Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

Yes, I Still Exist February 22, 2013

Oh hey, I haven’t written in over four months. I can’t say I really have a good excuse for this behavior. Mostly, I haven’t been going to as many new trucks lately. The colder months seem to launch fewer new trucks. I get sick of writing about the same trucks over and over again (and sometimes going to them over and over again when they don’t have many vegetarian options). The good news is I have been to six new trucks since my last post, and I don’t plan on sparing any details about those experiences. I guess it’s just safe to say that new posts, like new trucks, might be few and far between for awhile.

The first new truck I visited was so long ago I couldn’t even tell you the date at this point. (I’m hanging my head in shame right now, don’t worry. I never claimed to be a journalist!) I know it was at a fundraiser at a high school, but that’s about it. Fear not, I know the truck’s full name, website, and the names of the items I bought and ate. PHEW!

The Spice it Up truck

The Spice it Up truck

Spice it Up Cafe was a truck I had had my eye on for a bit before I ran into it. They advertised crepes online, and I was excited to try one. When I saw them they only had donuts though. Luckily I was in the mood for donuts too, and these ones didn’t disappoint.

Cinnamon and Sugar donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

Cinnamon and Sugar donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

Chocolate caramel swirl donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

Chocolate caramel swirl donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

The donuts were tiny in size but big in flavor. I thought I would be all about the chocolate caramel ones, but I was surprised to find I preferred the cinnamon and sugar flavor. They had just the right amount of sweetness so it wasn’t overpowering. Both kinds of donuts were light and airy and didn’t make me feel the horrible feeling in my gut that can often result from consuming donuts. This is definitely a benefit to small portions!

The next new truck I visited was on a Thursday night at @YC on Taylor street in San Jose. They often have a few trucks parked outside on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and for some reason this is the only time I ventured over there for this despite it being walking distance from where I live. A then new (now, probably not so much) truck was going to be there, and I was excited to try Melts My Heart.

The Melts My Heart truck

The Melts My Heart truck

I’m a big fan of grilled cheese despite being lactose intolerant, so I’m always eager to try the new grilled cheese truck in town. Unfortunately, they only had one vegetarian option on their menu which somewhat surprised me; grilled cheese is vegetarian in nature, and usually trucks centered around it have multiple vegetarian options. I ordered the That’s Amore and waited for it to arrive. When I arrived there was no line, so I thought my wait time would be short. Boy was I wrong. I quickly realized the people seated at the tables nearby were waiting for orders at the same truck, and there were quite a few orders before me. I ended up waiting for over a half an hour for my sandwich. Now, this was probably one of the truck’s first times out, mind you, so I’m thinking (hoping) that they’ve probably gotten their system down better since then, but I was amazed. I’ve experienced long waits for newer trucks before but nothing like this.

That's Amore from Melts My Heart

That’s Amore from Melts My Heart

The sandwich itself was yummy but not worth the wait. I haven’t had a chance to try them since then and see what the wait time is like now, but with only one vegetarian option I don’t see myself seeking them out.

The next new truck I tried was at one of the Moveable Feast mornings at San Pedro Square (so happy they brought those back, albeit temporarily). Grandma Catherine’s Homemade Foods is another truck that doesn’t have many vegetarian options, but when I saw macaroni and cheese on their menu I knew I had to double up on the Lactaid and try it.

Grandma Catherine's truck

Grandma Catherine’s truck

Macaroni and Cheese from Grandma Catherine's

Macaroni and Cheese from Grandma Catherine’s

The mac and cheese was delicious but a little oily. There was a pretty big puddle of oil at the bottom of the container after I finished eating. Grandmas do like their greasy food though, don’t they? :)

The next new truck I tried was at another Moveable Feast event. Bao and Bowl had been around for a little while, but I had made the silly mistake of thinking it was just a spin off of another truck and didn’t have many vegetarian options. (It probably wouldn’t take much thought to guess which truck…) Once I realized they were not only their own entity but also had a few vegetarian options, I had to give them a taste.

The Bao and Bowl truck

The Bao and Bowl truck

They actually had more than one vegetarian option (yay!), but I just tried one for my first time, the Imperial Red Braised Hodo Soy Tofu. It came in a classic Chinese takeout container served over rice.

Hodo soy tofu from Bao and Bowl

Hodo soy tofu from Bao and Bowl

It was tasty, especially with some Sriracha, and Kyle and I gobbled it right up. I’m looking forward to tying more from their menu.

The next food truck adventure happened at this year’s Meet the Brewers Festival, an event I’ve attended for three years and LOVE. What’s better than food trucks? Food trucks and beer, that’s what! One truck at the event was getting less attention than others though, and that was probably because people who are drinking beer all day aren’t really the type who watch their calorie intake. However, I was excited to see LoCal Comfort because healthy food is often also vegetarian food.

