Flocking to food trucks

COSTA MESA — Park it, serve from it, and they'll come.

On Thursday afternoon at the Orange County Fairgrounds, discerning foodies and casual eaters checked out Food Truck Fare Thursdays, a new gathering aimed at channeling Orange County appetites toward the mobile kitchens on wheels.

The event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each week features a rotating selection of the traveling vendors dishing a variety of selections to satisfy lunchtime craves. The week's trucks will be posted on the O.C. Fair's Twitter account, twitter.com/ocfair.

Parking and admission are free. The trucks' location on the fairgrounds will vary.

Organizing the event with the fairgrounds management is Cypress-based Mobile Food Properties. Fairgrounds spokeswoman Robin Wachner said Fare Thursdays is focusing on bringing in locally based trucks at first, keeping the event to about four vendors.

Fare Thursdays will lead to a larger event planned for the future, she said. Cooking at the inaugural Fare Thursdays were Louks Greek Gourmet ToGo, Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels, the Bakery Truck and Calbi.

The Slaney family of Costa Mesa — with mother Sheryl, daughters Lindsey and Ashley and son Brandon — came as part of an outing they're calling their "Thursday Lunch Brunch."

Holding old-fashioned Coke bottles and a few desserts, they just enjoyed lunches that included spicy pork, empanadas and a chicken skewer.

As a family they agreed on the food quality: Everything was "excellent!"

Jesse Logue is new to the game of following food trucks and just discovered Fare Thursdays through Twitter. The Costa Mesa resident sat on the curb between two trucks, eating a chicken empanada, grilled zucchini and rice, with some bottled water to wash it all down.

"I'm stoked that food trucks are happening more here," Logue said. "It's interesting to see all the different kinds of people. You can tell the more foodie people who are like, 'Oh, what do you have?' Then there's your more normal people who more randomly came across a truck and got in on the scene."

Like other food truck enthusiasts, he likes following his favorites through Twitter. The trucks' mobility and varied locations makes them like cafes on wheels.

"It's almost like a mysterious kind of thing," Logue said. "Where are they gonna be?"

But he's getting better at tracking them down.

"I'm starting to learn where everyone is," he said. "It's awesome."

Also new to the food truck world were two of the workers: Tina Trujillo and Donna Collier, both of the Bakery Truck. Handling the post-lunch crowd with a sweet tooth, Trujillo took orders and handled the money as Collier worked the kitchen.

Their custom-made truck, a division of the Huntington Beach-based Morsels Baking Co., is 2 months old. The two are former FedEx couriers who decided to change work routes and deliver something tastier: fruit cream puffs, cupcakes, raspberry cheesecake with parfait and chocolate chip cookies, to name a few.

Their dessert business around noontime was steady. They weren't sure if they would be invited back to the fairgrounds next week, but they still had a busy day ahead of them with an evening shift in Glendale.

"It's a lot of fun. It's tiring and we have long days," Collier said.

And after busy times of selling and baking, Collier said they have earned a piece of their own sweets: "Sometimes I hope we don't sell out, so I can have a couple cookies."

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