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Not your standard carney fare at Boston Calling

Posted by Christopher Hughes  September 8, 2013 02:01 PM

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Saturday marked the second manifestation of the Boston Calling festival of 2013, and although most concert-goers were there to catch Indie ballads from Vampire Weekend and Local Natives, attendees were pleasantly surprised by the smoking grills offering food truck favorites from Roxy's Grilled Cheese and The Chicken and Rice Guys.

This time around, a food truck park was shelved in favor of tents to aid with line congestion and visibility. Patrons still milled about with giant pretzels and mouths ringed with powdered sugar from stands of fried dough, but most gravitated to more eclectic fare like Roxy's Green Muenster Melt with muenster, bacon, and homemade guacamole and Tasty Burgers slathered in Alex's Ugly sauce.

Check out all the gooey, glistening comfort food and all the hoppy craft beer that made the fall Boston Calling festival a perfect weekend for live music.


Flatbread Company's mobile wood fired oven.

Australia-native Alessandro "San" Bellino can usually be found manning his coffee "Trike" in Dewey Square or at the SoWa Market on weekends, but for Boston Calling he paired up with Kickass Cupcakes's Sarah Ross to bring an alternative to everything fried and boozy. Bellino used locally roasted George Howell Costa Rican Matalapa beans to make drip and cold-brewed coffee. To prepare for the anticipated demand, Bellino said, "I started cold brewing coffee on Wednesday and I haven't stopped until this morning."

George Howell coffee mug at The Coffee Trike

Alessandro "San" Bellino, owner of The Coffee Trike with employee Ryann Summers.

Kickass selections, which included Cookie Dough, Vegan Cinna Punk (a spiced pumpkin cupcake topped with cinnamon frosting), the Super Chocolate (chocolate brownie cupcake topped with chocolate ganache), and Caramel Mochiatto (chocolate cupcake with mocha frosting topped with chocolate covered espresso beans).

James DiSabatino, owner of Roxy's Grilled Cheese, was stationed right next to the red stage and brought ravenous crowds with his specialty grilled cheeses and an ice cold tub of Grillo's garlicky pickles. DiSabatino even sold boxes of his company's T-shirts and hoodies, emblazoned with the outline of the Roxy's truck.

When it came to two standards of his everyday menu, James DiSabatino, owner of Roxy's Grilled Cheese said, "It's neck-and-neck today between the Three Cheese Melt and the Green Muenster Melt."

Food service started off slow, but by mid-afternoon patrons were converging on lengthy lines that snaked past dancing concert-goers. Tasty Burger was easily the most popular stand with fumes from their grilled hot dogs and hamburgers wafting into the bustling pit of the red stage. A classy touch came courtesy of the Tasty condiment bar, which included hot sauce from local fire-monger Alex's Ugly sauce to go along with more traditional accoutrement.


"At the first Boston Calling, we were sold out of everything by 5:30 everyday," said Jessica Zulkiewicz, manager of the Flatbread Co.'s mobile catering services. "But people started trickling in later this time and we've still got plenty to sell." Zulkiewicz didn't know if it was location, the beautiful weather, or the musical lineup that affected sales, but with dusk came customers hungry for wood-fired pizzas like The Community.

Joe D'Arcangelo manning the scalding wood fired oven at Flatbread Co.


Jessica Zulkiewicz, manager of the Flatbread Co.'s mobile catering services, said The Community pie was the bestseller on Saturday. The Community is a meatless pie with mushrooms and caramelized onions.

The Chicken and Rice Guys brought great alternative comfort food with lamb gyro and halal chicken piled on top of rice and lettuce with a choice of hot sauces and their addictive garlic cream sauce.

The Chicken & Rice Guys employees, from left: Eva Guo, Jenny Giang, Alex Laforest, Danny Lee, and Dalin Phann.

The beer garden is a verdant watering hole at any outdoor venue, but Boston Calling's was particularly attractive with its abundant shade and craft beer selections from Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and Ommegang on tap. Tucked into the right corner of the main stage, patrons could watch acts like Okkervil River and Local Natives while imbibing 16-ounce cans of Sierra Nevada Torpedo or pints of Crispin cider.


The Sausage Guy is a Fenway staple, but with the Red Sox currently on the road against the Yankees, David Littlefield found a cozy spot in the back of the beer garden at Boston Calling. Music fans could escape the longer lines pervading outlying options like Tasty Burger for his brats and sausages adorned with grilled onions.

From left: Zach Julian and David Littlefield, owner of The Sausage Guy.

Matthew Dennis enjoying a brat from Fenway's The Sausage Guy. "I'm super impressed with the beer selection. I can't believe they have Lagunitas!"

What did you think of the food and drink at the festival? Let us know in the comments,

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The latest news, commentary, and reviews on music in Boston and beyond.


Sarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.

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