The LoCal Comfort truck

The LoCal Comfort truck

The concept behind this truck is that each of their comfort food dishes is low in calories. While researching them more for this post I discovered that they’re very newly opened and were partially funded by an indie gogo campaign! I love hearing about a funding success story. Kyle and I got two of their snacks that are guaranteed to be under 200 calories each.

Roasted chickpeas from LoCal Comfort

Roasted chickpeas from LoCal Comfort

The roasted chickpeas were dried and tossed with lots of seasonings that made them unlike anything I’d had before. I’m not used to chickpeas being served in a non-squishy way, and I definitely enjoyed the change. We were also informed that we got the last batch of them for the day, so maybe the truck was getting more business at the event than I originally thought!

Bean dip from LoCal Comfort

Bean dip from LoCal Comfort

Their bean dip was also not what I was expecting. It wasn’t brown in color, and the chips that came with it were not fattening tortilla chips. It was, however, quite tasty. Unfortunately, there also weren’t very many of the chips (especially in comparison to how big the cup of bean dip was), so after I downed as much of the dip as I could with what they gave us, Kyle went to a… um… non-low cal truck and got some nachos that completely cancelled out our healthy eating. Oops.

Spicy nachos from Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile

Spicy nachos from Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile

This Monday, we ventured up the peninsula to Menlo Park for the food truck event at the Willows Market. I had been to the Willows Market to fulfill my need for butterscotch now that Butterscotch on the Go is no longer, well, on the go, but I hadn’t been to one of the truck events there. There was one truck there making its presence much more known than the others, Hill Country BBQ. Despite the gloomy weather, the smell of barbecue made it feel like a summer’s day as we walked up to the gathering.

The Hill Country BBQ truck

The Hill Country BBQ truck

Of course, being a BBQ truck, the vegetarian options were limited. We managed to snag one of their sides though, the potato salad. It tasted just how potato salad should, and if I closed my eyes I could imagine I was at a picnic and not hiding under an umbrella trying not to get sprinkling rain on me.

Potato salad from Hill Country BBQ

Potato salad from Hill Country BBQ

Those are all the new trucks for now, but hopefully once this cold weather ends more new trucks will start showing their faces…. or whatever the truck equivalent to faces is. Windshields? I’ll leave you with a sign I spotted at the Willows Market tables that I found amusing and posted on instagram with the caption, “but food trucks make everything exceptional!”

willowsign

 

So What Else Have I Been Eating Lately? October 6, 2012

Another post three days later? I guess I’m making up for lost time! I have visited a few trucks lately that weren’t at Eat Real, so I’d like to touch on them too.

It’s been several weeks since I’ve been to The Winchester Truck Fest, but the last time I went I picked up an item I hadn’t tried from Takoz, their vegetarian torta.

Vegetarian torta from Takoz

Despite the abundance of mushrooms and my feelings about mushrooms in general, I really enjoyed this sandwich. It had enough other veggies and sauce to drown out the taste of the mushrooms, and it was made on quality bread.

I’ve also recently tried yet another vegetarian dish from Banjara Bistro. I think I might have tried them all now, but it took awhile since they have so many of them! This time I got their vegetarian crepe in the “creperito” style.

Vegetarian creperito from Banjara Bistro

It was basically the same as the regular vegetarian crepe but folded differently. It was fun at first, but eventually fell apart and required a fork and knife to eat. Regardless, it was still every bit as delicious!

At a Moveable Feast a couple weeks ago, I tried a newer truck that is run by the same people as Louisiana Territory and No Way Jose, Pacific Coast Highway. Since it was at the Willow Glen location and night time, I didn’t get the best photo of the truck. It seems to be the same truck they use for No Way Jose though.

The Pacific Coast Highway truck

I ordered their “No Way Nachos” which they were happy to make vegetarian for me. At only $5, I was shocked by the size of the order when I received. That’s a lot of nacho for your buck!

No way nachos from Pacific Coast Highway

Unfortunately, I soon didn’t care about the quantity of nachos when I discovered their quality. The tortilla chips were stale, and the cheese had not been completely melted. Slices of cheese that looked like kraft singles were partially melted on top of my chips, and knowing that was the type of cheese used disappointed me as well. There was too much of this low-quality cheese and not enough of the other toppings, making the nachos lack in flavor overall. I enjoy many of the dishes Pacific Coast Highway’s sister truck No Way Jose serves, so I’m not quite sure how they got this dish so wrong. Hopefully it was just a busy night, and they were feeling rushed.

