Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Meals on Wheels!

On Saturday, July 14, Worcester was invaded... BY FOOD TRUCKS!  The food truck craze is sweeping the nation and Worcester refuses to be left in the dust.  While we don't have the population to warrant a regular fleet of food-trucky goodness, Worcester was an ideal venue for the Food Truck Festivals of New England Tour. Yes, this is a real tour.  It's numbers are rivaling this summer's Springsteen sales... obviously I am kidding.  But, the buzz around the Worcester Food Truck Festival was definitely sizable.

As a former DC resident and having a husband and close friends who work in Boston, I am no stranger to the glories of the food truck.  I've actually been quite jealous of the plethora of food trucks available to those close to me when they venture from their office buildings for a quick lunch.  I've grumbled at their enthusiasm over all of the options and the surprising quality of food truck fare.  I've been feeling pretty excluded from this particular trend.

So, imagine my enthusiasm when I read about the Food Truck Festivals of New England coming to Elm Park!! Not only will I be able to enjoy and blog about this event, but it is in walking distance  of my house.  I would be able to partake in the festivities AND be able to arrive authentically... on foot.  I chalked it all up to serendipity and made plans to mosey on over with a friend for the 11AM start that Saturday morning.

When we arrived, it was a little before the advertised start time and everything seemed a bit disorganized.  There were about 8-12 trucks set up and three booths to purchase food tickets.  Not really knowing how hungry we would be, we opted out of pre-ordering our tickets online and situated ourselves in line to purchase an appropriate amount.  It was about $1.15 for a 1 ticket which could be used at any of the trucks.  The average cost of a menu item was between 6 and 10 tickets.

We decided not to make any hasty food purchases.  We lapped the trucks twice before we had mapped out a menu plan.  First, we split half of a jumbo hot-dog from one of the trucks.  It was delicious, but it turns out (whether is was the speed at which we consumed the hot-dog or the hot-dog itself I'm not sure) we both were instantly nauseous.  A ridiculously unfortunate turn of events considering our plan was to spend the next 2.5 hours eating!  We quickly purchased a light beverage and found a seat to attempt to settle our stomachs.

Luckily our illness was brief.  After roughly 20 minutes, we decided we were recovered enough to continue our adventure.  Our next purchase was a pulled pork soft taco filled with coleslaw and some sweet BBQ sauce.  It was delicious, though the pork was decidedly not what we traditionally consider pulled pork, but it was slow cooked.  We were not disappointed and luckily our stomachs were more appreciative of this particular cuisine.

After finishing our taco, we wandered again.  We knew we need to digest a bit before continuing on, so we started to plan out our dessert choices.  I was sold on a jumbo cookie ice cream sandwich, whereas my companion was deciding between a variety of cookies or a frozen treat.  Having made up her mind, we wandered to find our last agreed upon entree selection... CLAM CHOWDER.

This was a wise decision.  We shared a small bowl of delicious and super satisfying clam chowder that was full of large chunks of clam.  The chowder itself was the perfect consistency, not too runny nor heavy.  We had to pat ourselves on the back for such a superior decision.  (I was contemplating a Lobster roll, however because they were the most expensive item of the day and my friend was not a fan of lobster, I decided against it.)

Finishing our "lunch" items, we made our way to three different trucks to purchase our desserts.  I believe the number of sweet trucks was equivalent to the savory trucks.  At this point in the afternoon we were particularly glad we had already plotted out our dessert course because the crowd had grown significantly and the lines for savory items and tickets were noticeably lengthy. We made our purchases and continued merrily on our way.  We snapped a few photos and then took our leave.  We ambled back towards my apartment noting just how popular and thus successful the event was.

Here are some more photos taken by Maria:

It was a grand Saturday afternoon in the park amongst the food trucks.  I was sad to see them depart and wish Worcester was able to sustain their presence on a daily basis.  Maybe someday... sigh.... As far a Worcester events go, this was a great success and completely family friendly, yay!

Until next time,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Night with Indiana Jones

On Thursday, June 19 (yup, it's taken me this long to post), Worcester Film Works kicked off it's second annual Movies on the Common Film Series.  This was news to me because I wasn't aware that there was an inaugural series last summer.  How I missed this baffles me, but I'll tell you what I did not miss:  A CARICATURE OF INDIANA JONES in the weekly Worcester Cultural Coalition email!

INDY!!! ( http://www.worcesterfilmworks.org/)

Time for a little personal information: I love Indiana Jones.  So much so that I regularly refer to him in everyday conversation as Indy.  I use a level of familiarity that his friends in the movies use, because I may self-identify as having some sort of relationship with this character.  I know it's a little crazy, but since I was old enough to watch the Indiana Jones movies, I have wanted to be Indiana Jones, or be with Indiana Jones if the opportunity presented itself.  This led to my love of history, archaeology, religious studies, Egyptology and eventually my degree in preservation. I often weave quotes from the series into conversations, such as "We are pilgrims in an unholy land" (often when surrounded by Yankee fans), "Snakes, why'd it have to be snakes," (for obvious reasons), and "No ticket" (you'd be surprised...my husband has a habit of leaving tickets behind...).  Anyway, my dreams of a future in archaeology were shattered when I figured out that Dr. Jones is probably the worst archaeologist on the planet and that I really hate digging (well not really digging, but the fleas and other insects/creatures that go along with the process). Either way, I still love Indy and the movies...

