Cloverdale Food Truck Festival 2020 – Drive Thru Edition
We’re finally getting a solid streak of sun this summer and food truck season is normally in full swing, thanks to Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival’s citywide events. This year they’re doing things a bit differently and hosting a Drive Thru series where you can still sample your fave food trucks from the safety of your vehicle, then hop skip and jump to one of the many nearby parks to enjoy your goodies and soak up some sunshine.
At the Cloverdale Drive Thru Food Truck Festival, this means the beer garden that debuted last year has been temporarily shelved along with the live music and actors, and the roughly 25 food trucks have dwindled to 8 per day to allow for vehicle traffic and social distancing (with different options for Saturday and Sunday). Here’s Saturday’s lineup, read on to find out what’s in store for tomorrow.
The Surrey Eats crew was invited to join the party before opening hours (11:00 AM to 6:00 PM) so we had to order everything in advance and make a mad dash to collect our swag before the floodgates opened. Meaning we devoured dessert first before it melted…ice cream breakfast?? Yes please!
Betty’s Greek Honey Ballz, a family-run food truck out of Langley, serves up a fresh twist on the Greek classic loukoumades. Normally these honey soaked donuts are sprinkled with sesame and cinnamon and served up warm and fresh. While others have experimented with fillings and varied toppings, Betty came up with a marriage made in heaven and topped them off with some artisan cinnamon gelato from Granville Island’s Pizza Pzazz. But nope, you won’t find this flavour anywhere but Betty’s, it’s exclusive and well worth tracking down her food truck to try.
The Greek Honey Ballz with Gelato ($7.50) was my festival highlight, so if you’re like me and you crave balls that are all sweet and sticky in the summer heat then lick your lips and open wide for Betty’s Greek Honey Ballz!
For an appy to kick off the many mains we tried Holi Masala‘s Samosas with Channa Masala (veggie or meat for $12). This colourful food truck is brought to you by the folks behind Curry in a Hurry from the PNE, so they’re seasoned vets of the scene having been in business since 1980. It shows in their more fragrant versions of these classic street eats, with the extra sweet tamarind sauce bursting with fresh coriander flavour from seeds and leaves. We had a small sample of their butter chicken as well which got rave reviews from our crew as well as the other vendors. We’re talking spiced up sauce with a bit more heat than your usual, and MASSIVE chunks of meat.
Normally Holi Masala offers more of a fusion experience with Indian takes on Western street food classics like tacos and sliders, but for efficiency’s sake they’re sticking to staples for the Food Truck Fest. Can’t go wrong with this one folks.
So the Bacon Jammer Sandwich from Mo Bacon food truck may not be the belle of the ball in her rather frumpy cheese skirt, but she’s good in the sack lunch. A bit saucy with her juicy chipotle raspberry jam filling (grab extra napkins!), those who prefer em a little on the thick side will enjoy the generous smokey bacon sandwiched between the Vienna bun. I remember going gaga over this at Fvded in the Park one year, and I think this one is definitely better enjoyed while faded (passengers only of course, safety first!).
Don’t let the “hot” in Nashville Style Hot Chicken Burger ($14) from Steve-O’s Fried Chicken scare you, this version of the Tennessee classic isn’t nearly as spicy as some of Vancity’s other offerings. The sauce is equal parts tang and spice, and I found the crunchy, salty pickle extra satisfying and refreshing.
What would a food truck festival be without hot dogs? The brains behind the fest runs Street Dogs and their urban art-inspired truck (see the slideshow at the end of the post). We went for the Chili Cheese Dog ($10), and it’s an old fashioned classic, nothing more nothing less. We look forward to trying their more adventurous looking Tokyo Dog next time around!
Reel Mac and Cheese is a festival stalwart, popping up around the city everywhere you look. With a small fleet of three trucks they’re serving the city with the best gourmet mac and cheese this side of your mom’s kitchen. The first rule of Boy’s Brunch Club (BBC) is that when there’s bacon on the menu, bacon it shall be.
So the Kevin Bacon ($12) was a no-brainer with bacon bits bacon bits bacon bits …. oh and some parmesan panko something-or-other. Satisfying soul food, but after all the dishes we somehow polished off in the lead-up I couldn’t stomach more than a few bites. I know from previous visits that Reel is the real deal though, and it’s hard to go wrong here.
Last but DEFINITELY not least, for those of you who’ve stuck with us til the end Lenny’s Lemons is an absolute MUST for your Cloverdale Drive Thru Food Truck Fest experience. And lucky you, they’re here BOTH DAYS!! This is some of the best fresh squeezed Lemonade I’ve had and really there’s no better accompaniment for any of these dishes on a hot summer day. Paired especially well with the chicken sandwich and of course the hot dog.
The sweetness is subdued and the addition of a half-lemon in every cup keeps it fresh and refreshing. The proprietary blend has been past down through a whopping three generations so this is really something special and classic. A true taste of summer, they squeeze to please!
We were impressed with the festival overall and despite a steady flow of traffic the food trucks kept the customers moving, with many choosing to go for multiple laps in order to get their food truck fix. Food trucks may go the way of the dodo if we don’t get out and support at every opportunity, as the pandemic has hit them extra hard. So come and get it while it’s hot, and while you still can! See you there tomorrow for:
Shouts out once again to Vic and Winnie from Fat Pants Forever for sharing some photos for the post, you guys rock!