Last week, on the 27th Kyle and I went to the Yelp Mobile Mashup event at Club Auto Sport. It featured a large variety of food vendors (not just trucks), wineries, and breweries. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, but we didn’t get to eat much truck food since their menus were limited and mostly didn’t feature vegetarian items. Here’s what the spread outside where the food trucks were looked like anyway:

Food trucks at Yelp’s Mobile Mashup on September 27th

However, we did spy something I never thought I’d see outside of Vegas or New Orleans: an alcohol-based truck! That’s right, there was a truck serving wine.

SJ Sharkie’s wine truck

I think the truck was linked to a winery, and I even got wine from it, but I don’t remember which one it was. I had already had a few free drink samples at the time :) I haven’t been able to find any information about them online either, so I’m glad I at least have proof it exists.

Finally, on Wednesday Kyle stopped by Milpitas Street Eats on his way home from work and picked up some dinner. He was surprised to find two new food trucks at the event and brought home food I hadn’t tried before. He got two appetizers from a new truck called Gow Chow.

Feta fries and fried artichoke hearts from Gow Chow

In front are the fried artichoke hearts. I love anything associated with artichokes, and this was no exception. The dipping sauce was also a great complement. Behind them are the feta fries. It’s hard to put into words how much I loved these fries. They consisted of three of my favorite things: feta, olives, and fries. They might have been my favorite fries I’ve ever had, and they definitely were the best I’ve had from a food truck. You’ve got to try these if you have the opportunity.

Kyle also picked up a dish from Yummi BBQ, a new Asian food truck from Concord.

Noodle bowl from Yummi BBQ

Although they weren’t warm by the time Kyle got home, the noodles were still tasty, especially when we added some Sriracha. I’m looking forward to checking out both of these trucks again in person some time.

 

Eating Real in Oakland October 3, 2012

Well it looks like it’s been a month since my last post. I haven’t visited too many new trucks in that amount of time, but I did attend the Eat Real Festival on Sunday, September 23rd. I ate lots of new food there, and what better time to write about Oakland’s annual street food festival than while watching the Oakland A’s battle it out for the AL West champion title on a Wednesday afternoon? (GO A’S!)

Kyle and I went into Eat Real with the same strategy as the San Francisco Street Food festival: share everything and only get small dishes so we could try as many different vendors as possible. Our first stop was a cart I’d been eyeing ever since I knew Roaming Hunger existed and saw it on there all the time in SF, El Porteno.

El Porteno booth

We ordered their only vegetarian option that day, the mushroom empanada.

Mushroom empanada from El Porteno

I’m not a huge mushroom fan, but Kyle is. He ate the bulk of it since I wasn’t crazy about the filling. I can say that the crust was perfectly baked and flaky.

An inside view of the mushroom empanada from El Porteno

We next found ourselves at the booth for a restaurant called Plum. Food Truck Nerd will be happy to know I didn’t add them to my list of mobile vendors because I know they’re a restaurant and not usually a mobile vendor. Regardless, their organic tofu bowl looked delicious, so we had to order one.

The Plum booth

The bowl met our expectations. I especially enjoyed the variety of vegetables and how it wasn’t too large since we were aiming for small bites.

Organic tofu bowl from Plum

We walked across a grass hill to reach some booths on the other side, and one of them was for a catering company called S+S Gastro Grub.

The S+S Gastro Grub Booth

I had seen the black bean veggie burger they were serving on the facebook event for the festival over the weekend and wanted to try it. It was a tiny burger, perfect for our goal for the day, but it was full of flavor.

Black bean veggie burger from S+S Gastro Grub

Right next to that booth was another one I had seen in the city on Roaming Hunger plenty of times, The Grilled Cheese Guy. Currently, he only has a cart, but he is currently running a kickstarter campaign to upgrade to a truck. Check it out here and contribute!

The Grilled Cheese Guy Booth

Not wanting to fill up on grilled cheese, we went for the simple order of their sour pickles. I am a sucker for pickles, and these were no exception. Delicious!

Sour pickles from the Grilled Cheese Guy

From there, we headed into the section of the festival where actual trucks were parked, and we made sure to hit up a couple we had never seen before. The first was an Irish and Eritrean truck called Eire Trea. I had never heard of Eritrean food before, so we took a gamble when we ordered their vegetarian plate.

The Eire Trea truck, complete with samples being handed out

What we discovered was a cuisine that reminded us a lot of Ethiopian food (I’ve been saying we need an Ethiopian truck in the bay area!) complete with injera bread (or something similar to it) and very filling food on top. The side salad was also a nice touch.

Vegetarian plate from Eire Trea

This was the first time I started feeling a little full, but I plugged on. Our next stop was a truck called Ebbett’s Good to Go.

Ebbett’s Good to Go truck

We ordered their Asian tofu sandwich which was small in size but big in taste. I especially enjoyed the roll it was served on.

