Over 5,000 people can’t be wrong, right? You betcha.
That’s apparently how many people showed up to the Justice League for Street Food 2011 Kickoff Party on Saturday night. By those numbers (if you can count tweets as the highest level of journalistic authority–cough, cough), that means that over 5,000–or an awful lot of–people weaved their way past northern downtown, through a seemingly barren section of RiNo, in order to descend on the beautiful (if not interestingly-located) development complex that is TAXI…solely to eat food sold from trucks and carts. Not only did this take a willingness to display superior navigation skills, but a passion that kept them standing in line for upwards of two hours.
Some might call that crazy. What it is, instead, is a wild success–for local business, for community and for a downright perfect Saturday night. Welcome to Denver, folks. We love street food, and we love it real good.
I arrived halfway through the night’s shindig with a friend, perched myself in a line leading up to Pinche Tacos and stood there salivating for the next hour and a half. Worth it? Yup. Enough that you’ll likely find me doing it again at the next Justice League party. And while we stood in line, we watched others nom away on burgers from Steuben’s that made me wish I’d been granted two stomachs at birth. Still, after downing my Queso a la Plancha and Asada tacos from Pinche, I managed to scarf half of my friend’s pepperoni slice from Sully’s, a few bites of Biker Jim’s reindeer dog (forgive me, Santa), and nearly a whole S’mores on a stick from Stick it to Me (roasted lovingly, hand torch-style, by Chris Huth and The Nige, two local artists).
Which means I’m officially five street food vendors into what I’m calling “My Street Food Year.” Alright, it’s cheesy, and not the best title you’ve ever heard. But I have no French culinary icon who’s name creates some magical alliteration when combined with mine. Also: street food is way too unpretentious for that ish. (“White linens? Um, we’ll take the nearest curb and do it super proud, thanks.”) It might not take a whole year, but at least you won’t have to keep hearing me refer to it as, “My Street Food Eight Months.” The bottom line is that I want to spend the next several months, or as long as weather and my wallet will allow, visiting every possible street food vendor in Denver. When I make progress, when I adore it and when I think you absolutely must try my most recent food truck taste test…I’ll let you know about it.
So, five down. A whole heck of a lot more left to go. Stay tuned, foodies.
Oh, and by the way, you’ll want to make sure to visit TAXI during the business week, too. TAXI 1, the building closest to Ringsby Ct., is home to Fuel Cafe. Order basically anything on the menu for a knockout meal, but be sure to end with either a chocolate chip cookie (raved as the best chocolate chip in town by 5280) or one of their whoopie pies if they have one on hand. You’re welcome. Thanks will be accepted in the form of free food (street or otherwise).Full disclosure: the organization I work with, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, offices out of TAXI. So, I’m slightly partial to Fuel. With good reason, though. Any place that can keep drawing me back as often as it does deserves some serious credit. More than that, their staff is incredibly friendly. Happy people and happy food make a happy customer.