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Pasadena hosts some of the best restaurants in the world, from the spicy taste of Mexican cuisine, to fresh taste of Japanese sushi, Italian Bistros that will leave your mouth delighted, French cuisine that will satisfy the most discerning critic, and of course, the all famous American fares of burgers and fries that is simply to die for. Pasadena is heaven for any Foodies.

25 July 2012

Rachael Goes To LA Street Food Fest 2012

Written by Rachael L. Faught, Posted in Restaurants, Reviews, Events

I am doing everything I can to make it to ALL Pasadena events, but when I can’t I call on some really big names in the blog world to cover an event for my readers. So Rachael, thanks for covering this monster event! Take it away, Rachael!…

By Rachel Faught

Greetings and salutations, regular Mr. Pasadena readers! This is Rachael from Glass of Win reporting on the 3rd annual L.A. Street Food Fest, held at the Rose Bowl in the lovely Pasadena. Mr. Pasadena requested for me to be on assignment for him as he had a prior engagement. What? Eat food, take pictures and be merry on behalf of not just myself but another kindred food spirit? Yes, please, thank you very much.

Just to give those not in the know a quickie crash-course, the LA Street Food Fest “was started not only to fill a gap in the local foodie and events scene with a delicious good time, but to create community and a platform to educate and support independent small business owners.”

Some of the proceeds went to local causes as well as their partner charity, St. Vincent Meals on Wheels. In its first two years, LA Street Food Fest has donated over $35k to local charities. With the number of vendors and attendees growing every year, I foresee this number growing generously.

With just 5000 all-inclusive pre-sale tickets available to indulge in 100 of the top food and drink vendors including gourmet food trucks, old school food carts, street vendors, LA’s best restaurants and big name chefs, the LA Street Food Fest was definitely the hot ticket in town to have.

I decided to drag my mother along with me to act as my lovely assistant.

More often than not her job went something like, “Stand in that long line while I go stuff my pie hole on these shorter lined vendors!” She also held food for me to photograph. I don’t hold food like I used to, but despite being my extra stomach and taste buds mom was virtually useless when it came to help tasting as she threw in the towel long before I did. I can’t blame her completely; the heat was excruciating and a total appetite killer.

Still, we managed to chow down pretty heartily. We saw old favorites like our pals at Dog Haus and Kings Row, familiar fan favorites from last year such as The Mighty Boba Truck, and were introduced to many, many new eats.

Some were a hit, some were a miss. Many we had to pass on because the heat and choice of sample fare just did not sit well with us (i.e. too much pork running rampant). Here are some highlights:

Cochinita Pibil – La Flor de Yucatan

My Thoughts: The highlight of this sampling was definitely the crispy handmade corn tortilla on the bottom and the spicier than hell Habanero sauce on top. All the stuff in between was interchangeable.

Boba Milk Tea – The Mighty Boba Truck

My Thoughts: I don’t get to indulge in milk tea often due to a caffeine sensitivity, but when they’re in these baby sizes it’s a welcome treat.

Nice to see you again, Mighty Boba Truck! Powered by super friendly faces that I am sure contribute to their continued success.

Baba al Rum – Sinners and Saints Desserts

My Thoughts: “Knock it back like a shot!” was my only instruction for this boozy sweet morsel. A couple of more of these and I think I’d have been tipsy! The sponge part was soft and airy.

Cascina Castelet 2010 Moscato D’Asti – Cépage Wine

My Thoughts: Sweet and sparkling wine is a sure-win with me and this moscato did not disappoint. It was a refreshing break between solids, though I wish I had been poured just a drop more. I’m not at all surprised this is a top seller at Cépage Wine.

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) – MooDaePo II

My Thoughts: I really did not manage my eating trail well as I had to sadly pass on the generous portion the boys of MooDaePo II were serving up in favor of a true bite. Extra depressing is that this was one of my favorite samplings. Guess the only solution is to patronize their business and get my fill.

Fresh Market Salad – Fox Pizza Bus

My Thoughts: After our first long trek through gourmet vendor alley, mom made a beeline for this fresh, light offering. The double-decker Fox Pizza bus was parked at the end of the Fest and this fresh market salad of watermelon, red onion and goat cheese was just what our hearts (and stomachs) desired.

Iced Coffee Beverage – Short Cake

Mom’s Thoughts: Mom said this really hit the spot when we decided to take a breather in the shade and (foolishly?) allow some digestion. She needed some extra fuel to power through the Ice Cream Social, our next destination.

Traditional Poutine – Gravy Train Poutinerie

My Thoughts: Sadly, this one was a miss for me. I wasn’t too surprised, even hesitating before I accepted the sampling as my history with poutine has been a checkered one at best. Still, for poutine purists, I think they’d totally dig it.

Dragon Whiskers – Alex Goh

Mom’s Thoughts: Suddenly finding room in her stomach for these honey wrapped peanuts, mom was positively mesmerized by craftsman Alex Goh as he demonstrated these handmade candies. It took all of mom’s will-power not to scoop up all of the samples and run like hell.

Pulled Pork Sliders – Wake n Bake Wagon

We took a pass on these, but I wanted to at least snag a picture since their food styling was pretty nifty. Plus I needed visual examples of what my stomach and I were up against as a good smattering of vendors pulled out all of the porky stops.

On the note of constructive criticism, I feel as though the well-meaning staff at the LA Street Food Fest were unprepared for the heat. There was only one water vendor (there were other non-alcoholic drink offerings but water = life) and the folks maintaining the booth seemed to be challenged at figuring out how to always have cold water bottles readily stocked.

Securing one or two more water vendors might be beneficial in the future.

The extraordinarily long line attendees had to stand in waiting for the event to open, on blacktop instead of grass this time around, left people exposed and sweltering. I feel as though precautions should have been made in anticipating this as painful heat in July is not exactly uncommon. For this and the overwhelming new layout, I almost prefer 2011.

Mom, who also attended last year’s event, said she definitely preferred

2011 because of the heat. Yes, it may have cooled down by the time general admission was in the gates but for the people paying $20 extra for VIP access a little comfort should be granted, namely water and ample shade.

Quibbles aside, the food was on a whole very satisfactory and I look forward to seeing the LA Street Food Fest evolve in 2013!

View my entire Flickr photo set

About the Author

Rachael L. Faught

"I eat. I write. I live." - This is my life mantra because it is what I do best.

I was born in the the cattle country of central California, raised in a Philadelphia suburb and then flung to Southern California for adolescence and where I remain in adulthood (so far). With roots scattered about the country, I have tasted everything from scrapple to sushi to shoo fly pie. Glass of Win is a typo turned haven for my adventures in food, travel, and life as a geek girl extraordinaire living in Los Angeles. A full-time writer always on the hunt for a new gig, a sometimes artist, a survivor of four open-heart surgeries, a globe-trekker, a voice actress, and a life-long food worshiper, I am dedicated to experiencing all that this world has to offer (and then promptly writing about it). I write for The Place: Los Angeles, a visitors guide to all things L.A. (http://www.visittheplace.com) When I’m not stuffing my face, I am typically having an adventure with my friends or at home mastering culinary challenges of my own making.