Saturday, January 21, 2012

Food Truck Rally at Seminole Casino Immokalee with Naples Food Tours


History was made Friday night, January 20th,  in Collier County!

The first ever  Food Truck Rally took place at the Seminole Casino in Immokalee, under the stars, as ten top rated food trucks rolled in from Tampa to Miami.

What’s the attraction of  food trucks? Variety, quality, novelty and availability.
    Across the USA, larger cities like Los Angeles, NYC and  Philadelphia have dozens to hundreds of food trucks, each perfecting their tasty recipes. As featured on Food Network TV, these licensed trucks appear singly or in clusters at events, feeding hungry customers drawn to creative and delicious foods. They bring customers to associated events such as Art Festivals and Church functions. Friday’s event brought some foodies who tried their luck inside the Seminole Casino. A food truck rally is an upscale Food Court for foodies and regular folks alike who relish being able to try dozens of cuisines, all located within a few hundred feet of each other. Dining food truck style, standing up at tall tables perched on an outdoor bench or communal seating, is not your usual restaurant experience-It’s all part of the charm!  

     I read Kelly Merritt’s article on the Food Trucks  http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/jan/18/wagon-train-of-food-trucks-circles-immokalee-for/ )  and decided to go, rescheduling a long planned event to a less favored day.

    I am not keen to drive friends out to Immokalee and back in the dark, especially  after eating and drinking, so we signed up for a ride on Naples Food Tours’ air conditioned bus. Wise choice!
Naples Food Tour's Elaine and Roger Osbond in Front of the Sopher's Nosh Truck
   Limousines are intimate and can be expensive for five hours. Being in an elegant yet  long narrow car to Immokalee on a dark road is not appealing.  Naples Food Tours bus is well worth a $25 round trip ticket! Owners Elaine and Roger Osbond were delightful hosts. I could stand and walk inside the minibus without my head ever touching the  raised ceiling.
    The brand new bus seats 14 folks in cushioned comfort. This new addition to Naples is safe luxury travel at wallet-friendly pricing. Water and soft drinks were supplied; no need for nibbles on this trip! Best part-we had fun talking with other food loverss on board, making new friends.  Unexpected bonus-The bus allowed for drop off and pick up right at the event-no need to walk long distances to and from  your car, often parked waaay in the distance! 

    The food trucks were parked together, yet nicely spaced apart, right outside of the Seminole Casino.
Patient Diners
     Food prices ranged from $4 to $10, and my friends and I shared many items. The event was a success for diners and food truck owners alike, with some vendors running out of some items towards the end. The food is cooked to order-wonderful for freshness, yet some lines were 20 minutes long. (Hey, ya wait that long or longer for food in a bricks and mortar restaurant.)  How do you deal with that wait? Easy! My group of friends reserved a central stand up table. Each took off to a different truck, waited on line and returned with their booty to share with others back at the table. Couples did a similar routine, often joining up with new found couples and groups like mine. All shared stories and food with on-the-spot new friends. Fun!!!

The crowd was happy, well behaved and spanned all ages and nationalities. People came form Tampa, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and even Miami! Young Miami Latinos shared food with  elderly Canadians from Cape Coral. Strangers chatted with strangers, asking “What’s that-do you like it?”, “What’s your favorite?”,  People freely shared opinions and tastes with each other. You don’t find that instant camaraderie and sharing in restaurants!  The most commonly asked  question at the end of the evening was- “Why don’t we have food trucks in Lee and Collier counties more often?

Well, so far Scott Sopher’s The Nosh Truck is the only one in the area. The Burger Beast (burgerbeast.com) , AKA Sef Gonzalez- my burger maven from the East Coast, may schedule more gatherings, depending on  factors such as local support and ease (or difficulty) of permitting. This will be a win-win success for any site they choose, bringing very good quality food to augment the number of customers attracted to art festivals and other venues. It works well in dozens of other cities.

 So what did we have, and what’s on our “next time” list?

 Our  favorite dish was The Nosh Truck Inspired Street Food’s Pad Thai hamburger topped with bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, peanuts sriracha and mayo for $7.
Succulent and a touch spicy, this big and bold delight had quite a few people go back for seconds! Try the Korean pork sliders, too.  Follow via Mobilenosh.com,  @noshtruck, and Twitter.com/noshtruck

Mr. Good Stuff  (http://www.facebook.com/MrGoodStuff)  $8  corn meal stuffed lunas “arepas” are more like a thin pita bread than an typical Latin arepa.
They were a hit stuffed with brisket, chicken salad, Asian pulled pork and coconut curry.

Their burgers, sweet potato fries and  Cheesy My Neesy were crowd magnets.
 Dog Eat Dog  ( http://www.dogeatdogtruck.com ) bright yellow truck had ten hot dogs simply to lusciously topped creations were some of the best we’ve had.

Cheeseme Mobile  ( http://www.cheeseme.com )  offered cheeses, breads and insertions.
Cheeses included cave aged Gruyere, American, and Green Island Blue; breads wee rye, pumpernickel, brioche Texas toast, and insertions wee Kobe beef, Parma ham, and grilled Portobello.

 Cool Haus serves gourmet, architecturally inspired ice cream sandwiches with unique flavor combinations such as spicy bacon caramel corn, or orange chocolate Cointreau ice cream.

Dolce Gourmet Cupcakes was the take home favorite, with long lines of people taking boxes of red velvet, banas foster and Key West Lime Pie cupcakes back to the cars.  http://www.facebook.com/DolceGourmetCupcakes

 Palate Party ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Palate-Party/126471837448657 ) offers authentic fish and chips, corn and crab fritters, patty melts and more.

 Slow Food Truck  ( http://www.slowfoodtruck.com )  has the best truffle fries and great burgers, short rib sandwiches, and pulled pork sandwiches with seasonal delights.
 The Flying Saucer  ( http://wingwiz.com ) offers  25 ways to have delicious hot wings, great sauces,  mini-burgers and even Philly cheesesteaks.
Fritaman & Croqueta Boy's truck could not make it. Jean Beltran and son Joshua’s  frita is a Cuban hamburger made of pork, chorizo and ground Angus beef. Beltran tops each of his fritas with julienne fries and serves them on a Cuban hoagie-delicious!

How does one find a truck, or gathering of trucks? Easy! Just follow a favorite via Facebook, Twitter or Google, and you’re set.
Burgerbeast.com's Sef Gonzalez,  with The Frita Man, Jean Beltran
A special, huge thanks goes to Sef Gonzalez, AKA Burgerbeast, who has followed burgers and the food trucks since their inception, for  creat this food truck round up with the Seminole Casino.

Kudos to Naples Food Tours for driving in style. Their popular restaurant tours are a great way for locals and visitors to see and sample the uniquely original and delicious cuisines of top spots (and my favorite "hole-in-the-walls) of Naples. Book the bus for a private event or  book tickets for the tours, call 239-200-7992 or go to www.NaplesFoodTours.com.

***GREAT NEWS***
I got this comment today-check  it out!

 The Food Trucks will be back to the Seminole Casino Immokalee every Friday from 6-10pm starting February 3rd through the month of March. Trucks will be on a rotating basis so each week will offer something new. 

Publish 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'll be happy to know that the Food Trucks will be back to the Seminole Casino Immokalee ever Friday from 6-10pm starting February 3rd through the month of March. Trucks will be on a rotating basis so each week will offer something new.

Ivan Seligman said...

The Food Trucks went to the Greyhound Track in Bonita Springs on Saturday May 5th. That's a lot closer to Naples than Immokalee. I think they'll do well to come to Naples on an art festival day-great audience and great customers to support the trucks!

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