One of our favorite TV shows, the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations,” aired its last episode recently, but you can keep the spirit alive on your next vacation in AZ. Sure, there’s plenty of fine dining in Phoenix, but everyone’s favorite part of the show was when host and street-meat connoisseur Anthony Bourdain hit the food trucks and dive bars for the real local stuff. This weekend The New Times (a local alternative newspaper) and Bashas’ (a local grocery store) will host a food festival called Street Eats that’s sure to bring out the inner Tony in anyone.
Local food trucks will hook up for one big feeding frenzy at Salt River Fields from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the weekend of the 12th, starting Saturday. And if variety is the spice of life, as the old saying goes, then Street Eats is going to be super spicy this year. At last count, over 50 food trucks were registered. All of the vendors are local, but the food reflects Phoenix’s diverse population. From po’ boys and tacos to cheesesteaks and Dutch-Indonesian grilled meats, there’s something for just about any taste.
Of course, a No Reservations-style vacation in Arizona wouldn’t be complete without sampling some local booze, and you’ll have plenty to choose form at Street Eats (finding a vodka-swilling Russian sidekick is on you, though.) Four Phoenix-area taverns will set up special stations for the event, and you can even try local wine, beer and liquor at the mobile bar.
Besides filling your belly, you can also shake your booty to live music sponsored by School of Rock, a local institution. If you’re not a dancer, you can always check out one of the many eating contests or live cooking demonstrations by Food Network personalities Adam Richman and Geoffrey Zakarian.
You’ll want to get to Street Eats early – last year, the lines were long by midday. And you’ll also want to make sure you bring cash, as many vendors don’t accept plastic. For a detailed list of vendors and events, and to purchase tickets, check out the Salt River Fields website.
The TV run of “No Reservations” may now be over, but you can live it for real on your vacation in AZ. Who knows, maybe you could end up with your own Travel Channel show someday. If you’ve been to Phoenix before and you have a favorite food truck, tell us your street-meat secrets in the comment section below.