The end of summer. Though in California September usually brings the beginning of the hottest season of the year, it officially marks the end of our balmy, beachy out-of-school days. The hours of daylight grow shorter as the bright blue-gold sunlight turns to amber, as though to coordinate with the papery leaves that will soon flutter down from the trees. When I was a kid, summer meant lazy days spent boating, waterskiing the many canals and throughways of the Sacramento River Delta.
My childhood memories of summer are vivid. The smell off the water, vaguely fishy and tinged with mud, everywhere it ran brown and murky and deep. The yellow speedboat that carried us was fast, so fast everything around was a blur, a rush of reeds, gold and green, like living sunlight as we thumped hard against the river delta. The waves splashing up over the bow left a soft mist on my face that the sunlight and the wind would whip away as soon as it was deposited. Those glorious trips across the open water were something splendid. There was little speaking, just the roar of the engine churning the water, the air rushing against my ears and the constant sun on my skin. And that glorious smell of the rich delta mud.
|Hot, Crunchy Outside -|
Creamy Inside -
Shrimp & Cheese Empanadas
September begins our journey into fall, and Labor Day weekend signals the dog days are upon us. A uniquely American holiday, this three-day weekend is more than back-to-school specials and furniture sales. It is a shared kiss goodbye to our collective summer vacation. Everyone, everywhere has fired up their backyard grill one last time. Goodbyes are often bittersweet.
|Crazy Fries. Crazy, man.|
|Grillstars manage a crowd of The Hungry!|
In an attempt to be scientific in our ordering, and to make sure we sampled as much as was possible on a first visit, we walked by each of the trucks to absorb their menus before ordering. It rapidly became clear we wouldn’t be able to sample anything close to everything, even one item per truck was overly ambitious. We soldiered on, narrowing our choices to four savory and two sweet dishes.
After my twenty minutes of running over to our table for a bite of empanada and running back to the Grillstars' truck to wait on my order, I was at last presented with a gimongous order of hot-out-of-the-fryer french fries, beautifully cradled in piles of smoky grilled beef, creamy nacho cheese, crumbled bacon and a lovely little dollop of fresh sour cream. Every bite was covered with toppings, and every mouthful of the crumbled burger meat carried the lovely smoky flavor of freshly-grilled beef. Absolutely worth the long wait. The cheese was a nice gooey consistency, sticking to the fries without being gummy, the bacon bits and sour cream coming together nicely, adding their own tasty music to the mix. It was the best plate of “topping” fries I’ve ever had. All for around four bucks.
|Twisted Chill serves up organic|
Next I tried the Lamb Curry offered up by Munch India. The meat was tender and fluffy and the curry mild yet packed with flavor. The basmati rice was aromatic and light, and served as a perfect foil to carry the thick sauce over the lamb.
|Creamy Soft Serve covered |
in yummy strawberries,
toasted coconut & chips
Our last stop was at That’s Sweet! Desserts, a cupcake and assorted baked goods truck whose list of wonderful flavor combos taunted us with it’s variety. We settled on a Coconut Chocolate, Chocolate Orange, Sea Salt and Caramel and a mini Peach Pie. The BH and I have at this point consumed every last bite, but I was in love with my first mouthful of the Chocolate Orange. Moist, kissed with citrus and just sweet enough, this gal can bake. Lucky us. We had the Sea Salt later that night and the hint of salt and finish of toasted caramel, still linger on my palate urging me to return for more.
|Sea Salt & Caramel Cupcake|
Their schedule can be found on Facebook at the Food Truck Mafia page. Check it out. Make a memory of your own. Have the crazy fries, I dare you!
Among the Participants:
Phil Woodman & Patrick Clarke’s GrillStars
Food Truck Mafia - Facebook
@Grillstars - Twitter
Bigg Shrimp’n - Facebook
@BiggShrimpn - Twitter
Jose Hernandez Marisco's El Malecon
Facebook under Food Truck Mafia
Chef Diana Afroza’s Munch India
Munch India - Facebook
@munchindia - Twitter
Jess Soares & Michael Moules’ Twisted Chill
Twisted Chill - Facebook
@chilltruck - Twitter
That’s Sweet! Desserts
That's Sweet! Dessert Truck - Facebook
@thatssweettruck - Twitter