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Food Truck Eats proves Toronto needs better food trucks

Posted by Kaela Greenstien / August 22, 2011

Food Truck EatsFood Truck Eats' second installment in the Distillery District was a bona fide blowout success. Outshining their first food truck gathering in June, a fierce hunger for street food kept #foodtruckeats trending well past the event's end time. The first Food Truck Eat's gathering left Toronto foodies with their chopsticks in a tangle of excitement over the thrill of gourmet street grub. Food and wine writer Suresh Doss spearheaded the render-vous of street connoisseurs after being inspired by the food truck moment sweeping the US of A. Though the legality of street food vendors has been a contentious issue around Toronto, the movement in favour is clearly strong.

Food Truck EatsThe ominous black Gorilla Cheese truck was a serious lure for many to the beautiful Distillery locale. Unlike some of the other trucks, like Caplansky's and Smoke's Poutinerie, Gorilla Cheese is exclusively a resto on the the go. The queue stretching nearly the length of the site was a true testament to their diehard dedicated following, but I wasn't quite diehard enough yet to wait 30 minutes in the August sun. It was hard to see what was coming out of the big black truck as customers scooted away anxiously with their foil sealed bags, but clearly their "massive grilled cheese half sandwiches" are serious.

Food Truck EatsWhen I first came by the already famous Caplansky's truck there was a thin crowd hovering around, but on my way back their line was running parallel to Gorilla Cheese's in an all out war of the food trucks. $4 sliders were the item of choice, but a pricey $11 combo was also on offer.

Food Truck EatsEl Gastronomo Vagabundo served up its own hefty crowd wings Kim Jon-illin' style that had me wishing I had time to go back for more.

Food Truck EatsAcross from the mega-liners, The Olliffe Grill Vespa-Truck served crafty sausages and curry wurst. The Piri-Piri chicken sausage I ordered for $3 packed a serious hit of heat and a heap of iceberg lettuce to ensure I made a mess.

Food Truck EatsBig Grill had a steady and speedy queue for their $5 smoked peameal bacon sandwich with caramelized onions. Their pot roast sold out after 400 servings in 2 hours. The 'truck' was completely transformed into a southern style wooden shack complete with 'pa out on the deck grillin' up the meat. The set up was as charming as the hearty comfort food.

Food Truck EatsAn entire traditional wood oven kitchen was recreated for the open face style Wood Fired Pizza. Its road worthiness seems dubious, but the gourmet pizzas pulled out on a long wooden stick were indeed a delicious.

Food Truck EatsFree water refills for reusable bottles were offered up by Water Wheels. They estimate up to 20,000 plastic bottles would be saved by providing free water to guests. There were no bins full of plastic drink containers at this mini-festival unlike at many others.

Food Truck EatsThe ladies at Tiffinday were spreading the word about the sustainable benefits of choosing a few or even just one vegan meal a week. They were out run by their sustainable seafood neighbour next door, but their vegan samosas were top notch.

Food Truck EatsSwish by Han rocked an 80's ghetto blaster while serving pork spicy taco style, double steamed bun and pulled Korean "Banh Mi" style.

Food Truck EatsWith French lemonade and Vietnamese coffee flavours, Augie's luscious ice pops had a serious line up of folks eager for summer treats.

Food Truck EatsThe entire event was packed with Saturday lunchers on a mission for the oddly limited street food scene in Toronto. It seemed quite a distinguished palate has already developed amongst the street goers with some trucks commanding lines beyond what might be deemed sane.



rek / August 22, 2011 at 10:56 am
It's "El Gastronomo Vagabundo" not "Gastronomo Wagabundo".
WTF / August 22, 2011 at 11:09 am
Again!!! where is the proper advertisement for these things! damn it!!!
FoodMonster replying to a comment from WTF / August 22, 2011 at 11:15 am
It's called social media. Get on Twitter, FB or just read some Toronto blogs.
Ratpick / August 22, 2011 at 11:34 am
"Food Truck Eats proves Toronto needs better food trucks"

BUT many of the photos show people serving food from tables on the street, not from trucks!

I think the goal should be to show what kind of amazing food you can get from the confines of a roadworthy truck that takes up no more room than a parking space.

If that was indeed the original intent, maybe this event has crept off-mission.
MrPotato / August 22, 2011 at 11:34 am
The fact that you didnt know and that this was the 2nd event makes you a potato! Congrats on that!
Sam I Am replying to a comment from FoodMonster / August 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm
this IS a toronto blog. 'wtf' is right, we always get word after the fact.......not all of us have a flux capacator and neighbourhood libyans to swipe plutonium from
sd / August 22, 2011 at 02:02 pm

1. The event has been listed on Twitter, Facebook, CBC, The Star, Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Sun, TS Events, Blog TO, Toronto life, Grid TO, Now, and a hundred other blogs. We also did a mini food truck eats on Breakfast Television on Friday.

