The Baltimore food truck community has The Gathering. The Washington food truck community has The Truckeroo (which once even bloated into Trucko de Mayo). Now the communities are joining forces for “A Taste of Two Cities,” a friendly (or semi-friendly) battle between roadside vendors from both towns.
The event, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Westport Waterfront in Charm City, will be a chance to crown the best food truck in the Washington-Baltimore region. A panel of six judges — three from each city, including The Post’s Food editor Bonnie S. Benwick — will sample the fare from more than 30 food trucks before presenting the overall champion with the Mayor’s Cup.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a supporter of food trucks, is expected to present the cup to the winning truck.
Che Ruddell-Tabisola, executive director of the D.C. Food Truck Association, may sound like a prototypical Washington lobbyist when says that A Taste of Two Cities will help nurture the still-embryonic mobile vending communities, both with operators and eaters. But Damian Bohager, a board member of the Maryland Mobile Food Vendors Association, depicts the event in a more two-fisted Bawlmer way:
“Baltimore always has had an inferiority complex about Washington,” says Bohager, the event organizer and a sixth-generation Baltimorean. “This is a chance for Baltimore to step up and be a big-time big city.”
He may be exaggerating for effect.
Further evidence: When I suggest that Baltimore might have home-field advantage for the event — the D.C. trucks will have to prep hours in advance; many more Baltimoreans will be on hand, ostensibly to favor Charm City trucks for the People’s Choice award — Bohager swats down that notion like a pro wrestler pontificating before a match.
“I kind of think we have a home-field advantage because we have some really good food trucks,” Bohager says.
Bohager’s braggadocio is somewhat understandable; the Baltimore food truck scene is still significantly smaller than the District’s — The Charm City area boasts about 30 trucks vs. the more than 100 licensed vendors in Washington D.C. proper. But Baltimore does seem to have one distinct advantage over D.C. mobile vendors: The city brokered a truce last year between food trucks and brick-and-mortars, while the District government continues to drag its heels on new vending regulations.
In a sense, the D.C. Food Truck Association’s Ruddell-Tabisola is right. There will be a spirit of community at A Taste of Two Cities. Originally, the trucks from Washington were going to be lined up on one side of the massive parking lot and the Baltimore trucks on the other.
But now, Bohager notes, organizers decided to alternate the vehicles: A Baltimore truck, followed by a D.C. truck, followed by a Baltimore truck. “So everyone gets to know each other,” Bohager says.
That includes visitors who can attend for free, although they will have to pay for the food from each truck. There also will be beer and wine available as well as live music. For directions, visit the Westport Waterfront Web site and click on “directions.”
The participating Baltimore trucks:
1. Gypsy Queen
3. Souper Freak
10. Cazbar on the Go
11. Miss Twist
13. The Great Cookie
15. The Jolly Pig
16. Cruisin Cafe
17. Busia’s Kitchen
The participating Washington D.C. trucks:
5. El Floridano
7. Fojol Bros.
13. Tasty Kabob
14. Orange Cow
15. DC Slices