What We Ate @ Food Truck Social 2013

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Food Truck Social 2013 was a success and we hope you got to enjoy it, too. But, if you didn’t (or even if you did and you enjoy #foodporn, which we bet you do), we put together pictures of what we enjoyed for your viewing pleasure.

My partner in crime for this adventure was my friend Tessa (@nuprinz). BTW She’s an awesome swing dancer and if this super awesome Charleston video with amazing shots of our beautious city gets 10k views she gets pied in the face (and they’re close), so take a look.

We hit up the Windy City Patty Wagon first. Being a big quinoa fan, the turkey & quinoa patty with pepper jack, a tangy slaw and aioli sounded provocative. It actually came with tomatoes

Turkey Quinoa Patty from Windy City Patty Wagon

Turkey Quinoa Patty from Windy City Patty Wagon

too, and a side of delicious housemade potato chips. First off, the sandwich was GIGANTIC. Literally as big as my face. As I bit into it, I tasted the delicious crust and char on the patty. I love a good char! Turkey burgers are usually underwhelming, right? They’re usually the “I’ll throw you healthy peeps a bone” afterthought item on a burger menu. Not this one. Not to put too fine a put too fine a point on it, but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten from a food truck. Ever. It didn’t taste like quinoa nor turkey, but rather an incredibly moist curry-seasoned falafel. Even my pickiest preferences were satisfied: e.g. the height was optimal; it was hearty but I didn’t have to unhinge my jaw to take a bite. My only criticism was I really dislike tomatoes and they weren’t mentioned on the menu. Also, the aioli looked like a pesto aioli, so I wonder what sauce was actually on the sandwich.

The Juddlys: Drunk & Sober

The Juddlys: Drunk & Sober

Next, we mozied on over to Fischman’s Wagyu Wagon and ordered the Drunk Juddly: 80% wagyu beef 20% bacon patty slider with onions caramelized in Maker’s Mark (hence the drunkenness), sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, arugula, and garlic aioli. We happened to run into the burger’s namesake, @TheJuddly (who happened to be sober, for the record). He said they created the burger by his request after learning he had a less-than-awesome burger from a well known burger joint. Juddly is a total food truck freak and has been a strong supporter of our trucks for a long time! The slider came with a side of fries

that, I think, overshadowed the slider. The slider was good but the fries were ridiculous. (All of our trucks seem to be hitting the fries out of the park! Fat Shallot’s truffle aioli fries, anyone?)

Bahn Mi Long Time from Chicago Lunch Box

Bahn Mi Long Time from Chicago Lunch Box

Tess picked next! Bahn Mi Long Time from Chicago Lunch Box. I’m going to preface this with saying I’m no expert in the bahn mi; Tess on the other hand has had much more filipino food than I; same goes for Juddly who also tried a bite. They both really liked it and vouched for its authenticity. The sandwich had longaniza sausage and liked that it was sliced in long strips to make for cleaner/easier eating; the sausage was topped with jalapeños, cucumbers, carrots, and onions. It was all very fresh, the baguette was light and flakey. I thought the sandwich was missing something; it was slightly dry. That said, I would definitely try another menu item from the truck.

This picture doesn't do the Pork Nachos justice.

This picture doesn’t do the Pork Nachos justice.

On the restaurant side, we tried an al pastor taco (pork shoulder, pineapple, onion, cilantro) from Big Star. Amazing as usual. Then, despite our stomachs crying for us to stop engorging them, we ordered the pork nachos with kimchi and jalapeño aioli from Saucy Porka. The nachos were another one of the dishes I’d categorize as “addictive.” They were nicely spicy for my taste (medium heat tolerance) and a bit much for Tessa (weakling heat tolerance), and a good pork-to-chip ratio (Yeah, I said it.).

Al Pastor taco from Big Star

Al Pastor taco from Big Star

In sum,

Cooking Demonstration over a Beer

Cooking Demonstration over a Beer












We got dishes one at a time, and took a seat at the picnic benches. Usually, someone would ask us where we got what we were eating and what we thought of it. The crowd was really friendly and laid back. We arrived at around 5pm, so I’m not sure if we just missed the huge crowds that usually gather at these kinds of events, but we never waited more than 6 or 7 minutes from the time we got in line to when we had food in hand. The one exception was at the very end of the night when it got cold and everyone wanted hot donuts and coffee from Beavers:

In summary, this is how we feel about Food Truck Social 2013 and fall food truck gatherings in general:


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9/21 Mega Food Truck Social & Concert Event

Food truck social 2013
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Yesterday we told you about the Vendy Awards that will take place at Kendall College, but in just 2 days 17 food trucks and a heap of restaurants that love them (some were them) will set

Yaaay so many fall food truck events!

