The second annual Capital City Family and Food Truck Festival was today, Saturday June 11th, 2016, in Gage Park. I've been looking forward to this ever since last year when the first one ended. I knew that this year would be something to look forward to. How can you go wrong with over 20 food trucks from three different states, entertainment for the entire family and a beautiful summer day? You just can't.
I arrived early so I could get a good parking spot. For those who came later, Visit Topeka had free shuttles set up with Topeka Metro to get people from Hayden High School to Gage Park, that way people didn't have to fight for parking within the park. Smart move. Still, there seemed to be a few spots here and there so if you were intent on parking inside the park, you probably were able to.
This year, the trucks were all lined up on the same side of the road, pointing the same way so the lines were all formed easily and it was easy to figure out which line went to each truck. Last year I know there was a problem with that, but that wasn't even an issue this year. Also, because there were so many trucks, lines weren't long and wait times were short and sometimes non-existent. I hardly waited for anything I ordered, so that was nice. I've waited as long as an hour before for a food truck.
For my first venture, I tried Twisted Asian. This particular truck
was at last year's festival and was one of the first trucks to run out of food because it was so popular and everyone wanted to try it. I didn't get any then and was looking forward to trying it this time. It was the first truck I went to and I ordered something different than I originally planned because I asked the guy what he recommended. He said to get the Twisted Lomein and I did. The noodles were sauteed in what tasted like a peanut oil with cabbage, fried egg and just a little bit of Sriracha sauce on top for a nice kick. The noodles were tender and fried just right to where they weren't chewy at all. My friend Kelly got the Chicken Fried Rice and that looked amazing as well. She even let me try a bite and I think that's what I'll be getting next time, only with the pork. The fried rice is on the bottom, then it's topped with shredded meat of your choice -- they have pork or chicken.
Next, I wanted something cold and something sweet, so we went to Coffee Cake KC. I've been to this food truck in the past but that's okay, I remember loving their coffee cake and had to get more. I also tried the Baron, a frozen chocolate coffee drink that's to die for. I told the lady I wanted something with chocolate and coffee and asked her what she would recommend. She said, "The Baron," and it was perfect and exactly what I was looking for. I got my caffeine fix and my chocolate fix at the same time, while also cooling down with something frozen.
I walked by a tent where fourteen chunks of fudge of all flavors were lined up for sampling and purchase. I had to try some and I sure did -- I probably sampled six different fudges before settling on the Black Cherry Bourbon fudge to take home. This place was called Chocolate Moonshine Company and I'd never heard of it before. I was happy to sample their fudge and would love to do so again in the near future. Note to fudge lovers: Ants love fudge, too so don't leave your bag of fudge sitting anywhere because ants will swarm and steal said fudge before you blink an eye. So yeah, don't do that.
For my next meal I wanted something different. I'd been walking by this one truck all day that kept catching my eye. The name: Fine Thyme Foods. The menu featured items that seemed a little different than the other trucks I'd seen at the festival. Their Blueberry BBQ Pulled Pork had me intrigued but even more were the crepes. Made fresh inside the truck, the crepes were filled and topped with interesting flavors I just had to try. I went for the Good Vibrations, a vegetarian option. I felt like most places had pulled pork on their menu so I chose something that would be a little harder
to find elsewhere. This crepe was filled with quinoa, topped with a kale mixture and dressed with a lemon poppyseed sauce. The crepe was light, fluffy and warm and I would love to eat one just alone, maybe with some powdered sugar on it or something like that. The poppyseed dressing had a honey flavor to it that I enjoyed and the kale had a slight crunch to it. I do wish there was a little more texture to it, but overall I enjoyed it. I look forward to trying their other menu items, too.
After all this eating I was thirsty. I kept seeing people walking around with these huge cups of fresh-squeezed lemonade and knew that I wanted one as soon as possible. Later, when I looked at the temperature gage on my car it read 97 degrees, so I know I needed something cold and refreshing. The stand was called Poppin Squeeze and had all sorts of flavors for their lemonade and they sold kettle corn. I got a regular lemonade because I'm not much for the syrup that's used for flavors. Half the fun is watching them make your drink: They cut the lemon, squeeze it with a hydraulic press then add sugar, water and ice and shake it up until the sugar dissolves. Yum. It's so sweet but that's okay. As it melts it doesn't matter because the ice doesn't really water it down or anything.
I was pretty full at this point so I took a break. It was cool because a few friends and I were sitting on a curb and all of a sudden, this guy showed up and started juggling fire and doing tricks and entertained us for over 30 minutes. At one point, I looked around and saw a good sized crowd of people gathered around applauding and oohing and aahing and I felt like I wasn't even in Topeka. It's pretty cool that things like this are happening in Topeka.
After hanging out for awhile, I decided it was time to eat more food. Kelly wanted tacos so we went to Taqueria Mexico Lindo. I ordered two tacos, one asada and the other pastor, both came on fried corn tortillas topped with fresh cilantro and onion and a side of hot salsa verde. Ah, so good. The tacos are exactly what I wanted, fried but tender, stuffed with meat and cilantro, (I take most of the onions off, but leave a few). I stupidly didn't taste the salsa before pouring it all over my tacos. Bad idea. It was spicier than I would have liked it, although the flavor was undeniably tasty. I got over the spice and ate them anyway and enjoyed them still. Next time I will sample the salsa before drenching my food in it. I should know better!
For my final two stops I decided to get items to take home since I was so stuffed and it was hot. I knew as soon as I cooled down I would be hungry so I wanted to be prepared. I went to Torched Goodness, which I've talked about in the past at a different food truck festival in downtown Topeka last fall. I think I even tried them at another festival in Lawrence, KS. This time I asked for just the custard and no brulee because I can do that myself at home. I just wanted them for later. He happily obliged and sent me on my merry way. I have those beauts in my fridge for later tonight and tomorrow.
My last stop was at the bacon food truck. The name is Bacon Wagonand they're from Ozawkie. I had heard someone talking about their pulled pork donut and was intrigued. I know I said pulled pork seemed to be on every menu, but this was being served in a unique way and I wanted to give it a shot. I found out it was called the Maple Bacon Pulled Pork Donut. At first I was hesitant about the maple part of the whole thing but the guy let me sample it before ordering and it wasn't that corn syrup stuff that's sold at stores, this is real maple syrup and I can get down with that. The donut as built like a sandwich with pulled pork and bacon in the middle and the maple syrup drizzled on top. It all sounds so strange but went together pretty well. The pulled pork and bacon were smokey, the donut sweet and the maple syrup complimented both. I do think a knife is needed to eat this one, since you can't really pick it up with your hands unless you want to be sticky for the rest of the week and the bacon is hard to cut with a plastic fork. Still, I enjoyed it.
The entire festival was a fun time for me and my friends. Everyone seemed to be happy with the layout and the variety of trucks. I had no complaints and can't wait for next year. I saw where the shelter houses around the park were open to the public and those are air conditioned. That was a great option on a 100 degree day in June. I'm exited to see what's in store for next year.