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Food Truck Rally

by Meghann on August 31, 2012

Guess what I did tonight? I finally got around to attending my first Tampa Food Truck Rally!

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I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a food truck rally in Orlando before, but attending one in Tampa has been on my to-do list for a while. When my friend Diana tweeted, asking if I was interested in attending the one at MOSI tonight, I enthusiastically agreed.

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We met Diana and her husband at MOSI about a half hour after the rally opened. The crowds were already a bit crazy, with lines that zigged and zagged all through the small space.

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I broke out the camera and hopped around all of the food trucks, taking photos of the menus so I could remember which truck had what. I figured after I explored all of the options, I could pick the one that looked the best.

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There was a food truck that served ostrich and gator burgers the looked good, unfortunately the line was a little out of control for my taste. After waiting for a few minutes and not moving any where, I decided to meet back up with my friends who were all waiting at another burger truck.

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In the the time that I had moved no where in my line, they had moved almost all the way to the front of theirs. Definitely made the smart decision with returning.

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We ordered our burgers, then Diana and I got in another line for the cupcake truck, while the guys waited for our names to be called at the burger truck.

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Unlike the rest of the trucks, where the food was being made fresh, the cupcakes simply had to be placed in a box. This made for a faster line waiting experience.

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We were able to wait in line and get our cupcakes before our names were called for the burgers.

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Finally!

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Derek and I both ordered the Black n Blue, which came with blue cheese, bacon, apple slices, and bbq sauce.

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There was a lot going on with this burger, almost too much going on. I think the combination of everything was an overload of flavors and textures. I think I would ditch the apple and bbq sauce next time and just do blue cheese and bacon.

The cupcakes also could have been better. They were dry with a whipped, sugary icing. Definitely not the best cupcakes ever.

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I think Food Truck Rallys are great in theory (food trucks! people! food!), but I think they’re hard to execute due to one major problem – THE CROWDS! I mean, I guess the crowds aren’t so bad if you’re planning the event (more people = more money), but the crowds suck if you want to eat and enjoy yourself at one. A lot of trucks ran out of food and I didn’t even get to try the truck I really wanted because the line was out of control.

At least we had great company, which really made the experience all worth it. Thank you, Diana, for inviting us out tonight. We had so much fun!

Have you been to a food truck rally? What did you think?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda @ Let Me Be What's Underneath August 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Never been to a food truck rally. I actually didn’t know what they were until reading your blog. Looks like fun, though! :)

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2 Ellie August 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm

I wrote an article on food trucks but have honestly never tried one. I think the idea is cool- lower rent means more adventurous people can get into food! I guess I need to try one – which would involve me not living in appalachia…
Ellie recently posted..SO SORRY

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3 jaclyn September 1, 2012 at 1:28 am

Looks like fun !I’m surprised you didn’t like your burger, the first thing I thought when I read the description was “that would be something Meghann would come up with?!”
jaclyn recently posted..3 states, 2 books, 1 day

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4 Meghann September 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I was surprised I didn’t like it too! I just think it was too much when all thrown together. Derek got the same thing and he said it would have been better without the apple.

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5 Laura September 1, 2012 at 4:27 am

Ive never heard of a food truck rally. Atlanta actually has a food truck park now, so now lots of food trucks come to a lot every day for lunch and dinner. Sooo much easier than tracking down where all the different trucks will be each day.

Sorry your food wasn’t as good as you hoped! From the burger ingredients, it sounds like something you would put together – a mix of savory and sweet. Too bad the combination didn’t work. Hopefully next time you get to try the truck you ere more interested in!

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6 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 1, 2012 at 6:10 am

I would LOVE to go to a food truck rally! There aren’t very many food trucks here in Chicago, I’ve only really seen cupcake trucks. But that’s because there are a lot of regulations, I’m pretty sure they can’t cook in the truck and they have to park a certain distance from any restaurant. Rude! I would love food trucks!
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7 Beth (Running with the Sunrise) September 1, 2012 at 6:20 am

I am very jealous of you right now! All of that food looks amazing–especially the cupcakes! I live in a relatively rural area so there aren’t any food trucks around that I know of, which is a major bummer to me. Getting all of those options to try out amazing foods is so cool.
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8 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 1, 2012 at 6:47 am

That’s too bad that the food wasn’t really that good after all that waiting in line!

I went to a food festival that was the same idea as a food truck rally, minus the trucks and it was amazing! I had the most incredible meatball sandwich, avocado & goat cheese ice cream, and so many other bites of things. I love how you can find such unique foods at these kinds of events!
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9 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 1, 2012 at 7:35 am

They have this thing called “First Fridays” where several food trucks gather the first friday of every month. It’s cool but it’s definitely a bit overwhelming, especially when it comes to the crowds!!
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Semi-Healthy Corn Guacamole

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10 Elizabeth September 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

The food truck rallies in Durham, NC are pretty great! I have definitely learned that you generally do best with whatever truck has the fastest moving line. Sadly, that’s not always the food truck you would prefer to go to, but you do what you have to! Lots of fun though.
Elizabeth recently posted..cheesy bread and health

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11 Caroline Calcote September 1, 2012 at 8:20 am

Weren’t there Yelp perks? I thought Yelpers were going to get early access and other special access. I’m glad we didn’t go. All the crowds and waiting with the kids would not have been fun. We have been to a few food truck rallies where the lines were not so bad. This event was heavily publicized by MOSI. There are other smaller food truck rallies…give them a try!
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12 Meghann September 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Not sure about early access, but I did get a $1 off coupon that was sweet. I’ll have to find a smaller food truck rally. This is my second (+ the one in Orlando) and the lines have been insane at both. It was funny, the husband in the line behind me was begging his wife to just go next door to Tijuana Flats with him where there wasn’t a long wait for food and they could sit in the AC. lol

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13 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

We don’t have too many food trucks up in Canada, and definitely none in my city – there’s a lot of bylaws that don’t allow them! Unfortunate, because I think they’re a great idea.

