Festival on wheels: Food trucks, craft beer focus of event at Balloon Museum

Europa Roaming Kitchen will return to this year’s Great New Mexico Food Truck Festival with its unique spin on food truck cuisine. (Courtesy of Food Truck Festivals of America)

A variety of scrumptious food truck offerings complemented by a variety of craft beer selections will take over Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum grounds on Saturday, April 9.

Thirty food trucks and 50-plus craft beers unite as part of the second annual Great New Mexico Food Truck Festival. Food truck menus range from barbecue and tacos to pizza and Hawaiian shaved ice.

Some of the participating trucks are Ay K Rico, which offers Mexican fare; Basil’s Home Cooking, which offers Philippine and American eats; Calle Ocho, known for its Latin Street Food with a mix of Albuquerque flair; Hot Stuff Hawaiian Shaved Ice; Irrational Pie, which makes wood fired pizzas; Street Food Institute, which offers healthy food made with local ingredients; and Texas Roadside Diner, which makes authentic Texas barbecue, according to an event news release.

Europa Roaming Kitchen will return this year with its unique spin on food truck cuisine.

“We decided to go with something completely different than we do usually,” co-owner Joffrey Thomasson said. “We’ll still do my hot dog. We’ll have a chicken salad with green chile. It will be a green chile chicken salad. We’ll do a beef burgundy and still do a Greek with lamb skewer, lamb sandwich. The hot dog has green chile con carne or chipotle red chile. Both have ground beef. I ended up making (a hot dog) because of one of my neighbors who are green chile fans. We kept talking about that. They give me green chile from time to time, and I did a green chile using tomatillos instead of normal tomatoes so the color stays. It complements the chile.”

Craft beers will be big part of this year’s festival.

“Last year, you might remember that we were sponsored by Samuel Adams, so our beers at that time really revolved around that product,” said Janet Prensky, spokeswoman for Food Truck Festivals of America. “Now we have decided it makes a lot of sense to work with all the great beers that exist especially in the local markets we come into as well as to introduce some beers (to) people… Let’s say you’re in Albuquerque and you’ve heard about this wonderful beer in San Diego and would love to be able to try that. We will be bringing a lot of that type of craft beer as well.”

The craft beer list includes products from New Mexico’s Abbey Beverage Co.’s Monks Ales line; Rio Bravo Brewing Co., De la Vegas and Nuevo. California’s Ballast Point Brewing Co., Lagunitas Brewing Co., and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Colorado’s Avery Brewing Co., Breckenridge Brewery, Ska Brewing Co., and Upslope Brewing Co.; Texas’ Guns and Oil Brewing Co. and Shiner Bock. Brewers from Arizona, Massachusetts, Utah and Belgium round out the list.

Also new to the festival will be an artisan market.

“So you can eat a little, you can drink a little, you can shop a little,” Prensky said. “That will be a new feature at all of our festivals. We found that people love it. It just gives you something to do when you have the food in your hand. You can go visit an artist and see what they’re up to, and people really enjoy that, so we will be having an artisan village.”

Last year, Food Truck Festivals of America brought the festival to Albuquerque for the first time. The event suffered some kinks, including traffic and parking snarls, as well as vendors running out of food an hour or more before the event was scheduled to end.

“We’re not perfect; we accept that and everybody can learn from the first time,” Prensky said. “We hope people give us a second chance, because we are making some big changes when it comes to access. I think that was our issue last year; we had a lot of people, and our trucks know to bring a lot of food this year. That’s for sure. They learned their lesson too. So again, you never know when you come into a new city what is it going to be like. Are people going to come in droves? Is it going to be little by little? We just never know, and we learned and we know that Albuquerque is very, very interested in the craft beer and food truck concept, and we’re going to be ready this year to service everybody well.”

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