Fifth annual Central Valley United Way Food Truck Festival brings several newcomers for 2018
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
Starting a fixed restaurant kitchen can be quite an expense. A 2015 survey places the average cost of starting a new restaurant at around $275,000, and that’s without ownership of the building you move into. Vendors can also opt to start up a cheaper alternative, like say, a food truck, they can sometimes go for as low as $50,000. Another upside is that they can also do what other fixed kitchens can’t, and that’s go places!
For several SoCal food trucks, Hemet was their destination on Saturday, April 7. Next to the Fingerprints Children’s Museum, the fifth annual Central County United Way Food Truck Festival was underway. This year marks the second time United Way has partnered with the Ramona Pageant for this culinary experience. After patrons got their fill of Ramona at the spring festival north of Florida Avenue, they made their way south of Florida to get their literal fill.
Bob Duistermars, CEO for Central County United Way once again helped coordinate resources for this year’s festival and its success. “I’m just kind of supervising the whole thing,” he said. “We’ve got people out here that are in charge of different parts of it. And so when we put it all together, we have an amazing event!”
This year’s food faire included:
– A New York Deli on Wheels: Pictured is their Pastrami Rachel sandwich, with sriracha mayonnaise and coleslaw.
– Dogodog: Their featured faire was the Loaded Taqueso. “We use cheese as the tortilla,” explained Andy Acosta of Dogodog. “We put the cheese on the grill, we wait until it melts together, making it crispy-soft. From there, we add the meat and cheese of your choosing.” WARNING: The Taqueso is greasy, but it’s delicious and homemade…nothing is from a can! They also have a hot dog stuffed inside a whole pepper, for the adventurous among you.
– El Buen Sazón: Mulitas were their selected item. “This is an authentic dish from Mexico. This is [made with] homemade tortillas, carne asada, guacamole, onions, and cilantro. We only make authentic food,” according to Rodrigo Durán of El Buen Sazón.
– NEW THIS YEAR: Rice Balls of Fire came in from Los Angeles to show off their interpretation of sushi. Just be kind to the ninjas ahead of you when ordering your food.
– The Shrimp and Taco Stop, also from L.A., stopped by with their special recipe shrimp tacos, served with yellow peppers and special seasoning. Cuidado: ¡Caliente!
– The Sweet Stop brought their famous funnel cakes from Riverside, and piled them high with powdered sugar, whipped cream and strawberries, “to make it super delicious,” said Al of The Sweet Stop. “And sometimes we add a little chocolate drizzle!” Mouth watering yet?
– Pearson’s Louisiana Cajun Food only had to drive a couple blocks to fry up catfish, gator bites and cajun fries. For those who missed it, the giant cups of lemonade were just what the afternoon begged for.
– NEW THIS YEAR: SoCal Caribbean, also famous for serving halal foods, featured a lamb curry dish with tender lamb, fresh veggies, and plenty of rice. For those who aren’t familiar with halal food standards, they’re similar to kosher standards.
Also present were the St. Hyacinth Academy Ballet Folklorico dance group, who not only performed dances inspired by the upcoming Ramona Pageant, but also taught festival patrons a few moves. The local Boy Scouts were there also, as well as the Valley Queens.
United Way expresses its gratitude to Event Mode Marketing for their help promoting the festival, as well as the City of Hemet for coordinating traffic control and parking for patrons.
Proceeds from this year’s event benefit United Way’s community outreach programs. To find out how you can help, please visit www.ccuw.org