Home to Durham’s Farmers’ Market every Saturday, Durham Central Park also hosted another exciting culinary event this Labor Day weekend: the Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo. An amalgamation of over 50 food trucks, the vendors represented cuisines from around the world and flavors from across the Triangle. While the atmosphere itself, with live music and lots of friendly dogs, would be enough to warrant a visit, here are a few vendors that stole the show:
Holy Moly Cannoli:
Founded by a husband-and-wife team, Holy Moly Cannoli is an exciting dessert option. In addition to a fun choice of base (traditional shells, mini shells or cannoli nachos), the truck offers a rotating menu of fillings and toppings, ranging from maple bacon to lemon pistachio. The traditional cannoli was perfectly sweet, with a fresh homemade whipped cream as a great complement. The Oreo cannoli and peanut butter chocolate cannoli were also nicely sweet and rich.
Arepa Culture NC:
A much-awarded family-owned and -operated food truck, Arepa Culture NC serves Venezuelan cuisine – specifically, cornmeal bread sandwiches called “arepas.” While the menu provides some vegan and vegetarian options, all arepas are gluten-free. The fish lover’s specialty arepa this weekend featured noticeably fresh tomato and mozzarella, along with a flavorful yet perfectly salted smoked salmon.
Far from a normal hot dog, Baguettaboutit’s sausages (and veggie options) are served inside French baguettes, paired with a selection of sauces. The United Nations baguette featured a well-spiced chicken chipotle sausage balanced out by a chimichurri sauce, inside of nicely crunchy bread.
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Fahsyrah’s Homemade Lemonade:
It would be hard to drink Fahsyrah’s Lemonade without smiling. Even during the first sip, it’s easy to tell the lemonade is something special; it achieves a balance between sweet and sour like few lemonades can, and its refreshing aftertaste is memorable. With so many intricate food trucks at the Rodeo, I did not not expect the highlight to be as simple as a cup of homemade lemonade.
The Wandering Moose:
Founded by two friends who share a passion for food, The Wandering Moose serves slow-cooked chicken, beef and pork with homemade sauces. Their menu consists mainly of sandwiches, which are also served as salads upon request. The brisket hash was surprisingly well-flavored; the sauce was spicy but not overpowering, and grilled onions provided an added layer of flavor. With soft potatoes and tender meat, the filling hash could have made an entire meal – for only $4.
Located in downtown Durham, Honeygirl Meadery creates a variety of meads (honey wines) for sale at the Durham Farmers’ Market and Food Truck Rodeos. Creating small batches out of all natural ingredients, the Meadery produces a variety of interesting fruit and herb flavors. The strawberry guava option at the Rodeo was undoubtedly strong, but was offset by an attractive tang and subtle sweetness. In spite of the strength, it was still possible to taste the different flavors of the strawberry and guava in the mead.
A thoroughly healthy food truck, Medley was founded on the idea that nutrition and taste should always go hand in hand. While Medley has a menu of mostly salads and grilled chicken, its cauliflower “mac” n’ cheese stands out. With the option to add veggies, chicken, pork or steak, the baked “mac” is a twist on a childhood favorite that doesn’t give up its signature taste. Though it takes a few bites to get used to the cauliflower’s consistency, the dish maintains the traditional cheesy taste of mac n’ cheese, without the carbs and heaviness of macaroni.
Two Roosters Ice Cream:
Two Roosters has operated its beautiful, retro ice cream truck since 2014, and just opened its first shop in Raleigh last year. In addition to stable flavors such as coffee bourbon, blackberry hibiscus and roasted strawberry and honey, Two Roosters features a rotating menu of seasonal flavors; lemon mascarpone cake and buttered croissant and blueberry jam were offered at the Rodeo. A scoop of cookies and cream was the perfect end to a hot, crowded Rodeo visit. The cookies were well blended into the ice cream, and the consistency stroke a great balance between icy and creamy. The ice cream was so impressive that I’d drive to Raleigh or a Durham Bulls game (where they have a stand) to try it again.
The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo takes place five times a year; the Autumn Rodeo will be on Nov. 4, 12-4 p.m.