Jami Johnson, Vintage Son Photo
In planning the inaugural LA Street Food Fest, founders Shawna Dawson and Sonja Rasula knew that the event would draw a huge crowd. It showcased the best in Los Angeles's ever-growing assortment of street food, from the classic lonchero taco trucks that have long roamed city neighborhoods to fried chicken from Top Chef Masters competitor Ludovic Lefebvre to a bevy of the newest tweeting trucks. But the pair had anticipated they'd draw around 5,000 to the downtown event, not the estimated 20,000 fans who waited up to two hours for red velvet pancakes, mini banh mi, and lamb roti roll-ups.
"It was an eye-opener. Oh my gosh. Wow," says Dawson, the former marketing director for Yelp LA. "People wanted to come to check this out."
So popular was the first event that Dawson and Rasula, who had initially intended to make it an annual happening, decided to hold a second incarnation this July 24 at the storied Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where the chefs will abandon their trucks in favor of stationary stands. And to avoid some of the pitfalls of the last round, this time tickets will be limited and sold only in advance, as an all-inclusive pass to sample the goods of the 60 participating vendors. Among those in attendance will be repeat performers like the Flying Pig, with its tamarind duck taco, and the rich, pressed sandwiches of the Grilled Cheese Truck, along with new faces such as Tamales Elena, a lunch truck that serves up hearty handmade masa tamales in the Watts neighborhood. Top city chefs like Fred Eric will also be on hand, providing their spins on street-inspired food.