Tastes & Treats at The Food Truck Wars June 14, 2019 · 7 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
When I was younger, I prided myself on having a hollow leg and the ability to eat much more than the average man. However, last weekend at The Centennial Market's second annual Food Truck Wars, I finally met my match.
I've written about The Centennial Market a few times, and I've watched it grow in leaps and bounds the last few years. The market is inside the shell of the former Sears Outlet building, a building where I spent much of my childhood. Sears closed this outlet building in 2016 and shortly afterwards The Centennial Market opened in an attempt to save the shopping centre.
The market grew quickly, and the parking lot of the building has become a hub of events throughout the year. One of the biggest events is the annual Food Truck Wars.
Although various types of "food truck wars" have been common in other Canadian cities for decades, Regina didn't have them until last year. The catalyst that caused the Food Truck Wars to begin was the decision of the city to increase food truck permits to $1,680 (from $1,400) per season. Many food trucks couldn't afford that and weren't able to set up in popular places like Wascana Park or City Square Plaza. Because the Food Truck Wars operate on private property, the food trucks don't need a permit to set up shop. This means not only are vendors able to make a profit, but that food trucks from other communities can participate too, like Graham's Grill who came all the way from Duck Lake.
Although I didn't attend the Food Truck Wars last year, I was asked by the event organiser, Chrysta Garner, to be a judge this year. This entailed sitting at a table and having people bring me different dishes of food for three hours. It was a difficult task, but I was up to the challenge. There were six judges in total, with some of them being Winston Chapman from WinstonOneOnOne.com, Dalby from the Regina's Rock Station 104.9 The Wolf and former mayor Pat Fiacco.
Last year's Food Truck Wars had each judge eat a full dish of food from each food truck, but the number of food trucks had doubled this year, so it was decided we would all share. We had to grade the food on presentation, size, flavour and the appearance of the food truck.
In the course of three hours I sampled four poutines, four minidonuts, three hamburgers, two nachos, one taco, one hotdog, one sausage, one perogy, one ice cream sundae, once cup of ice cream, two rolled ice cream and plenty more.
I wish I could say I could eat all that… but I couldn't. After dish number eleven I began to feel sick, and I couldn't touch dish number twelve (which is too bad, since it was Peg's Kitchen and I've always wanted to try her perogies!). I excused myself to go to the bathroom… and to save you the details, I missed dishes thirteen and fourteen.
Thinking back, I don't think it was the food that made me sick. I think I was oblivious to how hot I was, and how little water I was drinking. I still have sunburn from that day, so I think I was suffering from a minor heat stroke. Either way, when I got back, I was happy to walk into dish number fifteen, which was nice, cold, rolled ice cream.
After we were done judging, Garner took our votes and compiled them to make a final decision. About a half hour later, the winners were decided. Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ won third place, Absolute Zero won second place and Sweet Tooth Rolled Ice Cream won first place.
The Food Truck Wars went on for another hour, with the beer gardens and the live entertainment – music by The Milkman's Sons and the Crosby Harle Band – becoming the main event. But, instead, I decided to go home and fall into a food coma.
Although the judges had collectivly chosen their winners, I had some of my own favourites. Along with Sweet Tooth Rolled Ice Cream, I also really enjoyed Bon Burger and their pizza burgers (pepperoni on a burger is something I didn't know I needed) and Tru North Concessions, who had a delicious foot-long hot dog. I also really enjoyed Going With The Grain, who I would argue is the number one underrated food truck at the whole event. I've had their food before, and it is always spectacular.
It's great to see the event growing and becoming more popular, and I was honoured to be chosen to be one of the judges. This year they had fifteen food trucks and over 40 vendors, and I've been told the upcoming one in August will be even bigger.
For those who didn't make it to the event, the complete list of all the food trucks in attendance are:
Frank Albo is known to many as "The Dan Brown of Canada". He gained this informal title through his many decades of research, interviews and investigations into the secrets of the Manitoba Legislature. Through his work, he claims that Winnipeg was meant to have a much larger role in Canada – going so far to say that it was to be the "Jerusalem of the New World".
It may sound odd, but there are a lot of strange motifs within the Manitoba Legislature that otherwise wouldn't make sense. These include being the exact dimensions of King Solomon's Temple, having medusas and demons guarding the entrances, and a "black star" of sacrifice beneath the rotunda. Stranger still is that none of these symbols are in the visually similar Saskatchewan Legislature which was constructed about the same time and for the same purpose. For some reason, the Manitoba Legislature was uniquely created in this manner.
Albo's research has not only gotten a lot of attention in Canada, but international attention too. One of these people was His Excellency Konstantin Zhigalov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan. While visiting Winnipeg in 2014, Zhigalov attended Albo's tour. After it concluded, Zhigalov pulled Albo aside and invited him to the capital of Kazakhstan. The request was peculiar, but the moment Albo arrived, he knew exactly why he was chosen.
For many of us in Saskatchewan, summer means it's time for an Alberta road trip. Although the endless stretches of prairie have their appeal, there is nothing quite like seeing the mountains rising over the horizon.
One challenge that comes with taking a summer road trip is the heat. Much like on this side of the border, it isn't uncommon for summer temperatures to get to the extreme. I know a few people who have had car problems in the heat, and my family is one of them. Nothing ruins a trip more than an unexpected visit to the mechanic.
Thankfully, Alberta has a myriad of places to go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or fishing. This not only gives your vehicle time to cool off, but also gives you a chance to escape the heat as well.
If you've ever passed through Medicine Hat, or you're spending a few days in the area, you've probably wondered what to do there. To most people outside the city, Medicine Hat might seem like a sleepy little prairie town in the Canadian Badlands; but for those who live in Hell's Basement, they'll tell you that this city is one of the most exciting places you can explore in all of Alberta.
I've gone to Medicine Hat three times in the past two years, and while I'm no expert on this thriving city, I know where the hidden gems are. If someone I know is passing through the area, I tell them they need to visit Medicine Hat. To help explain why, I put an article together for anyone else interested in visiting the Hat.
If you're spending 24 hours in Medicine Hat, you'll need somewhere to sleep. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a little under an hour away and a great place to camp. Camping in Cypress gives you the choice to explore the park, the city, and everywhere in between.