On Saturday morning I went with a friend to the Charles River Food Truck Festival which was put on by the Food Truck Festivals of New England. I read about one of their earlier festivals this summer at UMass Boston and from that point on, I knew I had to go to the next one!
When I woke up Saturday morning I was thrilled to see the sun was shining brightly despite the weatherman's forecast for rain. My friend and I had decided to go right at the start of the festival (11:00am) to ensure we could get a parking spot and to be positive the trucks would still have all their menu offerings. To prepare to chow down together, we both agreed not to eat any breakfast and just wait until we hit the trucks.
When we arrived at Artesani Herter Park there were plenty of parking spaces. We followed the signs towards the festival which lead us along the water. As we walked we could make out the bright colors of the trucks ahead of us in the distance.
We walked over the lily pad bridge (that's not its formal name, that's just what I call it) which is one of my favorite look out spots on the Charles River.
We had bought our tickets in advance through Eventbrite and there was a special welcome tent for people with those tickets. The staff manning the booth was very friendly and quickly handed us our tickets.
We each received 20 tickets which were green tickets marked with the word "food." Holding these tickets made me feel like I was at a carnival, only I didn't have to humiliate myself at skee ball to win these.
Tickets in hand, we walked towards what I'll call food truck row.
As we were heading to the far end of the line of trucks (our strategy was to start at the far end and work our way back to the car) we passed a group of people handing out free samples of Sabra hummus. They weren't just dolling out hummus, they were also giving away free bags of Sun Chips! Bonus!
It was about 11:15am at this point and since we hadn't eaten any breakfast, we drove right into that hummus!
Our first stop on the truck tour was the Savory Chinese truck. I have to admit, the cute painting of the pandas on the side of the truck drew me closer.
We decided to order fried tofu with vegetable fried rice. An aggressive first choice, I know. I found the tofu to be slimy, but the fried rice was delicious!
Our second stop was Roxy's Grilled Cheese, which I have to say, I think is the most famous food truck in Boston. Partly because they were on the Food Network, but partly because the guys are just so classic Boston that the locals love them.
I'd never been to the Roxy truck before, so I was psyched to see what they had on the menu. They offered grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with everything from bacon to guacamole to short ribs!
We split the rookie melt which is the classic grilled cheese with tomato. Though it's pretty hard to screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, this was one of the best I've ever had. The bread had the perfect, buttery crisp to it, the cheese was hot and gooey and the tomatoes were ripe and juicy. This was a total home run.
If you're a fan of Roxy's Grilled Cheese and want to wear that pride you can scoop up one of their t-shirts. I especially love the riff on the Bruins logo.
My friend had been most excited to hit up the Lobsta Love truck.
I think their logo is so cute!
She ordered the lobster slider which she said, "Had the best toasted, hot, buttery bun! The bun tasted great with the cold lobster. The meat was dressed in a light amount of mayo and an herb I can't quite put my finger on. It was so good!"
The Lobsta Love truck was very popular, even with the Boston Fire Department!
As we worked our way to the next set of trucks I noticed some fun marketing from the Sabra hummus people on the sidewalk. Since we'd already scarfed down our free hummus, we did not follow that arrow, but I love the idea.
As we made our way to the next set of trucks the festival was really starting to get packed. Check out all those people!
Next up was the Mei Mei food truck which I'd been dying to try. I'd heard great things about their food and they are also run by a set of siblings which I think is adorable.
Check out their inviting chalk board sign (you know how I love chalk board signs):
We ordered the ginger scallion noodles which were amazing. This was one of my favorite dishes of the day. This is absolutely a meal I would leave my desk for!
At the Mei Mei truck I also ordered a crimson berry ice tea. I always order this drink at my local coffee place in Brighton called Cafenation and this version was just as good. At this point the sun was beating down on us and I really need a refresher.
My friend is a big seafood fan and when we first walked by the Cod Squad truck, she made a mental note to come back.
I love their name!
My friend walked right up to their window and ordered the coconut shrimp. After the first bite she commented, "This could have more flavor. I prefer coconut shrimp to be sweeter or at least come with a sweet dipping sauce. This one missed the mark."
At this point, we'd had quite enough of the savory items and were ready to move onto dessert. Our first stop was the Paris Creperie truck. I love Paris Creperie's cafe in Coolidge Corner and I've never had the chance to experience their truck. Look how cute it is with the Eiffel Tower on the front!
I am obsessed with the design of this truck!
Unable to select just one item from the Paris Creperie's offerings, we selected two. The first was the nutella and strawberry crepe (duh, have to). The crepe came in a branded, cardboard cone. I have to admit, though this was supremely decadent, it was really messy to eat! We almost squeezed the crepe out of the cone at least four times.
Our second selection was the frozen nutella shake. Yes, you read that correctly. This was one of my favorite items of the entire day. I thought the nutella might make this too thick (they way nutella sticks to the roof of your mouth) but it was actually light. This was the perfect portion size too. Any larger and we would have gone into sugar shock!
The last stop on our food truck feast tour was the Frozen Hoagie truck. I already loved this truck just from the name and its hot pink color.
I wasn't quite sure what the frozen hoagie actually was until I got close enough to read the menu. You get to choose the type of ice cream you want and the type of cookie to sandwich it! Jackpot!
I decided to order black raspberry ice cream in between two homemade chocolate chip cookies. Look at my hoagie!
Please note the enormous size of this puppy!
Knowing this was our last item, we took the hoagie over to a park bench overlooking the water. While I sat trying not to drop my gigantic ice cream sandwich, we watched the boats, rowers and paddle boarders go by. It was pretty much heaven.
There were over 20 trucks at the festival and obviously we didn't have large enough stomachs to try all of them. I did want to note two trucks in particular that I think would be awesome for private parties. First, the Shuckin Truck is a mobile raw bar! For all of you oyster fans, look these guys up!
Second, Gabi's Smokeshack comes with a smoker on the back of the truck! Watch out Redbones, you've got some competition!
By the time we got ready to head home at 1:00pm the festival was incredibly packed. In addition to the people who had bought tickets in advance, people walking, running, rollerblading and riding their bikes were all stopping to join in on the action.
On the walk back to the car we walked over this warning on the sidewalk which was alluding to a low hanging branch coming up. We needed the warning because we were in a serious food coma!
The Charles River Food Truck festival was an absolute blast. I got to try the food from so many trucks I'd been dying to visit, the weather was sheer perfection and the views from the Charles were incredible and reminded me why I love calling this city home.
Thank you to the event organizers for a delicious day and to all the vendors who let us sample food for free: Sabra, Starbucks, IZZE and Lara Bar.
Wish you'd gone to the festival? Fear not! They are hosting five more this summer, four of which are in Massachusetts! You can catch the festival when it rolls into East Boston, Framingham, Hingham or Lowell. Get all the information here.
Were you at the festival on Saturday? Which truck was your favorite?