The Year of the Rabbit Joins The Food Truck Frenzy

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foodtruck.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

February 3, 2011 marks the first day of the Chinese zodiac's Year of the Rabbit.  People born in years of the Rabbit (1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011) are supposed to enjoy the good things of life, and have excellent taste.  In honor of this particularly noble year, Napa's Food Truck Friday will be featuring New Year's specials themed around the animal of the year.

Food Truck Fridays started in Napa last October as the semi-guerilla "Circle the Wagons" event, which gathered the first gourmet food trucks of Napa Valley all in one place, for one night only.  Phat Salads & Wraps, Crossroad Chicken, and Mark's the Spot all convened at Dim Sum Charlie's shiny silver Airstream trailer to support the fledgling food truck movement in wine country.  The night was such a success, they wound up making it a monthly occurrence on the first Friday of each month. 
The December event expanded to include Sonoma County favorites Karma Bistro (Indian food from Petaluma), Dogs From Chicago (hot dogs in classic Chicago and original styles, from Santa Rosa), and Street Eatz (global inspiration based in Santa Rosa), as well as participation by the Karavan from Kara's Cupcakes and non-truck Gott's Roadside across McKinstry Street from DSC's.  The First Friday in January grew even bigger with the addition of Fork Catering and Cochon Volant from Sonoma County, and Spencer On the Go from San Francisco (recently featured on the show Food Truck Road Trip on the Food Network).  In just a few short months, the event has become a fantastic community block party, with a global spectrum of food options, rows of tables and outdoor heaters, and a remarkably mixed crowd of locals and visitors, singles and families.

February's Food Truck Friday will take place on February 4, 2011, the second day of the Year of the Rabbit.  According to Andrew Siegal, co-founder of Dim Sum Charlie's and unofficial ringleader of these events, there will be plenty of rabbit to celebrate the new year, as well as a few new additions to the truck ranks.  

Rumor has it there will be rabbit Bolognese, wood-fired pizza topped with rabbit, and spit-roasted bunny among the many dinner options that evening.   Dim Sum Charlie's new addition of "Chuck's Kind Bowl" (before you get too excited, I should clarify that this is a bowl of udon noodle soup) allows you the option of adding shredded rabbit to the noodles--or duck leg, for the squeamish.  I checked Chuck's rabbit bowl out on a recent reconnaissance mission, and it totally rocked: tons of tender, succulent rabbit meat, toothsome noodles, richly flavored broth, and a refreshing crunch from sliced snow peas and the tasty rice crackers served on the side.  Siegal said DSC may also be dishing out a special rabbit dumpling on February 4th as well.

Napa gets pretty chilly after sundown in winter, so layer up for this party... and don't forget to bring some warming beverages.  Many of the trucks sell soft drinks and water, and Dim Sum Charlie's has hot tea, but none of the trucks has a license to sell alcoholic beverages.  Fortunately the First Street location has plenty of neighbors that can help, from Taste at Oxbow (open til 9pm on Fridays) and Oxbow Wine Merchants (same), to Back Room Wines and Bounty Hunter to the west over the bridge, and JV Wine and Spirits over the bridge to the east.  Reusable plastic Go Vino wine glasses are available at Dim Sum Charlie's for a nominal fee, or you can bring your own for that, too.

Food Truck Friday happens rain or shine, starting at 5:00pm and continuing until late.
Food Truck Friday Chinese New Year's Celebration. February 4, 2011, Dim Sum Charlie's, 728 First Street, Napa.

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