The DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and Brightest Young Things should pat themselves on the back for the outstanding job they performed during the inaugural DC Curbside Kickoff.
Between the perfect weather, the ridiculous turnout of customers, and the vast array of food trucks to choose from while being situated in a highly convenient location, you could not ask for a better event for foodies.
Before we even got there, we were unsure of which food trucks we would be able to choose from as many were already reporting that, due to the extremely large crowds all day, they were sold out or very much close to it. Most trucks had continuous lines all day with people waiting over an hour to get their food.
By the time we had reached the old convention center lot, we met up with our friends and mapped out a game plan. Even at 6pm, it was still fairly hot outside, and the idea of waiting for more than an hour with no guarantee of the trucks still having food by the time we reached the front of the line wasn’t very appealing. Some of the trucks we were really looking forward to trying were already gone for the day, such as Fry Captain and Takorean, and others that had been hyped for months like Red Hook Lobster Truck and Fojol Brothers had fairly intimidating lines that stretched across the lot.
We happened to be right in front of the DC Slices truck when we noticed a sign that read: Be back in 30 minutes. Suddenly, it dawned on us that if we were to stand right in front, we would be first in line when they started serving again. We asked one of the cooks inside what the story was, and he explained that their supplier ran out of cheese, so one of the guys was at the Costco in Pentagon City getting more. Now, the idea that it would only take 30 minutes to get to Gallery Place from Pentagon City during rush hour on a Friday was a little unlikely, but then again you never know.
We figured that any truck with food available would have at least a half hour wait, so we might as well be first in line for one that promised to have more supplies shortly. It was pure chance that we decided to stand where we were, and sure enough, a line started forming behind us that was quickly growing.
The boys decided to stick it out front and center at DC Slices, but we thought we should strategize and wait in another food line as well or at least in one that was still selling food just in case the Costco cheese run didn’t pan out. There were several trucks that looked appealing, such as Sauca, with a variety of international dishes, and District Taco, that had different types of taco offerings (but we were told they were in fact based out of Arlington and not the District). Eat Wonky didn’t seem to have too long of a line, but we weren’t feeling the poutine hot dog and fries they were serving up.
In the end, we decided to wait in line in front of the El Floriando truck, which seemed to have decent food and the most reasonable queue that was actually moving fairly steadily. They only had two options of a Ho Chi Bahn Mi which consisted of turkey meatloaf with pickled green mango and tamarind BBQ sauce or a Classic Roast Pork and Ham Cuban Sandwich served with pickles Swiss and mustard. Since by this point it was already close to 7pm, we kept seeing signs that other food trucks around us were selling out and we were worried that while in line there would be nothing left by the time we got to the front. In the end, El Floriando had run out of the Bahn Mi by the time we reached the front, but they still had several Cuban sandwiches left. We each got a sandwich as well as a Boylan’s soda, and met up with the boys who had just gotten their pizza.
There weren’t too many places to sit, so we all crowded around a bench near the long line for people waiting to board the MegaBus to New York. The sandwich was good, but I realized that anything probably tastes really good after waiting in a long line for it. The bread was really soft and the meat was cooked well, but we all agreed that it was missing something. There were a few condiments on the side of the truck, but we were so rushed that we didn’t have time to add anything ourselves, and it would have been better if the sauce had already came on it.
As for the pizza, it tasted OK, but in all honestly it wasn’t anything special. Given the fact that we got the freshest pizza as we were the first to receive the new batches of pies, it tasted fairly bland and like something you could get after the bars in DC. I think it was more of the novelty that it came from a truck than anything else.
All the items were surprisingly reasonable, with the sandwich costing $5 and a slice of pizza just a dollar less. I would think given the high demand for the new trucks that they could get away with charging more, but then again, people were waiting to pay $16 for a lobster roll like they were going out of style.
All in all, Curbside Kickoff was a great success, and I hope they continue to do this, not just as a yearly event but biannual at the very least. Since it is difficult to track down the trucks during the workday, especially if you don’t work downtown, I could see them doing this regularly in this parking lot, either once a month or even weekly. Or maybe some of the trucks will start coming to Bethesda too. Hey, a girl can dream, right?