Summer has always been my favorite time of year. Probably explains why I felt compelled to move to the sunshine state. The outdoor activities are virtually endless here, and that includes the food scene. You see, up north most food trucks are lovingly referred to “the roach coach” or thought of as the corner hotdog stand. In Florida, and I am sure other places that are in warmer climates, food trucks are gourmet food on wheels. Literally the options are endless, and because us Floridians are so obsessed with food truck nights you can usually find one within driving distance at least once a week!
What is a food truck night you ask? We have many town centers in central Florida- whether it be a historic main street area like downtown Windermere, or an upscale planned community like Celebration. Each major town hub has its own food truck night- typically held monthly, year round. Families load up the car or wagon (if they live within walking distance) with their folding chairs, tables, blankets, wine, beer, bikes, balls, coolers and head out for a glorified picnic under the stars. Typically you will find a live DJ or band at every food truck night, and that just is the cherry on top of this perfect night out.
What you should know:
- Most vendors take credit cards (no need to bring a bunch of cash)
- Rain or shine
- Lines can be long at peak season
- It never hurts to have bug spray on hand just to play it safe
- Bring your own chairs since seating is usually limited
- Bring your own beverages to save a few dollars
- Scout the list of food trucks ahead of time to have an idea of who will be there
- The really popular trucks tend to run out of items- so get there earlier in the night.
- Feed picky kids prior to arriving- if Kona Dog is there you can get a plain hot dog, which is what my two picky eaters ask for.
Food Truck Bazzar is a great resource for knowing where and when there will be an event- typically called “Food Truck Friday” since many times they happen on a Friday night. Food Truck Bazzar is highly regulated- meaning trucks are prescreened before they can be a vendor there. They only want the best food for their events. There is also Tasty Tuesday– if you are close to the Milk District downtown- that is a weekly event (lucky you)!
I think it would be nearly impossible to try every single food truck in The City Beautiful. Every Friday that we have attended a food truck event there is a new fabulous truck to checkout. One that I have yet to try, but is on my radar is Cousins Maine Lobster. This particular food truck was on the show Shark Tank, and they seem to be one heck of a success story. Of course I have my personal favorites that you just have to try!!!
Chi Phi- A Taste of Two Cities
Chi Phi is at the top of my list because I have to stay true to my roots. Who doesn’t love an authentic Philly Cheesesteak? There are multiple places in Orlando that “claim” to be authentic, and my favorite is when they claim to be “born and raised in Philly”. Well guess what… If you don’t know what “whiz with” means you aren’t from Philly and you probably have never had a Philly Cheesesteak. That is kind of my way of knowing the authenticity of the place. I order “whiz with” and if they know what I mean without question then they are usually good to go. Well Chi Phi is the best of the best in Orlando. It really doesn’t get better- truly a taste of home. Gives me the warm and fuzzies just thinking about it!! Be sure to check them out!
Barnwood BBQ is some delicious southern BBQ! They were selected as the best BBQ in two of our local counties- not just the food truck world- just overall best BBQ…. Impressive! I don’t think you need to know more than they have their own smoker on the back of the truck. Enough said- right?
Willy T’s Crab Shack
OH MY SWEET LORD!! Words cannot describe the goodness found at Willy T’s! I could eat 10 of his crab cakes and my husband could eat 100 of his crawfish cakes!! No fillers- so much meat is used! Oh and the homemade sauce is just the best!
The Big Cheese
The Big Cheese was one of my first stops when I started on this food truck obsession. No one said calorie counting happens during Food Truck Fridays. This particular truck is just loaded with cheesy goodness. Specialty grilled cheese- gourmet style. Imagine Mac n’ Cheese and pulled BBQ pork on Texas toast!!! Not kidding!
Melissa’s Chicken and Waffles
Melissa’s is awesome! I mean who doesn’t love a good piece of fried chicken topped on a waffle. She has some adventurous combos but I stick to the classic. Sadly my kids usually snitch most of it!
Cafe Rouge Express
Cafe Rouge Express was another unexpected surprise. I chose this one during the last food truck night in Windermere, and was so happy I gave them a shot. Honestly I couldn’t decide what I wanted, so I just hoped in the longest line. I know that sounds crazy, but it is usually a good sign that they know what they are doing. They have so many items on their menu and they kind of give you a European mix sort of vibe. Fish n’ Chips, Bangers and Mash, Shepard’s pie- but then they throw in gourmet burgers… Random I know… But… Best gourmet burger ever!!! Truffle burger!!! I mean soooo good- coming from PA we kinda love our mushrooms- especially those who live near Kennett Square (the mushroom capital). But the truffle sauce he made to go with it all was just out of this world good!
I had to end with a little bit of Disney magic! Food trucks have become so popular in Orlando that Disney jumped on the food truck train. Located in Disney Springs you will find four food trucks by the Starbucks on the west side (close to the AMC theater). Disney took some guest favorites from their parks and put them in the food trucks. Each food truck represents one of the four theme parks on property, and one of them brings in some of the favorites from other Disney Park locations. I will put the links to each of them below so you can dream magical dreams of Disney food truck goodness!
You have to check it out!!!