By Shantee Woodards | Capital Gazette
Hunger and homesickness brought Elena Moschell and Laurie Rostock to opposing sides of West Street on Friday afternoon.
They learned the Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” was filming in Annapolis, so they used social media to pin down the trucks’ locations. And even though three trucks were in town — Philly’s Finest Sambonis, Tikka Tikka Taco and the Aloha Plate — they both set their sights on food that reminded them of home.
Moschell, who is Hawaiian, stood in line in front of the Metropolitan for the Aloha Plate truck. But Rostock, a Philadelphia native who lives in Davidsonville, waited in front of the Loews Annapolis Hotel to get a cheese steak from Philly’s Finest.
“I’ve been stalking them all day,” said Rostock, whose order included four cheese steak combos for herself and her family. “You just know (a good cheese steak) when you get it. You’ve got to have fried onions.”
Moschell was just as passionate about Aloha Plate after learning about it on Facebook.
“I want some Hawaiian food,” said the Annapolis resident, who met fellow Hawaiian Lisa Martin while in line. “I dance hula, my family is from Hawaii and I want to support the Aloha Plate food truck.”
The show challenges food truck teams to outsell one another in a coast-to-coast road trip. They’ve been on the road since May with stops including Portland, Oregon, South Dakota, Minneapolis and Chicago. Their next destination remains a mystery. The Annapolis trip was episode seven of the show, which is expected to premiere in mid-August, producer Shoshanna Ezra said.
Joe Toner, Erik Thompson and Chris Turchi make up the Philly’s Finest team, while Sam Swaleh and nephews Shaun and Mike run the Tikka Tikka Taco truck. Brothers Lanai and Adam Tabura and comedian Shawn Felipe handled the Aloha Plate orders.
Because the food was advertised through social media, hungry customers spent the afternoon going from site to site and checking Facebook for new locations. On Thursday, St. Louis-based Tikka Tikka Taco — which sells Asian and Mexican fusion food — announced that the truck would be splitting its time between the running shop Fleet Feet Annapolis and the Annapolis Yacht Club parking lot. On Friday, Aloha Plate’s team’s Facebook fan page said the truck would be at the Annapolis Shirt Company on Main Street and Philly’s Finest announced plans to be parked in front of Rams Head Tavern.
But plans kept changing, as Carl and Leigh Johnson learned. Their plan was to visit two of the three food trucks. They went to Rams Head, but learned through social media that Philly’s Finest had been relocated to Loews Annapolis. By midday, Tikka Tikka Taco team said they were out of food and would reopen later. Once the Johnsons reached West Street, there were more than 50 people in line at both Aloha and Philly’s Finest.
“We like the show and I like cheese steaks,” said Carl Johnson, an Annapolis resident. “Part of the draw is you want to end up on TV.”
Annapolis resident Nancy Schmid wound up eating at Tikka Tikka Taco because she had to pick up a packet at Fleet Feet. She bought their naanchos — a version of nachos made with naan bread — and enjoyed it.
“It’s spicy, but it’s a really good play on traditional nachos,” said Schmid, adding that she’d like to see more food trucks in the area. “It’s more variety. (Food trucks) can be more flexible with their menus. They don’t have to serve the same menu day in and day out, so you get better variety, better freshness, because there’s not a big refrigerator to store all your food in.”