This past weekend I wandered down to the Queen City to enjoy the Charlotte Food Fight. The event utilizes one of the food truck hot spots in Charlotte’s Historic South End at Park and Camden. On any given Friday, also known as Food Truck Friday, you’ll find these trucks battling for sales. However, they put the thought of sales away and set their sights on two things: pride and beating cancer.
What are we fighting for?
The food trucks are beating cancer as proceeds of the event are donated to Relay For Life, an American Cancer Society fundraiser. To keep the competitiveness flowing for the event, the eleven food trucks in attendance battle to win one or all of the following categories: Best Use of the Special Ingredient, Judge/Chef’s Choice, and the People’s Choice. I had two questions walking in: How might they incorporate the special ingredient Sweet Cheerwine Sauce from Cackalacky. And will The Tin Kitchen take Chef’s Choice again (they have one both prior Food Fights).
This year the competition included: Sal’s Roadside Eatery, Wingzza, The Tin Kitchen, The Chrome Toaster, Gourmet Goombah’s, KO Food Truck, Hot Box, JJ’s Red Hots, The Roaming Fork, Street Spice Sliders, and Southern Cake Queen. For the two years I have done this, I have bought an all truck pass. By doing this, I was handed a sheet paper with all the trucks listed, what I like to call a bingo card. Check-in was a breeze as tickets can be pre-ordered at Eventbrite and scanned at arrival (I saved the ticket to my iPhone’s passbook). In addition, I got some swag from Wusthof (a lunch bag with some resealable containers), which one guest stored some of the food truck samples, and a small jar of the special ingredient. Lastly, you are given one ticket which is used to drop in a bag with each trucks name.
If you didn’t want to glutton yourself, you can buy a ticket for $7. If you eat more than 6 trucks, it is best to pay $48 (with a process charge) for the all truck pass.
Here are the trucks and the items I sampled:
Sal’s Roadside Eatery
A sample of Arroz Con Pollo Criollo ‘Rice n’ Chicken Homestyle’: long grain rice cooked with homemade adobo and other spices with marinated chicken and chorizo drizzled with their own cilantro and a fried toston (green plantain).
JJ’s Red Hots
A sample of Southern Hotcho (Bourbon Bacon Jam, Cackalacky Slaw, House-made Chips, and Cackalacky BBQ Sauce) and JJ’s “No. 1” Red Hot (JJ’s Hot Chile Relish, Mustard, Diced Onions, and Dill Pickle Spear)
Dirty South Pork Belly and House Made Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Cackalacky Braised Pork Belly, Spinach, Sweet Peppers, Mushrooms, Feta, and Cilantro
Cheerwine Brined Duck Breast Taco: Over Bitter Greens with Pickled Mango-Watermelon Rind Salad and Cackalacky BBQ “Gastrique” and Crispy Pork Belly Tacos: with housemade Kimchi and Hoisin glaze.
The Chrome Toaster
Cackalacky Pork Tacos on corn tortilla and Cackalacky taro chips
KO Food Truck
Pork Taco: smoked pork butt, Cackalacky Cole Slaw, Cackalacky BBQ Sauce.
Chicken Taco: Marinated Chicken, lettuce, cheese, and tomato.
Quackalacky Bruschetta: Cackalacky Sauce Infused slow roasted Duck with a quenelle of goat cheese
The Roaming Fork
Cackalacky Asian Infused Meatball skewer with kimchi, shishito pepper, asian sugar pear and pickled cucumber, dikon, carrot, sesame seeds, and korean scallions.
Arugula, shaved fennerl, charred leeks, almond cauliflower dust, with strawberry, fig/apricot vinaigrette dressing.
Cackalacky BBQ Bacon Philly Cheesesteak pizza slice
Street Spice Sliders
Two sliders Cackalacky BBQ burger: a ground beef patty with the Cackalacky BBQ sauce in it served with fried jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, bacon, and BBQ ranch sauce.
Brazilian Churrasco Steak: chimmichuri marinated flank steak, grilled, topped with a crispy plantain and chimmichuri sauce.
Southern Cake Queen (not pictured)
While they had an assortment of cupcakes, including a Cackalacky inspired cupcake, I ordered up the Choco & PB and brought it home to my wife.
Here are a few photos I took of the food truck lot. As you can see, the event is family-friendly event and something you may want to add for next year.
The TIN Kitchen came away with a win, however, it was for the Best Use of the ingredient. Both the People’s and the Chef’s Choice went to Street Spice.
The event has gone on for three years now. Be sure to follow them for 2016’s event.
For more information on the charity, see Relay For Life.