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Five Central Mass Food Trucks To Watch For This Summer

Food Truck Throwdown was perfect for families and foodies alike

If you missed the Food Truck Throwdown, let’s just say you missed out on the start of a movement. The event harnessed the concept of healthy, food-driven competition while launching something much bigger than the celebration of great street food. Since 2015, Mark Gallant, owner of the Dogfather food truck, envisioned a city that understood the importance of a well-balanced food industry catering to a wide range of food options and structured to compete with the ever-changing food trends. The Food Truck Throwdown is the tipping point in Gallant’s mission to revolutionize how Worcester foodies eat.

Coffee and Frits during the Food Truck Throwdown
Coffee and Frits during the Food Truck Throwdown.

With over two-thousand people in attendance, Gallant’s Food Truck Throwdown stands to prove Gallant’s motto that Worcester is “food truck-friendly because of its great network of food trucks who can hold their own.”

The curated list of participating food truck vendors epitomized Gallant’s sentiment about the diverse food options in Worcester. From Sabor Latino to the Grub Guru to Big T’s Jerky House, the food was as eclectic as the people in attendance. Here’s a look at our top five food trucks of Food Truck Throwdown 2018:

Big T’s Jerky House and BBQ

This self-proclaimed bbq expert food truck thrives on over 25 years of catering experience. Using “only the best cuts of meat” slathered in their own dry rubs and mop sauces then smoked in a southern pit, Big T’s Jerky House and BBQ was a hit at the Food Truck Throwdown with a consistent wait time. The Texas brisket sandwich was among the “must-have” dishes list at the throwdown.

Cheese Pizza from Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza
Cheese Pizza from Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza

Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza

Providing an authentic Neo-Neapolitan pizza – an American-born favorite recipe popularized in New Haven’s coal-fired pizzeria with the use of American unbleached flour in the dough with a bit of honey for sweetness – Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza cooks in a traditional Italian brick oven, reflecting the quality flavors in every bit. At the throwdown, the mobile brick oven made for a great slice of cheese pizza but we hear the chicken parmigiana is also a fan favorite.

Sabor Latino

This Latin-inspired food truck was a hit at the Food Truck Throwdown with a sold-out menu by the end of the day. Offering traditional Latin dishes like empanadas, yuca fries, chorizo and Cuban sandwiches, Sabor Latino remained true to its roots with ingredients like cilantro and sofrito.

Chicken Kabob Rolls from the Grub Guru
Chicken Kabob Rolls from the Grub Guru

The Grub Guru

The Asian fusion street food truck, the Grub Guru, served an eclectic range of Asian cuisine. From samosas – a fried pastry with a savory potato and peas filling served with mint and tamarind chutneys – to chicken kebab rolls, the flavors transformed the Food Truck Throwdown experience. According to an attendee, the orange chicken with fried rice was the best dish of the day.

Pangea Cuisines

Promoting healthy eating, Pangea Cuisines specializes in Paleo-friendly foods and nutritious diets. Traveling all around the eastern half of Massachusetts, the food truck has an evolving menu. The go-to dish is the mammoth burger – a juicy, grass-fed burger topped two applewood soaked bacon, American cheese, and lettuce and tomato on a bulky roll or lettuce wrap. This burger is large in both size and flavor.

Over 13 food trucks including Say Cheese, Teddy’s Lunch Box, Patruno’s Place, Scoop Daddy, The Dogfather and the Kebob King – the newest food truck in Worcester – participated in the first Food Truck Throwdown and it left us wanting more.  Oh, and congratulations to the People’s Choice Award winner, Say Cheese and the Judge’s Choice Award winner, Anzio’s Pizza.

Uncle E's BBQ Express
Uncle E’s BBQ Express deserving an honorable mention.
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Hot Night At The Worcester Center for Crafts

Raku Fire at the Worcester Center for Arts and Crafts

The fiery processes of craft will be on display at the Worcester Center for Crafts’ free block-party style event, HOT NIGHT IN THE CITY on Friday, July 21 from 6-9pm. Many of the demonstrations and events will take place outside to accommodate visitors, and for dramatic effect!

During the July 21 Hot Night, the Craft Center can guarantee that where there is smoke, there will be fire since fire and heat are essential elements to working with glass, clay and metal—three of the materials that will be demonstrated at Hot Night.

Dusk’s darkness will give way to the warm glow of artists’ illuminating demonstrations of the ancient arts of glassblowing, raku firing, flame working, and blacksmithing. In addition, the Center will offer Wheel Throwing Under the Stars, music, food, art and drink.

Wheel Throwing Under the Stars will feature short introductory hands-on experiences with centering clay, and members of the public will be able to try their hands at throwing pots. A portable glass furnace will be set up in the parking lot to demonstrate the glassblowing that goes on daily at the Worcester Center for Crafts’ New Street Glass Studio. Blacksmiths will forge metals, and the Raku artist Ginny Gillen and her class will do a pottery raku firing. The raku artists are keeping secret what exactly will be coming out of the raku fire on Hot Night—so be there to uncover the mystery!

Jubilee Gardens, a popular band from the area who play an all original, eclectic mix of music with hints of world, pop, folk, and rock will provide the music for dancing, eating, and celebrating craft and the Worcester Center for Craft in the community.

“Hot Night gives us the opportunity to literally turn ourselves inside out in order to tell the community THANK YOU for being partners with us,” said Honee Hess, executive director of the Crafts Center. “We have these ‘hot’ activities going on every day, but on HOT NIGHT we bring them out into the open for all to see and enjoy.” Activities at HOT NIGHT are free to the public, although donations are accepted.

The public is invited inside the Craft Center building to participate in several maker activities in the studios, including a collaborative ceramic hand-building experience and an opportunity to preview fall’s class line-up. HOT NIGHT IN THE CITY occurs rain or shine. Also opening that night in the Center’s renowned Krikorian Gallery is an exhibit spark, curated by local painter Michelle May.

Fueling the crowd will be the award-winning bbq purveyor, B.T.’s Smokehouse of Sturbridge and pizza maker extraordinaire, Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza: both culinary masters bring their wood-fired equipment on the Craft Center’s premises to produce fresh BBQ and wood-fired pizza!

For dessert, Worcester State University alum, Renee King who is relocating her business to the Canal District in Worcester, brings the Queen’s Cups’ award-winning cupcakes to the event. New this year, Fretzels will round out the sweetness of evening with their real frozen yogurt, pretzels and more. To top things off for the over-21 crowd, Austin Liquors has arranged a tasting of Worcester’s newest brewery product, Flying Dreams Brewery beer. Food prices are set by vendors.

Spärk, an exhibit opening on Hot Night and running through September 16 will feature the work of four women artists: Jessica Lyn Burhans, Tara Sellios, Keri Anderson and Michelle May. The title of the exhibit speaks to the art on view as a fiery particle thrown off from a fire or emitting sparks of fire or electricity. Provocative? Edgy? “The show is perfect for HOT NIGHT,” says Gallery Director Candace Casey, “as it speaks to the energy of the work being shown, and the spark of creativity that it inspires!”