On the surface, a collection of food trucks gathered in a parking lot doesn’t really sound like a rip-roaring good time, but then again, DC has a way of turning the seemingly mundane into an event that draws folks who feel it can’t be missed. Walking into the Truckeroo lot at 2 pm yesterday, the crowds had yet to assemble, everyone I spoke to, customer or vendor, expected them by 5pm. Brought to you by Georgetown Events, the folks who own Surfside, Jetties, The Bullpen, Smith Point and countless other preptastic ventures, the monthly food truck gathering does provide an experience beyond just eating.
To us, it’s as much a visual affair, with 26 food trucks (and one PowerBall truck?) parked around the perimeter of the parking lot at M and Half St SE, next to Nationals Ballpark. Just looking at the different artistry on the trucks themselves and seeing which standout and which do not is interesting enough to me. The Maine Lobster Truck, despite being on the high end in terms of meal cost, has impressive detailing, as well as a walk-up fountain soda machine on the outside. Fojol Brothers, certainly the foremost purveyors of wacky in this space, are the only truck to have that armored car look, while I’d always been partial to Sauca‘s look as well.
Comparing some of the trucks reveal strengths and weaknesses. It’s hard not to miss the big yellow, BBQ Bus, which in turn shows how The Big Cheese‘s yellow-and-white scheme doesn’t quite register as immediately. The plain white PORC truck is so unassuming, it almost works some reverse psychology (so basic, it must be really about the food, right?). Newer trucks like the Cajunator and Feelin’ Crabby? (good sandwich, horrible name) both had a drunken beachbum aesthetic, with their grade-school level lettering. In contrast, Sabor’a Street has has wonderful detailing in its local, but is a bit hard to read from certain angles. In the battle of the luau, newcomer Hula Girl outshines Surfside visually, while Takorean pulled in much longer lines than either.
While taking a break at one of the picnic tables in he middle of the lot, the History Channel set up next to us to film an interview with the Maine Lobster Truck (if not others). To the sounds of a cover band with an unbalanced mix and entirely too much metal crunch on the guitar to cover the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac, MotS sampled from a lump crab sandwich from Feelin’ Crabby, a brownie cookie from Big Cheese, fried plantains from Sabor’a Street, a pita from Sauca, and fries from Eat Wonky. As you can imagine, the dream of sampling on item from every truck died a quick death.