What would drive a rational-minded business professional out of the comforts of an air-conditioned office and into nearly 100 degree temperatures in the unrelenting midday Florida sun?
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's monthly food truck festival in downtown Tampa's Lykes Gaslight Park, that's what. And perhaps it was the lure of to-go gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from The Cheesery, one of the four new food trucks that debuted at the park on Wednesday afternoon. Buckhorn noshed on the Cheesery's great white grilled cheese with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and tomatoes (he added bacon).
For Lizzie Cakes, a New Port Richey-based dessert food truck, Wednesday was its first downtown Tampa food truck rally.
"It's something I've wanted to do for years," said food truck owner Liz McComas. "I looked into storefronts but it was too expensive so we decided to go mobile."
Lizzie Cakes is "strictly dessert," offering everything from white chocolate key lime pie to red velvet cake (everything is less than $5).
"Our customers love the banana pudding cheesecake," McComas said.
Despite the incredible temperatures (so intense that one woman fainted) folks on their lunch breaks lined up for nearly 20 minutes to order from Thai One On, another newbie to Buckhorn's food truck rally. For $9, Thai One serves up a heaping to-go container of pad Thai with shrimp or pork. Or, there's the Thai BBQ, three pieces of spicy chicken with sticky rice and sweet sauce.
For dessert, the man behind Thai One's grill said, "Eight out of 10 women that order the mango sticky rice, love it." The pile of tender mango chunks, sweet sticky rice with coconut cream, and crunchy mung beans is indeed, lady (and gentleman) approved.
Tropicool, a double-decker bus that serves homemade sorbet, was also in attendance for the first time. Buckhorn's food truck rally is held on the first Wednesday of every month at Lykes Gaslight Park from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.