Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo
What an amazing day I had today! It was the first of the summer Food Truck Rodeo series in downtown Raleigh. Once again, Fayetteville street was lined with beer, food, shirt vendors and for the first time, wine as well. An entire half mile, jam packed with delicious goodies. There is plenty of seating, but they do ask that you keep your dogs at home. Many visitors of this event did not follow that rule. I know my dog would have been miserable in the heat, so I complied without hesitation.
I was a little sad to see that the usual trucks from Big Boss and Aviator weren’t there, so we had to rely on the choices at the Budweiser sponsored trucks. Fortunately, they did have one a few local favorites (big boss and aviator). I enjoyed the Shotgun Betty’s light and refreshing flavor in the hot heat of the day.
There was a new kid in town this year but it wasn’t their first rodeo. Cousins Maine Lobster was truly the hit of the show. They did a fantastic job of walking through the 1/4 mile long (even before they opened) and speaking with everyone who was waiting. They answered questions, explained the menu and their ordering system to keep the line moving quickly.
We got in line at 12:30pm and were there for about an hour start to finish. Considering they weren’t open when we got in line, I really didn’t think the wait was that bad. On top of that, you have to expect that you’ll wait for good food at a rodeo.
We ordered the Maine Lobster Roll ($14.00) which is lobster served chilled with just a little mayo on a New England style roll. Holy wow. This thing was incredible. I lived in Boston for a stint and even compared to what I ate there, this was fantastic. The lobster was sweet, chilled perfectly and not completely obliterated by the mayo. I really think this was worth the wait.
My only complaint was that I ate it in about 4 bites (my fault, I was starving). We also ordered a side of tater tots ($4). It was a large portion (and yeah, they were the frozen ones) for the price. They also had lobster topped tots on the menu – we really just needed something a little extra, not a whole other course.
But one of the truck’s owners (Jim) was so interested in my opinion that he stood with me while I took my first bite. Not too shabby to look at either! I walked through the line after eating my sandwich and encouraged the other people waiting to hang tight – because it was totally worth it.
The other truck I was excited about was the Bam Pow Chow truck. They have very unique tacos served in a fried egg roll wrapper. The flavors are wonderful, but the shell was a bit heavy and greasy for my taste.
We ordered the sampler platter (3 for $9) with one beef and bacon taco – served with tomato, nappa dressing and slaw, one shrimp ceviche taco – served with baby veggies, avocado and cilantro, and one veggie taco – served with red bell pepper sauce and goat cheese. All three were very tasty. They also offer cronuts and will soon be serving soup.
Bo’s Kitchen (korean street food) were there too. While this is not a picture from the food truck rodeo, it is their truck! The owner is very friendly and serves fresh inventive dishes.
The spicy pork with rice is one of my favorite new dishes. The korean hot sauce was so spicy, but it was that long lasting back of the throat spicy that really made you want to just keep eating. It’s served with rice, scrambled egg and spring mix.
The spicy chicken with bread was again very spicy and not at all what I was expecting. I think I would have liked it better on rice but I certainly did enjoy it. The chicken and rice dishes are all $8/each.
We also ordered the dumplings (mandu) in both spicy pork and kimchi. Occasionally they will serve chicken or beef as well. These are $6/four pieces. I had a hard time telling which was which, both were spicy and delicious. The wrappers were cooked perfectly crispy and the filling was seasoned so well.
There were so many other vendors I didn’t get to try, including Masterbacon, serving up everything bacon from jalapenos to burgers.
The Parlour’s truck was on site again and while I love their ice cream I was extremely put off by the people serving the ice cream. They were pretty slow, extremely quiet at calling out the orders and had no real system in place for organizing. Big groups were annoyed because one person from their group would receive their order but the others would wait while customers further back in line received theirs. I was shocked – usually they do such a great job. The staff also seemed relatively annoyed with the customers. They would get orders wrong, then roll their eyes and sigh as they went back in to correct it. I’ll still go back, but man…what a real bummer. It just seemed like they didn’t care at all – kind of a too big for their britches kinda attitude. Maybe they are, maybe they are too big for the triangle area.
The next event is June 14th from 1-6pm. You better believe I’ll be there at 12:30 to get a good spot in line for more lobster if they show up again! Maybe one of the Cousins will show me how they make their delicious food.