Asian tofu sandwich from Ebbett’s Good to Go

After this, I was filling up quick and ready to move on to dessert. My first dessert was a Nutella crepe from Brittany Crepes and Galettes. I somehow managed to devour it without snapping a photo, but I guarantee it looked just as a crepe should, complete with powdered sugar on top. I did manage to get a photo of their booth while I was waiting for our food though.

The Brittany Crepes and Galettes booth

I next went to a cupcake truck called Sift Cupcake and Dessert Bar. They had a menu printed out that described each cupcake in detail, and noted which ones had won awards on the Food Network show Cupcake Wars.

The Sift cupcake truck

I knew I was in the presence of greatness and deliberated a lot over my choice. With Kyle’s contribution, I finally decided on the Snickerdoodle cupcake, and I’m very glad I did. The cinnamon creme cheese frosting was insanely yummy.

Snickerdoodle cupcake from Sift

After resting a bit, I was still pretty stuffed, but knowing popsicles are mostly water, I figured I could handle a final stop at Lick Pops.

The Lick Pops booth

And as a bonus, here’s a photo of the cart they had next to their booth, which is my way of saying to Food Truck Nerd, HEY THEY HAVE WHEELS!

The Lick Pops cart

A lot of their popsicles were sold out, but I went with the one popsicle that had a big label on its sign saying it was “For adults only” because it had rum in it, the watermelon mojito.

Watermelon mojito popsicle from Lick Pops

I couldn’t taste the rum (or feel it) at all, but I didn’t really expect to. It was the perfect refreshing end to my day, and I especially enjoyed the hint of mint that comes with anything mojito. Yum!

The watermelon mojito popsicle without a wrapper

Another delicious Eat Real Festival in the books! I’m bummed the summer festival season is coming to an end, but I can still look forward to next year. Now I must focus on my television as the A’s are attempting a comeback in the 4th inning. Go A’s!

 

My Latest Adventures in Food Truckery September 2, 2012

Now that I’ve cooled down from my San Francisco Street Food Festival excitement, I can let you in on some of my other recent food truck experiences. I’ve been to four new trucks in the last month or so and tried new dishes from a few others.

The first new truck I visited was Tastee Bytes.

The Tastee Bytes truck

Tastee Bytes is sort of limited in the vegetarian options department. They have a churro and the tastee fries, and that’s about it. Kyle and I decided to try the tastee fries on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago.

Fries from Tastee Bytes

We were a little surprised by the bright green color of the sauce once we received our order, but it definitely matched the color of the truck. They were your run-of-the-mill fries, nothing to write home about. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get them again, but if they added something else vegetarian to their menu I might order some fries on the side.

Another new truck I’ve recently tried was The Cupcake Lady truck. This truck seems to hail from the central valley, but they were in San Jose for a fundraiser at a local high school.

The Cupcake Lady truck

Kyle ordered a black and white cupcake. After I bit into it, I realized the “white” part was marshmallow and didn’t have anymore. No gelatin for me, thanks! I guess we should have asked what the filling was before buying it.

Black and White cupcake from The Cupcake Lady

Wanting to still try a cupcake from the truck, I went back and got a mini pink champagne cupcake. It was a little dry and flavorless for my liking, but I might be spoiled by some of the other cupcake trucks in the area.

Mini pink champagne cupcake from The Cupcake Lady

Just last night I visited another two new trucks at the new weekly truck event The Winchester Truck Fest. The first was Gold Rush Eatery, a new California history themed truck.

The Gold Rush Eatery truck

I was happy to see that any of the burgers on their menu could be substituted with a veggie patty. I went with their basic burger.

Veggie burger from Gold Rush Eatery

The highlight of the burger was definitely the sourdough bun it was on. As you can see with the following close up, the burger didn’t consist of much besides cheese and sauce. I would have preferred some more veggies, but that just means I need to explore their menu a little more.

a close up of the veggie burger from Gold Rush Eatery

The next new truck I checked out was Oh Miso Hungry.

Kyle ordering from the Oh Miso Hungry truck

When Kyle asked if their kimchi grilled cheese included shellfish, we were happy with the response that it didn’t. We are both huge fans of both kimchi and grilled cheese, and this was a match made in heaven. The sandwich was delish!

Kimchi grilled cheese sandwich from Oh Miso Hungry

I haven’t only been going to new trucks though. I’ve been going back to old favorites, and I’ve especially enjoyed a few different options from Banjara Bistro. Since my first visit there, I’ve been back twice and tried their vegetarian crepe and vegetarian omelette. They tend to have the same ingredients as the sandwich, but they are such delicious ingredients I don’t mind at all.

