Food truck event in Ottawa this Saturday

Food trucks ready for Canada Day crowds in Ottawa, June 30, 2013. Photo: Cynthia Zullo, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Food trucks ready for Canada Day crowds in Ottawa, June 30, 2013. Photo: Cynthia Zullo, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

It's always been pretty easy to find carts or trucks that sell old stand-bys, like fries and hot dogs. But 2013 was the year the City of Ottawa tried to kick that up a notch, by allowing new vendors that delivered more diverse fare.

That strictly-controlled permit process actually began in 2012, but the trucks and carts didn't roll out and start serving until this year. Bureaucracy, raising capital, licensing, inspection…all that stuff tends to drag on and on. (Sometimes there's controversy too, over permits, locations, zoning restrictions or push-back from brick-and-mortar eateries.)

This Saturday eleven or so of those new vendors will gather in one location for some friendly competition at the (first annual) Ottawa Food Truck Rally 2013. (Also on Twitter and Facebook.) This will take place at the corner of Rochester and Pamilla Street, off Carling Avenue, about two blocks north of Dow's Lake.

The culinary curious will have a chance to do some sampling and cast their own votes. As reported by Laura Robin for the Ottawa Citizen:

“It’s a new culture for Ottawa and we want to showcase it,” said Sharif Virani, one of the food truck rally organizers. “It should be fun because it will also be a competition, and at the end of the day we’ll announce the best small plate, the best large plate, and the best truck paint job.”

Virani first planned to hold the rally in June, but delayed it because so many trucks had difficulties getting on the road.

The $10 admission does not actually buy any samples. Eating choices will consist of small plates for $4 or larger ones for $6. Craft beer will also be available on site. Gate fee profits will help fund a scholarship aimed at sending a resident of Ottawa Community Housing to Algonquin College's culinary program.

Fair warning: it's often hard to guess how these things will go. Sometimes food-centered events are inundated with hungry hoards, resulting in long lines and "sorry, sold out" signs. (It could be great or it could be frustrating.)

Also, this rally doesn't include every new food truck or new food cart in Ottawa, both of which are mapped by the city at the embedded links.

But here's a list of truck vendors scheduled to participate on Saturday:

Angry Dragonz

Bytown Bayou Smokehouse

Chow Down foods

The Grilled Cheeserie

Lunch

The Merry Dairy

Mr. Churritos

Olive Green

Red Roadster

Urban Cowboy

What the Truck

I'm tempted to go just because I'm not in urban Ottawa often enough to easily track down and try a dozen-odd trucks. It's a good chance to do mass test-tasting. Maybe I'll see some of you there?

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