Attendees strategized about how best to take advantage of the all-inclusive tickets. Some purchased special VIP passes, allowing them entry into the festival 90 minutes early, as well as access to a closer parking lot (the easier to roll yourself out at the end of the night). Some groups divided and conquered—one person waiting in line for vegan sticky rice at the Dim Sum Truck (which had its debut at the first L.A. Street Food Fest) while another queued nearby for huitlacoche tacos at Antojitos de la Abuelita, a North Hollywood taco truck. Upon successfully obtaining vittles from one stand, many waited to devour their booty until safely ensconced in line at their next destination. Nothing says gluttony like waiting for pork belly adobo while munching on sweet potato fries drenched in peanut butter and Nutella.
Some came with lists of trucks they had to hit (two pasta-filled sandwiches topped an informal survey—the mac and cheese sandwich from the Grilled Cheese Truck and the soba noodle-topped hot dog from Dogzilla). Some moved methodically from one stand to the next (clockwise was the popular direction for this strategy). Others eschewed formal strategy, simply opting for the stands with the shortest lines.
Since most time was spent in line (which though not the epic two-hour waits experienced at the festival's first incarnation, still often dragged into the painful 30-minute range), fast friendships emerged among line neighbors. Principal among these discussions were recommendations about which stalls to hit and which could be avoided. "You should definitely try the shrimp tacos at Mariscos Jalisco," one would advise. "If you need something refreshing, go get cucumber lemonade at LAsian Kitchen." Certain food choices even invited a kind of cheerleading section, as was the case when a friend and I discussed the bright green fried orbs we'd just obtained from Starry Kitchen, a highly buzzed-about brick-and-mortar restaurant, doing its take on street food for the day. A passerby overheard our conversation and shouted to us, "I love those crispy tofu balls." (Really, is that any way to talk to a lady?)
More than one person I spoke with admitted to having spent extra time at the gym that morning. "This is not a place to be watching your figure," one man advised me, as he lay spread-eagled on a picnic blanket at around the 30-yard line, coming in and out of his self-induced food coma and wishing for a cooler in which to hoard some leftovers.
As was appropriate for the food trend that Twitter built, live tweeting was rampant, with brief statements projected onto the stadium's Jumbotron, bringing meta-eating to a new extreme as people announced electronically to those near them what they'd just eaten.
Among the day's biggest Tweeters was Los Angeles's Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "I just tweeted you!" he was overheard exclaiming to acclaimed chef Susan Feniger, whose Border Grill Truck green corn tamal he had just sampled. ("Loving @bordergrill's green corn tamal w crema salsa fresca in a cone. Sweet and creamy," was his verdict.)