When normal people go on holiday they plan trips to the seaside, a visit to local historical sites of interest or maybe a spa. I always look up anything food related in the area. And maybe a trip to the seaside for a paddle...
I was planning a trip down to Exeter for a few days to visit my granddad so had a bit of a browse online for local happenings and events and the first thing that popped out of the screen at me was, of course, Exeter Street Food. There are a few stalls at the Berkhamsted markets but nothing devoted entirely to food (hint hint, Berkhamsted!) so was pretty excited to meet some people cooking out in the open.
Exeter Street Food seems to have a few "firsts" under their belt since it started in 2012 - one of the first in the South West to offer al fresco dining from a number of stands, the first to get an alcohol license from Guildhall which allowed the Man Creche to serve local brews to compliment the food, all which led to their first food festival!
When I visited today the sun hadn't quite managed to emerge but even with a light cover of clouds it was warm enough to be able to sit outside to eat. The only problem was deciding what to eat!
One of the many friendly people I met was the man from Oasis - the menu is short but sweet with falafel, two types of shawarma, chicken kebab, beef kofta and some amazing smelling Turkish coffee.
Beef Shawarma - £4.50
Falafel (in a wrap or pita) - £3.70
Chicken Kebab - £3.90
Turkish coffee - £1.80
I was thrilled to meet Andy who was representing SWF (south.west.fish) and was understandably passionate about the crab meat he was serving. We had a great discussion on how so many people are just not interested in trying fish because all they know is the smelly fish counter at the supermarket. If those fish haters tried the crab quiche I'm pretty sure they would be converted! All the flavours you would expect from a quiche but a very subtle and light crab flavour - this is what happens when you use local seafood that doesn't spend days in transit as it's caught in a sensible way and is often not too far from your doorstep (especially is you live in Exeter!).
Crab quiche - £4.50
Crab pasty - £2.00
Hot fiery crab balls - £1
Two Coast County use West Country meat to make their beautiful burgers and bacon butties - I can't tell you how amazing it looked and I kept getting wafts of their food wherever I was!
West Country streaky bacon on a brioche roll - £3
West Country beef burger on a focaccia bun - £6
Hippy chicken on a wholemeal wrap - £5
World Food Cafe caught my eye with the large dishes of toppings for the Mediterranean chicken wraps. At first I thought the pink slices were a different type of beetroot but no! It's pickled turnip! Isn't the colour wonderful?! It had a similar texture to beetroot and the same sort of earthy taste but oh wow was it zingy! Anyone know why it might have that amazing pink colour? Large flatbreads were heated on a large dish and then filled with chicken that had been cooking in a massive pan with onions, peppers, tomato and lemon juice.
Mediterranean chicken wrap or salad box - £6
Dan's American kitchen were offering some Yankee classics - Philly Cheese Steak, BBQ pulled pork and Tex Mex chicken wrap. Sadly I didn't get a chance to speak to Dan as he was off getting set up!
Philly cheese steak, BBQ pulled pork and Tex Mex chicken wrap - all £4.50
Sweet potato fries with paprika mayo - £2.50
Chicken and chorizo paella with aioli sauce - £4.80
Bocadillo Spanish filled baguettes - £4.00
Last stop on the food tour was Isabella Mozzarella. Great name, hey?! I like pizza. I've had all types of pizza. I have never, ever seen pizza so thin! The dough was shaped, rolled and then expertly slid into the pizza oven for only a matter of minutes before removed - the pizza staying in long enough to cook but not become crispy.
Is'a'bella, Isca, Picante or Mediterranean stone baked pizzas - all £4.50 or 2 for £8
It wasn't all about food though - the lovely lady at Two Coast County told me that they also have live music from local musicians! I was only there to hear one performer, Alex Gregory. Her voice was beautiful and added to the atmosphere.
So I've told you all about what foods were on the rather large street menu - what do you think I went for in the end....
Exeter Street Food
Guildhall Shopping Centre,
Friday - Saturday, 9am-5pm