julie Brown to stroll out and veejay the event.  It’s not easy to see in the picture but the band members were sporting headbands, leg warmers, lab coats, and other style choices straight out of the 80’s.

While I was enjoying an after dinner cider this guy decided he wanted to be friends and unfortunately you can’t get a sense of perspective from the picture but he was big enough and wolf like enough I was looking around for Starks.

Another good FTF with one more to go this year.




Meals & Wheels

Food Truck Saturday

After taking a couple weeks off during vacation I hit an event I’d been waiting on for a couple of months.  The folks who run Rock Hill’s Food Truck Friday rescheduled the July event to coincide with the Saturday opening ceremonies of the BMX World Championships being held right here in Rock Hill, SC.

In addition to the usual area around Fountain Park loaded with food trucks and live music they blocked off a few more streets, doubled the number of food trucks, added a kids ride and bounce area, increased the number and location of tables to sit and dine, had twice the beer tents,  another stage with music, and finally an area where they had guys doing bike riding stunts.  Whew, that’s a lot of stuff for a Saturday evening.

It was hot.  At 6:00pm it was 96 degrees or 36 depending on your flavor of temperature.  So naturally my first goal was to secure a beverage from the closest beer station.  The beer stations had local craft brews, some not so local craft brews and a couple of national beers.  I was trying to decide between a stout and a brown ale which I figured would be lighter on this semi-hellish day.  The woman waiting on me said “You want to sample it” when I voiced that thought.  It took a second before I realized she wasn’t asking me and she had the tap going before I could respond.  As she gave me the cup she told me she and her cohort had just sampled both and I needed to make an informed decision.  I was also presented with a sample of the coffee cream stout.  Both were actually good but the brown ale was a bit hoppier and more bitter than I was expecting while the stout was smoother and went down well so that’s was the starter beer.  First hurdle cleared it was time to examine the food options.

There were a number of taco & sandwich trucks as well as BBQ of different varieties.  Ethnically inspired trucks, a couple of seafood trucks and desert trucks with those ice cream & Italian ice doing a brisk business.  I settled on Thai meatball sliders with cilantro lime rice from the Plated Palette food truck.

The two beef meatballs were covered with a Thai sweet chile sauce and served with a cucumber slice and spinach on a soft slider bun.  They were good but I have to admit they were a tad awkward as they wanted to shoot out of the bun with each bite.  The rice seemed light on the lime and just a little better on the cilantro so it turned out to be mostly just rice.  I did find a nice place to sit which occasionally got a wind assisted spray from the fountain.  A bonus was it was only a short jaunt to the BMX trick area for some after dinner entertainment.


After that it was time to obtain another brew and contemplate dessert possibilities.  This time I went the opposite direction of the stout and opted for a Catawba Brewing White Zombie witbier.  It was lighter and a little more refreshing than the stout.  I found a nice spot with a reasonably regular breeze to nurse my zombie and people watch as I continued to contemplate dessert.  This really was a world event as I saw folks from not only USA teams but from Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Australia, South Africa, and from their speech some from eastern Europe.  Those were just the ones who advertised their teams so no telling how many other countries were represented.  Nice exposure for the local area.

I finally decided on dessert and since it had plunged to 94 degrees by 8:00pm I elected to have a root beer float from Hillbilly Bob’s Homemade Soda.

Here’s what I can tell you about Hillbilly Bob’s root beer float.  It is not sugar free, it is quite good and they float a single serve vanilla ice cream cup, Blue Bell in this case, on top of that root beer.  Well not the cup, just the ice cream.  I didn’t bother to check my blood sugar when I got home because I didn’t want to blow the glucometer.  To go with my dessert I was treated to a band of 4 white dudes doing a credible job on a Prince tune.

Despite the heat it was a great evening and even though it won’t be as grand I’m already looking forward to next month’s Food Truck Friday.


FTF – South End

Food Truck Friday

I took a break from the blog for Easter but I did hit Food Truck Friday in South End on Good Friday.  This is a regular event hosted by Sycamore Brewing a local brewery with a nice taproom, beer garden and a big parking lot they corral the trucks in.  Sycamore is on Hawkins Street in Charlotte and this is a very popular event.

