I was very excited to go to YVR Food Fest but had some hesitations. I found it odd that to get a general admission ticket for $10 I had to wait to go until after 2 pm.
The location also worried me. It was being held at The Olympic Village which seemed kind of vague to me. It was a big location and in a crappy spot for people who do not live downtown or drive. I had to take the bus to get there but where was it going to be, exactly?
I contacted the festival via Facebook and they said that it was a huge venue, that I could not miss it and they were right. I walked down Cambie and saw it.
I tried to walk towards it but was stopped and told I had to to go all the way around to the seawall to get in. For someone with mobility and energy challenges, that was quite a hike.
I got to the entrance and paid my $10 and was in! Finally!
I know this festival used to be called Food Cart Fest and the website said there would be food talks, outdoor events… but I saw none of that. There was no time table, no map of the food trucks… Nothing. You just walked into a massive parking lot surrounded by a circle of super hot cooking food trucks and it felt like suddenly being under a magnifying glass. What was a beautiful cool day suddenly got hot. Damn hot! And there was no compass to follow.
I would have partaken in this super-smart mister to keep you cool if I did not have all my camera gear with me.
The trucks were amazing! I had heard so much about them and it was really exciting to see them all in the same place together.
I was surprised to see quite a big chunk of the festival with vendors from Eastside Flea. I thought that was an odd fit and it made me realize there were a lot less food venues than I at first thought.
I was crazy-excited to see Tacofino’s truck there! They are absolutely famous for their food.
I was on a limited budget but got in the long line until I realized I had not checked their menu.
They did not have beef or pork available! Crap. Forget it. I will get one of their tacos eventually. I was not going to wait in that long hot line for something I did not really want.
I had heard excellent things about Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck. You can pick the bread, the cheese or…
You could get the special with apple wood smoked cheddar, rosemary ham on olive rosemary sour dough bread. Yup, that was easy.
It was quite the wait but the people who worked the truck were lovely.
We each patiently waited for our paper cup of food.
I got this grilled cheese sandwich with dill pickles and chips on the bottom for $11.
I could not find a place to sit anywhere, probably because other people, like me, came at 2 pm when general admission was allowed in. I have never asked so many people for a spot to sit only to be told that the seat was taken. I finally found a place to sit next to a couple at the very end tip of a bench. Not exactly comfortable.
The sandwich was fantastic but OMG, I was so thirsty! It was so hot, the sandwich was so filling…
I really just wanted something to help me cool off and reset my palette.
I was going to get a popsicle at Johnny’s Pops but I really was not super happy with the menu. I wanted a cold uncomplicated but high quality treat.
That is when I remembered a popsicle vendor that I had walked past earlier than had all natural frozen bars… Rico ‘n Lalo.
You could not tell these were low in calories and high in fibre! I got the raspberry which was perfect.
“Made with whole fresh fruits in small batches… We use traditional recipes and unique process which are big on flavour capturing the uniqueness of each fruit without the use of artificial additives.”
Totally worth the $4 when I was so hot and thirsty and needed something cooling and refreshing.
I had heard so many people rave about Rocky Point Ice Cream. I do not know how many times we have visited Rocky Point in Port Moody without allowing ourselves to indulge in their frozen treats. Today? I was not holding back!
So many cool flavours of hand crafted ice cream to choose from! In the end I picked one scoop of Espresso Flake ice cream in a waffle cone which was $5.
An espresso base with super thin flakes of chocolate throughout. This was perhaps the best ice cream I have ever had. The coffee flavouring was beautiful, the chocolate crunching in my mouth exciting… But! There was a problem.
After purchasing the ice cream I realized I was in the same predicament as before. No place to sit and I was tired. It was a hell of a long walk from Broadway and I knew I would have to do another long walk back. So, I decided to take my ice cream and leave.
If there was more opportunity to sit and rest I would have stayed and spent more money but I could not keep going like this for much longer and had that huge walk back.
I went around the other side of the seawall to see if there was an easier walk back. All I came across was this tall stairwell to the Cambie Street Bridge and, well, I took it. Ugh!
From the top you could get a great look at the festival. If there were talks and demos and anything but trucks and the flea market, I did not see it.
Thank goodness for the power of ice cream and my determination. YVR Food Fest really should have kept their original name because it really is a food truck festival, which is awesome.
That said, I hated the location and not being to get to stay longer because of their lack of seating and resented how hard it was to get to public transit to get home. Still, it was fun and I wish I could have enjoyed it more.
I put together a video of all the trucks at the festival. I am glad I went but unless the location moves, I won’t be back. I will take the Skytrain downtown and visit the trucks on my own!
Debra She Who Seeks says
I hate it when events don’t have enough seating or tables! That’s just bad planning on the part of the organizers, as far as I’m concerned.
We have a similar (albeit smaller) annual food truck event here in Edmonton called “What the Truck!” They get points for that crazy name.
Suzie the Foodie says
You know I think the seating issue could have been avoided had they not made the general admission at 2 pm. I know some people went earlier and they had no problems with seating at all. That is the best name for a fest EVER! Love it!
Great points, Suzie! And excellent photos of the fun.
The mandate of any event planner should be to pre-live the event in advance. I’ve planned many events for staff and clients from formal to casual.
Here’s the type of brainstrorming checklist I would use before a Stampede Pancake Breakfast.
– How will my guests access the venue?
– What types of transportation will they use.
– How do I make them feel welcome?
– How will you greet them?
– Literally mentally walk yourself through the process as if you were there.
– Wayfinding — is a map required?
– Weather — what’s your plan for heat, wind, rain, hail etc.
– If all the guests needed to sit, can they? The moment any food requires a knife a table and seat are a must! Stampede breakfast cases, cutting syrupy pancakes without a table can lead to plates flipping on laps, leaving your guests sticky and unhappy.
– Are all my sanitation needs covered? Water, garbage cans, food temperature, running water, pests, spills, etc.
– How will I know my event was successful? How will I capture this feedback?
I hope the event planners get to read your feedback and use your suggestions to fine-tune.
Suzie the Foodie says
Excellent points! You clearly know what you’re doing. 🙂
Sounds like poor planning (and a rip off – I think it was $2 admission last year or the year before). Have you been to the Shipyards market on Friday nights in North Van? It’s about a 5 minute walk east of Lonsdale Quay at the Shipyards, there are about 30 food trucks (a lot of the ones you mentioned), local vendors, some produce, live music and a beer garden plus it’s FREE. I’d definitely check it out if you haven’t already: http://www.northshoregreenmarkets.com/shipyards.html I swear I don’t work for them, I live very close and every Friday walk through there on my way home from work. It gets busy but the location is amazing, there is a long pier with loads of sitting and the commute is better as it’s just by the seabus.
Suzie the Foodie says
Wow, that is a lot cheaper! North Van is actually even harder for me to get to but I wish I could go! OK, if I can get a drive, I’ll try and check it out. That sounds much more reasonable and comfortable. Not having any place to sit was the worst and made it impossible for me to stay at the festival. Thanks Laura!