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Friday, May 18, 2012

Food Trucks at Culinaria

I'm in San Antonio for Culinaria, an annual food and wine festival with events that range from BBQ to beer and burgers to a grand tasting. For the first time, the events included a food truck round up (hey, it is Texas after all). A $10 ticket got attendees into the event and included beer and wine--including some wines from Texas hill country.

I waited in line the longest for the Say-She-Ate, a food truck chosen best food truck of 2012 by the San Antonio Current. They were serving Akaushi beef sliders with grilled onions and blue cheese and duck fat fries. Akaushi is a Japanese wagyu style beef, and cattle are raised in Texas. While I would have preferred the slider a little less well-done, it was still flavorful and delicious. The fries were great too, though another truck was cooking them in beef tallow and they were crispier.

My favorite bite of the night was from the Duk truck. Duk stands for Dady's Underground Kitchen, but you wouldn't know that from looking at it since it was covered with rubber duckies.

Or from trying their speciality, duck tacos. They were out of tortillas by the time I got there, but chef Jason Dady improvised and served a soft, fresh pita topped with luscious duck confit as tender and juicy as pulled pork, with Thai basil, cilantro, fresh pineapple and crema.

Another great innovative fusion dish was from Spice Runner. Thai coconut hot wings were served with a cooling yogurt sauce and lime wedge. The wings were crispy and the sauce creamy and rich with a hint of peanuts.

Finally for dessert a bread pudding from the Guilty Pleasures truck I would have sooner expected to find in a restaurant. A large portion of super moist bread pudding studded with nuts, dripping with boozy bourbon sauce and topped with ice cream, whipped cream and couple of wafer cookies. What can I say? Everything's bigger in Texas.

If you haven't been to a food truck event, here are my tips:

* Go early! Lines form quickly at popular trucks and are also a good indication of good eats.

* Divide and separate. Each person in your group should choose a different truck and line then meet up to share bites.

* Chat with your neighbors in line, you'll learn what's good and make new friends. It will also help pass the time more quickly.

* Check out the menu before you get in line, there usually aren't a lot of choices, so be ready to order when you do get to the window. You may even be able to research what trucks will be at an event and what they will be serving before you arrive.

* Bring small bills for paying and tipping.

My thanks to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau for inviting me and hosting my trip.