Yaaay so many fall food truck events!

up shop for us to enjoy a smorgasbord of awesome. We gotta say, we love this event trend: this, the Vendys, and potentially monthly events in the West Loop (more to come).

The Basics

When: Saturday September 21, 2013, 11am-10pm
Where: Kendall College parking lot, 900 N. Branch St.

Admission: $5

Who: Food trucks & restaurants listed below


The Scoop

There are several new food trucks here that we’ve never tried, so when we arrive we will start by visiting these trucks: Greek Eats, Windy City Patty Wagon, Chicago Lunchbox, Husky Hog BBQ.  This is also one of Fischman’s Wagyu Wagon’s first events (if not THE first event) since relaunching, so we’ll definitely check out what’s new with them as well since being bought by Fischman’s Liquor (we assume by the name, we haven’t yet confirmed, sorry to go all CNN on you on this one).

If you are reading this and you’ve never been to a food truck in Chicago,

Do you miss Amy Le’s food via Duck n’ Roll? Have you not been able to make it to her new restaurant, Saucy Porka? Have no fear! Saucy Porka is one of the restaurants on the list of participants. Plus, arguable Chicago’s taco with the longest wait – Big Star! – will be there!

If you have tips about the other restaurants, please leave them in the comments below!


Who will be there?

On the event’s official website the following are listed as participants.

Food Trucks
*designates a truck that is outfitted to cook and prepare on board usually, though all can at a private event like this

Fischman’s Wagyu Wagon*
5411 Empanadas
Tamale Spaceship
Beavers Coffee & Donuts*
Beyond Borders
Chicago Cupcake

So many trucks! And restaurants!

So many trucks! And restaurants!

Greek Eats (New to us!)
Husky Hog BBQ*
Two Italians
Windy City Patty Wagon*
Taquero Fusion
Get Curried Away
The Slide Shoppe (a.k.a The Slide Ride- we’ll have to get the scoop on the name, comment below if you know why the change)
Chicago Lunchbox (New to us!)


Publican Quality Meats
Big Star
Longman & Eagle
Red Door
Dia De Los Tamales
Table Donkey & Stick
Saucy Porka
Puffs of Doom


Social Good

“Benefiting Share Our Strength, Cooking Matters, a national non-profit attempting to end childhood hunger in America, Chicago Food Social will bring together food aficionados in an affordable, accessible, and entertaining manner,” says the official event website.

Family Activities

“The superb culinary skills from some of the top students at the nationally acclaimed Kendall College will be on display, with local chef demonstrations, plus hands-on culinary activities for adults and kids,” says the official event website.”


Complimenting the exceptional culinary experience will be Leinenkugel and Pilsner Urquell beers, Bridlewood and Naked Grape wine offerings, Tito’s Vodka cocktails and the Tito’s 1965 air stream trailer lounge straight from the VIP section of Lollapalooza


Entertainment programmed by West Town’s Empty Bottle Presents

11:30am – Todayshits

1:15pm –  Walking Bicycles

3:00pm –  M.A.K.U. Soundsystem

5:00pm –  Otis Clay

7:00pm –  Maritime

8:30pm –  R. Stevie Moore

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Win 2 Tickets to the 1st Vendy Food Truck Awards in Chicago!

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October is near. If you ventured outside to a food truck today (or in the past week, really), the air would have indicated as much. Not gonna lie, we couldn’t be more excited. Not only do we love fall, but that means that the Vendy awards are riiiight around the corner on October 5 (full details here).



We’ve heard many a mention of the Vendy awards in other cities. Finally, they’re coming to sweet home Chicago. For $45 a person (tickets here- or win below), you can nosh on dishes from trucks nominated by the community (polls still open here) and bottomless beer from Brooklyn Brewery at Kendall College. Then, enjoy the mini awards ceremony. To us, that’s a perfect fall afternoon.

The fine folks over at the Vendys thought y’all might like the chance to win a free pair of tickets. Yes? Here’s how we’re going to do it!

