This past long weekend the Toronto Food Truck Festival happened again on Aug 1 & 2nd at Woodbine Park. It was a nice sunny sunday and I didn't have anything to do so I decided to meet up with a friend that lives in that area and go and hang out at the festival. We went last year but last year I had my car and drove down. This time I had to do it by public transit. It took me over an hour to get down there. I mistakingly got off at the wrong bus stop to meet up with my friend so I had to wait for her to meet up with me and head over to the park so I don't know exactly how long it would have taken to get there if I went straight there.
I think at this point I have gone to too many street festivals, food truck events and trade show events that nothing seemed all that new to me. I have seen almost all of the trucks at some point around town. But I decided to try a couple of the newer trucks food.
I tried the wonton shrimp $9 and the lemongrass chicken dumplings $9 from the Dumplings truck. It was good but I don't think it was worth $18 for dumplings. You could go for a ton of dim sum at a good Chinese food restaurant for less. It tasted good but I have frozen dumplings in my freezer that taste just as good. I just wanted to try them to see if they were something different. They were good but I just went to Susur Lee's restaurant Luckee recently so they can't compare to the food there.
I also tried the Baked Chimney Stax Cinnamon flavour with a cream cheese icing. I waited probably about 15-20 minutes for this and I am not sure why because there wasn't a huge lineup. There were 2 trucks doing this type of hollowed out baked bread with fillings and toppings. For the cost of $6 for some hard bread sprinkled with cinnamon I wasn't that impressed with it. I could have gotten some better Churros or Beavertails from the other trucks. I would go with that.
My friend isn't a foodie and only eats chicken and is pretty fussy about not eating certain foods but she decided on some Mac & Cheese. It was a pretty large portion and she said that was her dinner. I tried a forkful of it and didn't like it at all. It was on the runny side but also had some kind of sweet bbq sauce on top of it and the cheese tasted like some cheap flavourless cheese. I was glad I didn't order it.
The food truck festival is a good idea with it being free to get in and there is live bands but there are also a lot of long waits for a lot of the trucks and never enough chairs to sit and eat your food and not enough shade in the park so you get pretty hot waiting around in all of the lineups.
I think I enjoyed the food a lot more last year in my choices but it was a day to hang out and get some fresh air and sun, maybe a little too much sun but we only get sunny days for a short time during the summer so it's ok.
But the thing that made it not worth going to the festival in the end was the trek home. I walked up to Queen Street to get a streetcar to Yonge Street. We waited about 15 minutes and then 1 stopped but wouldn't let anyone on it. Then we waited again and the next streetcar was out of service. Then another 15 minutes later another streetcar came by and it was packed but we got on it. It started to pour rain about half way to Yonge Street so everyone closed the windows making it very hot in the streetcar and I might add very smelly. Then some guy has to delay it even more by trying to get on the streetcar with his bike and after the driver told him it was too full he walked to the back door and got on there. He got mad when people were trying to get off at the back door and he was in the way and he said "I am not going to ride my fuckin bike in the rain" so excuse me Mr. bike rider you just inconvenienced a packed streetcar full of hot sweaty tired people while you tried to manoeuvre your bike around the back steps. When we finally got to Yonge street we all had to squeeze around him to get off the streetcar. Well 2 hours after I left the festival I finally got home.
Was it worth it? Not so much. I spent $27 plus TTC fare and 3 hours of commuting for 3 mediocre dishes and half a lemonade.
I think if you are in the area it's a great thing to do if you can walk or ride a bike over but if you have to commute more than an hour to get there you should probably find something closer to home to do because the TTC just can't handle a lot of these summer weekend events very well.
Also of note. I only tried a few things because a lot of the trucks had things like burgers and fries and a lot of similar things that I wasn't really in the mood for. There was a corn truck but corn is so cheap right not that you can get half a dozen for the price of one at the festival. One of the longer lines was for grilled cheese and it looked good and might have been worth it but lining up for grilled cheese for 20 minutes doesn't seem worth the time to me.
If you don't cook or just looking for an outing with friends then this is the festival for you. For me it wasn't worth the 3 hours of TTC commute time but if you are closer then I would recommend checking it out but expect to wait for some of the food you want to try.