Boston Eats: New England Food Truck Festival @ Assembly Row

A few weeks ago, J & I plus a few of our other coupled friends decided to head to the New England Food Truck Festival and the Cambridge River Festival. I had read online reviews that tore the previous food truck fest apart, but decided to experience it myself, and give it a second/first chance. It was a blistering hot afternoon, and all eight of us grudgingly paid the $5 per person entrance fee (like what the f*%^ was that for?) and ‘entered’ the cordoned off area for the food truck fest.

When we got in, we realized what a shitty situation we were all in. It was 1pm, and sweltering hot. There were a grand total of two picnic tables (I kid you not, 99% of people had to stand and eat – at a food truck festival that charges for entrance?) and zero f&^%ing shade. Bottled water was expensive – $3 for a small bottle of polar springs (really!?) and the worst worst worst of all? The lines were long. So long. Like round the block long. Every single line. You know how I feel about this now… Thus, we hatched a grand plan of attack. Each person will stand in one line and get some sort of food from that food truck. Then, we’ll all meet up at a random unshaded spot under the hot sun to devour our catch!

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A’s Pick | “We Work Well Together” Grass Fed Sliders from Compliments – $7: These guys were delicious! Teeny, yes. But delicious! I never expected sliders on toasted baguettes, but the combination works quite well! The crunch of the crispy baguette added much texture to the otherwise normal slider. The baguettes were definitely brushed with butter too, which made me love it even more! Also, they didnt scrimp on the cheese either. Thumbs up!

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A’s Pick | “So Fresh” Fried Cauliflower from Compliments – $4: As you can see, before I even got to take a picture, most of the cauli bits were gone! These were crisp and well seasoned. We loved these! I personally wished for a fun aioli with it to make it more interesting. Afterall, food trucks are supposed to play with food right?

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J’s Pick | Miso Braised Pulled Pork Noodle Salad from Bon Me – $8ish (can’t remember exactly, but cost more than their regular pricing): This was our groups favorite chow for the event! This was a miso braised pulled pork on soba noodles, with the toasted sesame dressing. It was topped with a good handful of bean sprouts, cilantro, greens, carrots and red onions. The pulled pork was so soft and tender, and the flavor was spot on. That, with the soba noodles and lightness of all the crisp veggies made this the perfect combination. I don’t know how Vietnamese this is, and I’m pretty sure it’s really not Viet, but I like it! I have to add, that $8ish spent at Bon Me bought us a ton more food than $8 anywhere else.

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J2’s Pick | Bulgogi Beef Tacos from Fugu – $4 each: Another favorite of the group! The bulgogi beef was well seasoned, but I personally wouls have liked the beef to be less lean. I guess I’m just a gluttony fatso because everyone else thought it was good the way it is. To my Asian taste buds, this was just run-of-the-mill bulgogi. Most definitely would not pay $4 for this taco. Have you guys even heard of Tako Cheena in Miami? Thats where the awesome Asian-Mex is at!

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T’s Pick | Pot of Pasta, with meatballs from Pasta Pot – $11: How a takeout box of overcooked pasta with canned sauce plus five or six tiny meatballs cost this much just bothers me. Trust me when I say I really wanted to like this truck, but the food was just gross, and overcooking pasta when pasta is the name of your truck is just sacrilege. The meatballs were barely passable – I can’t tell if it’s meat or flour that I was eating. Overall, huge disappointment. *poop* Also, I don’t get how their prices are raised this much for the festival. It is listed on their website that a pot of pasta with meatballs go for only $8.25 regularly.

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P’s PickSweet Potato Sandwich from Penny Packers – $?: Yum, yum, yum! I’m usually a sucker for meat protein and a sweet potato sammich wouldnt interest me, but this one definitely kept me biting! The sweetness if the sweet potato worked well with the goat cheese. I would have preferred more of a textural contrast, but the flavors paired really well! Another thumbs up!

P’s Pick | Chicken Sandwich from Penny Packers – $?: This chicken sammich was delicious! Huge chunks of chicken and caramelized onions and cheese? You got me at caramelized! Haha!

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T’s Pick | Arancini (2pcs) from Pasta Pot – $7: Yummy deep fried awesomeness! I really loved this arancini! The breading was perfectly crisp and the innerd rice had a good flavor. These guys can definitely do good arancini, making them good Italians, but what happened to pasta?! Get the arancini! Though, this item is not on their regular menu. A pity!

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My Pick | Chicken on Goat Sandwich from The Dining Car – $6: A pretty meh sandwich I must say. The chicken was not as tender as the chicken from Pennypackers, but there were much more greens on the bun. I love goat cheese but they skimped on that. Not acceptable if its in the name of the sandwich!

My Pick | Honey Truffel Goat Cheese Sandwich from The Dining Car – $5: I recently saw a salad with honey truffle dressing and was curious about it. I jumped on this sandwich when I saw honey truffle, but was disappointed when I tasted NO HONEY and NO TRUFFLE! That is bullshit! This was basically the above chicken sandwich with no chicken! The least they could have done was to at least give me enough goat cheese on the sammich, right?!

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J2’s Pick | Braised Pork Belly in Steamed Buns from Fugu – $3: I’ve got to say that this was the biggest disappointment of the day. I’ve heard of Fugu’s pork belly reputation and have long yearned to try it, but it was not good and I should go cry in a corner. The pork was not flavorful – the drizzle a sauce over the meat instead of braising it over a long time. The meat was not tender, but the fat was soft. Its so sad that my homemade pork belly is so much better than this highly praised one. Seriously guys? Have you never tasted dong po rou?

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Bacon truck, because bacon. No, we didn’t get anything from the bacon truck because it was just pretty run of the mill ‘murican bacon food. It might be awesome, but I’ll never know…

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A list of all the food trucks at the New England Food Truck Festival! Most of the food we had was decent, but the prices were much higher than if you found these guys ‘in the wild’. That, in addition to the ridiculous $5 admission to the festival that provided nothing – no seating and no shade – has turned me off going to future NEFTFs! Too bad, NEFTF, I guess the people online were right to dislike you.

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