When festival founder Anne-Marie Aigner first noticed the burgeoning food-truck scenes on the West Coast and the Midwest, her prescient mind foresaw that the tide would make its way to New England. In order to cultivate the nascent movement, she founded her food-truck-festival tour to bring dozens of trucks' eclectic wares to locales outside of Boston. Already scoring mentions in Boston and Worcester Mag in its first year, the festival has featured such four-wheeled kitchens as Redbones BBQ and Roxy's Grilled Cheese. Aigner hopes to sustain the food-truck industry beyond the festival's inaugural year by attracting interest throughout the region and motivating grassroots support for the mobile culinary spots and their future descendants, sandwich-slinging helicopters.
Allgos Sweets & Drinks quells watering mouths with a smattering of delectable desserts and elegantly flavored drinks. Sate voracious sweet teeth with the Exotica Bomba, where mango, passion fruit, and raspberry sorbetto rests under a blanket of white chocolate, stitched with a brown chocolate drizzle, great for luring a neighbor into your tree house ($6). Truffles and cakes grace the menu, gently pulling eyes toward the limoncello truffle ($4) and hazlenut cake ($6), causing an involuntary overflow from unsuspecting salivary glands. Complement sugary sensations with an assortment of teas ($2), juices ($1.75), and 100% Columbian coffees ($2 regular or $2.50 iced). Flavor-shot additions ($.50 each) can be added to coffee and soda ($1.50) to remodel the taste décor with hints of blueberry, caramel, chocolate, or victory. To allow compulsive flavor gluttons to hoard sweet somethings late, Allgos keeps its doors open Tuesday–Sunday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Brick walls and wooden ceiling planks reflect a warm earthen red in the glow of old-fashioned street lamps at Northworks Bar & Grille, which is entering its 34th year of business. A carousel-style painted horse hangs from one of the exposed rafters as if in homage to the bar's offerings of free popcorn at each table. The menu catalogs such whimsical combinations as lobster mac and cheese, plus stuffed sandwiches and half-pound burgers––ordering 40 and stuffing them in a pillowcase can render 20-lb dumbbells unnecessary. The chef further demonstrates skills by preparing fresh salmon and scallop entrees, as wells as the N.Y. sirloin steak drenched in the house's classic Jack Daniels sauce. The team also curates a gluten-free menu, which offers thin-crust pizzas and Redbridge beer, or the paperless menu, which was covertly drawn on the server's forehead as he slept.
Embracing the regional Asian flavors and French influences that characterize so much of Vietnamese cuisine, Pho Dakao presents diners with comfort foods inspired by recipes from half a world away. Those deep roots are evident in the crispy spring rolls, the steamed bass with ginger and scallions, and the bowls of fragrant pho in which rare steak or vegetables are equally powerful. The recipes' French influences pop up from dish to dish, most notably in the rice powder crepe stuffed with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. Cocktails here conspire to complement the food, and frosty beers and wines from Europe, South America, and the famous chardonnay-spewing geysers of California are also on the list.
Viva Bene Ristorante’s culinary gurus combine fresh ingredients with classic techniques to create an extensive menu of artful Italian, Mediterranean, and seafood dishes. In the dining room, servers set plates of grilled calamari and chicken capicola atop white-clothed tables. Wall sconces illuminate paintings that depict sailboats and Italian countrysides as idyllic as puppies barking at mountains. A rustic, expansive island bar lit by low-hanging pendant lamps surrounds gleaming bottles, which watch over patrons as they check email on Viva Bene's free WiFi.
Swirls of sauce and fresh orchid blossoms adorn entrees at Hirosaki Prime, where chefs craft traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes. At tabletop grills throughout the 54-seat hibachi room, they blend cooking and performance in a showy display as they sauté vegetables and seasoned meats. In the smaller lounge, alit with votive candles, otherworldly artwork, and walls inlaid with a soft red glow, guests can sample other Japanese dishes such as chicken teriyaki, as well as specialty sushi rolls such as the Ninja roll, whose shrimp tempura, cucumber, and spicy tuna hide in plain sight.