Texas Food Truckin' Fest dishes out delicacies at Rangers Ballpark

Posted Friday, Apr. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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If you go

Texas Food Truckin' Fest

11 a.m.-9 p.m. today

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

$10; $5 for children under 12 and free for children less than 32 inches tall.

Information: www.texasfoodtruckinfest.com, www.facebook.com/txfoodtruckinfest, Twitter: @Txfoodtruckin.

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ARLINGTON -- At the Texas Food Truckin' Fest at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, two things are pretty certain.

Knowing what you're hungry for isn't necessary. An extra belt notch or two is.

Shawn and Lynn Tutt of Arlington were among the first diners at the inaugural event, which began late Friday afternoon on the west side of the ballpark and runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today.

They were just finishing up their first dish -- which they split, of course -- and were unhurriedly contemplating what to try next from a lineup of about two dozen food trucks offering everything from backyard barbecue and burger sliders to Indian, Cuban and Vietnamese ethnic cuisine to cupcakes and ice cream to Hawaiian coffee and smoothies.

"There are five hours left," Shawn said, looking at his watch. "I've got to pace myself."

The trucks' catchy names and colorful designs can seem as tempting as the scents of cooking coming from them.

There's Oinkn Moo Barbecue, or OMQ; The B.L.T. Bacon Lovers Truck; Empanada Armada; Gandolfo's New York Delicatessen; and Chef Tim Love's Big Purple Truck, to name a few.

The rolling eateries have become so popular that cities across Texas, including Dallas and Fort Worth, have opened special parks where they can dish up diverse delicacies to patrons in one place.

Once frequented mostly by construction and factory workers, mobile kitchens are now popular with foodies and families, who will search out where the best ones are and keep track of them on their GPS and through social media. There are even food review columns dedicated to food truck cuisine.

Olen and Pam Perez of McKinney brought their self-built Cuban-American "truckstaurant," The Guava Tree, to the ballpark Friday. Up to now, they've stuck to a schedule of mostly weekends, but that will change in June when they go full time.

"I take family recipes and add a modern twist," Olen said.

Besides the food, the inaugural festival includes live bands, activities for children and the broadcast of the Rangers game at Minnesota on a giant screen TV this afternoon.

Eleven-year-old Jordan Dube of the Navarro County town of Rice, who was at the festival with his mother, Shannon Dube, seemed plenty content with the burger he was polishing off after a day at Six Flags Over Texas.

"We decided to kill two birds with one stone," Shannon said, showing off a take-home container of bacon mac and cheese that another son had requested. "But we would have come to the festival even if Six Flags hadn't been open."

Visitors can vote by text message for the Best Truckin' Food Truck. The winner, who will be named at 7:30 p.m., won't get just any old trophy, thanks to Cameron Davis, owner of Cruising Kitchens, who designed it. A pedestal-mounted miniature food truck that rocks back and forth and lights up will get the competitive juices flowing.

"I wanted something that the winner could put in front of their truck and show off," Davis said.

Admission is $10, and part of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

"We wanted to help the community," said Decima Cooper, spokeswoman for Experience Arlington, formerly the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

She also had valuable advice to help visitors maximize the one stomach they have.

"We're telling people to bring a few friends," she said. "Everybody go to a different truck and then meet at a table in the middle and eat off each other's plates. That way you get the most out of it."

Patrick M. Walker,

682-232-4674

Twitter: @patrickmwalker1

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