Even though things weren’t entirely set up yet when I visited Friday afternoon, the Twilight Criterium food court is ready for the crowds this weekend.
The closed-off College Avenue square was packed with people, even though the food court had only been open for 30 minutes. There were some bike racers on stage participating in RacerMate Challenge CompuTrain Time Trials, working up a sweat and practicing before Saturday’s big race.
My hands down favorite was Biggum’s Bar-B-Que. For $3, I got a pulled pork barbecue taco.
Stacy DeFoor, the owner and operator, cooks the meat for 15 hours at 250 degrees — low and slow — so the meat was juicy, tender and flavorful. The coleslaw cooled things off in perfect harmony with the combination of the hot and sweet homemade sauces drizzled on top.
The chicken barbecue was also juicy, something difficult to achieve since chicken dries out so easily.
I really felt the love behind Biggum’s Bar-B-Que. I was served by DeFoor and his son, and his wife was outside the truck talking with customers. There’s something to be said for family-owned-and-operated businesses. They’re more thoughtful, appreciative and charming.
I didn’t bother to taste the chain restaurants’ booths, such as Mellow Mushroom, Zaxby’s and Buffalo’s Southwest Cafe, simply because how different can the food be than what’s served in their restaurants? Nothing new there.
Hip Pops wasn’t there yet unfortunately. A lavender lemonade popsicle would have rounded off the barbecue meal nicely.
At a larger, unlabeled red tent, there was carnival-like food: funnel cake, Mongolian barbecue, string potatoes and more.
Yesterday afternoon, there was an undeniable sense of the calm before the storm. The booths weren't overwhelmed yet with customers. Everything was still neat and organized and the drunken mess that inevitably ensues over the weekend was no where to be seen yet.
Everyone I spoke with was excited for the weekend to get started.
Twilight is something folks count down to every spring, and the food court was buzzing yesterday with anxious racers, prepared vendors and hungry fans.
When you are floating between beer gardens and cheering on the races, scoot over to the food court and take advantage of some of the local vendors, especially those that do not have a store front to visit whenever you like. You won’t be disappointed.