Shana & Marcus Take on Foodie Land

At our camping spot here on the Del Mar Fairgrounds in California, we can see the ocean to our west, and directly south there’s a lagoon that rises and falls with the tide. We’ve fished off the banks with hopes of casting in just the right spot to pull a halibut off the lagoon bed. 

Marcus likes to call himself a Jack of all Trades and is a skilled angler, but this lagoon would not prove to be fruitful, well, fish-full. 

Never to be disappointed, to our north we saw a parking lot full of any food you could possibly want, and no bait, rod, or reel needed. We did, however, need the same patience we displayed whilst fishing because this event had been sold out for months, which really made us want to go even more.

Food, Glorious Food! 

Turns out, the event was open to all RV guests!  In other words, we were already there, so they really couldn’t keep us out.  Here’s what we found. 

Foodie Land 2022 was three long days and nights of food trucks and mobile kitchens stocked with everything from bone marrow to pupusas to Hawaiian honey cones.

Day 1: Ramen Burgers, Meat Everything, HOT

Bring on the crowd!

When the gates opened, the first wave of 58,000 ticket holders stormed the vendors in every direction. It looked like everyone in a 50-mile radius had shown up and brought a friend with them named Hunger! 

We made a quick loop of the grounds, strategically scouting the booths we wanted to try and surveying the lines. Booth 1, first dish secured: it was an Angus burger grilled to medium, with cheese and all the fixings, but the bun was made out of ramen! Yes, two rings stuffed with cooked ramen then grilled on a Blackstone. One word, Amazing. This was such a filling meal, as you can imagine, but we inhaled half of it and set off for our next Foodie take down.

Booth 2 was in our sights, and we found ourselves in a line that seemed to be short enough. As we scanned the menu, Shana remembered that I had never had a Scotch egg. This is a must-have item now, and so we ordered one and added one of those steak and cheese meat pies. 

If you’ve never had a Scotch egg, it’s a deep-fried, hard-boiled egg that has gone through a metamorphosis involving being wrapped in loose sausage and then deep-fried. My fellow readers: we have yet to find anything on Earth that is deep fried that we didn’t love, and this egg wasn’t a let-down! The meat pie did not disappoint either; after my first bite I was quickly transported back to Philly, while savoring the flakey crust, steak, and cheese. Shana just smiled and wiped the grease running down my chin.

Booth 3 would be the final stop of the night for us, and fried chicken was the protein of choice. Truthfully, we wanted to stop by this booth because the guys running it were staying over in the campground near us.

This kitchen boasted of its amazing Nashville hot fried chicken, and we can confirm they mean hot. Knowing we do not do spicy well, we ordered the mild tenders to be safe, or so we thought. The flavor was, I’m sure, amazing, but we couldn’t taste anything because our taste buds were super angry at us for the third-degree burns. Time for a shower after sweating—day one was a wrap.

Day 2: Bone Marrow, Frog Legs, Pupusas

We were Foodie Land veterans by this point and strolled the event with a direction and destination in mind—it’s Bone Marrow Day!

We made a beeline for this booth after seeing the line the night before that was 200+ people long. To give you an idea of the wait, we arrived 30 mins after the event opened, just as they yelled out, “#216.” They’d filled 200 orders in the first 30 minutes? Once we got in line, we were order #266. We’d planned for the bones to be a treat for our dogs after we consumed the marrow, so we just had to stay.

With so much time to wait, we considered our next foodie conquest, frog legs! I (Marcus) embarrassingly had never had them before (embarrassingly because I grew up in the Southeast.). Well, I am happy to report the following in-depth opinion: “tastes like chicken.”

Now that the chicken, excuse me, frog legs, had been safely stowed away, we hustled back to booth 1 with four orders to spare before our turn. Then, bones in hand, we found a table and dug in. First, we tried the original flavor plus butter and weren’t impressed at all. Shana loves marrow, and she was underwhelmed at the taste and texture; I had one bite and put my spoon down. 

The second bone was garlic butter and mushroom–this was much tastier, with enough garlic to erase a branch of a vampire’s family tree. 

The saddest part was we couldn’t give the bones to our pups because the edges were too dangerous for them to chew on. 

By then those two frog legs were long gone, so it was time to find something worth eating. Booth 3 had been identified—pupusas—and we were in line with no more than ten people ahead of us. 

A pupusa is a thick griddle cake or flatbread from El Salvador and Honduras, made with cornmeal or rice flour, similar to the Venezuelan and Colombian arepa. We ordered a combo plate that came with two pupusas, pickled purple cabbage slaw, and plantains! We ate this plate faster than Shana could get a picture. It was by far the best thing we had all weekend—hell, all year! Day 2 was in the books—time to quit while we were ahead.

Day 3: Sweets and Treats

We waited until later in the day this time to make a dash for sugar in various forms.

Booth 1 was chicken served in a waffle cone. We love this for several reasons, including the fact that you consume the vessel that the food came in. Waste reduction is something we focus on during our travels, to always do no harm to the environment. “Chick’nCone” served us a sweet waffle cone filled with deep fried “yard pimp,” seasoned to taste exactly like chicken and waffles, one of Shana’s top three favorites. 

Right next door was booth 2: freshly popped kettle corn. Such a simple and nostalgic thing, but a must-have, and we should have bought more. 

With popcorn under an arm, Chick’nCone in that hand, and Shana tightly squeezing the other as she danced behind me, loving every bite, we made haste for booth 3. Here we grabbed some small cakes, then sped over to a booth with what we can best describe as a brioche bun with a buttery, cheesy icing on it, topped with flavors like red velvet and maple bacon.

One word: Delicious! 

Food Trends

The most remarkable observations of this three-day adventure would be the trends that we noticed while we were stuffing our faces. Located right at the entrance was a booth that sold bottomless gigantic baby-bottle-shaped sippy cups. Imagine thousands of adult humans carrying baby bottles filled with juice but no alcohol. And they cost $50 each! This was a real head-scratcher for us.

Lastly, the longest line by far all three days was the booth that sold “D-Pops.” Imagine donut batter poured into in a phallic mold, cooked and served with flavors ranging from the “OG” with powdered sugar icing to the chocolate churro. We did not waste any calories, dollars, or time on these. 

However, we did waste an embarrassing amount of time pondering what this world has come to. 

Foodie Land 2022 is part of our history now, and we are happy to report we did not eat everything … all at once, at least. Now, it’s time to do a price-per-calorie spreadsheet of this food explosion.  Well, maybe that’s not a good idea.

Cheers, Friends! 

By now, we’re back at Tijuana River for two weeks. “Shana, where is the rattlesnake repellent?!?”

Upcoming note: We have decided we can recreate the ramen burger, so stay tuned for how that turns out.

Shana And Marcus

We are a post-pandemic retired duo who decided society was too much of a crazy breed. We bought an RV, then a tent, and took off on the road so we could get back to nature, reflect on the beauty that goes unnoticed and focus on recreation. (For more posts by these authors, click on their names, above.)

3 thoughts to “Shana & Marcus Take on Foodie Land”

  1. Even though I’d just had dinner and wasn’t at all hungry I was *truly* jealous of your food adventures! We have (much smaller) food truck evenings once a month in my neighbourhood but since it’s just for a couple hours I can only manage one dish, sometimes two. What a dream to be able to keep sampling like that! Tbh if I was there, and not diabetic, I might have tried a D-pop because it’s so tacky 😁

    1. The key to sampling is just that sample but don’t fill up. Your point about the Pops had us both laughing. Thank so much for reading.