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Posted at 9:40 AM ET, 01/11/2011

Franklin Square turned into a truckers' paradise

By Tim Carman
photo(29)_opt.jpg If you park it, they will come: Food trucks on Franklin Square on Monday.

With temperatures dipping below freezing, the hungry masses who assembled on Franklin Square on Monday enjoyed a rare opportunity to sample the menus of 12 different food trucks -- assuming, that is, their numb tongues allowed them to taste anything at all.

The weather, which I believe was officially designated as "polar," presented patrons with an unusual dilemma at this impromptu gathering of mobile eateries: Do they stand and wait at their preferred truck or do they just do the expedient thing and purchase lunch from the truck with the shortest line? Interestingly enough, eaters overwhelmingly went with the first option, which says something about Washingtonians. It says we're willing to suffer for what we want, a behavior no doubt honed from countless hours listening to bureaucrats, policy wonks, ANC loonies, lobbyists, and Congressional blowhards. Waiting in line under icy conditions must seem a breeze by comparison.

Another pattern emerged, too: The most popular trucks were either the newbies or the ones with the thickest stack of press clippings. Take a look for yourself in this series of photos taken at yesterday's so-called Mega Monday event on Franklin Square.

photo(26)_opt.jpg The Red Hook Lobster Pound truck kept folks in line.
photo(27)_opt.jpg Curbside discovered the tipping point of the cupcake craze: Selling them outdoors in sub-freezing temps.
photo(28)_opt.jpg The pie truck was apparently a little too dangerous.
photo(30)_opt.jpg DC Empanadas, a newbie on the scene, attracted curiosity seekers and shell collectors alike.
photo(33)_opt.jpg DC Empanadas sold a WMD: a "Weapon of Max Deliciousness," otherwise known as a beef chili empanada.
photo(35)_opt.jpg The "Traditional," with ground sirloin, Spanish olives, hard-boiled eggs, and raisins, was like an empanada take on the saltena.
photo(36)_opt.jpg Cold weather. Hot sandwiches. The sammies were going fast at El Floridano.
photo(37)_opt.jpg El Floridano chef/owner Stephan Boillon dressed as if he were actually in Florida.
photo(31)_opt.jpg The CapMac truck: Proving, once and for all, that cheese has magnetic powers.
photo(32)_opt.jpg Food trucks and media: As inseparable as burgers and fries.
photo(34)_opt.jpg Trucks had to do more than feed the public. They had to feed the meter, too. The CapMac crew, at left, was living on borrowed time.

By Tim Carman  | January 11, 2011; 9:40 AM ET
Categories:  Media  | Tags:  Tim Carman, food trucks  
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