The Vendy Awards: Philadelphia Street Food’s Biggest Day

Calm before start of Vendy Awards

There aren’t too many ways to better spend a sunny June Saturday afternoon in Philly than outside at a park overlooking the Delaware River while sampling dishes from the best food trucks in town.  Such was the case this past Saturday at Penn Treaty Park at the third annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards.

The Vendy Awards are the “Oscars of Street Food.”  They were originated in New York City by the Street Vendor Project  and expanded to Philly in 2011.  The Vendys allow the best of food trucks to be recognized, all while raising money for The Food Trust.  Attendees buy one ticket for the event and have all-you-can-eat access to all the food trucks as well as good beer and water.  Fifteen trucks competed for the coveted Vendy Cup, the Best Dessert, the People’s Choice and the Tide Stain Eraser’s Messy yet Tasty Awards.

Folks who arrived by the 2 p.m. start had their choice of trucks to hit up before the lines started forming.  It wasn’t long before the Vendys were a sea of people snapping photos of their food, devouring them and going back for more samples.

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What to Expect (and How to Order) at Christo’s Falafel

With the recent demise (though a positive one for the proprietors) of Far From Home Cafe, I’m looking for a new favorite food truck/cart in Center City to fill the void.  First up among the contenders: Christo’s Falafel cart.

To describe Christo’s as just a food cart or  falafel vendor does no justice to the entire experience.  Located on the northeast corner of 20th and Market, Christo’s is sometimes there and sometimes not there during weekday lunch.  Its proprietor, Gus, doesn’t exactly post on Twitter (if he knew what it was) what his appearance schedule is.  The first thing you’ll notice about the cart is the massive line that forms when it does show.  Actually, let me take that back.  The first observation you’ll have is the irresistable aroma from the charcoal grill billowing towards Market Street.  I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but because the 20th and Market Street corridor is extremely windy, even on hot summer days, the cart’s placement on the corner is perfect for catching the downwind breeze towards Market Street pedestrians.  If it was, the guy is a genius.  On each of my visits, there would be passers-by who would ask the folks in line about the cart and what was being served.

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