Sunday, September 30, 2012

DAY 7: Richmond, VA and Savannah, GA

Day 7: Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - Richmond and Savannah

Today was the first morning we slept in without setting our alarm.  When we got up, we decided to go for a run along a campground trails.  Then we showered, and started our drive towards Richmond, VA (about an hour south).

Neither of us had been to Richmond before, so we drove all over the city.  We searched for food trucks on our phones, but the only ones that were out on a Saturday were closed down by 12pm.  We arrived there around 1:30pm, so we were a little too late.

We even saw one of the food trucks driving in front of us on its way home...

'Chupacabra' food truck

Richmond was a really cool city, so we were happy to just drive around and look at everything.  We almost had given up and were about to leave when Mitch suggested that I search to see if there were any farmers markets going on.  Almost immediately, I discovered a farmers market/Italian street festival going on at a place called the Historic 17th Street Market.  We made our way there, paid to park in a parking lot that our camper would fit in, and walked down to the market.

Italian Street Festival

Kingsley got to walk around with us.

There were several street vendors selling Italian food, as well as other market items, and there was live music playing.  We walked around and found a food booth that we both wanted to order from called 'Italian Kitchen Catering.'

'Italian Kitchen Catering' menu.


What we ordered:
Combo Plate - Fried Ravioli, Fried Zucchini, and Calamari
Bruschetta Plate

Total: $15

Bruschetta Plate                                                Combo Plate

We walked around a little bit more, the headed back to the car so we could start our 7 hour drive to the Savannah, GA campground we made a reservation at.  For dinner, I made sandwiches while we were stopped at a gas station at the N. Carolina/S. Carolina border.  

It was almost 11pm by the time we got to the campsite, so we're going to check out downtown Savannah tomorrow morning/afternoon.  Then we will be on our way to Orlando and Bonita Springs, FL (about a 7 hour drive from Savannah).

Day 7 Food Truck/Famers Market Spending:  $15 (under budget)

Spending for Day 7:

Gas: $145  (Thanks for the $$$ Kyle Thomas, Annie Bal, and Aunt Mary Anne/Uncle Dale!)
Food Truck Food: $15
Campsite at Savannah KOA: $41
Parking at the farmers market: $12 ($6 for the car, $6 for the camper)
Donation to get into the farmers market (we got 2 reusable Italian Festival shopping bags): $10

Total: $223 (over budget - seems to be a theme...)

Mitch and Laurel

Saturday, September 29, 2012

DAY 6: Philadelphia and Baltimore

Day 6: Friday, September 28th, 2012 - Philadelphia and Baltimore

We left the campground in New Jersey mid-morning and made our way towards Philadelphia which was about an hour drive.  I started searching for food trucks on my phone as we got close to the city.  The most helpful website/app I found was called 'ChowGetter' which showed us where several food trucks were parked throughout the city.  There are many cities that use 'ChowGetter' so I highly suggest trying it out!

The closest food trucks to where we were driving into the city were near Temple University.    It only listed 2 trucks there, but they both sounded good (you can click on them to see what they offer) so we decided to go check them out.

'ChowGetter' website/app

It turned out that there were dozens of food trucks parked near the university in addition to the ones on the ChowGetter app.  The only problem was that it was terribly difficult to find parking!  We finally just decided to park in a Loading Zone with our hazards on because we were so hungry that we clearly didn't care about following parking rules.  

Mitch wanted tacos, so he went to Wingo Taco, which was a Korean taco and wing truck.  The staff was so nice and friendly, and they were very enthusiastic about our road trip.

'Wingo Taco' Char-Grilled Korean food truck.

'Wingo Taco' staff - so nice!

Parked at Temple University.

What he ordered:
Spicy Sesame Chicken Taco
Stewed Beef, Potato & Tomatillo Taco
BBQ Beef Taco
Mandarin Jarritos soda

Total: $7.50

Tacos from 'Wingo Taco.'

I walked around for a bit trying to decide what I wanted to eat.  I decided to get a veggie burger from 'Sexy Green Truck' which, according to the website, specialized in local, organic food.  They had a huge menu, so it took me a few minutes for me to decide what to order.

'Sexy Green Truck'

Huge menu.

What I ordered:
Garden Veggie Burger

Total: $4.75

Garden Veggie Burger from 'Sexy Green Truck.'

I also found a cookie truck called 'Insomnia Cookies'...

'Insomnia Cookies' - warm cookies delivered late night!

Cookie menu.

What I ordered:
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
M&M Cookie

Total: $2.50

M&M and Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

After making our way out of Philadelphia (it was 4pm by this time, so it took forever), we started making our way towards Baltimore, MD.  As we got close to Baltimore, I discovered that there was a food truck street festival going on at a place called McHenry Row.  We then realized it was Friday night (we have no sense of what day it is anymore), so this was perfect timing on our end!  The food trucks were going to be parked at McHenry Row from 6-10pm which was awesome for us.  Who knew how easy or hard it would have been to find food trucks on any other night!