2. Toronto is new to the food truck scene, it will continue to catch up and grow.

3. We don't have enough gourmet food trucks here. By the third event (Oct) we will probably have close to 20 trucks. Many of the trucks that were at the second event weren't even operational for the first one.

4. These events in my mind have always been 50/50 as I've
said. 50% food trucks, 50% vendors (chefs, restaurateurs) that have said they would like to have a food truck one day, or will have one in 2012. If you look at the vendor list, there are atleast 3 from that list that will have trucks by spring of 2012. That's why they were invited to be here. And lets face it, if I only had trucks at the event, the lines would be massive, it would make everyone unhappy.

5. See you Oct 1st. The grand finale.
you can visit facebook, www.facebook.com/ontariofoodtrucks
or just watch the twitter hashtag #foodtruckeats

6. Thank you Kaela for a wonderful writeup and photos. Really appreciate the support blogTO has given these events.
Jer / August 22, 2011 at 04:12 pm
Some of the early pics don't match up with the captions.
Aydin replying to a comment from sd / August 22, 2011 at 04:30 pm
But notice we didn't complain to Twitter, Facebook, CBC, The Star, Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Sun, TS Events, Blog TO, Toronto life, Grid TO, Now or Breakfast Television, did we?
It's just funny. After your review of the first event drew SO much criticism of not being mentioned ahead of time on the site, you guys still sent someone to cover it without letting us know about it beforehand! We don't read those other media outlets for our Toronto news because we trust that you guys will cover the important stuff for us. And we trust that you know what stuff is important to us. Food Trucks, Beer Festivals, record stores and hating Rob Ford.
Jer / August 22, 2011 at 04:38 pm
Aydin makes a good point. It wasn't announced on recent "Radar" posts here on Blogto. It should have been, it was a great event.

Next one is October 1st. Mark it on your calendar now!
That night is Nuit Blanche.
sd replying to a comment from Aydin / August 22, 2011 at 07:19 pm
my point was that it WAS listed by blog TO.
Here's a link just in case it wasn't clear.
Rob / August 22, 2011 at 07:50 pm
Yes Toronto wants food trucks, BUT where do they park? I am sure no restaurant or food shop will not want one out front of their business losing business to someone who is not paying property, tax, hydro, etc... And what about the mess left after feeding hundreds of people everyone shoving their waste into TO's nortiously small garbage cans... but thats ok the trucks just drive away after lunch leaving the mess to others to clean up...

And yes we are behind New York in the Food Truck craze they are already at the NIMBY phase trying to use old bylaws to stop the influx of trucks from parking in their neigbourhood..

And besides Toronto has always allowed Food Trucks.. the chip trucks in front of City Hall & convention centre, Ice cream trucks around the city (remember that story about the big bad corporation trying to get rid of the ice cream truck parked by their building?). And if you say well we want different food not just burgers dogs and fries.. well remember Mr Pong? We have been there and done that...

But I am sure you would want 30 extra large trucks in traffic everyday.. then taking up the few downtown paking spaces that are left.. removeing areas where taxis can pull over and drop you off, blocking the view of cyclists.. sounds like a utopia to me..
sd / August 22, 2011 at 08:56 pm

If you look at the Food Truck movement in the U.S (and the U.S. is a great example), you'll see patterns.
With the unique landscape of each state, the movement has had a different effect from state to state.
In Portland, food trucks thrived because of open and public spaces. Plenty of space for rallies and events. So therefore,
over 100 trucks.

In NYC not so much. The trucks are popular with consumers, but due to tight spaces, and angry restaurants on every corner, the trucks are getting booted from midtown.

There is middle ground, as demonstrated by Calgary, Vancouver. The pendulum has to swing a little bit..and plus they have wayyyy more choices there than here in Toronto. MR. Pong is not good enough.

The solution is NOT to put 30 large trucks on the street. The solution is to offer some spaces and partnerships to let them work with space owners, event owners etc.

ps. there are systems in portland/la for garbage collection, tax, hydro, everything you mentioned.

Vince Chan / August 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm
I shudder to think the writer did not know enough to visit pop-up restaurant fav - La Carnita. The fish taco is easily by far my best-in-show pick. Even though it's food trucks, it's simply too easy to spend $40 (for 2). We were full after that...

No "La Carnita" coverage? Won't even respect that!
Dru / August 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm
Great time... Will go again.
Betina / August 23, 2011 at 01:47 am
Photographs in this piece are very good.

Writing is garbage.
the lemur replying to a comment from rek / August 23, 2011 at 09:12 am
Gastrónomo, even.
Shawn / August 23, 2011 at 04:05 pm
If the fries trucks by Nathan Phillips & the chinese food truck by Robarts that've been running for years, how come more aren't out on the streets? It seems like there's enough demand, and if those trucks are operational, then it seems like there's not a total bureaucratic roadblock...
Randy / August 23, 2011 at 08:54 pm
I took some more pictures at this event before it started at 9am, if anyone is interested. Got pictures of most of the trucks, and their menus. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lunch-Room/235846286435831
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