This past Sunday marked the return of the Vendy Awards in Los Angeles, which took a hiatus last year. The second celebration of the city's street eats took place at Pan Pacific Park without a hitch, thanks to bright sunshine and attentive volunteers. All proceeds have been dedicated to local nonprofit organization L.A. City Farm.
Seven vendors were chosen as finalists based on public nominations. While Rafael Garza Quiroz of El Palomo Hot Dogs wasn't able to make it to the event, the other six brought their signature dishes to the street food showdown.
We give a rundown of the finalists based on alphabetical order, followed by the winners of the People's Choice Award and the coveted Vendy Cup.
Gigi Pascual's Buttermilk Truck served red velvet chocolate chip pancakes, powdered cake donuts, and Hawaiian bread breakfast sliders. That's Matiana Mitchell pictured on the right of Gigi.
Location: Check Twitter @buttermilktruck for up-to-date info.
India Jones Chow Truck
Vendor Dylan Keoski suggests the butter chicken curry over basmati rice to win over first-timers at this truck.
Location: Check their website for monthly schedule.
Assisted by daughters Blanca and Esmerelda, Caridad Vazquez piles her tacos and sopes with toppings. But she leaves you room for salsa and pickled cactus.
Location: Find Karina's Food at El Mercado del Pueblo.
Martha's Tamales Organicos
Martha Garcia makes tamales with health-conscious ingredients like grapeseed oil. Irania Carmona assisted for the day and Elaine Busta acted as Martha's translator.
Location: Find Martha's Tamales Organicos at El Mercado del Pueblo.
Tacos El Gallito
Tacos El Gallito is a family affair with (soon to be) husband-and-wife team Cristian Llamas and Mara Barajas running the truck with help from Cristian's sister Jessica.
Location: Check for updates on Facebook.
The Lime Truck
Mark Esposito peeks out from inside the truck as Colin Scott and Heather Larson flank chef-owner Daniel Shemtob. The Lime Truck was the Food Network's The Great Food Truck RaceSeason Two winner.
Location: Check their weekly schedule.
Standing at the very left of the stage, Sean Basinski of The Street Vendor Project introduces the judging panel (from left to right): Vendy Awards host James Cunningham is known for his series Eat Street on the Cooking Channel; Grub Street Los Angeles Editor Hadley Tomicki; chef and television personality Lee Anne Wong; Spice Table chef-owner Bryant Ng; and citizen judge Trina Diep who won her seat from a Vendys contest.
Volunteer Kim Truong watches over the ballot box that collected votes for the People's Choice Award.
People's Choice Award: Karina's Food
Caridad Vazquez happily claims her award!
And the Vendy Cup Goes to...
(Can we get a drumroll please?)
Vendy Cup Winner: India Jones Chow Truck
Dylan Keoski and his crew pose with the judges.