We decided to drive through downtown Baltimore since neither of us had been there before.  It was a really cool city, so we were glad we did.  We found the food truck festival pretty easily, but, once again, it was very hard to find parking with a camper.  We decided to park in a loading zone again which no one seemed mind.  People are usually more curious about our camper rather than worrying about it being parked illegally.

There were probably 15 food trucks parked at the festival and there was live music playing.  We walked through the crowd to check all the trucks out before deciding where we wanted to get food from.

Food Truck Festival in Baltimore.

We both decided to get food from a truck called 'Noodlerolla'.  I noticed that we're always drawn to the trucks that are brightly colored and have eye-catching graphics.  I know that this doesn't always mean the food is better, but it can always help.  I will keep this is mind when we have our own truck.  

Another thing I noticed was that many food trucks don't take very much pride in how nice their menu looks.  A lot of them are just scribbled on a chalkboard or white board - a nice looking menu makes such a difference!

'Noodlerolla' food truck.

'Noodlerolla' menu.

What we ordered:
Spicy Fish Tacos
Spicy Bulgogi Burrito (beef, cabbage, potato, cilantro, bean sprouts)

Total: $12.50

Bulgogi Burrito                                              Fish Tacos

We also stopped at 'Iced Gems' to get a cupcake - we couldn't resist!  The guy working in the truck was very nice and we told him all about our food truck road trip.  We asked him what cupcake he recommended and he told us to get 'Italian Wedding.'  It tasted like pecans, pineapple, hazelnut, and amaretto all mixed together, with a delicious buttercream frosting.  

'Iced Gems' cupcake van.

Cupcake menu.


What we ordered:
Italian Wedding Cupcake

Total: $3.00

Enjoying my 'Italian Wedding' cupcake!

We walked around and took pictures of some of the other food trucks - the ones pictured below were our favorites.  It's too bad we couldn't order food from all of them!  

By the time we got back to our Jeep, we decided we didn't want to drive much further that night, so we found a KOA campground just south of Washington, D.C., about an hour and a half south of Baltimore.  Our original plan was to stop in Washington to eat at food trucks, but the further we get into our road trip, the more we are realizing that not every stop on our itinerary is going to work out.  It all depends on what day of the week it is and what time of day it is.

'Gypsy Queen Cafe'

'Chicken n' Waffles' - Mitch regretted not ordering from here!

Tomorrow we are planning to drive into Richmond, VA to see what we can find that's going on during a Saturday afternoon.  It wasn't originally on our list, but I think we will go there instead of Charleston, SC.  Then we will be on our way to Savannah, GA for the night.

Total Spent on Food Trucks:  $30.25 (under budget)

Day 6 Spending:

Gas: $91
Camper World for some plastic wheel chokes (our wood ones were falling apart): $9
Groceries: $48
Food Truck food: $30.25
Campsite $41

Total: $219 (over budget)

Mitch and Laurel

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DAY 5: New Haven, CT and Seaside Heights, NJ

DAY 5 - Thursday, September 28th, 2012: New Haven, CT and Seaside Heights, NJ

We woke up and left Tom's around 10:30am.  We headed straight to the Yale campus where our bartender from last night had directed us to go.  It was only about 5 minutes away and we found the food trucks/carts right away.

Ingalls Rink parking lot at Yale University - me standing in the middle of a dozen or so food carts/trucks that were parked here.

Mitch decided to order food at a Japanese food stand.

He ordered Kimchi Pork Ramen with Shrimp Tempura.

It came in a quart sized container and only cost $7.50!

I decided to get Cauliflower Kati Rolls from a Bengali food truck.  You get 2 rolls and a bottle of water for $5.

It was a flatbread (tasted like a crispy flattened crescent roll) and a pureed cauliflower/potato mixture with cabbage salad and hot sauce.  So good!

Food truck picnic.

After we finished our 'breakfast,' we got in the car and started our drive back towards NYC.  This time we drove on the Interstate instead of the scenic route and completely by-passed NYC towards New Jersey because the Belafonte didn't want to drive through all the busy traffic, horrible potholes and bad road conditions in the city.

We drove on the Interstate until we got close to the Atlantic Ocean where we decided to get off and drive along the coast.  It was absolutely breathtaking!

Bridge coming up to the Atlantic Ocean.

New Jersey coast.

We decided to stop in Seaside Heights, NJ to hunt for some food trucks/food carts along the boardwalk, but once we got there, it was obvious that the 'Jersey Shore' turns into a ghost town after Labor Day.  Nothing was going on.  To entertain ourselves for making the trek here, we made a stop at Jersey's most famous summer home....

Yes.  This is the 'Jersey Shore' house.  

