Before I travel to any city, I try to get food recommendations from fellow travel bloggers and the Internet. I prefer good old home cooking versus the fancy swanky stuff and always look for barbecue, diners or food trucks. I found a website for Food Truck Caravan and then asked a couple of local bloggers if it was any good. To my surprise, both of them had never heard of it before which can only mean a few things – the event is bad, OR it’s so new and still a secret that no one knows about it yet.
Intrigued, I had to check it out, and I’m so glad that I found this hidden gem because it was fantastic!
What exactly is a Food Truck Caravan?
By definition, a caravan is a group of people, esp. traders or pilgrims, travelling together across a desert. Perfect name!
There are over 35 food truck vendors that belong to this Food Truck Caravan, and they take turns with only 8 or so operating per night. There is power in numbers more so than a competition and having eight trucks promoting an event on social media etc. is power indeed. The idea is genius.
Two nights are better than one!
The Caravan takes place weekly on Thursday and Saturday evenings.
We chose not to visit on Thursday thinking that it would be too busy because that is the same night that Art Walk takes place downtown. (This was a mistake on our part – keep reading and you’ll see why.). The art walk is a 30-year tradition in the downtown core in which all the galleries stay open later than normal, and the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum takes part by offering free admission. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about art in general.
We decided to visit on a Saturday night – “Theme Night” – the theme being “flavours that can stand on their own”. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but looking at the schedule on the site, the organisers have come up with some imaginative names for their themes, an upcoming theme being “Roses and Lace”?
An oasis in a parking lot…
Coming from Toronto, where food trucks aren’t as popular and are only in operation during special events I didn’t know what to expect as we drove to Old Town Scottsdale. Located just downtown on the corner of 5th Avenue and Marshall Way, I was instantly struck by how well-organized it looked. We quickly found parking and had to join in on the fun.
The night we were there the following trucks on the scene were:
- The Grilled Cheese Truck
- The Pho King Truck
- Luncha Libre
- Travelling Monk
- Satay Hut
- Moto Meals
- Udder Delights
- Torched Goodness
I can only refer to the night we were there but there was a great assortment of cuisines to choose from – Vietnamese, grilled cheese, vegetarian and Indian?? Heck yah!
The ambience is excellent, lights and lanterns in the trees, picnic tables, stand up bar tables, candles. It was a very family friendly, relaxed atmosphere with strollers and pets galore. There is even live music, and we sat down and enjoyed the music of singer/guitar player, Jim Lugo – who performed some covers by the likes of Harry Chapin and James Taylor.
I did find that because there are so many people there that there wasn’t enough seating, and we ended up sitting on the curb while we ate. It wasn’t the most comfortable so we didn’t stay as long as we would have liked. We did see a few people creating their personal tailgate party – we are in a parking lot after all. If I were local, I would bring some lawn chairs or even a blanket and make an evening picnic of it.
I have a confession; I broke a few cardinal rules of travel writing. First, we ate before we arrived (hanging my head in shame). Also, I forgot my flash for my camera, which resulted in only one usable photo.
Everything smelled and looked delicious and although I wasn’t hungry. There is always room for dessert! We had the lavender crème brulée and vanilla bean crème brulée from Torched Goodness – totally YUMMY!
Wishing now that I HAD visited on Thursday evening so that I could return again on Saturday before my flight home…another thing to add to my long list of adventures to look forward to for my next trip to Scottsdale.
- Thursday and Saturday night from 6:30 to 10:30 pm
- 5th Avenue and Marshall Way
- Admission is free
- Spend $8 minimum at one truck and receive a discount card to over 25 area merchants
- Open to all ages
- Pet friendly
- Misting system, heaters, seating
- No restroom facilities at the actual caravan but there are public restroom facilities across the street
Visit the Food Truck Caravan website at http://foodtruckcaravan.com, for more information.
Photo Credit: Lori Baker of Food Truck Caravan.