This Saturday a bunch of food trucks are gathering in a parking lot en el centro, setting up shop, and hoping you’ll wait in line to order some of their food items. According to the website, there will be all kinds of trucks, from normal taco trucks to those fancy “mobile gourmets” that seem to be all the rage on the Westside. And it will cost you $5 just to get near these trucks. I feel obligated to share this information with you, but I certainly can’t condone it.
I feel like a dick for writing this: I hope you don’t go.
A few years ago, the food truck was merely a sustenance delivery vehicle. It either came to you on a job site or you met up with it cuz it was near work or somewhere on your way home. Because it was practical to working people, the notion of the “roach coach” persisted. Then some idiots tried to clamp down on the trucks so as to not compete with non-mobile eateries. (Capitalism hates competition.) Everyone got upset about that, and some battles for public opinion ensued. Around this time the mediocre Kogi truck and their non-vegetarian kimchi quesadilla got the attention of people that need to be told where its ok to eat, and they told others where its now okay to eat as well. A sort of consumption gossip circle.
Back on the list of acceptable goes the truck. And shit has gone downhill from there.
What once was an affordable way to get a quick and decent meal has now unnecessarily been turned into a foodie experience, with the associated price hikes and gimmicky fare. The taco truck trapped in the pinkberry mind warp. Do you remember Pinkberry? It was a frozen dessert that was mind-bogglingly popular for no good reason. Being into Pinkberry back then meant that you were in the know, that you were up on things, that you were kinda invited to a party anyone could attend. Spend a few bucks and be fleetingly part of the cool ones. But once you deposited your empty carton into the trashcan on your way out the shop door you realized the sad reality: nobody cares. Whether you liked the flavors or not, you did your part to promote a food fad. And nothing ruins a good thing like a fad.[audio:http://laeastside.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/comeagain.mp3]
I see all these gourmet food trucks popping up with some stupid concepts, stuff that you just know doesn’t make any sense, and I just shake my head in disgust: why were these fools blessed with rich parents instead of me? Oh well, whatever. Let them live out their dreams of notional snacks. I’ll try some of them, eventually, I’m not that much of a wet towel. But how do you rationalize a $5 entry fee to access street food? That’s the price for a meal! This event turns the logic of the mobile truck on its head by charging you for the privilege of buying their food, all while making it inconvenient to access. It just defeats the purpose. I’m not even going to ponder on the sickness of those that paid $30 for the VIP street food package, cuz that’s just revolting. In the bad way. No doubt many people will go to this “fest” as its the next thing to do, before the herd moves on to something else. This sort of outing just plasters FAD all over an otherwise good idea, makes it part of that endless drive to find the next cool. What’s wrong with food just being food?
If you really care about mobile food options, then you’ll support them when you see them around and you need a bite to eat. But encouraging this fadification of a basic human necessity is a recipe for self-destruction. This isn’t like playing with your food, its making a joke out of it.
I’m not going.