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all photos: Jeff Martin and Shauna Alexander
all brief intro words: Svetlana Legetic
woman on the street interviews: Catherine McCarthy

To say that the 1st Annual Curbside Cook-Off was a success would be equivalent to saying that Ella Fitzgeral is a good singer: A GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT.

When BYT, alongside DCRA and DCCAH arrived to the set up location on Thursday morning we had NO IDEA how many of you would be all over this event, eating your way around DC’s most popular street vendors. The first day saw almost 10, 000 people power through the City Center Parking lot and the second day came with bigger crowds and all the signs of “lessons learned” from the first day: people showing up with camper chairs for line waiting, longer lunch breaks, vitaminwater came earlier and with more product (you have to hydrate in those long lines) and the trucks actually overstocked (and still ran out)…

It was a great two days. The trucks included for the “CURBY” award (votes are still being tallied, but over 18,500 people voted) are:

and we, of course decided to sacrifice ourselves at the altar of food consumption and try as many of these as we could. So, over Thursday and Friday, here are some photos and notes:

first up: Jeff and Catherine work the crowds:

the Takorean tacos were amazing. A little spicy, a littly crunchy, super fresh, like a bon bon of deliciousness exploding in your mouth:

Roast pork, bulgogi steak, and chicken tacos from Takorean
Pork taco from District Taco (tastes better than it looks)
Tom, Paolo and Mark sampled food from several trucks, including the bulgogi beef, roasted pork and chicken tacos from Takorean, the lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound and a peanut butter cup cucpcake from Curbside Cupcakes. Tom’s favorite? “The lobster roll—it’s really buttery and flavorful.”
Delaney and Tara are food truck frequenters in their native Baltimore, but this was Tara’s first time sampling Red Hook Lobster Pound’s namesake offering. “I just spent the summer in New Hampshire, so I’m a little biased,” she said, “But this is pretty good. It’s all about the roll—something about the flat bottom just makes it better.”
Jourdan and Vinnie sampled the butter chicken with basmati rice on flatbread from Sâuçá, the chicken and bulgogi beef tacos from Takorean, Red Hook’s lobster roll (“Too small,” said Vinnie) and the carrot cake cupcake from Curbside Cupcakes.
Rhea and Sam made the most of their Cookoff experience by splitting several dishes to sample as much as possible. Rhea loved the Red Hook lobster roll while Sam preferred the roast pork taco with kimchi slaw from Takorean. “We’re Korean and we didn’t think it tasted very Korean,” said Rhea, “But it was still good.”
Helen stopped by after work for a tried-and-true favorite: a taco filled with chicken marinated in sweet chili sauce, ginger and soy from Takorean. “Sometimes I go down to Farragut Square just for them,” she said. On the possibility of food trucks being banned from DC she said, “Seems to me that the way for a restaurant to compete for my dollar is to offer the best product, not bar the competition from the contest.”
Takorean takes an order.
Pete and Maria sampled the butter chicken from Sâuçá. “Last summer I had to go to a stupid restaurant every day to buy my lunch,” said Maria. “And now I can just go to trucks.”
Shawn swung by the Curbside Cookoff on his lunch break, “But it was too crazy,” he said, adding that the dinnertime scene “is a lot more manageable.” He’s frequented DC Slices for pizza and Curbside Cupcakes for their chocolate offerings before, but decided on a banh mi flatbread and an iced tea limunad from Sâuçá.
Jen and Dan arrived at the Cookoff ready to make their way through the endless options. Dan’s had the turkey banh mi with tamarind BBQ sauce from the El Floridano truck on his lunch break before, but decided to start with roast pork and chicken tacos from Takorean (“The pork has a better flavor,” said Dan) before moving on to a Red Hook lobster roll and a Medi Veggie flatbread from Sâuçá. They were pretty full but were considering checking out the Indian options at the Fojol Bros. truck.
Eri “got off of work at five and ran down here” with her coworker, Valerie. “We eat at the same place in our office building every day,” said Valerie. “With the food trucks cycling around it’s a little bit more fun. This isn’t something that a lot of other cities have,” she said, gesturing to the trucks lining the parking lot, “so DC should try to play it up, not shut it down.”
Keeli (age 2) and Mark watched the dancers breaking it down for the onlookers waiting in lines that stretched across the parking lot.
Brother and sister Ronan (age 3) and Maeve (age 6) took a break to eat their pizza from DC Slices while sister Emma (age 9) and father Colin waited in line at District Taco. “I want a popsicle and ice cream,” said Ronan. “You can only have one,” admonished Maeve. If Maeve could open her own food truck she’d sell her favorite snack, “grapes and strawberries.”
A sweet potato cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting from Love Bites.

AND NOW: Some more photos from Shauna:


DCCAH provided the entertainment for the days which included: live mural painting by Tim Conlon and DECOY, temporary sculptures by Mark Jenkins, performances by DJ RBI, Christylez Bacon, The Light, Acro-Yogis and more:

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the pleasant pops avocado/cream flavor was our favorite:




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BITING INTO SOME BBQ BANDIDOS: enchilada carnitas on a sesame bun anyone?

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EAT Sauca was an early favorite (we’re also super stoked about the El Floridano ban-mihs, the Fry Captains fries with truffle ketchup and that bulgogi we ate at 10:30am from The Yellow Truck, especially since they ran out so fast)

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