Comment on THIS blog post and leave your Twitter name or some other way to be contacted should you be the lucky doggy to win. Each person should only leave 1 comment, por favor! Dupes will be eliminated.

At 5 CT on Friday, I will make & tweet a Vine that shows each person’s name who commented on the post on a piece of paper, fold them all up and have a random person draw one out of a bag. I’ll notify the winner via the method posted in the blog post AND post the winner on the blog post just in case.

If I don’t hear back from the winner by Sunday at noon, I’m drawing again! GOOD LUCK! Share with friends and make them all pinky swear they’ll you if they win.

P.S.  We just realized we can GIF up these blog posts. Get excited/you have been warned.


UPDATE: Congrats to Bret @bqdaddy, winner of the tickets! Thanks to all who entered, hope to see you there! Today I was asked to judge the Vendy’s, and obvi I accepted, so say hi if you see me (Alex)!

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Cole’s Texas Toast Food Truck Tale Gate

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Who doesn’t love Texas Toast? When I was contact recently by Cole’s to try their new products (in conjunction with the Hidden Valley Ranch folks) that they’re introducing around the country via food truck during their “Tasty Tailgate Tour,” so I hopped on board (figuratively speaking).  ColesTexasToast (2)

My first question? “What are the new flavors?” I love me some garlic bread, top it with more interesting flavors and I’m even more excited. The new flavors that they’re launching are:

  • Chipotle BBQ Texas Toast
  • Spicy Buffalo Texas Toast
  • Hidden Valley Ranch Cheese Sticks
  • Hidden Valley Ranch Texas Toast

I went to Jewel, Dominick’s, Mariano’s and a Neighborhood Walmart. My Neighboorhood Walmart was the only one that had them- minus the chipotle BBQ (which was actually kind of fine by me because I’m not big on chipotle). I was guessing they’d be around $4 each but they were around $2.40.

I popped a variety of them in the oven when I got home, heavying up on the ones I might like more (the ranch cheese sticky and spicy BBQ) since I had friends coming over soon and of course wouldn’t deny them whichever they wanted.

The ranch cheese sticks were far and away my favorite. They bread was fluffy and cheese gooey; they were laden with butteryness and flavor, a hint of ranch but not overpowering. Not having an Olive Garden in Chicago, I miss a good breadstick (don’t judge, chain haters- I DARE YOU to show me an awesome centrally-located breadstick; I haven’t found one).

ColesTexasToastYumThe spicy buffalo was good, not great. It had a hint of smokiness and spiciness, but didn’t really “go there” with either. If I were to have been blind taste tested and made to guess the flavor, I’m not certain I would have guessed correctly. I might have actually mistaken it for the chipotle BBQ.

I was super bummed by the Ranch Texas Toast. I wasn’t *as* excited by it because I thought it was going to be a shoe-in. Instead, I was surprised at how sour it was. Thinking that perhaps the flavor just wasn’t right due to oven cooking (undercooked, maybe? maybe a bit of a char will make it perfect?), I tossed another slice on the stove. That toned down the sourness a bit, but still made me pucker a bit. I like the idea so much that in the future, I might actually try the standard Cole’s Texas Toast and sprinkle on a pinch from packet of Hidden Valley Ranch’s dry mix (that exists, right?).Cole's Tasty Tailgate Airstream and Trailer

Try them for yourself! Cole’s Texas Toast truck will be at the Chicagoland Speedway this weekend September 13-15 for the NASCAR races. If you’re going to be there, hit them up for some samples!

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The Vendy Awards Come to Chicago

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Every industry has their major annual award show; TV has the Emmys, film has the Oscars, twerkers have the VMAs. Food trucks? We have the Vendys. So far the Vendy’s are city-based, and they are coming to Chicago for the first time this October! 2013-Vendy-Awards-300x276

On October 5 around 1pm, flocks of food trucks and food truck freaks will descend upon Kendall College to enjoy bevvies of food and drink.

What Are The Vendys?

According to their website, the Vendy’s say we can expect:

  • A  grill-to-grill cook-off where 12-15 of the best street food vendors in brooklyn-logoyea hicago are invited to compete against each other for street food glory. At the event, we’ll have a team of distinguished judges score the finalists and decide who get the coveted Vendy Cup
  • General public can also buy tickets to the event; admission includes food from all the participating finalists and UNLIMITED beer from BROOKLYN BREWERY
  • Music
  • A short ceremony naming the award winners
  • Each ticket is also a tax-deductible donation.

