It’s typically hard to find a solid meal at a music festival unless you’re willing to shell out a pretty penny or ask strangers for recommendations. More often than not, playing Russian food truck roulette ends in a disaster, but this year’s FYF proved to be different in two big ways.
First, the presentation of almost all the dishes we tried was impressive beyond my expectations. Whether it was the vietnamese nachos from Mandoline Grill or the ice cream from Little Damage, the plates that were doled out screamed with delicious charisma. Second, the quality of (most of) the food blew me away. The spicy tuna tower from Little Bird was legitimately the best poke I’ve ever had and Little Damage’s activated charcoal horchata soft serve easily took front runner for best dessert at the festival.
Little Bird – Spicy Tuna Poke Tower ★★★★★ (Nathan)
In the VIP section of the Lawn, Little Bird sits next to the bar in the line of food stands. It’s a small little corner spot with a rather pricy few dishes, but I caught a glimpse of somebody else’s order and made the executive decision to pull the trigger on a spicy tuna poke tower.
My two qualms with poke are typically quality and quantity; rarely do you get the best fish or a lot of it. Little Bird changed the game on both accounts. That $18 price tag quickly turned into a serious bargain. Beautifully red, tender tuna sat atop a cylindrical bed of rice and mango garnished with jalapeños, cilantro, green onions, and spicy mayo. This was definitely more food than I could handle but I did it anyway because I’m gross.
Spicy Pie – Spicy Pie + Hot Lips ★★★★★ (Steph)
If this year’s FYF lineup of artists had been mediocre or even seriously lackluster I would have still considered finagling a way into the festival just to wrap my eager little paws around a Spicy Pie slice. Everything you look for in a well-made piece of pizza—from the crust to the cheese-to-sauce ratio—is embodied by this delicious godsend. A gustatory experience unlike any other, I find myself surveying the festival grounds for a Spicy Pie logo immediately upon entry.
After all, this isn’t just your average slice. This is proprietary, festival-only ‘za, and I consider it a headliner at any festival I attend.
Mandoline Grill – Vietnamese Nachos w/ Hawaiian BBQ Chicken ★★★★ (Nathan)
On the first day, I hit the big red Mandoline Grill truck outside the Lawn. Boasting Vietnamese food like Bánh Mì with some fusion elements like nachos and tacos. Interesting to say the least.
I grabbed the nachos with Hawaiian BBQ chicken and it was exactly what I hoped for. The nachos offered the perfect chicken-to-chip and garnish-to-main ratios. The chicken was cooked near perfectly in the sweet teriyaki glaze and the presentation was top notch relative to the rest of what we had this weekend. I typically don’t have the highest hopes for festival food trucks, but this was a pleasant surprise.
Monster Fries – Chicken Monster Fries ★★ (Steph)
Monsters can be big and scary, and apparently so can fries. This place certainly does its name justice in terms of portion size, but it didn’t have enough flavor for me to enjoy my heaping pile of potatoes. It’s not that they weren’t good (let’s be real, plain fries are still fries and thus delicious, unless undercooked). The problem was that the serving was so large that there wasn’t enough sauce to accommodate all of the fries and additional toppings (in my case, chicken).
I’d definitely give it another shot, but this wasn’t my favorite.
Little Damage – Horchata + Mango Sticky Rice Ice Cream ★★★★ (Steph + Nathan)
Here’s an example of a company that presents a unique product with clever branding and a cool image to back it up. Little Damage gives soft serve ice cream the makeover it has so desperately needed. After devouring my charcoal waffle cone filled with mango sticky r’ice cream I considered (for probably the first time ever in my life) buying merch from an ice cream stand. My favorite is the black tee that says “I licked it so it’s mine.”
Dune – Organic Green Herb Falafel ★★★★★ (Steph)
My good friend dragged me to Dune for his “favorite sandwich in LA” and I laughed because I don’t know, that’s just a funny thing to say. But I was intrigued.
The “Organic Green Herb Falafel” was the so-called “favorite sandwich in LA” and it was honestly pretty great. Dune’s homemade flatbread was packed with hummus, pickles, marinated cabbage, tahini, and shoestring potatoes. I wish I hadn’t shown up to this place voraciously hungry because I ate the entire thing, and it was a whopper.
Worth the stomach ache – five stars for Dune.
Pizzanista – Vegan Macaroni & Cheese Pizza ★★★ (Van Jazmin)
Gooey addictive carb bomb, loved it. Great for replenishing the calories I burned walking around the entire colosseum looking for the main stage.
“If this was school I’d give it a B, but a 79! Cuz I’m the cool teacher” – Scott Bernhardt
FYF Mexican Food Stand – Chicken Burrito ★.5 (Neal)
You couldn’t even taste the chicken in this burrito under the mashed up flavors of everything else. But it provided me sustenance and was a little filling so that counts for something.
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