food truck mecca in bayfront park

one of the things i miss the most since leaving my beloved new york city—just over two years ago, now—is the plethora of food carts and trucks that are scattered on just about every block in manhattan, and the more popular borough ‘hoods. in miami, however, that is not the case. at best, you’ll pass the occasional hot dog cart. food trucks in miami are limited to attendance at bigger events rather than random street corners. so imagine my extreme excitement when, after deciding to pause my saturday solo netflix-and-chill afternoon for a walk around downtown, i strolled into bayfront park to discover a mecca of food carts setting up shop for some evening event.

i spent a good 45 minutes circling the walkway surrounding the park’s central fountain, around which a dozen or so carts were parked, gearing up to serve everything from egyptian to greek to mexican to ice cream and beyond.

the first to open, aside from the ice cream trucks, which i’d already made the decision to pass on, was a truck boasting lobster rolls. with no one in line, i made several passes from afar, struggling to read the menu from afar while my glasses sat on a counter at home. happily, i discovered that not only did the place serve lobster rolls, but that the lobster was from maine! (the only type of lobster that should ever be on a roll.)

so i decided to splurge on the $15 sandwich, from a place called red zeppelin rockin’ lobster roll, which can be ordered in one of three ways: classic maine style (just mayo and celery), maine style doused with lobster bisque (wtf?), and connecticut style (warm with melted butter.) i got the classic, because i’m a new englander and that’s how it should be done.

IMG_3004i have to say, i was pleasantly surprised with the amount of lobster overflowing from the hot dog bun (and the addition of a side of chips included in the cost, though i didn’t eat mine), but immediately knew there was too much mayo. a good roll should have just a touch to hold things together, but not so much that the flavor overpowers the lobster. to boot, the bun was a bit dense, though it would have helped if it was buttered and grilled. that being said, there were giant chunks of claw meat throughout, and it was by far the most wallet-friendly taste of home i’ve found in southern florida. (i once purchased two modest-sized maine lobsters from a florida grocery store, and they came to a whopping $55!)

if this place cooled it on the mayo, and buttered and grilled their buns, this roll would be a home run. however, even if they change their ways, a quick perusal through their twitter feed shows an abundance of support of donald trump—why a food truck would even find it necessary to do something as stupid as publicly ally itself with such a controversial (read: horrible) “political” figure is beyond me, but that’s neither here nor there—so i won’t ever be able to bring myself to give them any more of my money.

IMG_3006not ready to walk away from this food truck mecca, i made my rounds once again, this time stopping at fooulup, a truck featuring a menu of egyptian food: falafel (made with fava beans instead of chickpeas), shawerma (their spelling), and hummus, among other things. i settled on something a little lighter: falafel salad. (okay, so it’s deep fried, mashed up beans, but at least it’s served on a salad.) they had just opened, so it took a little longer than usual, but i was offered a bottle of water or soda, on the house, for the wait. (i declined; i was basically hanging around like a vulture for the trucks to open, after all.) but it was worth it.

IMG_3013the falafel itself was delightfully crunchy—there is nothing worse than soggy falafel—and light on the inside; it was served on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and crumbled feta, with tahini drizzled on the top. it was delicious, and i wanted more, but i decided to tear myself away while my shorts still fit comfortably.

my dearest miami food trucks: please, let’s do this again. don’t be strangers. i love you. i need you.


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