I spent most of today eating.
I kicked things off at the LA Street Food Festival with a locally roasted coffee from The Sweets Truck. Around this time, people started lining up outside the iron gates. This was at least an hour before the festival was slated to officially start.
Next up was Get Shaved, an authentic Hawaiian shave ice mobile. With my watermelon, coconut and strawberry flavored frozen treat, plus a spritz of sour spray, I admired the die hard street foodies racing in the studio lot vehemently determined to eat as much as possible, as fast as possible.
I then asked myself... exactly how popular is the street food movement right now?
I walked around for a bit, the shave ice a bit more filling than I thought and watched the truck hatches open to begin serving the first of the day.
Lines began to form for the trucks. As expected.
Coolhaus dished out mini ice cream sandwiches... my chocolate chip bacon cookie sandwich was the perfect blend of sweet with a touch of savory. Glancing outside, the line was long. Really, really long. In fact, it spanned nearly two full city blocks when I went outside to see how many Angelenos were willing to wait like an ecstatic Miley Cyrus fan for street food.
LA does not have a shortage of food options. This festival was not the last hope for mankind's food supply, nor were any rock stars signing autographs inside the festival grounds. And I was able to answer my previously postulated question, the street food movement is popular enough to where people are willing to wait hours (yes, hours) to get inside the LA Street Food Festival--- and then wait additional time for actual food from a truck.
After a few fish tacos from the Komodo crew, I knew the traffic flow would not be maintained.
And by the time I finished my pastrami sandwich from Fresser's, who surprisingly had no line at all, the front doors closed.
Then, just as I hit the front of the Frysmith french fry truck queue, a charming English man with a megaphone told the masses outside the front gates who never even touched a bite of food to head home. Unless, that is, you prepaid for a ticket.
Hundreds, maybe thousands, were rejected at the door, but thousands of others had an incredible time inside the festival--- this festival set out to prove that street food is not going anywhere for a while. With a relatively sudden spike in popularity, many have questioned the authenticity and durability of the movement. Well, I think it's safe to say that the movement has reached a critical point where it has exited sub-culture and entered pop culture. The point where the band signs a record deal and sells out stadiums. And although I do feel sorry for those who weren't able to taste what I tasted, today I chalk this one up for the band, the rockstars who sold out their first show in LA and left the masses screaming for autographs. Next time, arrive early. Secret's out.