Wrap It Up To Go: Our Take on the LB Street Food Fest

The gourmet food truck phenomenon has caught on to the point that a significant percentage of food lovers in the greater LA area have sampled the fare from at least one of these rolling restaurants. But last Saturday's 1st Annual LB Street Food Fest, an all-day assembly of over 20 trendy food trucks, made for an event the likes of which few could claim to have experienced before now. This delicious gathering took place against the backdrop of Rainbow Lagoon and Downtown Long Beach, with live bands Blue Steel and Delta Nove keeping the energy going to prevent the onset of food fatigue, a very real possibility with the sheer number of options available on this sun-splashed Southern California Saturday.

While we couldn't hit every truck, we certainly gave it our best shot. A crew of six of us attacked the trucks with ferocious appetites, teaming up to minimize downtime caused by the occasional long line. While I waited in line for the most popular truck of the day, the Grilled Cheese Truck (twitter), Cliv and the rest of the gang scouted out the scene, bringing back treats like the Frankies from the India Jones truck (twitter). These delicious wraps were stuffed with lamb, beef, and chicken in a curry sauce with onions and peppers, and they made it very difficult for me to stick to the game plan of pacing myself with small bites from each truck.

With me still waiting in line for Grilled Cheese, Justin brought back a bevy of pita sandwiches from Kabob Express (twitter), a self-described "Mexi-terranean" truck. They made the wait much more enjoyable, as I snacked on Chicken Shwarma and hummus, more lamb, and soft pillows of pita bread. Just as we dusted our delights from Kabob Express, our order was up at the Grilled Cheese truck: macaroni and cheese, BBQ pork rib meat, and caramelized onions surrounded by sharp cheddar and white bread, undoubtedly with a generous dab of butter. If I ever have leftovers from Johnny Reb's, this is what I will be making the next day.

Thankfully the Grilled Cheese truck was parked at the top of the hill, allowing me to roll my stuffed self down to sample some of the other goods. Feeling about as mobile as the parked-in food trucks, I opted to wait in line for Great Balls on Tires (twitter), the gourmet meatball wagon, and their IncrediBalls, Kobe Beef meatballs topped with bacon, arugula, and gruyere cheese on lovely little brioche. This was the most elaborate bite-size meatball concoction I have ever seen, but it was freakin' delicious. While I waited for GBoT, the others again foraged, this time to Uncle Lau's Island BBQ (twitter), Del's Lemonade truck (twitter), and Ahn Joo Korean Snack Bar (twitter).

Ahn Joo was a real treat. Behind the window was owner and chef Debbie Lee, a contestant on "The Next Food Network Star", offering up her recommendations on what we should try. We took the Korean Nachos for a spin, with Korean duk (rice cylinders) serving as the chips, and pork, kimchi and cheese to make a delightful mess of our hands. But the crown jewel of Ahn Joo that day was the Korean Fried Chicken, plump chicken drumsticks with the skin fried to a gratifying crisp and a savory blend of spices.

We crammed in quite a bit (literally) in our hours at the LB Street Food Fest, and I now have a handful of new trucks to follow on Twitter. The life of a foodie is definitely a journey, but occasionally it pays to know where the destination is. Last Saturday it was Rainbow Lagoon Park, for a one-stop grub gathering of epic proportions. GO TO THE NEXT ONE!


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