Food Trucks Rev Up Mobile Eats at Menlo Summer Fest
Texas BBQ Meets Vietnamese Street Food at Annual Menlo Park Street Fair
When a massive black truck the length of a city bus and adorned with a set of steer horns pulls up on leafy Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park, heads will definitely turn … and mouths will water when the windows open and the alluring aromas of Texas barbecue waft into the street. Capelo’s Barbecue is one of two exciting new food trucks to join the Mobile Eats area of Menlo Summer Fest, “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” July 21–22 from 10am to 6pm on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park.
Raised in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley near the southernmost tip of Texas, John Capelo developed his barbecue roots into a smokin’ business dedicated to authentic Southern barbecue. In 2012 he took it on the road to the Bay Area, where he’s become known as “The Boss of Barbecue” and won the People's Choice Award at the Redwood City Blues & BBQ Competition. Slow-smoking his high-quality meats over local wood, Capelo offers coffee-rubbed beef brisket, pork spareribs, herb-rubbed smoked and grilled chicken, Louisiana hot links, hand-pulled pork, sandwiches and classic BBQ accompaniments including corn muffins, slaws and baked beans.
Little Green Cyclo Truck, the Vietnamese counterpoint to American barbecue, specializes in the classic street-food sandwich—vegetable-laden banh mi—an airy French baguette filled with pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, pickled red onions and jalapeños. Chef Quynh Nguyen grew up in Saigon and happily ate her way through the country’s regional cuisines as a professional table tennis player traveling with the national team. She flavors her garlic noodles with green onion oil, kicky kimchi and crumbled peanuts. Her salads, with a base of vegetable-flecked jasmine rice or rice vermicelli, can be topped with nine-spice grilled chicken, lemongrass-roasted pork, shaken Wagyu beef, tamarind tofu or seasonal vegetables.
Ready for a cool-down after the zing of your barbecue or kimchi? Rainbow Snow is also new to the festival this year, offering a combo of two favorite frozen desserts—a layer of vanilla ice cream below a cloud of custom-flavored shaved ice. They also serve up a mean grilled Colby jack cheese sandwich on thick Texas toast.
Oysters are the barbecue splurge at Aroma Concessions, where you’ll also find sandwiches with juicy Portobello mushrooms or succulent tri-tip, as well as their famously giant turkey legs. Seafood is also on the menu at Gourmet Faire, featuring decadent crab rolls or equally addictive crab fries, garlic fries, scrumptious corn dogs and chicken tenders. Sonoma Teriyaki specializes in its namesake teriyaki chicken and offers veggie lovers a crispy veggie chow mein and deep-fried zucchini.
Ear-Good Corn Roast salutes summer with freshly roasted corn slathered with melted butter and baked potatoes with toppings galore. Suitcase Ron will keep his addictive kettle corn popping, and Barrett’s Lemonade’s fresh-squeezed lemon libation will quench many thirsty throats.
Last year’s big hit—Tropical Hut—returns with festive non-alcoholic blended piña coladas served in hollowed out pineapples and coconut shells. And kids can chill out to Hawaiian steel drum rhythms while creating their own flavor combinations at the Kona Shave Ice cart. The self-serve flavor-wave dispenser has a rainbow of selections, from cherry and grape to watermelon and . . . Godzilla. Good fruity fun, and even healthy with an added dash of vitamins C and D.