(Not from Chicago? Don’t want to have to drive into the city? Google “Food Truck festivals near me”)
Mark your calendars for next year. The Chicago Food Truck Festival only comes around once a year. It usually takes place the weekend after Father’s Day and is a two-day festival of food (and some drinks). This is the second time I have attended, and much has changed from two years ago.
First, let’s start with the good stuff. Well, it’s all good when food is involved, but one of the best things about this food truck event is the fact that the tickets are FREE. Free, people. Free. When you “purchase” them, it automatically gets you entrance for both days, however, you can only use them for one of the days, not both. Which is great, because then you can wait to see what the weather will be like.
Another goodie is the free parking. In Chicago. How often does that gem pop up? Granted, we got there right when it opened at 11:00 am, so I cannot vouch for any available spots in those lots any time after that. But is does exist at some point.
The location was also different this year than it was two years ago. And, it changed at the last minute this year because they had more trucks sign up. Which was another bonus from two years ago. More dining options (see list of vendors below):
I suggested we do a lap first and see what was available and then start digging in. That didn’t last long. Too many enticing smells. We started with a truck called The Fat Shallot. Their selection sounded interesting.
We ordered the Truffle BLT and the Spicy Sesame Fries. Pro Tip: go with one or more couples. This way you can order lots of different foods and only have a bite or two. You also won’t fill up after the first truck.
Our second stop was the Pierogi Wagon. Being the good polish girl that I am, I had to get the 6 for $8.95 and do a mix and match with two of each flavor. We also got a side of sour cream and chopped bacon. Yum!
The next stop on this culinary tour was the Happy Lobster truck. I liked their Happy Lobster Roll so much the first time I tried it two years ago that I had to have another one this year.
Stop number four was at the Taste of International. This was more of a food stand than a truck, but who am I to tell them they can’t be there? I am not a fan of curry, but our friends are and wanted to try the curry chicken. They were cooking it up right there in front of you and I will say it did smell delicious.
Stop number five almost caused a complete break in our couples’ friendship that day. First, the husband of the couple wanted to stop at a hot dog truck (Hot Dog Fiend). Pretty basic when you have 40+ new things to try. Granted, they offered some great combinations to at least make the hot dog interesting.
But then . . . he did this:
Ketchup! Just. Ketchup. He’s lucky we have been friends for almost 20 years, or this could have ended a lot differently.
Final stop, and one very full stomach later, was dessert. Stations by Decadent Flavor offered up mini donuts with sugar/spice toppings. My SO and I got the small bag with half pumpkin spice (him) and half salted caramel (me). So good.
As I mentioned previously, there were over 40 food trucks/sponsor tents there that day. There is no way we could hit all of them. As much as we wanted to.
Beverage options were also available. There was a beer/sangria/water tent right when you walked in. You had to buy tickets for these. You could pre-purchase these online before you go. A VIP upgrade was available that included early admission and drink tickets. There was also a pretty cool looking old-fashioned soda pop truck.
And then there was this:
A cored pineapple with the insides pureed like a slushie. Topped with a skewer of gummies and fruit roll-ups. With a generous sprinkling of Nerds candies. And yes, alcoholic versions were available.
Some tables/chairs were available, but the event organizers recommend bringing your own. You should also bring your appetite. Happy Eating!