On our way out of Seaside Heights, it was already 6pm.  We were planning on driving to a campground near Philadelphia/Baltimore, but we changed our minds and decided to find a campground in New Jersey.  We realize that we're not following our road trip schedule very well, but that's what makes the trip fun! 

Tip Tam Campground - Jackson, NJ, about 30 minutes west of the Jersey coast towards Philadelphia.

Dinner at our campsite was grilled tuna sandwiches with homegrown tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers.

I think all I'm doing is eating during this trip.

Total Spent on Food Trucks: $12.50 (under budget)

Spending for Day 5:

Gas: $85
Food Truck food: $12.50
Campsite: $41

TOTAL: $138.50 (under budget)

Leftover from our $6000 budget: $4949.50

Mitch and Laurel

DAY 3: Effort, PA and DAY 4: NYC and Hamden, CT

DAY 3 - Wednesday, September 26th, 2012: Effort, PA

We woke up at our campsite and left around 10:30am.  It was about a 7 hour drive to Effort, PA. Driving through Pennsylvania was fairly uneventful and boring, so we were happy to get to my cousin's house.

Mitch made dinner for all of us, we hung out, and called it a night.

Jens (my cousin's husband) and Mitch making dinner.

Britta's son, Jens Jr.

Britta's daughter, Jovi, a.k.a. Smokey the Bear.

Total Spent on Food Trucks: $0

Spending for Day 3: 

Gas: $80 (Thanks for the BP Gas Cards Katie Scheffen and Allison McCreadie!)
Oil Change and new car battery: $181 :(

TOTAL: $261 (over budget)

Leftover from our $6000 budget: $5259

DAY 4 - Thursday, September 27th: Bronx, NY and Hamden, CT

The next morning we left their house around noon and stopped at Heckman Orchards farm market on the way out of Effort.  

What we bought:
5lbs of Honeycrisp Apples
Apple Cider
Homemade Soy Candle
Total: $16

Heckman Orchards in Effort, PA.

Perfect fall day in Pennsylvania.

Picking out some produce.

We left the farmers market and started making our way towards NewYork City.  It was about an hour and half drive.  We weren't planning on driving through the city with a camper, but made the last minute decision to drive through the Bronx.  We thought we might be able to find some food trucks near Yankee Stadium or the Bronx Zoo.

Drinking and driving (cider).

George Washington bridge that connects New Jersey to the Bronx, NY.

As we were driving through the city, we realized it was not the easiest thing to do with a huge trailer camper being towed behind us.  We drove through the Bronx neighborhoods for an hour or so, past the stadium and the zoo, but decided it was going to be too hard to try to park the camper.  So instead of stopping at one of the million food trucks we saw, we started heading towards Connecticut.  

Driving through the city with the camper.

When we got into Connecticut, we decided to drive the scenic route instead of the Interstate.  While we were driving through Stamford, CT, we immediately found a food truck called El Churritos.  We were so hungry, so it was perfect timing.

The awesome cashier who was so nice!

El Churritos food truck.

Awesome food!  We were happily surprised.

What we ordered:
Fish Tostadas
Taco de cabeza
Taco de Chichirrone
Jarritos Soda

Total: $11

After our food truck meal, we continued our way up to the Hamden/New Haven, CT area.  We got there at 7pm and easily found our friend Tom's restaurant, the 'Park Central Tavern' where Tom is the executive chef.  Tom is Mitch's mentor and Mitch was Tom's Sous Chef at Smyth at the Iron Horse Hotel (Milwaukee) from 2009-2011.

The Belafonte parked at the PCT.

The two of us with Tom at Park Central Tavern.  He made us an amazing meal for dinner.

Dinner was Disco Fries, Seared Scallops, Buttermilk Fried Clam Tongues, Seared BBQ Tuna, and Crab Stuffed Clams.  Delicious.

After dinner, Tom took us to a local bar called 'The Playwright.'  The bartender, Eric, gave us a bunch of suggestions of places to go to find food trucks in New Haven near the Yale campus.  This was so helpful to us!  We're going to check them out before we leave town tomorrow morning.

'The Playwright Irish Pub' - New Haven, CT.

Total Spent on Food Trucks/Farmer Markets: $27 (under budget)

Spending for Day 4:

Gas: $85 (Thanks for all the Shell Gas Cards, Thomas and Hutter families and Deb & Gwen!!!)
Food Trucks/Farmers Markets: $27
Ice: $6
Target for a mattress topper to make our futon more comfortable: $21
Drinks at Playwright Pub: $12
Tip at dinner (dinner was paid for): $20

TOTAL: $171 (under budget! Finally!)

Leftover from our $6000 budget: $5088

Tomorrow we are heading towards the New Jersey coast, Philadelphia and Baltimore (yes, we're WAY behind schedule!)

More soon!
XO Mitch and Laurel