What’s that rumbling?
Is it the engines of dozens of food trucks, gathering for the first time this year at Larkinville?
Or is it my stomach?
It could be both.
At 5 p.m. today, Food Truck Tuesday returns. Ladies and Gentlemen, loosen your belts.
To go to Food Truck Tuesday for the first time is to discover an appetite you did not know you had. I know, because last year, it happened to me. Before that, I am afraid I sneered at food trucks. Why bother, I thought. I’d rather cook at home. I’d rather eat in a restaurant.
Then, before you could say Flying Fish, I was hooked.
Just the sight was fascinating. You find your way to Larkinville (you can see it miles away). You park (it’s easy, unless you’re my friend who lost her car and we had to spend 45 minutes looking for it).
You walk in and there is the Filling Station with its beer and wine. And everywhere, between 5 and 8 p.m., are these food trucks. There were almost 30 of them, in all colors.
Packaging is important to me. I’m the gal you see at Wegmans standing back and admiring a pyramid of pop bottles. And so I stood and stared. I loved the bright red hues of Flying Fish. And Betty Crockski, the pierogi truck, with its retro look. Whole Hog cracked me up, with its outline of a pig. Black Market, where I ate a crunchy Sicilian rice ball, was an elegant black.
On the Larkinville website, the trucks look like little toys. In person, they look like a herd of big animals. Their arrangement changes weekly. It’s supposed to keep you moving around and trying different things.
As if I needed any encouragement.
The food wasn’t as pricey as I thought it would be. It was also much more varied and exotic. Acting on a friend’s advice, I tried, and savored, Frank’s Gourmet Hot Dogs’ Violet Beauregarde. Slathered in smoky blueberry sauce, it was named for the girl in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” who chewed gum incessantly and irritated Willy Wonka, who turned her into a giant blueberry. Poutine was next, from Le Petit Poutine. That truck rolls in from Rochester. We should bar it at the city gates.
Food trucks are whimsical and irresistible, reminiscent of ice cream trucks. They stand for informality, for summer.
When I see one passing by, I want to cheer.
“Look!” I called to my husband as we headed to a wake. “There’s Cheesy Chick!” Sure, I knew we couldn’t actually stop. But the sight brightened a dreary day.
“Oh, no!” I cried out another day, seeing a Lloyd Taco Truck marooned on the shoulder of the 190.
I’m always on a diet. But just in case some day I’m not, I like knowing I don’t have to trek to Orchard Park to sample the milkshakes of Taffy’s Hot Dog Stand, not with the Taffy’s truck on hand. No need, either, to journey to Batavia to visit the Center Street Smokehouse. That smokehouse comes to me. And new this year is a dandy truck, Antone’s At the Fair. That’s right – no need to wait for the Erie County Fair to devour those Antone’s hoagies.
All this food, all these trucks, all in a place that, before a few years ago, no one ever knew was there. Before my first Food Truck Tuesday, News Food Critic Andrew Z. Galarneau pointed out to me that it offers an unprecedented chance to taste all kinds of cuisines, all in one place at one time.
I’m already making plans on how I can do it better this year.
I’ll go more often, for one thing. Especially on Tuesdays that are chilly, cloudy, late or early in the season. That’s when the lines are shorter.
Food Truck Tuesday insiders bring their own chairs or blankets. This year I will be one of those insiders.
Lastly, this year bring a new offering to Larkinville. At 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, YMCA instructors are leading exercise classes. Cardio kickboxing, on Thursdays, isn’t my style. But cardio dance, on Mondays, sounds just about right. I’ll see you there.
Then I’ll see you Tuesdays, at the Taffy Truck.