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Norman Music Feast

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Illustration by Michelle Bui

“If music be the food of love, play on.” - Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night

“If you’ve got any of those love leftovers, I’m here for it.” - Greg Elwell, fat guy.

Music and food collide once again at Norman Music Fest, which invades that sleepy college hamlet Thursday-Saturday with a truly ridiculous number of bands at a marginally ridiculous number of venues.

And when people gather to dance frenetically in the streets, there will be food trucks there to feed them.

If you’re there to feed on sweet, sweet music, I have no insight for you. This is a food website and I am not cool enough to recognize the names of any bands.

But if you’re there to feed on sweet, sweet food truck food, bro, have I got you covered.

THURSDAY

SKT Concessions has the kind of food that you love and know you shouldn't have. But it's Norman Music Fest, baby! You can indulge your ears and indulge your mouth with footlong corn dogs, funnel cakes and the ever-popular Fried Snickers.

Taquitos Juan

But for a big dose of taqueria goodness, you need to visit The Chosen Juan Mexican Kitchen. Owner Erick Almaguer said the top sellers are Juan Nachos ($10) and the 1+ lb. Chosen Burrito ($9). But his personal favorite are the Taquitos Juan ($9) — three corn tortillas, wrapped around shredded chicken and deep fried. There’s definitely some smoky char from the sizzling chicken, plus a ton of flavor from the tomatillo-avocado salsa and sour cream drizzled on top. Plus, there’s a heap of rice made by his mom. C’mon. You know you like rice.

My choice would likely be the asada El Taco Juan ($8), which are tender and beefy and really good with that salsa on top.

For the perfect combination of portability and flavor, the Empanadas Don Juan ($9) are ideal. Three lovely fried pies full of ground beef, potatoes and cheese. They’re like big, fat crispy cheeseburger dumplings. And if that isn’t a name of a band at next years Norman Music Fest, I’m going to be disappointed.

El Taco Juan

FRIDAY

On Friday, the food offerings will be at the food court on Gray Street. There are lots of your usual food court offerings (burgers, nachos, corn dogs, funnel cakes), but the two I’d be looking for are Filipino Fusion and Smoke N Oak Pizza.

If you haven’t had Filipino food before, you need to get on the ball. Lots of pork. Lots of rich, salty flavors. The lumpia are like perfect little spring rolls, but they’re mostly stuffed with meat. So delicious. The best bet is the combo meal ($10) with pork adobo, veggie pancit (stir-fried noodles), steamed rice and two lumpia. You won’t be sorry.

Smoke N Oak is one of a few wood-fired pizza trucks in OKC, but their claim to fame is fresh-made pesto. For a burst of flavor (and color), fresh pesto can’t be beat. You won’t even miss the red sauce, though maybe you should just get a second pizza anyway. Sharing is caring, right?

SATURDAY

The food court remains the same on Saturday, but more food trucks will be popping up around the festival. The place you’ll find me is the 200 block of East Main St. where a few of my favorite trucks will be parked.

Nashville Hot Chicken

Chef Ray’s Street Eats makes some of the best Nashville-style hot chicken you’ll find outside of Tennessee. And it’s not just spicy (though, you know, be careful), but the chicken is deeply flavorful and succulent. Oh, and the banana pudding is a must.

My love for Let’s Do Greek has already been documented here, but if you need a refresher: you should get a gyro plate with Thunder sauce.

Gyro plate with Thunder sauce

I would post pictures of the mini donuts I got from Metro Minis last weekend, but I’d need one of those scope cameras you put down people’s throats because I ate them almost instantly. Here’s what you should know: they make tiny donuts fresh on the truck. You can watch them on a little conveyor belt. Then they decorate them with toppings and hand them to you. There’s nothing like a fresh little donut. Or, in my case, there’s nothing like six fresh little donuts.

There will also be music at this thing? I don’t know. It’s perfectly okay to go to Norman Music Fest just for the food. And to see the guys from OKC Comedy do their silly crack-em-ups and whatnot. And, yeah, watch a musician use instruments to expose your soul to a deeper truth that will forever make your life richer and more satisfying if you want.

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About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.

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