To celebrate Southern Ontario’s best food truck eats, the second annual AwesTRUCK food truck rally was held on September 21st at the Fort York Garrison Commons. It was touted as the largest food truck rally in Canada with 50 food trucks.
Unfortunately, mother nature wasn’t playing nice and it rained for most of the event. It looked like some of the food trucks and other would-be attendees didn’t show up…but that sure didn’t stop me from attending! Sure, it was a little muddy and swampy on the field but a good pair of rain boots solves that problem.
My first stop was El Gastronomo Vagabundo (@elgastronomo), a food truck based out of St. Catherine’s. I’ve heard so many great things about them and was excited to see what all the fuss was about.
At last year’s AwesTRUCK, they won “Best Concept” and “Best Menu Item” for their fish tacos. Needless to say, we ordered their Battered Cod Tacos – with wasabi tobiko and pickled ginger aioli slaw ($10) which came with two incredible tacos. The fish had a nice batter, the slaw gave it a nice crunch and the flavour was spot on. It’s easy to see why these tacos are so popular.
Since Mike and I had just come from spin class earlier in the day, we were famished and couldn’t resist ordering the Grilled Octopus – with fried new potatoes, chipotle gastrique, salsa verde & paprika ($10). What a good call!
The octopus was tender and those potatoes were fried to perfection. There was something sweet in the sauce which I loved and the whole dish was a 10 outta 10 for me!
Our next stop was Gorilla Cheese (@gorilla_cheese), a truck based out of Hamilton that’s notorious for its long lines. As its name suggests, they’re a truck that serves up high-end grilled cheese sandwiches. We decided on the Lumberjack Grilled Cheese – cheddar, bacon, sliced Granny Smith apples and maple syrup on white bread ($9).
It was a classic sweet and savoury combination although I didn’t detect much of the maple syrup. It was definitely a solid grilled cheese and while I enjoyed it, I don’t know if I’d wait in an hour-long line for it. Guess we lucked out with the rain!
Our next stop was Dobro Jesti (@dobrojesti), which specializes in European food. They offer quite the selection of schnitzel sandwiches so we figured it’s probably what they do best. After much deliberation, we chose the Za Dilla Schnitzel Sandwich – on Bavarian rye with arugula, radicchio & crispy romaine with garlic dill aioli ($7).
Each of their schnitzel sandwiches have the option of pork or chicken and they all come with a side of coleslaw. We went with the pork. Cover it in a healthy portion of garlic dill aioli and you’ve got a damn tasty sandwich!
The next truck that caught my eye was Dirty South (@dirtysouthtruck), a food truck based out of Hamilton that puts a twist on traditional BBQ. After seeing these delicious-looking sandwiches coming from the truck, we knew it had to be our next stop.
The sandwich that we had our eye on was the Dirty Southern Love – a triple decker of crispy fried chicken, buttermilk waffles and bacon ($9). Three layers of waffles sandwiched 2 pieces of fried chicken which was tossed in a mild Louisiana butter sauce and topped with a buttermilk ranch sauce. It also had a slice of candied bacon cause, why not? It was an incredibly saucy sandwich and I absolutely loved it!
After walking by the Itty Bitty Pie Co. (@ittybittypie) we couldn’t resist picking up a pie. With flavours like coconut cream, butter pecan and sweet potato, we had trouble narrowing it down but decided on the Mini Key Lime Pie ($4). The mini pies are $4 each or 6 for $20.
The key lime pie was delicious! It had a nice tart flavour that wasn’t too sweet and a fantastic graham cracker crust. These mini pies are a good size if you want a little somethin’ somethin’ to satisfy your sweet tooth.
After hearing such great things about Frankie Fettuccine (@FrankieFett13), we knew we had to drop by this pasta-themed gourmet food truck. We ordered the Ossobuco Gnocchi Poutine – braised veal, fried gnocchi, smoked Quebec cheese curds and gremolata ($7) that everyone had been raving about.
I enjoyed the light pillowy gnocchi which had a slightly crisp exterior. Everyone seemed to really love the poutine but I don’t have the same high praises. It was good but not amazing. Perhaps my expectations were set a little too high?
I previously tried Babi & Co (@babiandco) at another event and fell in love with their babi on a bun. I thought I’d try something new this time around, the Perkedel Jagung – corn + shrimp fritters with garlic chili sauce ($6). One order came with 3 large fluffy fritters which were fried to perfection and the addition of the garlic chili sauce gave them a nice kick.
Our next stop was Localista (@localistaeats), a new food truck offering a “rotating menu that highlights locally grown products”. We decided on the Barbeque Duck Cake – with a spicy corn relish ($8). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the “cake” but its appearance and texture was similar to a fish cake.
The duck cake had a well fried exterior with a mixture of duck and squash inside. The filling had a bit of sweetness to it and I particularly enjoyed the corn relish that topped it all.
By this point, we were finished with the savoury vendors and wanted to end off with something sweet. We stopped by Choco Churros (@ChocoChurross) for a Filled Churro (3 for $5 or 1 for $2). I had mine filled with caramel and it really hit the spot!
Our last stop of the day was Rudy’s Paletas (@rudyspaletas), a stand that offers frozen fruit pops using locally sourced ingredients. I went with the Raspberry Basil Paleta ($4) which was wonderfully refreshing! It was packed full of raspberries and had a prominent basil flavour. I couldn’t think of a better way to end off the big food-filled day!
Despite the weather, I still had a fantastic time at this year’s AwesTRUCK! Congratulations to all the winners – the food truck scene has really come a long way!
2013 AwesTRUCK winners:
• Best Concept: Luchador Gourmet Streatery
• Best Graphics: The Food Dudes
• Best New Food Truck: Frankie Fettuccine
• Best Menu Item: Luchador Gourmet Streatery – pork steam bun taco
• Best Pop-Up: Babi & Co
• People’s Choice: Gourmet Gringos