I counted fourteen (out of an advertised nineteen) food trucks in and around the Wheaton Triangle on Saturday for the Curbside Kickoff event. Were the other five kicked off? Did they show up later in the day? Decided they had better places to be? Between noon and 1:00 the crowds weren’t exactly overwhelming, anyway. More people later?
I think DC Ballers, whose falafel was recommended to me, was among the missing trucks, although maybe I just overlooked them. No falafel in sight, as far as I could tell. The longest line by far was at Borinquen Lunch Box Puerto Rican truck, so I hopped in line assuming people knew what they were doing. People did! Borinquen’s roast pork with onions over “arroz con gandulez” (rice and beans) was flavorful if a bit salty, with plenty of pork, a huge portion overall, solid value at $10. The empanada de carne ($3.50) was above-average, with a crisp blistered exterior holding the standard beef-pepper mixture. Also, impressive customer service from the superfriendly proprietors, and while I spent probably 20 minutes in line, which I would never do during the workweek downtown, once my order was placed it was ready in just a couple of minutes.
I also tried Lemongrasstruck, which was not among the trucks listed on the Curbside Kickoff website.* When at Lemongrasstruck, go with the lemongrass chicken, right? It wasn’t particularly redolent of lemongrass, but the chicken was surprisingly moist and tender, with pliant rice noodles and a nice side salad/slaw/pickles. Another big portion, and this one for $8, excellent value. Short line, and food here also ready in a hurry. Another Vietnamese truck, Pho Wheels, was also on site and people were raving about their banh mi, but even I can only eat so much.
* the website also lists one truck as “Danderously Delicious Pies” which might be nice if I were a cat but is perhaps suggestive that sufficient attention to detail has not been paid, by someone.
As I walked to the event I passed numerous Wheaton brick-and-mortar restaurants that did not have many (or any) patrons at noonish on a Saturday. The one exception was IHOP, whose waiting area was packed. There is a time for IHOP, and that time is between the hours of one and four a.m., not lunchtime on a Saturday in a town rife with great affordable interesting restaurants AND a food truck gathering. Get with the ferally urbane program, people.