One of the activities I was looking forward to revisiting upon returning to the island of Hawaii was Eat the Street. I had high expectations given the great experience I had in 2011. I have mixed feelings about the current state of such a great concept. There were new trucks that stood out; also a few old trucks still knocking it out of the park; however my favorite truck from last time unfortunately has been decommissioned.
I attended two of these events during my visit. Chocolate and Japan were the themes, in that order. I followed the same system I used last time: arrive early, scout the menus, snap photos, then eat. I must admit the Chocolate event left me disappointed. While a few interesting dishes were featured, it felt like most of the trucks made little effort, if any at all to get creative with the theme. Many trucks opted for cliché items like chocolate cake or ice cream and just slapped it into a dessert category.
Uninventive items included red velvet macaroons, chocolate chip bread pudding and chocolate cheesecake. One truck went as far (or as near depending on your opinion) as to blatantly put a chocolate bar as their themed item. Mind you, not one made by them. Slightly forgivable due to the fact that it was a locally produced chocolate bar; I still found it to be a bit impertinent.
Notwithstanding, one truck by the name of Baja Style Mexican Food, stood out from the rest with 2 chocolate options: Chocolate Seafood Crepes and Mole con Pato. I ordered the crepes and was not let down. The crepes were made with cocoa, stuffed with scallops and shrimp served with a creamy tomato salsa and topped off with ancho chile slivers.
For dessert I passed by a truck called Let Them Eat Cupcakes. I almost fell over myself reading the menu item: Chocolate Mochi S’more! I caught myself just in time, realizing that it referred to three separate items. Very saddened but taking mental notes to try that combination at home, I moved on. I ended up ordering Chocolate Macadamia Banana Lumpia from All Kine Grindz. Deliciously crisp and fruity; my only wish was that the chocolate sauce had been homemade; even so they were very tasty.
Eat the Street Japan had much more promising menus with obvious favorites like katsu chicken and tempura as well as abstractly named dishes like Geisha, Godzilla and Mount Fuji. Some things don’t change. I was very happy to see Ono Pops still well represented at Eat the Street. I also experienced a déjà vu moment glancing at the line for Paul’s Poppers… 3 years later still long, still popular and still untried by this blogger.
One of the newer stand outs was Hawaiian Fresh Farms. Their entire concept is to provide high quality, locally grown, farm to table food to the masses. The truck struck a chord with my slow food side. They sucked me in on Japan theme day with their ridiculous sounding furikake doughnuts with a miso caramel glaze.
All in all, Eat the Street was a bit of a hit and miss. I’m not sure if it was because it was close to the beginning of the year or if the trucks involved are just not as hungry or if the clientele has just become more complacent… I still think it’s worth going each time it happens. I recommend getting there early (4pm – 6pm) to eat and then stay for the entertainment if you like. I still love and support the food truck movement!
Truck on readers!