Saturday, October 3, 2015

What the Truck?! Sept 11, 2015

Cooler fall weather has finally arrived in Edmonton, which sadly means the end of food truck season. Luckily, I was able to attend a total of four What the Truck?! food truck events this year to satisfy my love for trying new food truck food. The most recent event I attended was the Finale in Churchill Square a few weeks ago. This time however, I attended the event as a Golden Ticket winner!

What the Truck?! Finale in Churchill Square.

The Finale event featured 35 food trucks nicely spaced out on Churchill Square and on 99 Street. I loved that there was much more room between each truck which helped to ease line ups and avoid crowding. The weather was warm and sunny as well - perfect for hanging out in a festive, outdoor environment trying new food and supporting local businesses. 

Golden Ticket.

As a Golder Ticket holder, I was asked to come half an hour before the start of the event. Essentially, the Golden Ticket allowed me and a friend pre-entry between 3:40 PM to 4:00 PM - we got a 20 minute head start with access to all the food trucks without having to wait in line. Planning what you want beforehand is recommended, especially if you want to try food from multiple trucks in a short amount of time! 

Strawberry Shortcake Mini Donuts.

Our first stop with the Golden Ticket: Jackie O's for Strawberry Shortcake Mini Donuts ($8). Don't worry - it looked a lot prettier when we first received it! I guess one small downside about having a Golden Ticket is that I didn't really have time to stop and photograph my food (#thestruggle, right? #foodieproblems). I was definitely more focused on trying to order as much food as I could. When we finally sat down to eat, my friend Yusra (who ordered these donuts) felt that the strawberry topping had really soaked into the donuts making it a lot sweeter than she had hoped. This is best eaten right away.

Chocolate Waffles on a Stick.

The next stop was The Wafflery, a food truck new to What the Truck?!. The Wafflery was serving both sweet and savoury waffles, but as someone with a sweet tooth, I knew I needed to try their Chocolate Waffles on a Stick ($5). And I'm glad I did... these waffles were amazing! So soft and fluffy, and the caramel sauce drizzled on top rounded out each bite. The sprinkles were a fun, colourful touch and added some texture as well. I'm kind of sad that I offered one stick to Yusra before I tried it myself... if I had known how good it was, I definitely would've devoured both on my own! 

Chicken, Preserved Apple, and Bacon Skewers.

It's no surprise that I would start out with dessert. So to actually fill me up, I headed over to Bully Food Truck to try their Chicken, Preserved Apple, and Bacon Skewers ($8). Three small skewers consist of fresh Hutterite chicken, preserved apples, ground pepper, and smoky bacon served with brie cheese cream. A really delicious combination, and I easily finished off all three. But the best part of this dish? The salad it came with!!! I don't usually rave about salads, but this one was so good! Very refreshing and something that I would love to eat again. Bully was also able to make my order quickly - much appreciated since I wanted to move fast from truck to truck within my 20 minute pre-entry time. 

Curry Puff.

The next food truck on my list was Molly's Eats to try their Curry Puff ($3), a puff pastry filled with curry beef and potatoes. This doesn't look like much, but of course I'm not one to judge a book based on its cover. My first bite into this was impressive: the perfect flakiness of the pastry, the flavourful beef, a little bit of spice. This definitely packed a lot of punch for something so small. I only wish I went back for more! 

Pork and Apple Pie.

Another new food truck I checked out was The Pie Eatery. I wanted to try their Pork and Apple Pie ($7) after reading that CBC's food columnist Twyla Campbell had chosen this as the best food item at Taste of Edmonton 2015. So how did it taste? The first bite was unexpectedly surprising in a good way! I thought the filling was a perfect balance between the savouriness of the pork and the sweetness of the apple. The pastry itself was also great. Not to mention how good it smelled when I cut into it! I think the beauty of puff pastries is that it can hide such amazing flavours inside it, making for a delicious and welcome surprise. 

Rearview Mirror.

At this point, Yusra and I were both out of hands!!! But I was well prepared for that to happen - I brought a large reusable shopping bag to carry the rest of our food! The things you do for food am I right? But hey, I thought bringing a large bag was quite clever of me (hahaha). And now for the last but certainly not least stop using my Golden Ticket: Chedda' Heads! I loved their Hellbent grilled cheese sandwich that I tried back in August for What the Truck?! in Telus Field, so it was very nice to see them again at the Finale. I wanted to try something new so I went for their Rearview Mirror ($9) grilled cheese sandwich which consists of cheddar, granny smith apples, bacon, and maple syrup. Apparently my theme for this event was apples and bacon, seeing as this was my third dish containing both! I loved how the crispy and slightly tart apple slices paired well the bacon. Another impressive grilled cheese sandwich by Chedda' Heads, as expected. 

My spread!

So here was my spread of food after my 20 minute head start! Although I went a bit past 4:00 PM, I managed to get most of what I wanted in a short period of time. It was really nice to order food early, and at each food truck I went to I was greeted with warm and friendly hellos. 

There were only a few downsides about my experience with the Golden Ticket. Some food trucks I wanted to check out showed no sign that they were ready for the Golden Ticket winners (for example, a closed food truck or no one standing outside the truck to greet us), especially at the start of my pre-entry at 3:40 PM (pretty much all the food trucks appeared ready closer to 4:00 PM, towards the end of the pre-entry period). I also found that I had to wait longer than expected for some of the food items I ordered, usually because it was still being baked or cooked. Consequently I spent more time waiting at certain trucks, even though I had initially expected to receive my food within a fairly reasonable time in order to move quickly from truck to truck within the 20 minute time frame. I was optimistic that I would be able to check out more than 6 food trucks using the Golden Ticket after all. Lastly, I felt there was some miscommunication about what the Golden Ticket really entailed... some thought that the ticket would extend past 4:00 PM thereby letting me actually skip real line ups (but that wasn't the case). 

Proud of myself for scoring an impressive spread of food.

I do understand that it wouldn't make much sense to prepare a big batch of food to be hot and ready for only 2-4 people with guaranteed pre-entry. By the time such food is requested by more people when the event actually begins, it probably wouldn't have been as freshly made as it could've been, which is likely a situation most food businesses would want to avoid. Considering that, I think it would have been really nice if skipping the lines with the Golden Ticket could have been extended (even by 15 minutes or so) to be past the actual event start time. That way, there wouldn't be a pressing need for me to move as quickly, but food trucks would still be able to guarantee that the food they serve is freshly made not only for the Golden Ticket holders but for the other What the Truck?! attendees as well. 

Overall, my experience at the What the Truck?! Finale in Churchill Square was excellent! I feel really lucky to have won pre-entry to one of my favourite events, not to mention the perfect weather that came with it that day. I'm happy that I was able to check out new food trucks but also revisit some favourites. An aside: this is the first What the Truck?! event I've attended without CJ (who happily eats what I can't finish). Can you believe I managed to eat all that food alone (with just a wee bit of help from Yusra lol)? 

Congratulations to everyone on the What the Truck?! team for a successful finale event to wrap up the season! Thank you again for the Golden Ticket! September 11, 2015 (the day of the event) was also proclaimed to be "What the Truck Day" by City Councillor Andrew Knack. Awesome news! I'm looking forward to the next season of What the Truck?! events. Click here to read the recap of the finale event by What the Truck?!. Follow What the Truck?! on Twitter (@whatthetruckyeg) and like their Facebook page

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