This past weekend (besides whipping up awesome Homemade Hostess Cupcakes) I managed to make it to a Food Truck Rally in Tarpon Springs, Florida. First off, might I say this is a fabulous idea and we should encourage more rallies like these in other states? What a great way to get the word out about some really impressive eateries on wheels and yet another excuse for me to stuff my face with good food.
There were about eight or ten trucks all lined up along Tarpon Ave in the historical district of Tarpon Springs, and to top it off we had a lovely sunny day. Though the sunny day quickly turned into a “oh my god it’s so hot I’m sweating like a pig” day, it did not deter any of the hundreds of foodies eager to sample the gourmet eats at these food trucks.
From gator empanadas to grouper sliders, gourmet cupcakes to all-natural popsicles, it was like a dream come true for me. My family and I had to walk up and down the street multiple times just to decide where we were going to eat and what we were going to bring back home for later.
My parents decided on the Rollin Zoinks! Truck which featured out-of-this-world wraps, such as The Southerner, filled with fried Chicken, corn, risotto, green beans, and who knows what else. My Dad also settled on the Steak on a Whim, which included steak, of course, along with risotto, mushrooms, green beans and more.
My brother made a beeline for a pulled pork sandwich, and though I originally had decided on the Zoinks! truck as well, my heart was stolen away by the Keepin it Reel Truck. Not that it was really all that difficult to do, since Zoinks! was moving like molasses on their orders, and I sadly have to report that they most likely lost a few hundred dollars in business that way.
I’m not a food truck expert, but I do know that speed is crucial to maintaining your customers, especially when there are seven or eight other trucks within walking distance of you who can dish their meals out in seconds, which was another reason why I hustled over to Keepin it Reel. Fresh seafood sandwiches, including a Sweet Chili Po’ Boy that had my name on it, which I ordered, received, and then walked back to my mom at the Zoinks! truck to find her still waiting on her and my dad’s food.
The shrimp were fried to perfection, and the heat from the sweet chili sauce paired well with the lettuce, onions, pickles, on a well toasted bun. Not even one bite in, I was approached by five or six people asking what I had ordered and from where, completely intrigued by the steaming sandwich full of bright glistening fried shrimp.
I’d do free advertising for Keepin it Reel if they just paid me in those Shrimp Po’ Boys.
Are you curious about the verdict of the Zoinks! wraps?
My parents loved them; every bit was filled with flavor and it was a departure from their normal food comfort zones, but we all couldn’t get past the idea of my poor mom, standing there in the unforgiving Florida Sun, waiting for what seemed like hours for two wraps.
Before we left we picked up half a dozen cupcakes from this adorable truck:
But when it came to flavor, there was no problem. We brought them home to have with some coffee, and I had the ingenious idea to cut them into quarters so we could all sample them. I even did my fake Florian impression from Cupcake Wars (which I am so relieved none of you will ever hear). Soft, fluffy, light-as-air cake became the foundation for a subtle lemon with fresh lemon curd center, or a tangy red velvet or even a moist, decadent chocolate cake.
It was a day full of food, which is exactly how every day would be if I could have it my way.
If you’re around the Tampa/St. Pete area this summer you have to check out the Food Truck Fridays hosted by TastingTampa. I know we will definitely be going back for seconds, thirds…until they recognize us there and tell us to go home.
Until next time: Happy Eating!