Street cravings: Island hosts food truck festival

By Pamela Cody

Special to the PRESS

Sweet Blessings food truck at the first SPI Food Truck Festival attracts patrons. Photo by Pamela Cody.

     Food enthusiasts of all ages ventured out to the South Padre Island Convention Centre Saturday, November 9, for the first-ever SPI Food Truck Festival.

     Around 15 food trucks, about half as many as were advertised for the event, were spread out on the south parking lot, offering a variety of food options. Besides the food trucks, there was a play area for kids with a bouncy house, vendors selling arts and crafts, and a stage featuring live music in the north lot.

     David Ramirez stood behind his food truck attending his grill and stoking the fire, while hungry diners waited in the longest line at the food truck festival to sample his wares. His food truck, named Rolling Smoke, features brisket and chicken as well as other selections. Ramirez was in good spirits, and spoke briefly about his business.

     “I’ve only had my truck about a month, and this is my first food truck festival. This is awesome, we’re excited to be here,” said Ramirez, who brought his truck from Harlingen, Texas, to participate in the festival. “I love barbecue, so this is a dream come true for me to be able to share my food with people here on SPI,” Ramirez added.

     Candidate for the Texas Senate, District 27, Sara Stapleton-Barrera, was out in front of her food truck with her husband and infant. Sara was giving away free homemade tamales and lemonade while doing some campaigning with the food truck revelers.

     “We live in Brownsville, and I just thought this would be a good opportunity to get out and shake some hands and hopefully win over some voters. I figured free tamales couldn’t hurt,” Sara said with a smile.

     There was a tasty selection of dining choices being offered from the different food trucks, including barbecue, chicken wings, Chinese food, Hawaiian style shaved ice, Mexican entrees, and one of the more unique items, pizza in a cone by Kona Pizza. It consisted of pizza dough rolled into a cone shape, then filled with pizza sauce, cheese, and your choice of toppings. Also offered by other food truck vendors were such popular fare as turkey legs, Frito pie, deep fried Oreos, and funnel cakes, always a crowd favorite.

     Angel and Dulce Martinez happened to be on South Padre Island for the weekend and heard about the food truck festival, so they decided to come check it out.

     “We live up in Austin, which is filled with food trucks. We really enjoy them, you can always find something unique and different to sample,” said Angel, with Dulce adding “We’re foodies, we are both very adventurous eaters, so we enjoy these types of events.”

    Their favorite of the day was the Chinese food truck, offering a 2 combo plate with sides for $15. “We love Asian food, and it’s a good deal because there was more than enough for two people. It’s always better to share.”

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