LA Street Food Fest 2012 @ The Rose Bowl

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LA Street Food Fest returned to the Rose Bowl, with dozens of food trucks, stands, carts and chefs delivering their take on street food, ringing the stadium on a sweltering summer day.

A lot of the big names in mobile cookery were out in front of their stylish vehicles, including Dave Danhi from The Grilled Cheese Truck.

Roy Choi greeted every guest at Kogi BBQ. They changed dishes every hour. During my visit, they served Kogi tacos with sesame-chili salsa roja, Romaine and cabbage tossed with Korean chile-soy vinaigrette, cilantro-green onion-lime relish, sesame seeds and sea salt.

Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza has been hyping Chula Vista barbacoa specialist Aqui Es Texcoco, and Francisco “Paco” Perez brought plenty of maguey-roasted lamb.

They griddled tortillas and formed tacos with two types of salsa. We were lucky enough to visit when they were stripping a lamb skull of its meat, resulting in an eye taco, minus the iris.

Esparza curated an entire section of Baja vendors, including La Guerrerense tostada specialist Sabina Bandera Gonzáles and global media magnet Javier Plascencia.

Newcomer Tacos Kokopelli served two types of tacos, including the “kraken” with octopus, pickled onion, creamy guacamole and piquillo pesto. Their impressive salsas included Mango Sauce (Mild), pink Habanero (Super Hot) and Peanut Sauce (Medium Hot).

Mariscos El Mazateno brought magical camarones enchilados from the Tijuana foothills.

Los Angeles Food & Wine sponsored a row of chefs that will appear at their upcoming August festival. Dina Samson and Nastassia Johnson repped Sotto with trays of cannoli.

Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet hyped Picca and Mo-Chica with picarones. Bombet had more success in distributing the fried pumpkin and kabocha squash rings when he started calling them “donuts” instead of “fritters.”

Bryant Ng and his wife represented The Spice Table, serving grilled curry chicken wings and French fries, plus a limited stash of duck sausage with steamed mantoo and Fresno chilies.

Test Kitchen will evidently return this fall after a nearly two-year hiatus, and Bestia chef-owner Ori Menashe represented the mega pop-up. He served grilled octopus with house-made Calabrian sausage, cannelloni beans and preserved lemon.

Showman Fred Eric showed up to support Tiara Cafe and resident pop-up Skillet Downtown.

It was a hot day, and cold brewed coffee proved popular at the fest. Secret Squirrel represented their new bottled brand, and Single Origin had milk bottles full of Verve Santa Ana brew with or without milk, and a third brew New Orleans-style, with milk and chicory.

The Ice Cream Social had at least two handfuls of venders, including The Churro Borough of Los Angeles. They served flat churro sandwiches with cinnamon-sugar-lined fried dough discs containing either horchata sorbet or Mexican chocolate ice cream. The sun may have been unforgiving, but plenty of booths were ready with sweet, cool relief.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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