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City, Food

Today Check Out First Fridays: Food Truck Feasting @ the Olympic Park

Posted by Adriana / July 4, 2013

First Fridays Olympic Stadium Grumman '78 Hibiscus.jpg
Already on its third edition of this less-than-stellar-summer and prepped to extend all the way into October, L'Esplanade Financiere Sun Life and the area surrounding the Olympic Stadium host First Fridays on the self-explanatory first Friday of each month: wrangling a host of food trucks into a conveniently confined setting and allowing us to indulge in the excess of mobile dining with none of the pseudo-excercise of having to chase them down.

Started last summer and pre-dating the pilot project street food movement currently wreaking (carefully constrained & highly regimented) havoc on Montreal streets, First Fridays provides a more convivial congregation of the mobile meal/foodie vehicles than the cutthroat line-ups of eager nine-to-fivers on lunchbreak. Here, vendors share space with DJs and other live entertainment, like stilt-walking circus performers amidst the concrete paradise most previously utilized by skaterats and parcour enthusiasts, now functioning as an abundantly expansive terrain on which to perch oneself and sample some mobile cuisine.

Offerings in the past have included the now-familiar (to those keen on their Twitter-following truck-hunting) panko-coated pogos & yellow beet ketchup of Nomade S06, bacon-rich grilled cheeses from P.A. Gargantua, the ever-ample pulled pork sandwich from Pas d'Cochon Dans Mon Salon, and trailblazer/mother of the movement Grumman 78's tacos & bagged hibiscus juice, as pictured above. Even trucks without one of the lucky 27 licenses to rotate amongst the city-designated areas are allowed to partake in stationary events & festivals, so come to try some tested favourites or sample from the newer kids on the culinary block. My pick would go to the Camion Au Pied de Cochon's pork three-way(s) on a bun-banishing doughnut (as quoted in this week's Montreal Gazette article: "Why are we making bread when we have doughnuts?") or a pan-Asian double-header with a taste of Thailand from Le TukTuk and a visit to the Dim Sum Truck's colorful explosion of happy fruits and slot-machine graphics.

First Fridays is only one of many new initiatives being hosted on Esplanade to help give new life to the much-maligned relic of taxpayer deception (what else is new these days?) that is the Big O'. With the flashy Saputo Stadium and the glittery futurism of the new Planetarium just a stone's throw away, the under-utilized Stade Olympique is finally starting to wake up (and no, those biannual monster truck rallies don't count). Other events include Urban Agriculture Workshops (featuring tips on how to maximizing a balcony garden or properly use medicinal plants), film screenings under the stars, an Extreme Sports Festival and free outdoor concerts like Kent Nagano & the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) on August 14th.

For First Friday info and a calendar of up-coming events at the Esplanade Sun Life, you can visit their website here.

And if you're anything like me and need to map out your meal-moves in advance, Cuisine de Rue has some nicely-inclusive blurbs on this month's featured food trucks, while the Ville de Montreal's official site is the most reliable resource for accessing a handy daily schedule of truck locations. Now if only our metro lines were run this smoothly...


First Fridays will take place this Friday, July 5th beginning at 4pm until 11pm (or until the food runs out) a few short steps outside the Pie-IX Metro .

Discussion

20 Comments

Bill Binns / July 9, 2013 at 11:34 am
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I have been to two First Friday's this summer and really love the event. The location is another matter. I can think of a dozen places in the city that would be better for this than the optimistcally named "Sun Life Esplenade". This location has all the charm of a Walmart parking lot. The organizers have been lucky that it has not been hot for any of the First Fridays yet. This location does not have one square centimeter of shade and turns into a blinding hellscape when the temp gets above 30.
Adriana replying to a comment from Bill Binns / July 11, 2013 at 11:59 pm
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Hi Bill,

While I agree that the lack of shade could turn this event into a future scorcher, I've no doubt this could be easily rectified with the inclusion of patio umbrellas or mobile gazebos to appease sweaty diners! ;) As for the location- I suppose I am perhaps a little biased. As someone who has lived in the Rosemont-Petite Patrie borough my whole life, I can't tell you how delighted I was in discovering this event practically right there in my own backyard! So refreshing to draw people out of the downtown/Plateau/Mile End core to explore some of the city's other boroughs ( Masson street to the north and the burgeoning of Ontario street to the south have both been spawning some pretty cool spots to keep an eye on.) And to be honest, I actually am quite fond of that maze of multi-tiered concrete surrounding the Stade- gives for an interesting little view at night as well

:)
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