A Foodie In Wonderland

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Eat Me, Drink Me food truck returns to annual East End derby

Enjoy the fanciful cuisine of the Eat Me, Drink Me food truck at the Food Truck Derby in Bridgehampton on Aug. 10 (Photos courtesy of Eat Me, Drink Me)

Food, fun and festivities will once again draw crowds to Bridgehampton this summer. The seventh annual Food Truck Derby returns and foodies will be flocking to a roundup of the best gourmet eats from across the island. Edible East End’s delicious day of food trucks is back on Aug. 10 and while guests can take a bite out of more than a dozen different options, a tried and true fan favorite—Eat Me, Drink Me—will be beckoning guests to the window yet again.

Owner Michelle Panciarello was inspired by the whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland when naming and creating her food truck, Eat Me, Drink Me. She has two trucks, both decorated with characters and motifs from Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale, which beckons the curious eater to taste her offerings.

“Alice in Wonderland is my favorite and it seemed like the natural approach I would take,” said Panciarello, whose trucks are decorated with the iconic White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter, which debuted last year. “On the big truck we have gluten-free fryers and vegan options, I try to make limitations because so many people have food allergies and I want them to enjoy my food too.”

On the smaller truck, Panciarello offers anything from fresh beignets and fish tacos to chicken fingers and burgers. Eat Me, Drink Me specializes in American Bistro style cuisine, but the mainstay item has always been poutine.

Culinary creative of Eat Me, Drink Me food truck owner Michelle Panciarello

“We started off with poutine because it wasn’t anywhere on the island. My mom is French Canadian and Swiss, my dad is Italian so the food we offer is a mix up of them,” she said of her heritage. “As long as it’s fresh and not out of a freezer I’ll cook it. We try to use locally sourced ingredients when we can.”

With a home base out of Bay Shore, Panciarello said she first became inspired to open a food truck after the first annual Food Truck Derby. She originally went as a spectator and like anyone else, enjoyed sampling food and getting to know eateries from Long Island. She left that day wanting to change career paths and set a plan in motion to be at the derby the following year as a vendor.

“This is our sixth season and derby with the food truck,” said Panciarello, who does not have any formal training with the exception of cake sculpting and cooking in a restaurant in Sayville. “I love to learn and I learn as I go.”

With burgers and fries as her forte, Panciarello is proud to offer grass-fed beef and has a baker and cheese monger, which allows Eat Me, Drink Me to supply top-of-the-line food to customers. Her favorite burger to whip up is the bleu cheese burger with thick cut bacon and arugula. For this year’s derby, Eat Me, Drink Me will be serving poutine and black truffle fries. Panciarello said those are the easiest dishes to get out the window at a busy event and those who have tasted her food won’t be complaining.

“We bring about 400 pounds of potatoes for the event, 30 to 40 pounds of cheese curd and we make the gravy on site, which comes to about two to three gallons of gravy,” she said. “We’ll also have 8 ounces of truffle oil, 4 ounces of truffle salt and a pound of Moliterno black truffle cheese.”

Eat Me, Drink Me focuses on catering but does attend several events, including St. James Summer Nights, Alive After Five, events at Suffolk County Farm and Greenport Maritime. They will also set up shop at the Tanger Deer Park food derby in October. No matter what guests order, Panciarello is certain that their bellies will be full and happy.

“We genuinely care about the food we are putting out the window and we don’t just want to see smiles; we want you to be happy,” she said. “People can tell in our food that love and hard work went into creating it.”

The Food Truck Derby will take place on Friday, Aug. 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Hayground School, 151 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton, NY. For tickets, a list of vendors and more information, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/tickets-43128105324.

To learn more about Eat Me, Drink Me, visit www.eatmedrinkmetruck.com.

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