When exams, homework, adult responsibilities and extracurriculars get too much for students, food with some close friends is the solution. Luckily at First Fridays, the options for what foods to choose are endless.
Venice streets are lined with 20 to 30 trucks every first Friday of the month starting at 5 p.m. with food options including Thai, Southern Soul, French, Vietnamese, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Mexican, Greek, American and many more. The streets became filled with vibrant nightlife Friday, Sept. 7, as people from all over Los Angeles flocked to get a taste of the unique and numerous fusion dishes, specialty foods and desserts.
This year marked the 10-year anniversary of the event. First Fridays began with the intention of supporting the local food truck businesses and to create a walkable community event to bring people of all ages together to bond over food.
Photo courtesy of Richard Saul Gonzalez
For those wanting to maximize their experience, there is always a map and a full list posted beforehand of food trucks attending. This year, local favorites include Belly Bombz for out-of-this-world fries and wings and lobster sliders at Rollin’ Lobster.
Senior Elijah Zoarski said he enjoys First Fridays as a way to start the weekend. Zoarski also commented on changes he would like to see at future First Fridays.
“My two favorite trucks are The Queso Truck and the one with boba [Cafe Vietnam],” Zoarski said. “If I had to change something I would try to make it more organized, possibly by ordering off an app or something along those lines. There’s people everywhere, and that’s the way it is, but sometimes it’s just too hectic.”
Senior Paige Elvins attended First Fridays twice since freshman year and said she plans to continue coming back with friends.
“I love the ambiance,” Elvins said. “There are so many people, and it’s just really fun. I think my favorite food truck was the Mess Hall Canteen. Their veggie tater tots were out of this world!”
Photo courtesy of Paige Elvins
Owners of the food trucks enjoy attending First Fridays almost as much as Pepperdine students.
Marie Ravel founded Parisian restaurants, including the Black Flour Crepes food truck and worked in the restaurant business for 15 years.
Photo courtesy of Marie Ravel
“We have been working for six months with Black Flour,” Ravel said. “We do organic savory buckwheat crepes called ‘galettes’ in France and sweet traditional crepes. They are unique because buckwheat savory crepes are not known in America. Americans think of crepes with Nutella and strawberries, but they don’t understand that buckwheat crepes for French people are what cheeseburgers are to Americans.”
Photo courtesy of Marie Ravel
Ravel encouraged people to step out of their comfort zone when it comes to food.
“You can always eat burgers and tacos at every corner of every street of LA, but for real French crepes, there’s only one truck in town,” said Ravel.
For students who are new to First Fridays, Elvins offered advice.
“Get there early so you can find parking and wear comfortable shoes,” Elvins said.
Zoarski emphasizes planning ahead.
“I would say try to go earlier or later because the trucks are usually there from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. so you can get in and out quickly,” Zoarski said. “Once you are there during busy hours you are going to have to wait at least 20 minutes for the trucks.”
Parking is tough, so First Fridays has partnered with Lyft to provide rides to the event. The code ABBOTKINNEY provides riders with up to $10 off one ride if it is their first ride with Lyft.
While there are food trucks lined up on Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica on weekends or at Smorgasburg every Sunday in Downtown Los Angeles from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., First Fridays is special because of its once-a-month occurrence.
Ravel reflected on what keeps her and her food truck coming back to First Fridays.
“The crowd is always different,” Ravel said. “It’s certainly not a routine job, and we get to see the real face of Los Angeles.”
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