The normally quite sufficient parking lot is blocked off for the food trucks and patrons so here’s a caution for anyone planning to go, parking is a bear.  The event is from 5:00pm-10:00pm and I had arranged to meet a friend at 5:30ish and I arrived at 5:20 and it was quickly evident there was going to be a walk in my future.  I drove around for a while before parking at a business off Rampart St. hoping they wouldn’t be the towing kind.  Some of the businesses had signs up explicitly stating they would boot or tow.  Fortunately the weather was good so the short walk wasn’t bad.

I met my friend Jody and we did a circuit of the 8 trucks we had to choose from and I decided to try Queen City Sliders but they were having technical difficulties and didn’t take an order for some time that exceeded my patience so I jumped into the line for Tin Kitchen.  These folks have several trucks and a pretty regular schedule so they are easy to find if you need a fix. 

The menu has interesting tacos, quesadillas, nachos & sliders as you can see from the menu below.  I thought hard about the Special but I’d had my mind set for sliders so I decided to go that route.

I got two Korean BBQ sliders and one of the Balsamic Portabella Stack.  It took about 10-15 minutes after ordering for the food to come up but it was worth the wait.

The Korean BBQ sliders were made with beef topped with what they called 30 minute kim-chi and some hoisin sauce on a brioche bun.  The meat was tender and moist with a good flavor, slightly sweet with a hint of spice and more filling than they would appear at first glance.  I got the portabella stack just for variety with fairly low expectations of a meatless slider but was really pleasantly surprised.  The portabellas were balsamic marinated and there were grilled red peppers and fresh mozzarella cheese plus basil and tomato aioli on a brioche bun.  That was so tasty I forgave it for the lack of meat.  The tang of the marinated mushrooms and the mildness of the cheese plus the textures all worked well together and honestly if I was to do it again I might get one BBQ and two portabella sliders.

Jody decided to try out Papi Queso, which has been featured on a previous blog but I will share a shot of the Pig Mac she got.  This is a pulled pork and mac and cheese grilled cheese that was apparently really filling and delicious based on her feedback.  If it was anything like the quality of the sandwich I tried before then they are two for two.

We ate our meals sitting on a low wall between the beer garden and the parking lot.  So here is another caution for those interested in checking out FTF, this is a dog friendly event and that is taken to heart.  The website says dog and child friendly but we saw twice as many dogs as we did children.  Now all of these animals were on leashes and their owners kept them under control pretty well so there were no incidents but I caught a malamute eyeing my sliders pretty hard.

After finishing our food we adjourned to the taproom to try an adult beverage.  The bar was several people deep so it took a few minutes to get to it and get some service.  I opted for their honey toasted amber and Jody got a Windy Hill Orchard peach cider.  They also have some wines for those who go that way.   The beer was decent but not really noteworthy.

We found a small table near a window so we have a view of the live music outside but couldn’t hear much because it was loud in there but we were able to toast a successful venture to expand our palates.

I’ll be hitting Food Truck Friday again this year for sure but I’ll consider a couple of lessons from this trip.  First if the weather isn’t too hot I’ll probably take the light rail to the East/West station with is just a couple of blocks from Sycamore Brewing.  If it is hot then I think trying to get there before 5:00 and trying to find a parking place then or wait until after 6:00 when the other businesses are almost guaranteed to be closed.



What the Fries?

This weekend I actually hit food trucks in Augusta, GA and Charlotte, NC both times with friends and live music so it was a pretty good weekend.  I didn’t take any photos or note the name of the truck in Augusta because I am a slacker sometimes.  That being the case I’m going to focus on Saturday evening’s food truck but want to give a shout out to the folks who made that polish sausage on a big roll with grilled onions and peppers plus slaw but sadly no napkins.  It was a miracle we didn’t wear more of it than we did.  Also thanks to Renee, Mike & Kim for sharing the evening and enduring some good and not that great cover bands on the Commons in Augusta for St. Patrick’s day.

Saturday evening I had my stuff together a little better and met with friend and fellow food enthusiast Jody at Food Truck Saturday (FTS), sponsored by The City Kitch and Wild Wing Café in northeast Charlotte.  We had been stalking a food truck called What the Fries Charlotte for a while trying to find a time and place we could meet to check them out and this event worked out.

From the skies you’d never know we had a short rain delay but the evening turned out to be a fantastic one for eating outside.  As you might expect from the name the headline truck specializes in fries but not just any fries.  They had a number of different and interesting selections and we settled on the Truffle Parmesan fries and the Smokey Bacon Fries.

