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In LOVE with Vernalicious

Every week, LOVE Park on 16th and JFK has a rotating lineup of some of the finest food trucks in Philadelphia. (Try saying that last part 5 times fast!) This Tuesday I conveniently forgot my lunch and the very awesome VERNALICIOUS truck was there to save the day!

They’re mostly well known for making an amazing pulled pork grilled cheese and on top of that, they just won the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Vendy Awards. Once I found out they were parked down the block for lunch, I was really looking forward to one of their other hit menu items: the banh mi.


I opted for the tofu banh mi, since I am gearing up for Meatless March (I seriously considered getting  a burger but stopped myself). I’m a big fan of tofu banh mi and was excited to try Vernalicious’ take on the Vietnamese sandwich.

The sandwich was definitely smaller then you would get at a place in Chinatown or on Washington Ave, and it was $6 compared to QT’s $5.50 for a sandwich almost double in size. (I suppose you do have to take into consideration the cost of running a mobile food business compared to brick & mortar, though). The presentation was great and the flavor composition was in the right area. The tofu was nice and moist, and was balanced out well by the crusty bread and crunchy cucumbers.

I would definitely try this again if I was looking for a healthy lunch alternative or sticking to my vegetarian diet post-March. And if you happen to be in the LOVE Park area when Vernalicious is, and the banh mi is on the menu, you should check it out too!

Philly Vendy Awards 2012

This past Saturday, July 28th, the 2nd annual Vendy Awards rolled into Philadelphia’s University City section to honor the best in mobile cuisine while supporting the Food Trust (who run all the great Farmer’s Markets in the city as well as the Night Markets). For those of you who don’t know, the Vendy Awards were started back in 2005 by the Street Vendor Project in New York City as a way to appreciate some of the 20,000 vendors who pour your coffee, sling your hash and squirt mustard on your dirty water dogs on a daily basis. The awards have now moved on to Philly and Los Angeles where the popularity of food trucks is rapidly increasing. 

This year’s finalists were comprised of 8 regular food trucks competing for People’s Choice, 4 dessert trucks competing for Best Dessert, and all participants competing for the grand prize – The Vendy Cup! 

BYOF: Bring your own fork 

Once inside the lot, we bee-lined for Little Baby’s Ice Cream, as we figured most people would save the dessert stuff for last. Little Baby’s has delicious, handmade ice cream in a variety of fun flavors from Bourbon Bourbon Vanilla to Early Grey Sriracha. Currently they’ve been scooping out around town on these awesome little tricycle carts, but they are opening their “World Headquarters” Friday, August 3rd at 2311 Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. 

Their logo is totes adorbs!
Red Velvet Spodee Chocolate swirl. It had little bit of red velvet cake mixed in and was surprisingly delicious, even though I’m not a big red velvet fan.
Next, we headed for Tacos Don Memo, which already had a rapidly growing line. I’d never been to Tacos Don Memo before because they’re usually set up in University City during the day so it’s too hard to get out there. I love mexican food though, so this was clearly already the winner in my mind.
They were serving up carnitas tacos and chicken burritos, some of the best I’ve tasted in a long time. And their sauces were super tasty! 
We followed up tacos with more dessert: flavored pops courtesy of Lil Pop Shop. These ain’t the pops you remember as a kid! They have an awesome variety of flavors like Goat cheese & fig and Vietnamese Iced Coffee (my fav!).
In addition to their cart, they also have a storefront in West Philly.
Next, we hopped on line for the Smoke Truck, which was also starting to draw a big crowd as they were serving up BBQ pulled pork and some savory mac & cheese. 
 I could have eaten this all day!
Right next door was the Vernalicious truck. I’ve always seen them around but never got a chance to sample their stuff before. However, grand testimonials have been made among many Philadelphians declaring their pulled pork grilled cheese as a gift from the Heavens.But they were also serving up a tomato & mozzarella sammich that I was very excited about.
adorable froggies!
Tomato Mozz Pesto on left, Pulled Pork Grilled cheese on right
We’d made it to about the halfway mark and I was feeling pretty full now. I was determined to at least try a bite from every truck. Could I make it to all the stops? We moved on to the Delicias truck, who had a pretty slim menu for the day. They are another University City truck that I’d never been to before and was interested to try their arepas. 
I’d never had an arepa before so I’m not sure what it was supposed to taste like, but I didn’t really like it. While the pork loin was tender, it was didn’t do anything for me. And the arepa was dry, topped with black beans and kind of flavorless.
Following that, we checked out the macrons at Sugar Philly. 
They had ice cream ones! Like little mini ice cream sandwiches. Way cool.   
Rounding the final stretch was the Foo Truck, another truck I had been wanting to check out. On the menu today was a braised meatball “foowich” and Thai curry quinoa “foowich”.
Thai Curry Quinoa on the left; braised meatball on the right
I tried the Quinoa first because I like quinoa salads, but sorry, I did not like this sandwich. The taste and the texture just did not work for me. I also took a nibble of the meatball one which was ok; it probably would have been better if I didn’t already feel like I was going to explode. 
Sweet Box Philly was out of all the really good cupcakes by the time we got there, plus I just couldn’t fit any more food in me. I waived the white flag at this point and in doing so, also missed out on Yumtown Truck, Lil Dan’s and King of Falafel. (I’m sure I’ll catch them around town)
Finally, the awards ceremony! Drumroll, please….
And the winners were: 
People’s Choice – VERNALICIOUS!
Best Dessert: Lil Pop Shop (yay, I voted for them!)
And the Vendy Cup goes to: SMOKE TRUCK! 
photo courtesy of
And for my final course of the day:
Mmm! Indigestion!
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