It was clear the food at this year's edition of Mt. Airy Day would be different from the first moment anyone set eyes on the grilled cheese one particular food truck was serving throughout the festival.
The sandwich, complete with large slices of bread, had oozing, melty, gooey cheddar coming out from all sides. I didn't get one—I had filled up on other food a little bit earlier—but it was clear that it was comfort food, jazzed to the max.
The grilled cheese wasn't the only standout. Mini Trini, Zea May's Kitchen, Pitruco Pizza, Avenida Restaurant, Zsa's Gourmet Ice Cream also sold a variety of items along Germantown Avenue (Little Jimmie's Bakery and Trolley Car Diner were selling toward the back of the Cliveden site, where Mt. Airy Day took place). Pitruco's round pizzas, placed onto cardboard sheets, were a staple at the event, as people took them with them as they walked around the various booths.
I only got over to two food trucks before I had to get back to our Patch table at the event. I've heard rave reviews about Pitruco, Say Cheese and Avenida and I meant to get over to Mini Trini, but they weren't selling food when I went over there and time got away from me before long. But I made visits to Zea May's and Zsa's.
This food truck features items made with ingredients common to Native American cuisine.
According to Sue Wasserkrug, who runs Zea May's, that means "a lot of empanadas." She was turning them out on Saturday, along with buffalo dogs and salads (some of which were sample-able).
Wasserkrug's truck is fairly new, but she's already made the rounds in Mt. Airy—she's parked herself outside of Weavers Way and on the 7100 block of Chew Avenue in the past week or so.
It didn't take long for my sweet potato empanada to make it into my hands after I ordered it, although it took a couple of bites for me to get past the crunchy, fried exterior and to the filling. If the same thing happens to you, though, don't worry—it's worth it.
The filling tastes a bit smoky and has an undeniable, underlying sweet potato ethos. Because the empanada is easy to carry, and because the interior meshes so well with the shell's crunch, it's a perfect outdoor, summer food.
And Zea May's is planning to be out and about throughout the next few months at a variety of events—including the Mt. Airy Farmers' Market on Thursdays in front of Weavers Way. So you can look forward to getting empanadas then.
Zsa's Gourmet Ice Cream
The ice cream truck sold out of offerings at around 3:30 p.m. on Mt. Airy Day. It's no wonder that happened. The ice cream's packaging, which made it easy to tote around, and its creative flavors both lend themselves well to quick sales.
Zsa's sells ice cream sandwiches as well as little cups filled with its flavors. Vanilla, salted caramel and peanut butter were among those sold at the festival.
The salted caramel—presented to people in a self-contained cup, along with a wooden spoon—was easy to handle and walk around with during an event. It was also creamy. Insanely creamy.
The flavor was pretty unique, too—it didn't have caramel swirls, like you might expect, but instead had a uniform, smooth consistency that helped it stand out.
Food trucks and their effect
I know there was initially some blowback from some people about food trucks replacing the standard cuisine at Mt. Airy Day (like burgers, funnel cakes and fries).
But I didn't hear too much criticism during the day. That's not to say there was none—I'm sure some people missed what had changed, as is often the case—but for the most part, I think the food was tastier, healthier and, overall, an improvement.
And anytime the word "mole" pops up on a menu, I'm there (as it did on Avenida's offerings). Chocolate in a savory dish is never a bad thing.
What did you think of the food at Mt. Airy Day? Tell us in the comments.