Monday, February 20, 2012

Mardi Gras at the Santa Anita Racetrack

This past Sunday I attended a Mardi Gras party at the Santa Anita Racetrack that was featuring grilled crawfish, live jazz bands, live horse racing, and food trucks galore! The racetrack is rather close to my house so I figured I could drive over there and fulfill all my foodie needs for the weekend and I can have some sort of pseudo Mardi Gras here in the LA area.

Upon arriving, I immediately went down to the inner field of the racetrack where all the food trucks were congregating for the day. On the way down I passed a large grill cooking up some creole dishes, people selling beads, and people lying about on the grass on large picnic blankets. A quick tip for newbie foodies, bring an insulated bag (Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are my preference) to a large food event! This way if you don't have time to sit and eat everything you want to order, you can bag it up and bring it home without running out of time! Anyways, all the trucks were arranged in a circle so it was super easy for me to walk to each one and look over their menus and to make a B-line for trucks that never come to my area. I settled on the Dos Chinos truck which not only stood out in color but but their concept of Latin and Asian fusion food also caught my attention. The menu had the basic choices of all the meats you could want: roast pork, chicken, carne asada, ribs and a vegetarian option. However, each meat had a slight twist, for instance; their chicken was Thai curry flavored with a tamarind and sour cream sauce. I'll leave it up to other foodies to try their red meats and poultry because I went straight for the Oahu shrimp which were sauteed in garlic and butter and topped with their signature pineapple salsa. I ordered the shrimp in taco form not really knowing what would come in my taco, I was just hoping to be pleasantly surprised with some fusion creativity. I was not let down. These tacos were so bulky they each got their own individual to-go carton and had no problem filling up the tortilla to the point where it was hard to pick up. During my constant picture taking I was able to appreciate the range of mouth-watering colors and layers these tacos had; the yellows, purple, white and the green. The first bite defined the taco and gave me a mouthful of well-seasoned shrimp, red cabbage, spicy chunks of pineapple, cilantro and onion, and a sour cream sauce. Even with all those components the shrimp was still the focal point of each bite, they were large and evenly distributed within the corn tortilla. Nothing dripped, sloppily fell out or got soggy, it was sturdy and well built. There was an overly appropriate amount of crunch from the red cabbage and a complimenting tang from the pineapples and sour cream. If I ever run into this truck again, it will be extremely hard to not get the exact same thing so I can relive those few minutes where I had perfect I-feel-like-I'm-on-a-beach-in-Mexico shrimp tacos. I know that my fellow foodie and co-blogger, Ashley, has eaten at the Chunk-N-Chip truck before but the dessert options at this event were far and few between and they had Horchata ice cream so it was impossible to not throw my money at them. I opted for just a double scoop of the Horchata flavor instead of creating a whole cookie sandwich, I just felt like it was too much and I wanted to stop at one more truck before heading home. This ice cream was the exact frozen form of my favorite rice drink and it even included actual pieces of cooked rice throughout creamy cinnamon dessert. It tasted homemade and would make for a perfect comfort food when summer rolls around. Sadly, I made the poor decision of ordering this ice cream during the time where some trucks were starting to close up so I kind of shoveled the ice cream into my mouth so I could run to the next truck. I was happy with my order but I spent so little time savoring it that it shortened my review! My last stop was one of the first trucks I've ever tried when I started my food truck journey about one year ago, the White Rabbit Truck. This is Filipino food at it's finest, the people working on it are the coolest and the chicken adobo dishes are indescribable, but I came to them today for something sweet. They advertise a dish called the white chocolate champurrado which is basically their version of a rice pudding. It was given to me in a Chinese food t0-go carton which was quite perfect because I was in a rush to leave so I was able to put it in my Whole Foods bag and left the track. Well when I got home it I noticed the carton was still warm so I thought I'd munch on it and give it a review before it got too cold. What I loved about this dessert was you really get your money's worth, they literally fill it to the top and the rice pudding is dense and rich so you can easily eat it for up to two days. The consistency is more whole pieces of rice with a little pudding in between so it's really chunky and will get too dry if you let it get cold. The flavor of the white chocolate is REALLY light and not too sweet and with me being really into bold and intense flavors, it was a little underwhelming. BUT that's not to say it wasn't good, it came with wafer cookie crumbles on top that had a tart strawberry flavor so as long as I took a bite of the topping with the rice pudding it made for a simple and delicious dessert. Now if it gets too dry from keeping it in the fridge overnight like I did then heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds with some milk and it will be just as good. Also don't ask me if the strawberry was good I didn't bite into it, that wasn't my first priority ha! Besides the few trucks I stopped at I did manage to bet on some horses and I lost about twenty dollars and I also got NO Cajun or creole food even though it was a Mardi Gras event. I know I'm terrible but I really have to be in the mood for something like that and anyways the stuff I did get was excellent so I don't feel like I missed out! Next year I swear I'll try to get more with the theme!

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