Foodies eat their way through Boise food truck rally

Foodies eat their way through Boise food truck rally

Credit: Matt Standal / KTVB

Foodies eat their way through Boise food truck rally

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on April 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 20 at 4:28 AM

BOISE -- They came. They saw (each other). They chowed-down. 

Organizers estimate more than two-thousand local foodies showed up for Boise's latest food truck rally on Friday -- likely setting a new record for the emerging event. 

Confused about what exactly a food truck rally is?  Imagine a county fair without the rides, weird barnyard animals, and cutesy 4-H projects. 

Now imagine that the same county fair is run by wise-cracking chef Anthony Bourdain from the Travel Channel.  

The prices are low. The foot traffic is high. The lines are long. The offerings are excellent. The alcohol is plenty. 

However, for those who don't know yet, the primary selling point for many is social interaction. Food is a close second.

The stats:

On Friday, nine food trucks served Boiseans a variety of eats from tacos, to turkey legs, to sliders, and desserts, and, of course, locally-brewed beer.

Thousands of people waited in line, nervously licking their lips, and excitedly sipping delicious varieties of Payette Brewing ale (or lemonade, or water, or whatever).  

While some lines stretched to 30 minutes (for B29 Streatery for example), others were much shorter, and many fluctuated throughout the event.

The gigantic, gustatory gathering took place in the parking lot of the MK Nature Center just off Walnut Street in Boise directly behind Idaho's Fish and Game headquarters.

Have you ever tasted barbecued, pulled-pork nachos with hot sauce and melted cheese?  How about a perfectly-crisp, deep-fried cheese sandwich thicker than a deck of cards? If there's one thing that Boise's food truck rally has going for it, it's Intriguing twists on everyday foods like these.

For many, the event also featured noticeable improvements over last month's gathering, such as better line flow, more seating, and food trucks that were actually prepared for thousands of rally-goers instead of hundreds.

Organizer Sheila Francis told KTVB she felt that more people were present at April's food truck rally than ever before -- mostly due to media coverage and hype leading up to the event.

 "As far as I can tell most everyone is happy -- they had to wait in line -- but they're happy," Francis said.

But will the event keep on growing?

"We're definitely going to need more beer tents and trucks," Francis candidly replied, when asked whether the current setup would hold throughout the summer. 

Some of those trucks will need more food too.

B29 Streatery line cook Andy Killingsworth was busy flipping fries when KTVB knocked on the side of his company's food truck.

In a span of two hours, Killingsworth says B29 ran out of chicken wings and estimated the entire truck would be cleaned-out by the end of the night.

"It's a good thing," Killingsworth said. 

For some, the rally was an exciting first. 

Boise's Karen May says she walked to the rally from her house, then bought a heaping, $6 plate of barbecued pork nachos from Brown Shuga Soul Food. 

"I've been meaning to come here for a while," May said, in between bites of dripping deliciousness.

For others, the rally was a test of patience before they could stuff their cheeks.

Boiseans Hali Trainer and Rachel Allen told KTVB they were more than happy to enjoy a Payette Pale Ale while waiting in line for Big Al's Barbecue truck on Friday.

For both college students, the long line was an inconvenience, but certainly not a deal-breaker.

"I would come back instantly," Trainer told KTVB.

Yet for more, the rally was a welcome reminder of home. 

Max Lillie and his best friend Justin Hampton just moved to Boise from San Diego, where both say a thriving food truck culture is already established. There, they say a variety of food truck rallies happen in different locations each month.

"The street food scene is just exploding in San Diego," Lillie told KTVB.  "It's all about getting more than you pay for."

But how does Boise's rally compare?

While Lillie says the Boise rally may lack some of the truly gourmet food he's seen served out of West Coast trucks -- caviar and fried escargot for example -- he says the wait time for service and rally atmosphere is excellent.

"I'm definitely impressed," Lillie said.

Editor's note:

Organizers say Boise's next major food truck rally will take place on Friday May, 11th at the High Desert Harley Davidson dealership in Meridian

However, the location begs the question:  does the food truck rally really belong to just Boise?

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