"You could put out sea urchin and conch ceviche and wine roasted short ribs that shit rainbows" and people will still pick comfort foods, Andrew Zimmern said just before announcing Ms. Cheezious as winner -- for the second year in a row -- of the People's Choice award at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's food truck party.
Greasy, salty, sweet, rich and meaty were the favorites at the $85-a-head party on Sunday night in Midtown Miami. The grilled cheese truck took the prize with a smoked pulled pork sandwich with fried pickles and cheddar on Texas toast. It was the second year the festival put on its pimped out version a food truck roundup, and this time it was moved from South Beach to the mainland.
Zimmern's favorite was the Slow Food Truck's short rib slider with queso fresco, arugula and crispy shallots.
Our (totally unsanctioned) winner was Wafflosophy. People consistently lined up for eggy, chewy Hong Kong style waffles topped with red curry braised beef and cole slaw. They were a happy respite from the slider and sandwich onslaught.
Volunteers were stationed near every truck holding tall signs marking the tail of each line. It was an improvement over disorganized jockeying for food and drink during Saturday's Grand Tasting.
Shortly after gates opened Zimmern made his way around the tent - escorted by two oversized, suit-wearing gorillas -thanking all the truck owners. Midway through the three-hour party he held court, and in a Santa Clause-esque way, posed for pictures with an endless line of fans.
Chef Jeremiah Bullfrogz's GastroPod never had more than few queued up, even though it was one of only a few trucks dishing out food that didn't require a nap afterward. GastoPho was a play on the Vietnamese soup that you have to eat before receiving your hipster decoder ring. The pod's version deployed a puffed, chicharrones-like fried beef tendon topped with sous vide short rib, Pho broth, pickled bean sprouts and an herb salad.
Il Fiorentino was putting out what Zimmern called "restaurant-quality food" with a potato ravioli sauced in a rich Parmesan fondue with bitter Radicchio, crispy walnuts and a balsamic reduction.
"This is not a trend, this is not a fad," he said of the gourmet food truck craze after gracefully mounting the central raised DJ booth. "You all here are proof of that."
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If lines at all round ups moved as fast as they did here, we might be inclined to agree.
For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.