Boston Feasts Victorious In First Food Truck Throwdown
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The star status of the food truck phenomenon has rapidly risen from virtually unknown to more or less celebrity in a very short amount of time. They have become the focus of food blogs, food critics, and food lovers everywhere. A grown-up version of the classic childhood ice cream truck, food trucks offer incredible variety at such inexpensive costs that people are being given the chance to experience exceptionally creative and increasingly untraditional fares—that is to say, a new and distinctly modern understanding of the art of food.
The visionaries behind these (relatively) inconspicuous vans are revolutionizing the way people experience good food: in smaller portions, with more attention paid to flavors and presentation than to simply filling one’s stomach. They attract not only indigenous city-dwellers, but tourists as well, which speaks to their ability to bring people from all walks of life together. In short, the food truck is becoming a food movement, and its additional merit as a social movement was evident this weekend at the first annual Food Truck Throwdown, held in Dewey Square in downtown Boston.
Nearly 10,000 people flocked to the competition over the course of the day for an event that included live music, activities, and of course, food. Seven food trucks from Boston faced off against seven food trucks from New York City, in a competition that was voted on by attendees and judges alike.
By donating a quarter into the box of the truck or trucks of choice, votes were cast, and at the end of the competition, the money from all of the trucks was donated to the winner’s food bank or charity of choice. Overall, Boston was voted as Best Food Truck City. Tasty options ranged from seafood to dessert, from Asian-inspired to Mexican cuisine—and the categories for judging included Best Savory Item (Staff Meal, Boston); Best Sandwich (Lobstah Love, Boston); Best Sweet Item (Wafels & Dinges, NYC); Best Asian-Inspired Item (Bon Me, Boston); and Best Seafood Item (Nuchas, NYC).
The Boston representatives included Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Kickass Cupcakes, Bon Me, Lobstah Love, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Staff Meal, and The Cookie Monstah, some of which may be familiar to the Boston College student population, as a few of these trucks park their tasty fare in Cleveland Circle.
It was evident from the lines that snaked in and around Dewey Square up until the end of the evening that all of the trucks brought their top game. Favorites tastes from the event include the Mei Mei Street Kitchen Double Awesome scallion pancake with fried egg, and the Bon Me Dog, a hot dog with the Vietnamese-style toppings that garnish their better-known sandwiches and rice bowls. The trucks were serving lines of customers for the entirety of the day—apparently, inexpensive and delicious food is an easy way to get people out and about in spite of the 40 and 50-degree fall weather that seems to be descending rapidly upon the city.
The Throwdown was the brainchild of Sara Ross, the owner and founder of Kickass Cupcakes, which has a store in Somerville, Mass. as well as a roaming truck that can be found off of Newbury or in Copley Square on the weekends. She came up with the idea for the competition earlier this year and found enthusiastic support when she shared it with the food truck association in New York City. Trucks from Boston were chosen by a vote through the Food Truck Throwdown website, prior to the competition, while the seven trucks from New York were chosen among themselves. The turnout and amount of support shown is a good indicator that a Second Annual Throwdown will be in the works for next year. n