Internet-savvy foodies can literally out-obscure each other by sneering at each other’s favorite truck, with the winner of course being the person who ate at the scary “authentic” ethnic one. But screw the haters — I have them beat. Because the only thing better than taking a lunch break at a hard-to-find food truck is getting a Food Network-sponsored free sandwich at the said truck.
Food trucks are already well integrated into our cultural lexicon, but they also have an awesome tendency of promoting free giveaways on Twitter in an attempt to expand their fanbase. Religiously following local food trucks on social media sites will eventually yield great dividends — a fact I know to be true. It definitely doesn’t hurt if the aforementioned food truck just happened to participate in The Great Food Truck Race over the past summer. My coworkers and I spent weeks rhapsodizing over Devilicious food truck’s tasty menu (butter-poached lobster grilled cheese, anybody?), and our moment of glory came when their twitter feed announced a 100-person strong free sandwich giveaway. The kicker? It was eight minutes away from our office.
After giving an embarrassingly hasty explanation of my sudden departure to my boss, my friends and I hightailed it out of the office. The impending threat of a cafeteria lunch was too great — we could not fail. Several close disastrous driving encounters later (we were in a rush), we arrived at the tweeted location. Actually, they were a little more cryptic than that, but their riddle about Katy Perry did not hold up against two arts and entertainment interns.
But despite it all, despite the fact that we were less than ten minutes away from their location, despite the fact that we left early, or that you know, we were speeding, we were #47, 48 and 49 in line. And nobody ahead of us in line even looked like they stumbled out of the stores in the surrounding area — these were bona fide hungry hipsters. Even though we had snagged a free sandwich, we just got told.
The food, of course, was fantastic. It’s pretty hard to top a fried soft shell crab club sandwich slathered in thousand island, fresh greens and pickles on sourdough bread — oh, and for free. Especially after six hours of a desk job that mainly consists of staring at a screen and furrowing at letters to the editor.
Life lesson: Food trucks inspire fanatical levels of devotion. Free food — even more. And no matter how quick you think you are, people will (eerily) be faster. Getting free food is a competition — there is no time for helpful Facebook groups that clog up free food events with awkward jostles for the last potato skin.
Hipsters and Hunger: the Other Food Truck Race
The height of nuevo-pretentiousness may very well be the rise of the food truck.Written by Margaret Yau
16 November 2011