Vegetarian crepe from Banjara Bistro

Vegetarian omelette from Banjara Bistro

Since Banjara Bistro is owned by the same owner as Mini Yums, they still serve some of the old favorites from the baked goods truck. I’ve recently ordered their chocolate chip cookie and also received a free oatmeal raisin cookie, probably because I keep coming back for more :)

Chocolate chip cookie from Banjara Bistro (as you can tell, I couldn’t help but eat some before I snapped a photo)

Oatmeal raisin cookie from Banjara Bistro (again with my eager appetite)

I also got to try Grilled Cheese Bandits for a second time. This time, I got the Bandit, a somewhat traditional grilled cheese with three kinds of tasty cheese in it.

The Bandit from Grilled Cheese Bandits

I also tried their mashed tater balls, which are exactly what they sound like: mashed potatoes molded into a-little-more-than-one-bite-sized balls. I especially liked the seasoning they had on them.

Mashed tater balls from Grilled Cheese Bandits

Following are a few more photos of dishes I’ve tried from trucks I already enjoy. You can consider them all yummy and recommended.

Cannoli from Speedy Panini

Split pea soup in a bread bowl from SF Soupmobile

Chocolate chip cookie from SF Soupmobile

Mixed berry and maple syrup reduction waffle from Waffle Amore (my new favorite from this truck!)

 

San Francisco Street Food Take Two (or Four) August 21, 2012

Saturday, August 18th was the fourth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival. It was my second year in a row attending, and I thought I’d skip ahead of some of my other food truck experiences since my last post to write about this momentous event in any street food lover’s life. Now, I have trouble knowing whether I should count most of the vendors at this event as mobile vendors whose food I’ve eaten. When I went last year I counted them, and I did the same for the Eat Real festival, but I didn’t really think much about it or look into whether the booths were run by actual mobile vendors or just restaurants who wanted a booth for a day. Obviously most of them are not “trucks”, but I also count carts toward my big list of trucks to the left. If a small business doesn’t have a truck or a cart but often sells at various farmer’s markets and other street food events, are they still a mobile vendor? What if they have a brick and mortar restaurant but also sell at these events? If I automatically discredit any brick and mortar, then that would take many trucks off my list who have both trucks and brick and mortars! I don’t know how to answer these questions, but I’d love to hear your opinions. When I tweeted that Kyle and I had achieved a double Pacman because we ate at 10 booths on the day of the event, Food Truck Nerd said a Pacman can only be completed at establishments that are on wheels, i.e. trucks and carts. I don’t know if it’s quite so black and white for me. Regardless, I’m going to put the street food vendors I’ve enjoyed on my list, because the list is there to act as a reference for people who are interested in street food. Yes, it’s also partially there for bragging rights, but I think I’ve been to enough outright trucks to validate my claim that I’m experienced in that arena.

Now, let’s get started. Kyle and I arrived about a half hour after the event had begun. Our goal this year was to only eat “small bites” so we could try as many different places as possible. Last year I made the mistake of starting with a “big bite” and didn’t have room for very many vendors as a result. I’m happy to say the little leaves that signify vegetarian options on the menus were back, and V’s were there for those that were vegan. This made it much easier for us to pick out our food. Some booths we could just walk right by because there were no leaves. And, best of all, we didn’t have to play the, “I wonder if that’s vegetarian or not” game that sometimes ends with waiting in a line for no reason. I had also looked through all the menu options on the festivals’ iPhone app the day before and marked the ones I thought I might enjoy (although there weren’t any leaves on that).

Our first stop was a booth called El Buen Comer. I’ve tried to find a website or some sort of internet presence for them, but this seems to be a rather common business name. (It translates to “good eating” in Spanish, after all.) I suppose a photo of their booth will have to do.

El Buen Comer booth

I ordered the esquites, because who doesn’t love corn and cheese? It was a good start to our meal.

Esquites from El Buen Comer

Meanwhile, Kyle headed over to Estrellita’s Snacks to grab their tamal salvadoreno.

Estrellita’s Snacks booth

tamal salvadoreno from Estrellita’s Snacks

I hadn’t had a tamale in awhile because they usually have meat in them, so I was happy to help Kyle gobble it up in no time. Then we were on our way to our next booth.

Radio Africa Kitchen was serving a seven vegetable tagine that sounded delicious. This was probably the longest line I waited in all day, and it was mostly long because of their leg of lamb option. It still only took about ten minutes to get to the front, and while all the meat eaters had to wait longer for their meat to be cooked, my veggies were already sitting and waiting for me when I ordered them.

The Radio Africa Kitchen booth

Seven vegetable tagine from Radio Africa Kitchen

It was definitely worth the wait (especially since it wasn’t much of a wait at all). We especially enjoyed the potatoes and had to agree to split them evenly. I loved the sauce on top that reminded me of pesto but had a little more kick to it.

Next, we headed to Marite and Mi Cafecito, another one I couldn’t find info for online. I think this might have something to do with how their booth had “Women’s Initiative” written on it; maybe it’s not an operating business yet.

