The third annual Soboba Casino Resort Food Truck Fiesta supplied a weekend of music, games, fun and plenty of food on April 22 and 23. A huge tent that covered a beer garden, stage and lots of seating was surrounded by food trucks at the northwest parking area near the Soboba Hotel.
“We made sure we had a variety of food trucks offering various selections to please every palate,” SCR Chief Marketing Officer Martin Moore said. They ran the gamut from main dishes to dessert, giving visitors a reason to stay for several hours and/or attend both days. “We were very pleased to see over 3,000 people for the weekend.”
On Sunday, on-air personalities from FM radio station KOLA 99.9, were on hand to interact with guests and host several games such as a take on “Family Feud” with contestants given the opportunity to win Renaissance Pleasure Faire admission tickets or Starbucks gift cards. Jesse Duran In the Morning host also recruited several guests to compete in an axe-throwing contest, using plastic weapons. He was assisted at the music booth by Richie Ortega who is a producer, DJ and on-air sidekick. The previous day, KOLA’s sister station, KCAL 96.7 supplied fun activities and music.
Duran said he was looking forward to sampling food from many of the vendors, especially Angelenos’ Wood Fired Pizza. “All pizza is good but when it’s wood fired, it can’t be beat,” he said. Carmen Samaniego is a French trained chef who started making pizza as a hobby a number of years ago. Coming from a family of bakers, making wood fired Neapolitan style pizzas was exciting to her and she spent a lot of time during the pandemic to perfect the pizza dough, which recently won Hulu’s newest pizza competition show #BestInDough. To learn more, visit www.angelenoswfp.com or @AngelenosPizza.
Roxanne D. Santos and her team had a constant stream of customers at MK’s Kitchen which specializes in favorite Filipino foods. Based in Murrieta, owner/operator Santos said the company was launched during the pandemic. They started attending farmer’s markets, offering homemade kits that were an instant hit. For more information, 619-952-7342, mkskitchen_ on Instagram or mkskitchens619.951 on Facebook.
Moore said, “The weather was much better this year, and we did not charge admission which provided people the opportunity to experience more food trucks than in previous years.”
Chef Dijon Burns with California Street Food truck agreed. “Guests being able to enter for free this year made for a better interaction/environment between food truckers and potential buyers,” he said. “During this year’s event, the Soboba staff was very helpful during, before and after the event. I could really feel their level of commitment.”
Burns, who started his truck business in August of 2021, said the biggest seller at the Soboba event were his Cali fries with red or green sauce and his bone-in chicken wings that came with a choice of eight different sauces. For more information, 714-852-8847 or www.Californiastreetfood.net.
“I only put food on my menu that is special to me. From our fried chicken wings (my dad’s gift to me) to our homemade mac and cheese baked fresh every time (my mother’s and grandma’s recipe) and the fried rice that is rich in tradition, the thing that ties my whole menu together is the sauce,” Hemet-based Burns said. “We have a flavor just right for each person’s taste buds.”
Frybread Kitchen is a family-owned business that began at the Soboba Indian Reservation and has been at the Food Truck Fiesta all three years. “We kept to one item this weekend. We always base our menu off the year before and what sold the most,” Antonia Briones-Venegas said. The delicious frybread could be purchased as an Indian taco with all the fixings of meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and a side of salsa or as a sweet treat topped with fresh-glazed strawberries and whipped cream or honey and powdered sugar. “Some like it plain, though,” she said.
She said this year’s free admission made things a lot easier to manage. Frybread Kitchen stays busy trying to attend every event hosted by Soboba. They also continue to do fundraisers for the Soboba Tribal Preschool and Noli Indian School on the reservation.
“Aurelia Mendoza is my business partner, and we have our children (Ciara Ramos, Jesse Venegas and Kevin Venegas) working for us who on their own got their food handler cards,” Briones-Venegas said. “Also, my 10-year-old is our drink supplier with lemonade and street tea. Follow him on Instagram @flavored.rez.water.”