Side Dish of Social Good

The Vendys website says some proceeds from the event will go to Slow Food Chicago & Asociación de Vendedores Ambulantes (AVA), which means Association of Mobile Vendors; they’re the group that advocates for the street vendors in areas like Little Village. If any of you were at the IJ Clinic Meeting at U of C (in 2011?, I forget the date, but it was so long ago that Gaztro Wagon was still around and in the food truck politics game) you’ll remember when a group of 20-30 people arrived together, most of whom didn’t speak English but came with their AVA translator who advocated for them during this meeting and helped them to learn the latest information pertinent to their businesses. We were told AVA picked them each up and transported them to the meeting. Incredible social service for these business owners who told stories of marginalization and discrimination.

How To Join

Ticket purchase

Food truck nomination

We’ve got our tickets! See you there!


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8/29 Food Truck Party

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There are few things we love more than a bunch of awesome food trucks congregating downtown in an area with abundant parking, seating, and that is BYOB (not to be enjoyed by the same who are driving, obvi- be safe peeps).

Tonight, that’s happening and we’re going! Want to join? Here’s the deets!

When: Thursday 8/29 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Where: The Garage 116 N Aberdeen St. Chicago, Il 60607

Who? (Note: Almost all of these guys have cooking licenses! Except Chicago Cupcakes & Gladwell, because, well, they make cupcakes and frozen treats).

The Salsa Truck
The Fat Shallot
Husky Hog BBQ
Jerk 312
Beaver’s Coffee & Donuts
Chicago Cupcakes
The Gladwell Company (frozen treats)

Bonus Detail: Charity Involvement

The organizer, Salsa Truck owner Dan Salls says: “We will all be working in support of the Greater Chicago Food Depository to help fight hunger in our great city. To learn more, visit: http://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/

Come out and enjoy!

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Friday Food Truck Party: 2nd Annual Techweek Food Truck Faceoff

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Got plans tonight (after you’ve heeded the words of Mayor Emanuel and considered today your Ferris Buehler’s Day off, hopefully sans a sidekick in a Red Wings jersey)? Head over to the Merchandise Mart to catch some food truck festivities!
What: Second Annual Techweek Food Truck Face Off

As if you needed another reason to attend, look at this uber talented and studly lineup of judges. (Not sure which, if any of them are single, but....*cue Single Ladies*)

As if you needed another reason to attend, look at this uber talented and studly lineup of judges. (Not sure which, if any of them are single, but….*cue Single Ladies*)

When: Friday, June 28, 6 PM – 9 PM
Where: South Drive of the Merchandise Mart overlooking the Chicago River
Who: Techies, Foodies and Food Truck Chefs – judges even include former Mr. Meatyball himself, Phil Foss
Admission is free and open to the public! Trucks will be offering $2, so bring plenty o’ singles.

Published food truck lineup:

TechWeek Food Truck Faceoff LineUp

We would like to sign off this blog post with the closing line from the e-mail from the TechWeeks peeps…quite possibly our favorite e-mail signoff of all times: “Experience
first-hand the food truck phenomenon…nom…nom…nom…”

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Chicago Judge Advances Food Truck Lawsuit

This is definitely just a first step to the bigger goal, but it is a major victory for food trucks since they will get their day in court. FINALLY.
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AND THE CROWD GOES WILD FOR JUDGE PETER FLYNN! Today, the lawsuit filed against the City of Chicago by the Institute of Justice was brought in front of the judge. The lawsuit claims that the 200ft buffer that food trucks must put between themselves and any existing

“restaurant” (steakhouse to gas station) and mandatory GPS requirements are unconstitutional. The judge heard IJ’s argument as well as the city’s; his honesty and reason provided a much-needed dose of honesty and reason on the legislative side of things.