The Marite and Mi Cafecito booth

Although it was technically a “bigger bite”, Kyle convinced me to get the tlacoyo tostado with nopales. He mostly wanted to try it because he knew “nopales” meant cactus. Also, it was only $5, and I think it only counted as a “bigger bite” because “small bites” were $3. It wasn’t that big at all.

Tlacoyo tostado with nopales from Marite and Mi Cafecito

I hadn’t ever had cactus before, and I would have just thought it was any other green vegetable if Kyle hadn’t told me it wasn’t. There were so many flavors in the tostado, so I’m not sure which one was the cactus. Regardless, the whole thing was delicious.

Our next stop was Azalina’s, which was serving a peanut tofu taco I wanted to try. When Kyle saw rose flavored water with coconut and basil on the menu, he had to have that as well.

The Azalina’s booth

Kyle enjoying his rose coconut water

I don’t like coconut, but I tried a sip of the water and found it to be refreshing and not too coconut-y. Of course, being the coconut lover that he is, Kyle dug all the pieces of coconut out of it when he was done and ate them up.

Peanut tofu taco from Azalina’s

The peanut tofu taco was my favorite thing I ate all day. It was just bursting with various flavors, and it was spicy too! My only complaint was that they left in the sticks that were used to hold the dough together, and I kept accidentally biting into them. I posted the photo of Kyle drinking his rose water on facebook, and my cousin commented asking if it was from Azalina’s. When I confirmed, she told me that they’re catering her wedding next summer! I’m super excited to try more of their food. Having grown up in Malaysia, my cousin knows good Malaysian food. Her dad cooks the best curry I’ve ever had, so I’m super, super excited for her wedding now (as if I wasn’t already).

Next, we finally tracked down a booth I had been looking forward to since the list of vendors was announced, Hella Vegan Eats. They had a system where they took your order, wrote your name down on a container, and then had you wait next to the booth for you name to be called (similar to a food truck).

The Hella Vegan Eats booth

There were a few of us waiting for pad thai spring rolls, and they were in the process of cooking a batch of them. While we waited, the people working the booth entertained us by saying their spring rolls were cooked with love, asking us to give thumbs-ups if we were having a good day, and asking us to give thumbs-ups if we were beautiful people. They were definitely the most spirited booth we went to.

Pad thai spring rolls from Hella Vegan Eats

Our spring rolls were fresh out of the oven and HOT. The sauce that came with them was probably the best part, complementing the spring rolls very well. Hella Vegan Eats is trying to obtain their own food truck to hit the streets. (Right now they just cater.) If you’d like to donate, you can find the campaign here.

At this point, we started thinking about dessert. Kyle spotted a goats milk custard cornet at La Victoria Bakery and had to have it.

La Victoria Bakery booth

Goat’s milk custard cornet from La Victoria Bakery

I’m not a huge fan of custard, so I only had a bite. What I could appreciate was the pastry surrounding it, which was flaky and cooked to a crisp.

At this point I put the hunt for dessert on hold when I saw the Love and Hummus booth. I can’t resist good hummus when I see it.

The Love and Hummus booth

They gave me the option to choose either pita chips or veggies with my hummus, and I decided to go with the healthier choice.

Hummus and veggies from Love and Hummus

There was plenty of hummus left over after I finished my veggies, so I got to take a snack home to enjoy later too!

We moved forward with dessert at our next stop, Bi-Rite Creamery.

The menu sign at the Bi-Rite Creamery cart

I went with the cup of salted caramel ice cream, and I had to keep asking Kyle to help me out because it was so filling I was afraid I couldn’t finish it! Luckily, it was also quite tasty, so convincing him to have some wasn’t difficult.

Salted caramel ice cream cup from Bi-Rite Creamery

Thanks to Kyle’s help with the ice cream, I had room for one last small dessert before we called it a day. La Luna Cupcakes had some perfectly tiny dessert options. I decided on a cake pop, but they were sold two at a time for $5. I figured I could take one home for later. I got a chocolate and a red velvet.

Red velvet (left, purple) and chocolate (right, sprinkles) cake pops from La Luna Cupcakes

I ate the first one right then and there though, and Kyle snapped a photo that I deemed good enough to be my default photo on facebook. (That says something!)

Me enjoying my chocolate cake pop

That concluded our culinary adventures at the San Francisco Street Food Festival. And we even got home in time to go to the movies that evening! Of course, before we had even gotten on our BART train, Kyle asked me, “So when is Eat Real?” Yup, we can’t get enough of street food.

If you’d like to see Kyle’s perspective, he livetweeted the event on his twitter account here. He also included his coffee from Ritual that I didn’t write about despite it being the only actual truck we visited :)

 

A Couple New Ones and a Couple Old Ones August 10, 2012

I have to admit, I haven’t been to many trucks lately. August is pretty much the worst month for substitute teachers, since we’re somehow supposed to make ends meet during the summer without getting paid, and my attempts at working on a food truck failed. As a result, I’ve been trying to save money, and that means more eating at home and less food trucking. I do have a few trucks to write about though!

