Montreal has certainly set up a unique approach to food trucks, which offer such varied food options. A bunch of us decided to go try out the different food trucks when they are installed at the Olympic Stadium esplanade every first Friday of the month. My daughter Elena officiated as photographer, my friend Henri and my son Vladimir were volunteer tasters, and we even had a tourist, Carmen, who could contribute her special point of view.
The esplanade is quite big, with food trucks parked one behind the other over two levels, with huge wire spools acting as tables but with no chairs. There is a seating area with loud dj music at the far end of the esplanade, where the wine serving stations are. Since the trucks are spread out, and you have to wait as long as thirty minutes in line for your turn to order, you will spend a lot of time standing around waiting, or alternately, standing around eating, while waiting in a different lineup. Some lineups were as long as thirty people, which just turned us off completely. I guess it is best to plan an early meal when visiting these trucks, just to get ahead of the crowd.
We started at the Mexican fare food truck Mi Corazon, and tasted their tacodillo ($7), which my vegetarian daughter asked for without chicken. She and Carmen devoured it, and the small bite I got I found very tasty and fresh. My son and I headed over to the Turkish food truck to get some pide for everyone. We took an Aleppo and an Anetole, one with cheese and one with tomato stuffing. At $9 each, we expected bigger portions, and although they were tasty, they were nothing out of the ordinary. We then all headed for the raclette food truck La Boîte à Fromage, and asked for the mushroom, shallot, white wine and herb dish ($9), as well as the panna cotta (fruit and cheese with brioche) dessert ($9). Both dishes are worth recommending, they were delicious and plentiful portions.
We then went over to Le Super Truck, and ordered fried macaroni bites ($5) and the smaller portion of crisp pork belly with salad ($8). The macaroni and cheese bites were somehow disappointing, , and the pork belly was prepared in too much of a hurry -not crisp, at all, just soft and fatty.
By now, the crowd was much bigger, and the DJ music was too loud to be background ambiance music, and some of us were beginning to find the eternal hum of the food truck generators, the loud rather aggressive music, the throng of people to be just too much. My son was the first to bail -he said he would skip dessert in favour of being able to escape the noise. My daughter, Carmen and I headed for the ice cream truck Mr. Crémeux we had spotted at the beginning of our tour, while Henri went to find a gaufre truck. We chose the chocolate dessert cup and the caramel dessert cups. Both were a cut above the typical sundae desserts and so very good. The girls began their walk home while Henri and I continued to walk around and we were surprised to find a small garden spot right smack in the middle of the concrete esplanade. We sat down and stayed a little while longer, but we also eventually found the noise and crowd too much to bear. Montreal has a unique food truck formula, which I will be the first to boast about, but this esplanade set up could use some fine tuning. Our major complaints were the incredible amount of noise created by the hum of the food truck generators, the too-loud music from DJs, the very long waits for food, and the amazing amount of garbage this type of food preparation creates. It was only the Beaujolais counter which had the environmentally conscious formula of consigning the glassware. Since this is a regular set-up, and since there are such huge crowds, could it not be set up in a more environmentally conscious way? And would it not be possible to provide the trucks with electricity, instead of having them run on generators?
The fact that Montreal has such exotic and varied food choices to enjoy from food trucks all across the city is one which I am actually proud of and happy to boast about to tourists, but I don't think that this particular venue puts the food trucks in their best light.