Here’s a summary of what he said, according to DNA Info and the live tweets we’ve gathered from Kristin Casper, co-owner of Schnitzel King, one of the food trucks represented in the lawsuit:

1) 200 Foot Ban: “Judge Peter Flynn said the effect of the city’s ordinance, which forbids food trucks from setting up shop within 200 feet of an established restaurant, appeared to be to ‘exclude food trucks from the entire Loop and then some…Flynn took issue with the ordinance’s definition of a restaurant to include convenience stores like 7-Eleven.’” “Judge says the purpose and regulation doesn’t match up re: 200 ft rule”-@kristinrcasper

2) GPS Requirements: The judge isn’t “comfortable” with this part of the city’s ordinance. He wanted to know “how the city proposes to protect against misuse of the data.” The judge asked “Does the city have the right to put GPS on all cars & monitor?”

The Sun Times reports “…requiring food truck operators to install GPS systems so the city and the public can monitor their whereabouts — violates the vendors’ rights ‘to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.’”

3) Next Steps There will be a status on September 10, but the actual court hearing is TBD.

For the first time perhaps ever, there is a glimmer of hope on the legislative horizon for food trucks in Chicago all because a reasonable judge. ”This is a big win, make no mistake about it,” said Bert Gall, an attorney for theInstitute for Justice, also nicknamed the Patron Saint to Food Trucks. “We get a chance to show this was protectionist legislation….The city was trying to cut this case off at the knees, and it failed.”



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4 Delicious Food Truck Recipes

Orange Dream Cupcakes
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You know how we know summer is nearing? We get multiple e-mails a week from new food trucks! And MAN do they make us giddy for the months ahead. We will tell you more about them next week (hint: one truck’s concept is they sell all things in patty form)!

That also means that The Taste is near. Despite all the stupid politics around food trucks, we of course will be there to support our trucks! A group of us food truck freaks can visit the trucks and nosh together. Join us at 4:30pm on Thursday July 11; the music portion (Estelle and Robin Thicke) take the stage at 5:30. Comment below or tweet @foodtruckfreak if you plan to join!

For now, we want to share with you some great recipes the folks from Eat St. sent us to share in honor of their 4th season airing and new cookbook sittin’ pretty on shelves.

(BTW Eat St. airs on Mondays at 11:00pm and 11:30pm ET on Food Network Canada and on Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET on Cooking Channel. If you want a gazillion-ish more food truck recipes, you can get the full book Eat St.: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irresistible Food Trucks by James Cunningham at bookstores or online).


Kung Pao Chicken from The Rice Box, Houston

Nacho Grande Poutine from Smoke’s Poutinerie, Toronto

Malaysian Lime-Chili Tofu Grilled Burritos from Roaming Dragon, Vancouver

Orange Cream Dream Cupcakes from The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck in Orlando

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Orange Cream Dream Cupcakes Food Truck Recipe from The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck in Orlando

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We know how food truck freaks love cupcakes. So, here’s a summer-inspired recipe we think you’ll enjoy!

Orange Dream Cupcakes

Orange Dream Cupcakes

These recipes were provided by Eat St. If you like them, check out the full cookbook.

If you ask Orlando’s Alex Marin and Joey Conicella what the single most important  ingredient is in their cupcakes, they will answer without hesitation: “Love!” Their cute little cakes are an uncomplicated throwback to the days when Grandma would whip up something simply delicious. These are called Orange Cream Dreams because that’s what you will be thinking about in your sleep!


Cupcakes – Makes 12

¼ cup (60 mL) butter, softened

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

1 egg

1 tsp (5 mL) orange food color (optional)

1 tsp (5 mL) pure orange extract

¼ tsp (1 mL) pure vanilla extract

½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder

¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

1⅓ cups (325 mL) all-purpose flour

1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk



½ cup (125 mL) butter, at room temperature

1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup (250 mL) marshmallow fluff

1 ¼ tsp (6 mL) pure vanilla extract



5 tbsp (75 mL) butter

1 ½ tsp (7 mL) pure orange extract

3 cups (750 mL) icing sugar

½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream

¼ tsp (1 mL) orange food color (optional)


For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beating continuously, add egg, food color (if using), orange extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, alternately stir in flour and milk, in three additions. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners.


Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack before removing cupcakes from pan.


For the filling, using an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add icing sugar and salt; mix well. Beat in marshmallow fluff and vanilla. Transfer filling to a pastry bag. Using a ¼-inch (5 mm) round tip, insert the tip a little more than halfway into a cupcake. While pushing the filling into the cupcake, pull the tip out of the cupcake.


For the frosting, using an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Beat in orange extract. With mixer on low speed, gradually add icing sugar. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add cream and orange food color (if using); beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes.

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