I came. I saw. I waited. And waited – for over an hour in some lines. Why? Because I wanted to experience the hottest thing on four wheels: Chicago’s burgeoning food truck scene.
Normally, I’d have to follow a truck’s Twitter feed or Facebook posting to track down the location of these vehicles. This time, TimeOut Chicago convinced some of the city’s most popular mobile eateries to stay put in adjoining vacant lots in the West Town neighborhood. Sweets from Flirty Cupcakes, Flirty Cupcakes and Sweet Ride Chicago were lined up side-by-side with savory delights from gaztro-wagon, Haute Sausage, and Tamale Spaceship. For a modest donation benefiting Share Our Strength, attendees could eat, drink, and be social – all to the beat of live music throughout the day.
Sounds like the perfect Hipster’s Taste of Chicago (so dubbed by random tweets). It could have been a real contender for the title if the event hadn’t blown up to well over 2,000 people crammed into one city block on the strength of social media word-of-mouth. Waiting in line for food became a test of endurance between feet, stomach, and the hot sun. Eventually, I chose to stop fighting the crowds and poorly managed lines to simply chronicle the event. Like a number of people, I left hungry, deciding instead to stop at a sandwich and pizza place across the street.
A real shame, too, because I really wanted to sample the goods from Bergstein’s Deli, Lillie’s Q, and Haute Sausage, as well as the pop-up truck featuring Bill Kim of Urban Belly and Stephanie Izard of Girl & The Goat.
Later on, I decided to see what people were saying on the social media that spawned the gathering. Some praised, some scorned, but most resigned themselves to waiting in the interminable and indeterminate lines. The only place where there was absolutely no waiting? The beer tent.
Guess I’ll go back to stalking food trucks via Twitter.