Definitely lame about the cupcakes – whipped icing is rarely good.
Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..Rehashing August.

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14 Kristen @ notsodomesticated September 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

We have a food truck park in Atlanta that has gotten really popular. I’ve only been once, but I loved it. I got some really amazing, gourmet food for a great price!
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15 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run September 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

You and I are burger twins. That’s totally what I would have picked. And as I was reading your description, I thought they could lose the BBQ sauce and apples before you ever said it.
Also, we need to break you of this habit of putting ketchup all over your fries before you eat them. You need an extra plate for the ketchup. How do you expect me to eat off your plate if you do that? ;-)
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16 Meghann September 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Derek didn’t mind sharing my ketchup covered fries. ;) After they handed us our boxes, I told Derek to wait. he goes “we can take a photo at the table” I go “no, I want ketchup” “oh” and I got the ketchup and coated the fries. he wouldn’t pause to take a photo, but ketchup was ok.

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17 casey September 1, 2012 at 11:24 am

ah! I grew up in Temple Terrace, and my family moved up to New Hampshire when I was in middle school- about 15 years ago. So cool seeing pictures of MOSI on your blog! so many field trips there as a little kid haha brought me back!

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18 Christy September 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm

We have food carts in Portland, OR (we’re well-known for it, in fact) and they are super, super popular. We have blocks where there are nothing but food carts. So because it isn’t an event, and just a regular thing, crowds never seem to be an issue.

Curious, why do you never say ANYTHING positive about food that you eat outside of your kitchen? I mean, I suppose that’s a good thing because then you won’t eat out as much. Just wondering if you just have a particular palate, or everything is really that bad.

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19 Meghann September 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I do say nice things. Heck, I wanted to lick the plate after eating Mary’s cinnamon rolls – Holy Yum! There are some great restaurants out there, but I just haven’t been at any good ones lately. I also like to keep it honest and not say “OMG that was amazing” about everything I eat. When my own food isn’t great, I’m honest about that too. Check out Diana’s review – http://sneakers2sandals.com/?p=2995 – she had similar thoughts about the food trucks last night.

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20 Katie @ running4cupcakes September 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm

My husband and I were totally going to go to a Food Truck Fair a few weekends back when I saw a Living Social deal for it. . .ultimately it ended up not working with our schedule. thankfully, for us that it didn’t work out, cause apparently, we read in the newspaper the next day that it was a total mess due to large crowds that they weren’t expecting and crazy long lines. Still on my to-do list though. I am loving watching The Next Great Food Truck Race 3 on the food network. Do you watch that one?
Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted..My foodie pen pal–August

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21 Meghann September 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Yes! Love that show! I’m all for the idea of Food Trucks and think there are some mighty tasty ones out there, just need to find a way to make it so the lines aren’t crazy when they all come together. :)

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22 Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom September 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

We went to one in our town tonight and actually left because like you descibed, the crowds were crazy. And it was 100 degrees. I love food trucks but not THAT much. There is a food truck park in Fort Worth that I go to sometimes and it is a much better setup. While it can get somewhat busy, it is nothing like the rally…maybe because the trucks set up everyday at the food park.
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23 Tiffany September 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I would love to go to a food truck rally. Was the Taco Bus there? I was introduced to Taco Bus last winter and I’m obsessed with the salsa!

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24 Meghann September 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm

No, the Taco Bus was not there. They have a permanent spot in town that I frequent when friends and family come in town. Love that place.

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25 Sarah September 2, 2012 at 9:50 am

I live in Orlando where, as you know, we have lots of awsome food trucks. I think the key to going to the food trucks is finding an event that works for you. While some are definitely super crowded but others aren’t so bad. My husband and I go to “Tasty Tuesday” almost every week. It’s a food truck meet up on Robinson by the TG Lee milk plant. It’s great because there are lots of trucks and the bars in that area let you bring your food inside if you would rather eat in a/c. You can also get a beer or drink if you want. Also it’s never super crowded so you can eat at any truck without having to worry about lines or something you want being sold out. Give it a try sometime if you’re in Orlando on a Tuesday!

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26 Caitlin September 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

Kinda a bummer that your food was disappointing! :( I would’ve been way annoyed! I probably would’ve gone for something super unique like the gator or ostrich booth, but I also hate lines.
I haven’t been able to get behind the cupcake craze – I think because they’re gone so quickly haha. I like ice cream because I can take it slow and enjoy it. Were any food trucks serving up frosty treats?
I definitely would be down to attend an event like this – I went to a small conference once around here in CT that had about 8 food trucks during the “lunch break” – but even at that small conference, the lines were crazy. It’s almost as if you need 100 food trucks to keep lines manageable!
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27 Meghann September 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

No ice cream trucks! But there was a homemade popsicle stand. I didn’t try it, but the cold treats did look tasty.

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28 Shirley Quinones September 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Hi Meghann,

I’m so sorry to hear that you and your friends did not enjoy the food that you ordered at the food truck rally. My name is Shirley and I own the Unforgettable Cupcake Truck that you ordered your cupcakes from. As for all of us in the food truck industry we do try to give everyone the best quality food we can possible make. I do apologize that you thought our cupcakes were dry and the frosting was whipped, sugary icing. We do make the cupcakes fresh on the day of the events and we also take pride in our work. I hope that you do attend another food truck rally and try more of our products. We definitely know that not everyone will have the same opinion about the food truck ‘foods”. Thank you for allowing us to know your thoughts through your blog.:)

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