I attended the Athens Foodcart Festival some weekends ago with one of my best friends after hearing about it from my Athens sources. Gorgeous Saturday weather, perfect for a outdoor event.
We only got to try one thing -- the media noches from Yolis Streetfood -- as the line for every single truck except for the gelato and empanada had a 30 minute wait -- minimum.
Here's the thing about street food in Georgia -- it does not work well. Why? Several different reasons:
- We are a car centric, driving city. You have to find parking (good luck if it's in downtown Atlanta) and wait in the sun, rain, wind, smog, whatever else and stand there waiting for your food. Then comes the dilemma of where do you sit down to eat it? Do you stand there to eat it?
- The food output is slow. Ideally, food should be ready to simple to make and if not, most of the legwork done so it can be produced in a fast, convenient manner for the patrons. When it takes 30 minutes to get 2 subpar tacos, the value of waiting on a food truck diminishes significantly.
- The food isn't better than anything you could find at a sit down restaurant. If I'm going to go out of my way for street food, I want it to be good or memorable to the point I feel like I made a good investment (time and money). Our current trucks do neither. While hipsters may argue otherwise, would you rather eat subpar tacos/cuban sandwiches/fish & chips/burgers outside in the Georgia sun or eat the same subpar foods inside in an air conditioned environment away from the scorching sun if you had the choice?
Back on topic: the media noches was pretty good considering it took 50 minutes to get it out. The roasted pork was juicy and succulent and they didn't go over on the mustard like Subway which is always deserving of an upvote. I wish we could've gotten the sandwich right after it came off the press though as the cheese had hardened up again while cooling.
As for the sides, the black beans were very good -- savory, and seasoned just right. The coleslaw with raspberry vinaigrette was surprisingly good (I may be just going crazy). The plantain was greasy, bland and tasteless. And that yellow rice was the worst rice I have ever tasted in my 23 years of life. I could feel every single rice eating human being on Earth cry with me inside as I tasted the dry, bland, mound of whatever that was. We mixed the rice into the black beans which made it better but by itself it was the worst rice I have ever tasted.