You know you love it!
(also Google images gave me this photo, please don't sue me Lucas Films!)

Back to the relevant story, after I had settled down from my shock and excitement, I read that the first film in the Movies on the Common Series was Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (or just Raiders for us Indy nerds).  I made plans to attend this screening with my husband and friend, Maria.  Then I went about preparing for the event.  Having been to several Movies on the Mall in DC, I knew some tricks of the trade.  I packed a cooler full of snacks and drinks, several blankets for seating, sun screen, a sweatshirt in case it got cool, and bug spray. We were all set.

The movie was advertised to start at dusk, with a pre-show concert beginning at 5P.  I wanted to arrive at or before 5P to be sure I had prime seating for Indy, but my companions had other ideas.  Maria had a work event that would keep her from arriving until 8P(!) and Jackson was complaining about sitting in the heat.  This troubled me for a few reasons, first, I am a prompt person and it pains me to be later than the start time, second at the DC movies, good seats fill up quickly and I didn't want to be "in the back", third, I needed to make sure I had a spot with enough room around me that conversations and movements from other audience members didn't upset my experience.  Since I couldn't force Maria to do anything, I grudgingly told her that I understood, however, I compromised on a 5:30P arrival with Jackson.  I rushed him out of our apartment at 5:30P on the dot and we walked down the Worcester Common with our supplies in tow.  In Jackson's defense it was about a billion degrees outside (read: 89 or 90 degrees Fahrenheit), but honestly, I didn't care, we were going to see Indy(!) so his incessant whining was annoying, but didn't really kill my buzz.
I bet it was hotter in there! (Also Google Images) "The floor's on fire...see.. AND the chair!" 
So turns out my race down the hill wasn't really necessary.  We were two of seven people who arrived by 5:40.  On the bright side, we were able to snag a table with an umbrella, which was excellent for shade and because Worcester Common is entirely cement and despite my several blankets, cement is not cozy. Jackson and I made ourselves at home at our little table, pulling out our frozen water bottles and sun screen and settled in for the concert.

"I suddenly remembered my Aristotle..."
We had an umbrella like Dr. Jones the first. (Google images yet again)
The first music act was James Keyes.  He was pretty cool solo act.  He played some Dylan, which I appreciated and was perfectly mellow to compliment the stifling hot evening.  It's too bad the crowd was so small, because he's definitely a talented musician.  During his set a few more groups showed up, so by the end he had a decent audience.  There was a bit of a wait between Keyes and the second musical act, The Luxury.  This was a younger group with a louder sound.  They opened with a great rendition of John Williams' "Indiana Jones Theme" which was appreciated.  It reinvigorated my excitement and had me buzzing with anticipation yet again.  I can't say I was a fan of their particular sound, but they definitely put on a good show. Kudos to them.

Are you reinvigorated? (Google images)
Maria arrived at 8PM, at the same time Jackson and I had decided it was time to wander the vendors and search for food.  The place was getting pretty crowded at this point.  There were plenty of food and beverage options supplied by the Theater Cafe, (who would actually deliver to your table on blanket on the common!) the Woo Card tent, and an ice cream truck.  We ordered some sandwiches from the Cafe, got a drink from the ice cream truck, and picked up our FREE! popcorn (because we swiped our woo cards).  We were totally prepared for the movie.  

Indy was a boy scout so he was always prepared!  Oh, River Pheonix...(Google Images)
The movie started at 9P, admittedly a little later than I expected. (Jackson abandoned us before the movie started because he gets up before the sun to commute to Boston, but Maria braved the "late" night with me.) But, it was just as awesome as always.  I personally was a little concerned that children and other viewers would be talking during the movie and I might have had to reprimand them, but it seemed that everyone was as invested in the film as I.  The audience "Ohhhed" and "Ahhhed" in all the right places and there was an appropriate amount of applause throughout.  

And they lived happily ever after... until he went to China and met that obnoxious blond...  (Google Images)

The night was a total success.  It wrapped up around 11P and everyone cheered enthusiastically when they announced the next film would be "Jaws."

"We're gonna need a bigger boat..."  

Followed by "The Princess Bride" - Inconceivable!!  (Sorry, no cartoon for that one yet.)

I really want to credit all of the parties involved in organizing this event.  Not only did they pick a fabulous movie, but they are bringing people back to the common, providing a free summer event for families, and showcasing local artists.  I'm completely impressed.

This is a total WIN for Worcester!!!

Until next time,


I couldn't resist... " Dr. Jones?"  "Henry & Indy: Yes"
(Google Images)