The waiting game: In line at the L.A. Street Food Fest
It was midday at the first-ever L.A. Street Food Fest, and the line for free bottles of water grew so long its starting point couldn't even be seen, lost in a serpentine formation that snaked its way all through the most outer patches of grass. Nearly as many event-goers were waiting for a drink as were queued up for foie gras fries from the Frysmith truck.
The festival, held Saturday on the grounds of downtown's L.A. Center Studios, was a celebration of the street vendors and gourmet trucks that have been Tweeting their way into Los Angeles' collective heart. If the likes of Kogi BBQ reignited Angelenos' interest in street food, the festival was that fascination at its zenith. Buzz among employees and festival volunteers predicted a crowd of over 10,000 attendees.
There were traditional street foods like Sabor da Bahia’s acarajé, Brazilian black-eyed pea fritters, and Antojitos de la Abuelita’s pambazos, potato-filled, chile-soaked Mexican sandwiches. There were also those vendors who took a chance at twisting conventional classics, like the Flying Pig’s duck tacos and chef Ludo Lefebvre’s event-only fried chicken.
But for some, the food was overshadowed by the sheer crush of people. This being the age of instant Internet judgment, online anecdotes of hungry festival-goers waiting as long as two hours at some trucks and enterprising eaters selling their spots in line took almost no time to pop up on blogs and Twitter feeds.
The festival wasn’t without its mistakes, but whether they were forgivable seems to be up for debate. What’s your take?
-- Miles Clements
Photo: Thousands of food lovers attend the LA Street Food Fest in downtown L.A., an event featuring 30 of the city's most popular food trucks. Credit: Christina House / For The Times