For the second year running, Gypsy Queen bested the competition at the Tastes of Two Cities event pitting Baltimore food trucks against their Washington rivals.
Baltimore's El Cuervo, which serves tacos and Korean fried chicken, earned second place, and D.C.'s Feelin' Crabby took third at Rash Field -- the new home for the event, which had its inaugural outing last year on the Westport waterfront.
Souper Freaks was the winner of the United Way’s Golden Carrot, a first-time award for the food truck with the healthiest item on its menu, the Five Seeds Farms Bronze Fennel and Carrot Soup, sourced entirely from local ingredients.
In the individual categories, Baltimore swept. Iced Gems cupcakes took best dessert, South Carolina BBQ won for barbecue and El Cuervo earned best sandwich.
In addition to taking the overall first place -- a Mayor's Cup Trophy awarded by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake -- Gypsy Queen won the seafood category and the people's choice award for Baltimore.
Rito Loco, which prepares burritos served on toasted tortillas, earned people's choice for D.C.
Blazing temperatures didn't keep the crowds away. Guests, who paid an $8 entrance fee for the al fresco culinary event, took their time in the 90-degree weather, checking out the offerings from the 20 or so Baltimore-based food trucks and some dozen trucks from Washington.
Along the way, they found trucks specializing in falafel, lobster rolls, tacos, burritos, cheesecake, barbecue -- plenty of those -- and the cuisines of Brazil, Vietnam, India and Ecuador.
By 2 p.m., long lines were forming for soft ice cream at the Miss Twist truck and for Hawaiian-style "shave ice" at Hula Honeys.Maybe it was the heat, but it was hard to find anyone with any enthusiasm for another Baltimore vs. Washington battle.
People worked on coping strategies instead, like commandeering a tall table underneath one of the big tents.
That's what Matthew Kuzmeskas and his friends did. "We took a lap to see what was here, and then we decided to have a home base," said Kuzmeskas, who was down from Hartford, Conn. with his wife, Katherine. The couple had been invited to Baltimore by Courtney Blair as a 30th birthday surprise for her fiance, Chris Martin.
After the food truck event, the couples were headed to the Orioles game. "I wanted them to see what a fun and vibrant city Baltimore is," Blair said.