Atlanta Food Truck Park Celebrates 1st Anniversary with 3-Day Event

  A year ago, Howard Hsu opened his Atlanta Food Truck Park and 4,000 people came out to have a taste of what has become one of Atlanta’s trendiest places to grab a bite of unique food, gab with friends or take a date.

Now, Hsu is hosting the park’s anniversary celebration, Passport to Flavors, all weekend long. The event was scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon, but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Hsu figures that about 2,000 people will visit the park each day of the Passport to Flavors event for a total of about 6,000 people overall.

Each day is a different tribute to the unique food trucks that have become favorites over the last year, a way to celebrate “the ones that helped us bring the food truck park into existence,” explained Hsu, who also owns and operates the Sweet Auburn Barbecue food truck.

The event will feature unique dishes with international flavors, food truck tastings, live music and entertainment. (A full schedule is included below.)

Opening and running the park hasn’t always been a smooth ride, Hsu said. He spent a lot of the last year “really just figuring it out…building a loyal following and finding out not only what the fans want, but what the food truck owners want.”

“It’s been a learning curve. It’s been interesting and very fun getting to know all the different food truck owners.”

One thing is for certain, Hsu loves his job as director of Atlanta Food Truck Park and who wouldn’t? It’s a job with tons of amazing food, which brings people from all walks of life together in one spot on Howell Mill Road.

“My favorite part has been all the good food. I love meeting all the different people from different backgrounds.”

After all the anniversary fun has concluded, the park will open Tuesday for its regular summer hours:  Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, 12 to 7 p.m. The park remains closed on Mondays.

The event is free, but you will need to bring cash to pay for food items.

Friday, April 5: “Night of the Dragon” (5 to 9:30 p.m.): It’s an Asian sensation and celebration with these participating food trucks: Filipino, Viet-Nomie, Sweet Auburn BBQ, Kind of Pops: Thai Tea popsicle, Featured Beverage: Lychee-Spiked Lemonade, Entertainment: Lion & Dragon Dance Performance Troop.

Saturday, April 6: “MasalaFest” (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.): A taste of India’s street food, sponsored by the MasalaFresh food truck. Dessert table of assorted Indian treats. Featured Beverages: Mango Lassi and Papaya Lassi. Entertainment: Henna tattoo artist, Indian DJ and music

Saturday, April 6: “Island Vibes”  (5 to 9 p.m.): Come on, Mon! This Saturday night, the spotlight is on food trucks  offering authentic Caribbean cuisine. Participating trucks include: One Love Jerk Grille, Healthful Essence. Featured Beverage: Island Punch. Entertainment: Live performances by DJ Badd Street.

Sunday, April 7: “World Beats: Family Day” (12 to 7 p.m.): It’s a family-inspired food truck festival with cooking demonstrations and tastings, face painting, inflatables and more! Featured Beverage: Blueberry Lemonade & Mint Tea. Entertainment: DJ Rasyrious & The CatDaddies.

The Atlanta Food Truck Park & Market, Atlanta’s first permanent street food park, is located on a three-acre lot at 1850 Howell Mill Road.

Here is a link for those of you that either have a food truck, that recieve expensive tickets, due to short parking times; or businesses or property owners, willing to help out food truck owners and give them a break; by allowing parking for food truck parking, only.

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Quick Dinner Cleanup Checklist

Keep the refrigerator clear. A crowded refrigerator is an invitation to spills from things knocked over as you rifle through it before dinner. Related: The Ultimate Refrigerator Makeover

Cover the counter. To limit the mess when preparing meat, chicken, or fish, consider lining countertops with butcher paper (buy it from your supermarket meat department), then fold it up with the scraps and toss it when you’re done.

Fill the sink with hot, soapy water. As you work, drop in the tools and dishes you’ve used and let soak. (Put knives in a tall glass or other container so you don’t risk cutting yourself later.) When it’s time to straighten up, a quick drain and rinse often does the trick.

Clean up in stages. Keep a bowl beside your cutting board to toss scraps into as you work, containing the mess instead of spreading it over the counter. When you’re done, empty it, clear away any dishes you’ve used for pre -prep, and put away ingredients you don’t need before you begin to cook. Do a similar deck clearing at each stage, if you can, to make working easier and buildup lighter. Related: 24 Smart Kitchen Organizing Ideas

Cook cleanly. Line baking and roasting pans with foil or parchment paper to save scrubbing later. Slip a piece of foil or parchment between a pot’s rim and the lid to keep the lid spotless. Coat measuring cups and spoons with nonstick spray so sticky ingredients, like peanut butter, molasses, and honey, slide right out and the cups and spoons clean up easily.

Wear your towel. Tuck a towel into the waistband of your apron to wipe up small spills, which in turn won’t sit around becoming sticky blobs that need scrubbing later. Related: 9 Adorable Dish Towels

Use your downtime. While the water is boiling, the oven is heating, or onions are softening in the pan, you can be doing small-dose cleaning: Load the dishwasher to clear the sink; wipe up that spill; sweep the kitchen floor.

Set and bus your table like a pro. Use a rolling cart—whether wicker, wood, or a little red wagon—to carry dishes and silverware to the table, then clear it of dirty dishes, in one trip each way.

Clear the clutter. After dinner, gather the odds and ends from the rest of the house that have found their way onto the kitchen counters, the top of the refrigerator, or the floor, then put them all in a basket and have a helper find their homes.

Run the dishwasher before bed. Placing similar items together in the machine means you’ll make fewer trips around the room to empty it.