This week I’m determined not to write about heart attacks, politics or the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, which, unless the weather changes, will feel like the middle of summer. I suppose that’s only fitting since our summer felt like the middle of fall.
Little did I know that I’d walk smack into a column at the corner of Ocean Park Boulevard and Main Street, home of the California Heritage Museum (has to be the coolest kept secret in Santa Monica). The experience was, as Yogi Berra would say, like déjà vu all over again.
If you live long enough you see fads that come around twice or even three times. And each time to the new generation it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Frankly, I don’t ever recall when sliced bread was such a monumental breakthrough.)
A perfect example is that I was wearing a shirt from the GAP that, fittingly enough, said “GAP” on the front. There was a time when it was inconceivable that a customer with a brain would pay to wear the name of the manufacturer of a product on his/her body, and walk around in public like a sandwich board. It still makes no sense. You pay THEM to advertise THEIR product?
And we’re all supposed to think it’s fashionable? “Hey, look, Lindsey shops at the Banana Republic!” (Given the history of U.S. foreign policy in Central and Latin America, I’ve never been terribly fond of that store’s name.)
But back to last Tuesday night. As I passed the California Heritage Museum I saw that the parking lot was filled with fancy food trucks and hordes of people eagerly standing in line. I had to get a closer look.
All kinds of people, young, old, single, families, kids, and dogs, were excitedly buying (OK, not the dogs) gourmet food from fancy, gleaming trucks that I’m told cost approximately $80,000. Among the exotic dishes I saw were Korean barbecue, shrimp tacos, sushi, chicken wraps and all kinds of mouth-watering desserts, to list but a few. It was like being at an international food festival.
Back in my day (God do I sound old), to buy food from a truck signified that you didn’t have the time or money to eat right. The food was always greasy and prepared with questionable hygiene. We used to call them “roach coaches.” Well, let me tell you folks, the food trucks that gather every Tuesday night in the Heritage parking lot from 5:30 to 9:30 aren’t your dad’s food trucks. This is gourmet food on wheels. And the trend is so popular that it’s a weekly happening in Ocean Park.
Here’s how it works. Each week different trucks are selected to show up the following Tuesday evening. The names of the trucks are posted on the Museum website (web.mac.com/calmuseum/) so the public can click on the link and see each individual menu. No waiting in noisy restaurants, no having to tip waiters or waitresses with attitudes.
Unlike almost everything in Santa Monica, there’s plenty of parking. People either picnic on the grass or they sit at tables at the Victorian next door from which they can order beverages, including beer, wine or mixed drinks. I can’t get over how cool this idea is. That said, the program is only on a three-month permit. So, if you go to the food truck night on Tuesdays and you like it (my guess is you will) you might want to send an e-mail of support to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think this may be progress. An entire column without discussing heart attacks.
(The California Heritage Museum is producing a new art show, “Buena Vista — California Artists in Mexico 1928-1970.” For details call (310) 392-8537, or go to web.mac.com/calmuseum.)
Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.