Story by William Laws Photos by Monica Stark
The Sycamore trees in Tahoe Park provided the perfect amount of shade for great dining at the Sacramento neigborhood’s first MoFo Truck event. On Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the only green spaces not full of happy neighbors munching on restaurant-quality food delivered by special vans were the baseball parks. Ten mobile food trucks, live music and a beer and wine garden transformed the area into a quality food court.
Tahoe Park is the outermost of Sacramento’s park neighborhoods which, include Land Park, Curtis Park and Oak Park. According to event organizer Paul Somerhausen, though, it is the first city neighborhood to hold an outdoor event involving mobile restaurant service.
The brightly colored trucks lined the eastern side of the park from the horseshoe pit to the new metal roofed gazebo.
“This grub is really good,” said one young man between eager bites.
The diverse array of provisions featured quality meals ranging from Cajun food to delicious Mexican cuisine. Other vendors offered gourmet hamburgers and hot dogs capped by freshly baked buns.
“I can taste the toasted sesame seeds on this one,” explained one diner who didn’t mind the long line before he could give his order.
Another food truck served shaved ice in a rainbow spectrum of different flavors and colors.
Somerhausen, taking a break from supervising the placement of folding tables and chairs, stooped to greet a toddler ambling behind his mom.
“Having this event in Tahoe Park gives it a family feeling that makes it very special,” he explained.
The 39-year old entrepreneur credits his obvious organizing ability to years working in convention services at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
Somerhausen also stresses that his many years in the Sacramento restaurant industry has been rewarding and always an adventure.
In fact, people seemed to find selecting their evening meal as an adventure in itself. Families toting young children, neighbors recognizing and greeting each other with handshakes and hugs were constant, small dramas that took place as hungry patrons stood in line for their chance to order refreshments or something nutritious.
The large, colorful food trucks provided a large part of the festive environment. The Cajun Wagon, for example, sported an image of a crawdad on one side. The shaved ice truck featured an illustration of a Hawaiian hula dancer. The Bacon Mania truck was adorned with the cartoon drawing of a huge, red pig’s face that seemed to gaze at the
diners as they munched and nibbled in front of the van. Another truck was highlighted by the drawing of a chef in a billowy white hat popping up through the sun roof of a speeding food van.
However, it wasn’t the setting but the meal courses that were the stars of the evening. In an instant, one recognized that the food was of good quality. “It’s not the fried Milk Duds or Twinkies that you get at the fair,” explained one visitor from the neighborhood.
Esperanza, a nanny enjoying a chicken taco complimented the way her dish had been prepared. “They got the cheese to melt perfectly on the beans,” she explained.
My wife and I personally relished the corn chowder we purchased from the Cajun Wagon (AKA Louisiana Kitchen) which seemed to have one of the longest lines of customers. The grilled garlic bread was warm and crunchy without being at all stale.
There were many attendees that agreed with me that the food itself was the best aspect of the lively event. Isaac Gonzalez, the president of the local neighborhood association, and his wife Jeanna both enjoyed their sandwich from the Kush Burger truck which featured a surreal illustration of a hamburger that brilliantly covered the order window.
As well, Anne Marie and Joe from 12th Avenue were both amazed at the gaudy shaved ice concoction they had ordered for their grandson.
Much thanks needs to be given to District 6 Councilmember Kevin McCarty who cut miles of red table to facilitate the use of the city park. The local weather cooperated by being neither too hot or too wet (which would have been the case only a few days earlier). With any luck, the Sacramento MoFo Truck Event can be a summer staple for Tahoe Park for years to come.