During the last weekend of June, I hopped into an Uber car and made my way to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the 4th Annual L.A. Street Food Fest. Amir was the lucky one who attended the media preview event earlier in the month, so while he celebrated his one year wedding anniversary, I took one for the team and offered to roll out to the weekend’s festival. It was blazing hot–and when I say blazing, I do not lie–so with a sunscreen-slathered body and empty belly, I ventured into the hot, hot heat for what I knew would be an interesting and filling afternoon. With a slew of participating food and drink vendors, I knew my first time at the L.A. Street Food Fest would be something to remember.
It is impossible to enjoy a food festival alone, so I invited a friend to tag along. We entered the Rose Bowl early, which turned out to be a blessing considering the crowd that showed up later in the afternoon. Immediately past the gate, there were vendors hawking their ware and fare. As it turns out, even though we arrived at 4:00 pm (one hour after the VIP entrance opened), we were still a bit late to the party. Several tents were out of food and preparing the second round that would be hot and fresh at 5:00 pm–the time when the doors would open to everyone. Although that was disheartening, it did not prevent us from grabbing sweet and spicy pork sliders and pig candy from Big Mista’s Barbecue and Chili Crab Gumbo with Buttermilk Beignets from Starry Kitchen. Sushi Roku‘s spicy tuna hand rolls and baked crab hand rolls, DogHaus‘ Pastrami Dog and Bling Bling Dumpling‘s play on a cheeseburger-esque dumpling held us over from the start.
Bulgogi from Bibigo and pork ear chicharrones from Lazy Ox Canteen were next. My sweet tooth may have been on rager status by the time we had consumed several savory samples. The food fest’s ice cream social section was a sugar fiend’s favorite place. I love Sweet Clementine’s Pop’s Strawberry Basil Popsicle, and churro ice cream sandwiches from The Churro Borough set us off on the right food. The Churro Borough just may be one of my new favorites. There’s no way you can go wrong with ice cream between two warm churros shaped like the top and bottom of a whoopie pie. My absolute favorite was the icdc Smoked Vanilla Buttermilk Glazed Donut. BLD is the mastermind behind what will eventually be a full ice cream, donut and coffee–hence, icdc–section located in the restaurant and feature pastry chef Mariah Swan’s housemade donuts. I knew I needed veggies like none other, and my prayer was answered by Pressed Juicery. A shot of one of their green juice mixes was refreshing, although much too small. I didn’t want to be “that” person who drank perhaps four in a row like tequila shots, so instead, I made sure to get some water on the way to our next nibbling stations.
Greenbar Distillery served Grand Poppy & FruitLab Jasmine cocktails, Milagro Tequila offered Mercadito Milagro Silver cocktails and Sailor Jerry passed out Port Mischief Sailor Jerry cocktails to the crowd. Thankfully, Hawaiian Springs Water and Jarritos were there to quench guests’ thirst. Or help sober them up. Whichever was most pressing at the time, of course. I made sure to run to the Singha beer garden. Not only did I hear some of my most favorite songs floating through the air, but I knew that the ice cold Thai beer would hit the spot.
Congrats to the folks behind this year’s L.A. Street Food Fest, and a big thank you to their transportation partner, Uber. Each ticket buyer received a ride credit with the service, which was a fantastic way to ensure safer travel options for guests. No doubt the organizers are gearing up for the fifth annual event next summer. Join the mailing list for more information!