Paula Huntsman and Barbara Brenner with Scooter’s Sweet Shack also returned for their third year. Prepared to celebrate their ninth anniversary in June, they said the biggest seller at Soboba is always their authentic Italian ice, which is vegan and gluten free. Also popular were their freshly-baked mini donuts, sweet and spicy mangonadas and Italian ice lemonades.
“These events are extremely well organized by Soboba personnel and they always draw a great crowd,” Huntsman said. “It really is a fun community event for all ages.”
She said their two trucks serve at several hundred events each year that include corporate caterings, graduations, sports and school events and summer park events in any of Southern California’s four counties. To learn more, 855-337-2668 or www.scooteritalianice.com.
Catherine and Richard Quitain started Bruno’s Barbeque last November, with the help of their children Patricia, Matthew and Terry and attend many events around Menifee, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore and Temecula. Their most popular items are the brisket plates, brisket sandwich and beef ribs with sides of macaroni and cheese and seasoned fries. More details can be found at www.brunosbarbeque.com.
Moore said the biggest challenge for staff is coordinating all the food trucks and marshalling their arrivals, placement of the trucks and keeping them supplied with various commodities. Their efforts did not go unnoticed.
“This was our first time to join the food truck fiesta and we had so much fun,” Catherine, with Bruno’s, said. “I can say it’s well organized – from exchanging emails, requirements, sending info for the events and the day of the event itself.” She added that the SCR events specialists were very welcoming, especially Rochelle Torres and Mario Ramos. “They made sure all the vendors were being well taken care of from wi-fi, electricity, ice and trash bins to the extremely clean portable restrooms,” Catherine said. “And not just us vendors were happy, but the customers were being taken care of, too.”
She added, “We thank Soboba and all of the staff who put in the effort to make this event a success. We look forward to next year’s Fiesta.”
Armando Melendez founded his Salt N Pepper brand in 2017 and said the most popular item at this year’s Fiesta was his pastrami melt and pastrami fries. “I really liked the atmosphere there and thought it was a great venue setup,” he said. Spending five to six days a week at events, more information can be found at www.saltnpeppertruck.com or 949-324-2711.
José Ruesga, owner of Jose’s Churros & Mexican Food truck, has been in the food industry for 45 years. After doing his own catering business for 23 years, he decided to purchase a taco truck. “The best part of this event was that it was very well coordinated,” he said. “We had electricity and plenty of ice and lots of space next to each other. The ambiance was great with the music and decorations, and the entire staff was very helpful and responsible, staying on top of any need that we requested.” Serving traditional and gourmet churros alongside staples such as tacos and burritos, made his truck a one-stop shop for hungry foodies. To find out more, visit www.joses-churros.com.
Fresh Off the Hook, owned by Claudia Palma and Francisco Cruz, lived up to its tagline of “Not Your Ordinary Food Truck” with a steady stream of seafood lovers. with its lobster roll sandwich being a best seller. The crew said the event was well-organized and that everyone was very friendly, with many Soboba team members ready to help throughout the event. The lobster roll sandwich was a best seller. More information, and the full menu that was available at the Fiesta, can be found at www.fruttidimareOC.com or 714-326-3946.
Joseph and Lorena Diaz were kept busy with their popular funnel cakes. Joe.Sweets.951 can be found on Facebook and Instagram or by calling 951-421-2766. The local business regularly parks at the San Jacinto Farmer’s Corner market and has participated in company picnics for Soboba Casino Resort employees. Lorena, who said she had never eaten a funnel cake before they started the business about two years ago, said the most requested item on their menu for the weekend was the Strawberry Supreme. “People say our funnel cakes are the best they’ve ever tasted; there’s just something different about ours,” she said.
Moore said the SCR team is always looking for ways to improve and will be meeting in the next few weeks to review this year’s event and see what can be done to make next year bigger and better.
Photos courtesy of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians