When my editor Dennis Wyatt told me that there were food trucks near Library Park and that I should go check them out, I have to admit that I was hesitant.
Quality food trucks in Manteca? A taco truck, maybe, but not the kind of food trucks that only come out for fair weekends and special events.
Well, I stand corrected – Poplar Street on the back side of Library Park is now home to a number of food trucks, and I want to actively encourage everybody that is reading this to go down there as soon as possible – and as often as possible – to give them the kind of business that will only bring more delicious mobile treats to the community.
I think that it’s fitting that for a city that not that along ago for all practical purposes passed an ordinances that banned taco trucks from inside of the city limits, Manteca has since come back around to the idea – just as the food truck craze is hitting its peak and even brick-and-mortar restaurants are getting their own food trucks to bring their wares to the wider community.
Over the last several years I have traveled a little bit inside of the United States, and in each of the major cities that I have visited, what were at one time mobile eateries have become permanent fixtures of the urban landscape. Entire parks in Portland have become docking stations for food trucks that permanently set up around the outside of the grassy area. The street scene in Downtown Austin is alive well into the wee hours of the morning with food trucks that open up just as the bars are starting to empty and people flood 6th Street. If there is an open parking lot area in New York City, there’s a good chance that a food truck has popped up there – offering its delicious wares to the hungry New Yorkers that keep the city humming at all hours of the day and night.
And now, after much debate and even more begging, Manteca finally has a chance to have something similar.
But that’s only if you – the reader and the resident – take advantage of them while they are there.
On Thursday I popped into Library Park and got a Hawaiian plate lunch – two scoops of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, barbecue chicken and kalua pork – that absolutely blew my mind.
I haven’t had a plate like this since I was on the islands, and I’d be willing to put what I ate on Thursday up against anything that I had when I was actually in Hawaii. For $13 I got more food than I could possibly eat and a soda, and I didn’t have to deal with subpar chain food or the long drive back from somewhere like the Bay Area where you’re more likely to find something like that to eat.
The ball is now in your court Manteca. By some stroke of miracle, food trucks are being actively encouraged to set up shop on a semi-permanent basis next to Library Park – the scenario that I have seen hundreds of people call for on social media over the years.
And they will only remain if people take advantage of what they offer – deliciousness, served by the plateful – while they are there.
A layout issue last week meant that we couldn’t bring you our weekly pigskin picks, so I’ll give you the crib notes – we all picked the same five games meaning nobody would move up or down, and then added a sixth – Ripon vs. Escalon – to make things interesting. Eric Wohle and Mark Condit took Ripon, and Chris Teicheira and I took Ripon. They won, and we lost. This week there will be some more movement, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens heading into the last week of the Valley Oak League season.
Without further delay, here’s what we think for this week:
Whole (19-7) – The fearless leader, who had his new hometown team come through for him last week to give him sole possession of first place, is taking Manteca over Sierra, East Union over Weston Ranch, Ripon, the 49ers, and the Raiders. And, like always, Wohle signed off his message with “I want my linguica.”
Teicheira (18-8) – Like he would ever choose anyone else, Teicheira picks Manteca over Sierra (52-20), East Union, Ripon, Carolina, and Oakland. And he had this to say: “I’ve tried thus far in this league to live the life and picks of an Eric Wohle, but, alas, I can no longer look in the mirror and respect the bowl of lukewarm vanilla pudding I see – long live the mighty Buffaloes! Raiders win, Niners lose – the way our Lord Al Davis intended. And you’ll get our linguica sandwich when I’m damn well ready.”
Campbell (15-11) – As my picks this season have proven, I’m not exactly a sage when it comes to this game. But, I’m also no idiot, and the chalk line is looking pretty good for me – I’ll take Manteca, East Union, Ripon, the 49ers, and the Houston Texans. And while his position allows him to thumb my nose at this request, at this point I’m expecting the special Portuguese stash of handmade linguica for making us wait so long.
Condit (14-2) – The red jerseys look good this week; East Union, Ripon, Houston, and San Francisco. But a big fan of the green Yoda remains, so taking Manteca over Sierra is a must. Reminded of my roots during a conversation with The Godmother in Winter Gym this week – put me down for Manteca for the rest of the reason unless I want to sleep with the fishes, an offer I can’t refuse from Stephanie James.
Until next week!
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.