Story and Photography by Haley Hardy
Music mixed with the many cultures of San Diego and filled Balboa Park as an exciting dance performance started. There were people smiling, children laughing, and couples dancing in the sweet summer sun.
Bright tutus and big smiles were the most noticeable parts of the performers’ attire as a group danced to upbeat fusion music. Even in summer heat and in their matching black wigs they didn’t slow down as they motioned for audience members to come join them in the fun.
People of all sizes, age and race enjoyed and participated in this celebration of culture. The dance performance group known as Flavor Co. was a perfect example of the celebration at Balboa Park for the Food Truck Fridays event.
Balboa Park Conservancy has partnered with the City of San Diego and Recreation Department to offer entertainment and a line up of food trucks with diverse menus for every Friday of the summer and early fall. This program is in its fourth year and is planning a Holiday Food Truck Festival in late December.
Along with the engaging entertainment was an enticing aroma wafting through the air. The aroma of the foods mixed together in wonderful harmony could make any stomach growl. The variety was overwhelming and choosing which food to eat seemed to come down to which line was the shortest since every trucks food had tempting menus.
Hard core food truck attendees were willing to wait for as long as needed for the specific food they came to enjoy but fortunately even the trucks with long lines seemed to serve their food quickly and efficiently. The ideal thing is to arrive early, be hungry and bring friends or family so you can order different things and share.
From Beachin’ Boba to Currywurst Frankfurt, there are enough tempting morsels to tempt the most picky eaters. Not only will meat lovers be enticed but vegan menus are also offered at several of the food trucks and customers can check out the vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available online before they arrive.
The food truck menus can be found on the Balboa Park website so you can easily find which truck fits your dietary needs. Food choices included kimchi quesadillas, squash and black bean burritos, short rib cheeseburger, pig fries, veggie brats, frankfurters, boba and rasta slushies.
Zynada Aurelio, a park regular, has come each year to the event for the variety of foods and vegan options. The food truck, Eat Your Heart Out, which boasts a Good (vegetarian) and Evil (non vegetarian) menu had several devoted attendees.
One bite of the sweet potato rolled taco with sauteed onion, vegan cheese, vegan chipotle aioli and topped with vegan kimchi shows why it seemed to be a crowd favorite. Who would have thought that kimchi and sweet potato could be so tasty?
First timers Anthony and Katherine Bonet are from Washington, DC. They said enthusiastically that they “stumbled upon the food truck event” and “would come back next year to enjoy the event again.” They felt they were lucky to find the event and were trying as many foods as they could.
The food trucks were a reflection of the fusion of cultures as seen in the food choices and by the people who came to enjoy themselves in the family-friendly atmosphere.
Just as the food trucks brought together different flavors, performers Flavor Co. advertise themselves as a Cultural Dance Fusion Company. They said they combined different cultures into their dance to showcase the diversity of San Diego.
The performers also encouraged the crowd to join them as they danced. They enjoy interacting with the crowd and spent time talking to the audience and learning where they came from.
Dancer Stacy Neatherly said: “We get a lot of visitors from around the world. We’ve had people from Brazil, Japan, India and China.”
Todd Martin, another Flavor Co. dancer, added: “We performed regularly for Food Truck Fridays last year and we performed most weeks this year. We performed in the beginning of the summer and now we’re back today. We’re regulars.”
When watching Flavor Co. you can feel the message they are trying to convey with their dance performance. You will be inclined to try and dance along, even if you have two left feet.
Dancer Belle Martin shared “we are a cultural fusion dance company and we perform all different kinds of dances and we really want people to come up and dance with us because what we’re trying to pass on is that dancing
is for everyone, doesn’t matter their age or size or walk of life.”
Other fun, family-friendly activities offered were balloons, bubbles, and a program by House of Mexico. Individual games such as a ring toss were also set up for those who wanted to play by themselves.
The members of The House of Mexico shared their heritage through performances and the sale of traditional handmade products. The House of Mexico Performance music could be heard from the food trucks all the way to the parking lot and added to the excitement in the air.
With all the good food and entertainment, one could not leave the food truck night without a full belly and plans to make a return trip soon.