The Greensboro Meals Truck Pageant; Sadly, you’ll be able to’t eat every thing | Eat Drink
You just have to accept in advance that you will not be able to do everything.
The Greensboro Food Truck Festival takes place annually in the last week of August. It’s a great opportunity to learn a lot about what’s out there, but it’s just too big to cover it all – too many trucks, too many menu choices, too many people ordering in line.
So you need to make decisions, and these decisions are best made beforehand. If you just start walking down the street and try everything that looks interesting, you will never get where you should have gone.
Develop a strategy.
Go to the website (greensborofoodtruckfestivals.com) and determine in advance which trucks will take part. Decide which one looks most interesting to you. Find them on the map provided. When you arrive, go to the ones you picked first. Then, if you still have time, start hiking and tasting.
This year, 38 “hearty” vendors, ie those who serve sandwiches, pizza, vegetables and / or specialties that would qualify as main courses for dinner; 15 candy or dessert carts; as well as several strategically located wine and / or beer tents were located in six designated zones along three blocked streets in the city center.
I had a special reason for visiting this year – I was looking for trucks that neighbors and I could take to a fall block party, so I focused on those stationed in Greensboro or nearby. I was a judge at the North Carolina Food Truck Championship (which was in Randleman in July), so I already knew some of the contestants.
Here are some highlights from a Sunday afternoon (August 29th).
Bacon and pepper melt
bacon (baconnessence.com), Burlington: As the name suggests, this truck is made of bacon, with various mixtures of Neuske’s branded bacon (a top product!). I have the Pimiento Melt – homemade extra hot Pimiento cheese on grilled flatbread with a slice of extra thick sliced apple wood smoked bacon, plus soft-boiled onions and a sweet jalapeno pepper jelly. It’s a killer, super rich with great flavors of pimiento cheese and bacon, accented by the tangy-hot-sweet jelly.
Other examples of interesting menu options: Blackend Pork Chop over Applewood Smoked Bacon Stir Fry Rice and a spicy-sweet glaze; Grilled flatbread BLT with 3 strips of thick apple wood smoked bacon as well as organic mesclun vegetables, mayonnaise and Roma tomatoes.
Ethio Indi Burger and Okra
Ethio Indi Ye Kraze Vegan (facebook.com/EthioIndi, yekrazevegan.square.site), Greensboro: I wasn’t expecting a vegan food truck and I was concerned that the dinner was too low on vegetables, so this was a must. The Spicy Cheese Burger is of course not made from meat. The patty is firm and, I guess, made from pureed chickpeas. It doesn’t and shouldn’t taste like hamburger, but it is tasty. Seasonings include homemade vegan mayo, homemade hot sauce (I don’t know what it is, but it’s red), homemade coleslaw, vegan daiya cheese, cucumber, and tomato. I really liked the fried okra – crispy with fried onions.
I wanted pakoras but they were outside. I would get fried mushrooms on another visit.
Ghassan’s Gyro Pita
Ghassans (ghassans.com), Greensboro, has been a local staple for decades. His long tenure is evidence of his strong following. On this occasion I got the gyro pita “The Greek” – slices of mixed lamb and beef, with lettuce, tomato and cucumber-yogurt sauce. I’m also a fan of their Chicken Shawarma Pita “The Middle Eats” – shawarma-flavored chicken, Lebanese cucumber, radish sumac salad, and garlic sauce; and Falafel Pita “The Vegan” – falafel (made from chickpeas) and fava bean patties, hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, Lebanese cucumber, pickled beets, tahini sauce and fresh parsley.
West Coast Walkers Shrimp Quesadilla
The owner of West Coast Walkers (facebook.com/westcoastwandererllc), Greensboro, really needs to get around. The website and the truck logo read: “From CA to CO via NV to NC (home!) I’ve always wanted to open a food truck and share my love for taste! I am so happy to say that I have achieved my dream and can now share it with others! “
The shrimp quesadilla turned out to be my favorite tasting of the day. A pleasantly crispy bowl of jumbo (really!) Deveined shrimp, uncooked, white cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese, sliced avocado, pico de gallo and spicy mayonnaise.
A special compliment to this truck – when you order you will receive a pager. Everywhere else I went you just had to stand around on a hot day, often in the explosion zone of gas or diesel generators, and wait for someone to shout your name or number, which you may or may not hear.
In view of the waiting time for orders, the sampling of these trucks took well over two hours. Other Greensboro-based trucks I would have visited include:
Hickory tree grilling (hickorytreebbq.com),
Home Slice Pizza and Subs (facebook.com/HomeslicePizzaAndSubs),
Catering on the coast of Jamaica (facebook.com/jccfoodtruck),
King Queen Haitians (facebook.com/kingqueen.haitian.cuisine),
Off the hook (facebook.com/offthehook336),
Porter House Burger Truck (facebook.com/PorterHouseBurgerTruck),
Rockaway Express (facebook.com/Rockaway-Express),
Street cafe (facebook.com/(Sidewalk-Café),
Smoking Mac (facebook.com/smokiinmac);
Fresh Catch Seafood Shack (facebook.com/FreshCatchSeafoodShack), from High Point,
as well as Pinkor’s joys (facebook.com/PinKors-delights) from Ascheboro.
I was surprised at the number of trucks from Raleigh and Durham, some of which I knew from previous championship rounds. Of these, in my opinion, is the most notable Baozi (baozifoodtruck.com) They serve Korean dumplings filled with slow-fried pork, beef or chicken. Unique in my experience, with taste and preparation that are really something special. I would consider tracking this truck down from time to time!
I got some of the highest hygiene ratings I’ve seen on these trucks. Perhaps this is a function of smaller spaces to be cleaned, in addition to real care and attention. Anyway, it’s a welcome sign!
One final consideration – based on these and other experiences, the core elements of most food truck kitchens appear to be fat, salt, and sugar. If you are among the many who consider these to be the three essential food groups, you can live happily (but probably not long) lives around them. Otherwise, you might want to eat a salad beforehand!