A week ago, we were looking for something a little different to do when we came across Fandango’s, Eat|See|Hear roving outdoor summer movie night. It was a Saturday evening, and they were showing “Pretty in Pink,” starring Molly Ringwald. We packed up our camera equipment and headed for Long Beach, CA.
L.A. indie rockers, LA Font were there to open the evening with their SoCal-centric sounds, but we were there for the food.
Eat|See|Hear, presented by Fandango is a roving outdoor movie night that combines popular films with live music, and food trucks (and sometimes a cash bar), boasting the “largest (pop-up) movie screen west of the Mississippi.”
Saturday’s selection of “Pretty in Pink” was showing at the Marina Green Park in Long Beach, making for the quintessential Southern California experience.
During its 17-week summer run, Fandango moves to a different location each week, featuring different bands and different food. It’s the ultimate Southern California outdoor event series.
The Marina Green Park was filling fast, more than an hour before the movie began. People bring blankets, pillows, lounge chairs, and even tables out to relax on a plush lawn while noshing on some of the best Los Angeles has to offer. By 6:30 p.m. we estimated close to 1,000 people were sprawled throughout the park and buzzing around six or so gourmet food trucks.
We spent some time walking around, mingling with some friendly people and taking pictures of the event. Time was not on our side, the sun was on a rapid decline, and people were settling in for show time. We knew that if we were going to make a go of the food experience, we’d have to act fast. We quickly scanned the food trucks and made our decisions. We decided to divide and conquer, in order to take advantage of the little remaining daylight.
I chose Schmuck with a Truck, known for its authentic New York Deli experience. It’s been years since I’ve set foot in a New York Deli, but once you do, it stays with you. Some of the most popular delis in New York are renowned for their incredible eats, but it’s the atmosphere that makes the experience. Head Schmuck, Matthew Koven seemingly placed an entire deli menu into his Schmuck Truck, including Hot Pastrami, Corned Beef, Brisket, Knishes and “Award Winning” Lemonade.
When I arrived, there were around 15 people hovering around the truck. No one was ordering at the order window; they were waiting for their orders.
Chef Koven recommended the brisket and his “award winning” lemonade, which I gladly ordered. After waiting for about 15 minutes, I became concerned about our lighting situation.
Meanwhile, Andrew stood in a line 15 people deep to place his order at the Calbi truck, but was approaching the window to order.
47 minutes after ordering, I received my sandwich. The brisket was fantastic. The bread was fresh, but a little too thin for thick, juicy brisket and coleslaw. I held it all together with the wrapper and enjoyed every bite – incredibly messy but delicious. The service speed was a concern, and inspired another article about managing lines.
Calbi’s line moved quickly and efficiently. The staff of three inside of the truck worked together to continually turn orders out, and the food just kept flying out of the pick up window.
He ordered the Taco Trio – one shrimp, one pork and one carne asada taco all cooked to perfection. These were some of the freshest tacos made with homemade salsas I’ve tasted in quite some time. Andrew ordered and received his food while I waited for my sandwich. With absolutely no time left, and almost zero sunlight, we took our food to the order counter at the truck, and shot some amazing photos under the awning’s lights.
Needless to say, Fandango’s, Eat|See|Hear was an adventure, and a culinary treat. We were both very happy with the food, despite my wait time, and can’t wait to visit another location before they end.