If you are looking for a fun and delicious family night—try Monday Bitez at Sgt. Steve Owens Memorial Park (Lancaster City Park). The Food Truck Collective is back for their third year, bringing some Monday Night fun and great eats. Last Monday a few friends and I decided to try it out—armed with folding chairs and a blanket. We were amazed at the nice assortment of trucks all lined up in a semi-circle with a huge variety of not just your ordinary food fare, but with crazy names like Fat Queso, Main Squeeze, Spyros Gyros, Magical Kitchen, Love Bird, Kouushi Sushi, Belly Bombz, Roni Macaroni, Happy Ice, Tacos El Superior (best taco winner from Taco Festival, 2019), Izzy’s Taco House (best taco presentation winner from Taco Festival 2019), PhillyFornia and the Deli Doctor (New York delicatessen on wheels). It’s quite obvious what most of these trucks sell but the who would have thought that Fat Queso actually sells interesting quesadillas with all your favorites ingredients wrapped in a tortilla. Or Belly Bombz would have wings in every imaginable flavor from sweet to spicy and everything in-between or that the Magical Kitchen would have hamburgers with whimsical names—mystifying melt, fairy burger and hocus pocus burger to name a few!

Our first order came from the Fat Queso—The Big Southern (6” mini for $7.95) baked mac & cheese made with mozzarella, sharp cheddar and ricotta cheese filled with BBQ pulled pork and crispy onion straws then drizzled with sweet, spicy, tangy house-made BBQ sauce which was exactly what the flavor emulated plus it was ever so cheesy and delicious. We also ordered the Fat Queso (mini 6”, $7.95) which consisted of 8-hour braised bulgogi or Korean style brisket filled with Asian radish, carrot, cilantro, lime, slaw and drizzled with garlic chipotle aioli and cheesed with brie and sharp cheddar. Absolutely amazing to have all those flavors wrapped inside a tortilla where you could taste everything in each bite—especially the cilantro. A small quesadilla with a great big taste.   We did order from quite a few trucks to have a nice variety to write about; yeah, right we were just excited to try some amazingly different and gourmet food!

 I was very excited to see the sushi truck, my favorite all time food in the western hemisphere! The menu was crazy big and everything sounded and looked fabulous—handrolls, cut rolls, poke bowls, baked rolls, bento boxes, pokeritto (sushi burritos), dumplings, edamame, salads, popcorn shrimp, slushies, milk teas and boba drinks. I didn’t even know where to start, but since a line was starting to form behind me, I had to make my decision quickly. I chose popcorn shrimp with sweet mayo and eel sauce drizzled over the top for $11 and a crunchy cut roll (8 pieces for $10) Perfect choices, as these were both amazing. Simply put, this crunch roll featured tempura shrimp paired with cool cucumber, imitation crab mix, and avocado wrapped inside rice with panko flakes sprinkled on top. Beautiful, fresh and delicious. Now, the popcorn shrimp totally blew me away—nowhere in my wildest imagination was I prepared for this incredible taste. So incredible that I only shared 2 pieces with my friends and there had to have been at least 20. The mixture of sauces gave a whole new meaning to popcorn shrimp—cool, sweet and crunchy with a flavor so yummy, you will have to try for yourself; this chef definitely knows his way around a sushi kitchen.

My companion loves fried chicken, so I ordered from the Love Bird— a farm bird sandwich complete with lettuce, tomato, pickle and garlic herb mayo with seasoned fries for $15.25. The chicken is locally sourced, farm fresh, pickled brined, buttermilk battered and fried to golden perfection on a toasted brioche bun. I had one bite and it was amazingly fresh, crunchy and quite pleasing.

PhillyFornia is basically Philly sandwiches, subs & Philly fries—but there is nothing basic about the food. I ordered the cheesesteak; $15 (rib-eye steak, grilled onions & mushrooms and provolone cheese served on an Amoroso roll-straight from Philadelphia since 1904), the roll is why Philly sandwiches are world-famous. It was everything you wanted in a cheese steak—high quality meat, thick sliced veggies all chopped and grilled with melted cheese wrapped inside an incredibly soft roll; perfection at its finest.

We also ordered L.A. street mac & cheese from Roni Macaroni with 100% beef kosher hotdog and bacon. We opted not to include the grilled onions & peppers. This combination, although sounds odd was absolutely delicious and satisfying.

The show stopper for both Joy and I was the iced tea/lemonade stand. We started out going for an iced tea, because who needs all the sugar of the lemonade. But once we noticed the flavor varieties—some mixed with mint and some with basil we just had to try a couple. Joy had the watermelon, basil lemonade, it was crisp, clean, not too lemony, sour or sweet. It was just right. I had the mixed berries with basil. Refreshing, mildly sweet with a slight tart kick at the end. As the liquid was absorbed into the fruit, I added some of my cold water which gave me a little more to enjoy—however, I wish I had ordered a large as later that night I was craving another one! Monday Bitez offers, gourmet food trucks, music, fun and games every Monday 5-9PM. Bon Appetit!

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