The event drew hundreds of people and more than a dozen trucks, including Phoenix Ale Brewery with watermelon ale and Shinobu Diego with an Asian twist on the taco.
A welcome relief from one festival earlier this year: At this event, you could buy samples, instead of a full serving. Still, at $2-6 a pop, the costs did add up.
Was it worth the trip out to Mesa?
Though some trucks were familiar, like Mamma Toledo and her chocolate coconut and barbecue apple pies, many were newer faces.
Spice It Up was a pleasant surprise, with a well-seasoned ginger beef curry, topped with yogurt sauce and fried potato chips in small sample cup for one ticket, and chicken tikka masala skewers for two tickets.
We enjoyed Pizza People's one ticket slices of sausage pepperoni pizza and Epic Hot Dog's 1/2 Jazzy Dog topped with barbecue sauce and coleslaw next to some parmesan pesto fries for just two tickets.
For dessert, Emerson Fry Bread was making hand-sized fry bread topped with honey and powdered sugar (if you asked for it), and the SuperFarm truck offered scoops of ice cream for two tickets.
For us, best in show -- for both portion size and overall taste -- goes to Shinobu Diego and their Japanese taco creations that earned them repeat customers for a flavor-packed teriyaki chicken taco topped with toasted sesame seeds and cotija cheese for one ticket, and their ginger pork carnitas taco with tsukenmono onions for two.
Overall, we weren't disappointed with too many of the samples, save for some not-so-tender beef brisket from Mike's Kitchen BBQ; the seven-cheese macaroni and cheese from BuzznBeez food truck (though tasty) was intense in how much more cheese there was than noodle, made finishing even a sample bowl a challenge.
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Better organized and thought out than previous food truck festivals, attendees got their fill for between 10 and 20 dollars (on average), excluding drink and entertainment stations.
We could see this system of food truck sampling working well in future events, optimally with even more food trucks -- and not on a major holiday (in this case, St. Patrick's Day). The far east location was also a challenge.