I finally got a chance to meet up with Banjara Bistro, the new truck by the makers of Mini Yums. It’s the first crepe truck that I know of in the south bay, so I’d been very excited to try it ever since I heard about it.

The Banjara Bistro truck

I was happy to see some remnants of the old Mini Yums cuisine in a window on the truck. They’re still selling homemade sweets!

A window of baked goods on the Banjara Bistro truck.

I was immediately greeted by the truck owner, Manisha. She engaged me in friendly conversation as I decided what to order. Unfortunately, none of the crepes they were serving at the time were vegetarian AND savory, so I went with their vegetarian sandwich special with a side egg salad. I also ordered a dessert crepe to share with Kyle later.

Vegetarian sandwich and egg salad from Banjara Bistro

The sandwich was filled with melted brie and caramelized onions, among other vegetables that are escaping my memory. Regardless, it was delicious, with a hint of spiciness to it that I enjoyed. I found the bread it was served on to be especially fresh and tasty.

A close up of the vegetarian sandwich from Banjara Bistro

The crepe was a nutella and vanilla crepe, and for such a basic crepe I didn’t expect the amount of flavor it included. This definitely left me wanting to try more from this truck, and I’m hoping to catch up with them tomorrow at a Word on the StreEatz.

Nutella crepe from Banjara Bistro

The next new truck I tried recently happened this weekend at the Fremont Art and Wine festival. Having been raised in the tri-city area, I’ve been to countless Fremont Art and Wine Festivals over the years with my mom. This time Kyle and I met up with her there, and we were excited to go to our first art and wine festival that included food trucks. After walking half of the festival, we happened upon the side street that included trucks hosted by the food truck mafia. They even had their fancy sign up!

The Food Truck Mafia banner at the Fremont Art and Wine Festival

I was sad to see a lack of vegetarian options in the trucks there, but I did spot one option at a truck I hadn’t been to before, Munch India.

The Munch India truck

We ordered their vegetable samosa and split it among the three of us. My mom is usually not a fan of Indian food, and she even enjoyed this dish! She especially enjoyed the garbanzo beans in a masala sauce that surrounded the samosa.

Vegetable samosa chole from Munch India

We also shared a vegetarian burrito from Tacos de Los Altos, but I’ve posted photos of those a couple of different times :)

On Wednesday, I decided to head up to Hiller Aviation for their weekly lunch event again. I figured the number of Wednesdays before the school year starts and I won’t be able to make it to Hiller are few, so I should get another one in while I could. I got there around 12:40, and all of the lines were super long. I decided to brave the line for Nom Nom and try their special for the day, the Nom salad. I got mine with tofu, of course.

Nom salad with tofu from Nom Nom

The salad included many fresh veggies and a tasty dressing, but I’m not sure if the size was worth the $7.50 I paid for it. I still wanted more food when I was done, so I got a bao from The Chairman. In retrospect, I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted a photo of their tofu bun. I hadn’t been there in awhile because they always have crazy long lines, but for some reason theirs had died down considerably at Hiller. The next time I pick one up I’ll be sure to snap a photo.

My final stop was The Butterscotch Girl where I sampled and then chose her honey lavender butterscotch. The perfect end to a perfect meal!

Honey lavender butterscotch from The Butterscotch Girl

Now that I’m working at a summer school program for a couple weeks, and the new school year is approaching, hopefully I’ll start feeling better about my finances soon and will go back to my old food truckery shenanigans!

 

Los Gatos and Los Angeles! July 31, 2012

It’s a weird feeling: I haven’t eaten at a food truck in a week. I feel slightly like I’m going through withdrawals, so I think it’s appropriate to at least write about them. I’ve had a busy week; first, Kyle and I ventured to southern California to visit my sister, and we were only back in San Jose for a day before we left to go to Tahoe for a friend’s wedding. Whew! The good news is we managed to get some food trucks in while we were in LA.

The night before all this craziness started, however, we went to the Los Gatos Food Fest for the first time. I had been wanting to go since this event started, but it never worked well with my schedule while I was teaching, and our Fridays seemed to be filling up quickly during the summer. On the eve of our back-to-back vacations, though, the fest seemed like the perfect introduction to relaxation, especially since it was a Caribbean theme that night!

The Los Gatos Food Fest on July 20th.

As luck would have it, I also got the opportunity to try a truck I hadn’t tried before that night! Arabian Bites had been on my list of trucks that don’t have vegetarian options for awhile. I had seen them have something vegetarian on their menu once, but it unfortunately had eggplant in it. (My allergy strikes again!) This particular evening they happened to be serving a side salad that was vegetarian.

