Jumping on the bandwagon

The monthly Fork in the Road street-food rally hits its stride

A spot on the grass at Fork in the Road with (from left) Jeanine Main, Lisa Sun and Kelly Osborne.

A spot on the grass at Fork in the Road with (from left) Jeanine Main, Lisa Sun and Kelly Osborne.

Photo By jason cassidy

Fork in the Road
Visit www.facebook.com/ForkInTheRoadChico for updates on upcoming gatherings.

According to digestive-health specialists, one ought to eat starches and acidic foods at separate meals, avoid combining proteins with carbohydrates, stay away from mixing fruits with proteins, and not top off a heavy meal with dessert. It has to do with your alkalinity not neutralizing your fermenting hydrochloric-acid secretion or something.

Discarding this information, I ventured to the third semi-monthual food-truck fest, Fork in the Road, where I immediately mixed curries, tamales, taquitos, a patty-melt, pasta salad and cupcakes with reckless abandon. Yes, that’s cupcakes, plural. I think it’s important to heed the advice of cardiologists, who remind us that stress can be a killer. And choosing between Cupcake Crusaders’ rich Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcake, their luscious Pink Champagne and their fresh, moist Funfetti was really stressing me out.

I stumbled to the grass and splayed out semi-comatose, moaning. No matter. One needn’t be ambulatory to enjoy FitR’s festive atmosphere and attractive locale behind good ol’ Elks Lodge #423. The grassy field next to the lodge was ringed by the food trucks on one side, and a row of shade-giving oaks on the other, and the lateral rays of the setting sun cast a warming glow on the orgiastic gorging of this “poly-picnic,” with its crazy-quilt of actual quilts.

A playground was off to one side with nearly 50 kids climbing and doing their kid stuff. Immediately adjacent, was the big bad black truck of radio station Z-Rock, which was strafing the children with a high-decibel recording of horrendous nü-metal band P.O.D.’s “Youth of the Nation.” The lyrics to this anthemy, rap-rock sing-along about school shootings consist of three verses—one is about a kid being shot (“instead of taking a test, I took two to the chest”), the next about a little girl becoming a ho, and then, finally, there’s the one about a kid ending his own life with a “gat.” Nice, Z-Rock.

I pulled myself with my fingertips to the center of the field, like a legless Terminator ignoring now quite obviously crucial digestive regulations. From there, I could get a better view of the 20-odd trucks, trailers and stands that this was all about. What struck me immediately was the whole in-your-face popularity-contest aspect of the thing: There were lines that looked like they were there for the first screening of the latest Twilight movie right next to carts whose untrammelled lawns seemed like they ought to have had their own little tumbleweed going by. Ouch.

But nowhere was the competition fiercer than between the two tamale stands, Maria’s Gone Tamales and Tamale Tango, which were separated by only one cart and two security guards, a sort of Demilitarized Tamale Zone (DMTZ). Maria’s stars your standard, cornhusk-covered scrumptiousness, while Tamale Zone presents a more delicate, minimal-masa, banana-leaf-bound bounty. Both are very tasty and only $2 a pop. Can’t you see, tamale vendors, that what unites you is more powerful than what divides you?!

Which brings me to the Korean tacos of Annie’s Asian Grill. Seared ahi tacos for only three bucks? Three big, tender pork tacos for only five bucks? Are you kidding me? This place is sooo good and would be twice the price if it were in the Bay Area or the like.

And then there was the pungent and yummy St. Lucian chicken curry being dished out of the humble and ultra-charming trailer of the Caribbean Café. And the possibility of joining the lithe, toned gazelles grazing in front of always good The Hunter & The Farmer. The list goes on and on, and if I didn’t get to your window, it’s just because there wasn’t room (in my stomach). Mmmm … I’m starting to feel kind of sick/starving just thinking about it.

The next time they circle the wagons at the moveable feast that is Fork in the Road: go. It’s great food at great prices, insanely nice proprietors whom you get to know as you order, all in a lovely setting. Who can resist jumping on that bandwagon?