The first Thursday of every month is Gourmet Food Truck Night in Heritage Square, Downtown Oxnard, CA. Each event brings 8 to 12 of the hottest food trucks from the Orange County and Los Angeles County areas, including celebrity chefs, former Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race contenders, and a Cupcake Wars winner. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with live entertainment, friends, and downtown restaurants and shops joining in the party with extended hours and specials. Plenty of free parking on street and in public lots, and no admission fees.
First Thursdays in Downtown Oxnard, hosted at Heritage Square began in the Summer of 2011, and draws approximately 2,000 people to the area every month. What makes this event unique is it’s no ordinary street food festival. The Downtown Oxnard First Thursday Street Food Festival intertwines shopping, dining and entertainment, including brick and mortar restaurants, gourmet food trucks, pubs, shops, live performances and DJ’s. There are no admission fees, and parking is free.
Guests can order dinner from a variety of gourmet food trucks, then duck into a pub, wine tasting room, or a restaurant to enjoy their dinners. Each of the brick and mortar establishments participating in the event offers discounts and specials to entice the diners in. Afterward, guests linger through shops, or enjoy a cocktail while working up the dessert appetite. Guests can also dine outdoors in the beautiful Heritage Square while enjoying the live entertainment and music. This is truly a family-centric event, with just the right ambiance for the grown-ups.
The organizers book a new live performance each month, and provide additional outdoor seating, ample lighting and DJ’s.
Chef Adrien Nieto and Derrick Prince, MasterChef, Season 2, bring their Cruda gourmet food truck to the streets of Onxard, CA and the Downtown Oxnard First Thursday event. Unfortunately, neither chef was cooking in the truck during the night that we attended, but we still sampled the food. While the chef on duty had some very large shoes to fill, there were absolutely no complaints on our end. By the look on their customers’ faces, it seems the entire crowd was very happy with their Cruda creations.
We ordered a Firestone Short Rib and Chorizo Taco Plate and Red Snapper Ceviche from Cruda, then dashed into La Dolce Vita to order drinks with dinner. The food was outstanding, and the service at both Cruda and La Dolce Vita was extraordinary. It’s amazing to see the harmonious partnership between shops, restaurants and food trucks, and the overall culture at this event will keep you coming back.
We couldn’t pass up cupcakes for dessert, especially since two-time Cupcake Wars winner, Sweet Arlene’s Cupcakes and Bread Puddings, regularly serves at this event. It would seem sacrilegious, if we didn’t try these award-winners, if not just to see what makes them so special. Without giving any secrets away, I’ll say it was well worth the effort.
The line-up of food trucks, entertainment and special offers vary between each event. Check the Downtown Oxnard Management District website, Facebook page or Twitter feed for the next scheduled event.
Food Trucks Featured in May 2012:
Cruda (Farm to Table- Field to Fork)
Dosa (South Indian)
Mandoline Grill (Vietnamese cuisine)
White Rabbit (Filipino Fusion)
Bobalu (Gourmet Strawberries)
Sweet Arleen’s (Cupcakes)
La Dolce Vita (Special desserts)
Mossie Lee’s (Southern Cuisine)
Fresh n Meaty (Hamburgers)
Gourmet Genie (Middle Eastern)
Haunt Dawgz (Gourmet Hot Dogs)
Stitches ‘n Dishes is the creation of Christopher Ford and Andrew Nicora, and it’s inspired by Stitch, an American Staff. Terrier mix / Bichon Frise, born October 24, 2010.
We’re passionate about food, fun, photography and film. We also love the outdoors – hiking the city streets, the fairgrounds, or the beautiful trails all around California. Andrew literally grew up in the catering and concessions industries, doing everything from bussing tables, serving, cooking, back-stage hosting to you name it, and Chris has worked as an event promoter, organizer, photographer and marketing consultant.
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