Takin’ it to the Streets

Years after I gave up having my own restaurant in Atlanta, the city finally seems to be developing a palate. Nice timing, as always, Ferguson–an epic fail, of course; for my career as a restaurateur, but hey, great for eats! David and I, both raging “food-geeks,” are always up to explore the latest culinary trend, most recently falling in love with Chef Hector’s El Burro Pollo Burrito Stand in VaHi. To further hone our coolness, we’ve been following the burgeoning Food Truck scene on Facebook, Twitter and the Atlanta Street Food Coalition’s website.

Food Trucks at Woodruff Arts Center

Food Trucks at the Woodruff Arts Center

After missing the March Food Truck Picnic at the Sweet Auburn Market in 04W, we were excited to hear about the ASFC’s Food Truck Thursdays beginning in April at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown. Scheduling mishaps kept us away the first two weeks, but when we found out our favorite Atlanta restaurant, 4th & Swift’s owner, Chef Jay Swift, would be making a demonstration on April 21st, we rallied and sent out Facebook invites to our other chowhound buds. Anything 4th & Swift is not to be missed!

The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., but warned by friends and bloggers that the food can run out early, Susan and I broke out of work and met David at 10th and Peachtree at 11:15 on this gorgeous Thursday morning (Note: easy parking at the deck behind Empire State South). I was frantic to beat the legendary lines at the Woodruff trucks, so unwittingly drug S & D right past Chef Swift’s Pop Up Chef Tent, dooming myself to a lunch without Harissa Beef Tacos, but we did make it to the Art Center in time for only a brief (10-minute) wait for Texas Taco (Yumbii’s line was already pretty daunting). By the time we got to their side of the plaza, Sweet Auburn BBQ was on a huge wait as well, but while David collected our pulled pork BBQ, roasted pork and chicken fresco tacos from Texas Taco, Susan and I scored at the Good Food Truck: grilled cheese with muenster and a berry (and beet) chutney (so I lied by omission to David, who hates beets, but it’s okay if it’s fundamentally good for him, right?) a “Samosa” waffle cone with curry spiced peas and potatoes, and a chilled Asian noodle salad. Susan and her friend Lincoln shared some Honey and Cream icecream from Westside Creamery and tasty King of Pops artisan ‘sicles (Mojito and Cookies and Cream), David and I opting to scarf dessert deliciousness from Yum Yum Cupcakes: the Penelope (Chocolate with Peanut Butter Mousse) and the Chanel (Chocolate with Chocolate icing), washing it down with grapefruit soda from Texas Taco and a spicy gingered limeade from Good Food.

A young, diverse crowd and some interesting interpretive dancers moving in and out of the lines made for great people watching, a convenient stone wall provided seats for dining and the show. Wandering back down Peachtree towards the parking deck, sounds from a street corner saxophone drifting by, soaking up the warm sun, blue skies and bustling sidewalks, for a moment I felt I was in a truly cosmopolitan city.

Although way too stuffed to attempt Chef Swift’s tacos or indulge at the 10th Street Tamale Truck, we vowed to make up for it at the next Street Food Thursday. What a great opportunity to support local chefs and enjoy prime time Spring weather in a city slowly growing into a place to be proud of. Congratulations to all the vendors and the dedicated people at Atlanta Street Food Coalition for creating such a fantastic event.

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