One of the great benefits, aside from good company, to bringing a friend is you get to try more things that you would on your own without being a total glutton.  I was the primary on the Smokey Bacon and Jody was the primary on the Truffle Parmesan.  Both were good but the general consensus was the Smokey Bacon was the better of the two.  The sauce on the Parmesan Truffle was creamy, truffley and parmesany and the fries were good.  The Smokey Bacon was really good. Applewood bacon, shredded smoked gouda, tomatoes and scallions on fries that were cooked through but not crunchy.  The flexibility of the fries let you fold them around the great toppings like a potato corral and scoop up the tasty results for a delightful bite.  After downing those we decided we had to try at least one more thing from one of the other 6 MoFUs (that’s Mobile Food Units I learned from the City Kitch blog).  Since we were in topped carb mode we strolled over to Bebo’s Mac Shack and grabbed a small Chili Mac and Cheese and two forks.

This was some serious comfort food.  The base is their straight up mac & cheese which has pesto cream cheese, smoked gouda & cream topped with chili, shredded cheddar, scallions, sour cream and a few jalapenos to keep it interesting.  This was definitely worth having and without a partner I’d not have been able to hit two trucks without ditching some food.

According to the website they will be doing this a couple of times a month (1st & 3rd Saturdays) with a rotating line up of food trucks so I will definitely be going back for seconds.  A couple of tips if you plan to go; parking was tight at 6:00pm when I got there so be prepared to walk a short ways, there are places to set up a chair if you are so inclined or you can pull up a curb, there is a limited beer and wine selection, and I didn’t see any public restrooms but I wasn’t looking for one either so I could have overlooked them.

Anyway I’d recommend the event, What the Fries & Bebo’s Mac Shack food trucks.


Food Truck Friday

New Direction

When I started this blog the focus was, as the title indicates traveling to other countries via my taste buds and sharing the experiences with any who chose to read it.  Well I am just about out of unique country / restaurant combos and the couple I have left are so much better with groups that I’ll have to do some actual planning to make it happen.  At this point I assessed my choices to be; stop doing the blog, only blog if I come across a new restaurant representing a country I hadn’t done, repeat countries with new restaurants or change the focus of the blog.  I don’t want to stop the blog so that left the others and after evaluating them I decided to serve up a combo.  If I find new restaurant /country combos they get added along with a Tell Me More page.  Visiting new restaurants representing old countries will help fill in some weeks and offer a comparison to the already visited restaurants so that will fill in some weeks.  The new part is an additional focus rather than a complete change and as the title didn’t have spoiler tags you probably figured it out.  I’m going to chase down food trucks and check out what they have to offer so I’ll be looking for meals on wheels, roach coaches, street meat, whatever you want to call them and I’ll let you know what I think.

I couldn’t think of a better way to kick it off than Food Truck Friday in downtown Rock Hill.  I only wish I’d started coming out earlier because there’s only one more Friday left and I will be there.  I got to the area just after 6:00 and parking was pretty easy to find within short walking distance.  There was already a nice group of people there and the live music was going.  Yep, dinner and a show.  They cordon off a couple of blocks around Fountain Park and the food trucks park along the streets.

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My first stop was the Beer ID & ticket tent because you can’t walk around trying to make decisions on which mobile kitchen is going to be your source of sustenance without a proper drink.  They beer trucks have some local microbrews and some wee little bottles of wine.  My first try was a Beneford Brewery Irish Honey which was quite tasty and kept me going as I walked up and down in a first pass to see what options I was presented with.

After walking the area I decided to start with a couple of Jamaican Me Crazy Sliders from Street Spice.  I got the pictures of the truck but ate the sliders before I remembered to snap a shot.

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This particular mini burger came with ghost pepper cheese and was on a bed of pineapple slaw and was quite good.  I also got some mac and cheese bites which were the best version of those I’ve ever had.  The outside was a thin crust and inside the cheese was gooey and the noodles were still soft and al dente.  The few other times I’ve tried fried mac and cheese they had been fried so long the noodles were hard and chewy or harder rocklike.

A stop at the beer tent to pick up a truly local Legal Remedy Double IPA and I was walking and enjoying the music and looking for a truck with just a little something to sample and not a full meal.  Hiya did it for me with their fried dumpling special.

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I got 4 kimchi dumplings and 4 fried chicken baby dumplings (I don’t think they were made with baby chickens).  Both were delicious but the kimchi dumplings paired well with the double IPA.  Overall this was a nice experience and I would certainly encourage any of you who can to think about going to October’s Food Truck Friday, I know I’ll be there.