The Arabian Bites truck

I ordered the salad, and the wait seemed a bit long for something so small, especially since there was no one in line when I ordered. There were a few people waiting on orders though. Eventually, I got my food, and it totally redeemed itself by being delicious. I especially enjoyed the dressing. Garbanzo beans and feta are two of my weaknesses, so it’s no surprise that I loved it. If this is any indicator of the quality of the rest of their food, I sure hope this truck adds more vegetarian options to their menu soon.

Side salad from Arabian Bites

Most of the rest of my meal was food I’ve already posted about on here before, but I’d like to give a special shout out to We Sushi for always making me veggie rolls that they have removed from their menu, namely the avocado roll and the veggie gyoza roll. They rock!

For dessert, I still had some room in my belly, so I splurged on an ice cream sandwich from Twisted Chill since I hadn’t had one there before. I went with peach cobbler ice cream on a snickerdoodle cookie.

Peach cobbler on a snickerdoodle cookie from Twisted Chill

I’m not sure if it’s obvious in the photo since there isn’t much to scale it, but this sandwich was HUGE, way bigger than any ice cream sandwich I’ve gotten at a truck before (and I’ve gotten them at three other trucks). I needed a lot of Kyle’s help to finish it, but eventually we did, and we enjoyed every bite.

The next day we left for LA, but it wasn’t until Monday that we visited another food truck. Luckily, we made up for it by going to five of them that night! Yup, I did my first Pacman at an LA event, On the Lot in Los Feliz. This was at the same location where I went to Los Feliz a Go Go last year. This time I went with Kyle and my (very pregnant) sister.

On the Lot, July 23rd

Of the six trucks attending, I had only been to one, so I made it my goal to eat from each of the other five. My first stop was Lomo Arigato, a Japanese/Peruvian fusion truck I had been following on twitter for two years but hadn’t gotten a chance to try yet.

The Lomo Arigato truck

This truck probably has the coolest paint job I’ve seen. It’s actually a paint job, not a wrap, and the icing on the cake is their signature knife sticking out of the front of the truck.

The front of the Lomo Arigato truck

After some deliberation (because everything looked so yummy!), Kyle and I decided on the Tallarin Saltado with tofu.

Tallarin saltado from Lomo Arigato

It was a lot of food for the price, and knowing that I wanted to pull off a Pacman, I was afraid we’d have to take some home, but it was also just too tasty to stop eating. Kyle and I finished all of the noodles without a problem.

Our next stop was Deano’s Deli Sandwiches.

Deano’s Deli truck

We would have liked to try their vegetarian hoagie, but we had to stick with sides at this point in order to try all the trucks. Instead, we went for their tortellini salad and were not disappointed.

Tortellini salad from Deano’s Deli truck

The next side we grabbed was from Flatiron.

The Flatiron truck

Being a burger truck, it was a little more difficult to find something vegetarian at Flatiron. However, they were willing to make their fried cauliflower without the bacon that usually comes in it. I’m glad they were, because it was probably my favorite food I ate from a truck while in LA this time!

Fried cauliflower from Flatiron

We took a break to munch on everything we had ordered so far, and after a few bites I decided to go back in for more at Baby’s Badass Burgers while Kyle and my sister continued eating.

The Baby’s Badass Burgers truck

….that’s kinda dirty

After confirming that they were, indeed, vegetarian, I ordered the “pig’s tails”, or curly fries. I then proceeded to wait way too long for them. This seemed like a truck that was determined to put out orders in the order they were received despite the size of the orders. I saw plenty of people served their burgers with curly fries on the side before they dished up a few of them for me. It seemed a little like an unnecessarily long wait time, but I’m happy to say that the fries were delicious one I did get them. They were covered with a seasoning that made ketchup almost unnecessary too.

Pig tails from Baby’s Badass Burgers

Our final stop was for dessert at Palazzolo’s Gelato and Sorbetto truck. I was amazed by the number of flavors they carried, and that they seemingly never changed since they were all painted directly on the truck. I quickly realized this was because the gelato was pre-packaged and not fresh-scooped.

Palazzolo’s Gelato truck

All three of us each got our own flavor. I went with the Peanut butter cup, which was actually filled with tiny little peanut butter cups.

Peanut butter cup gelato from Palazzolo’s

It was still yummy despite the fact that it was pre-packaged, and the pre-packaging made it possible for nutrition facts as well.

Nutrition facts on Palazzolo’s gelato

Kyle had the bourbon caramel pecan, and my sister had the Italian pistachio. Both had plenty of nuts in them as well, although all three of us noticed that there were more near the top and bottom and just gelato in the middle. I guess that’s how the chunks settle after they’re packaged.

My sister’s pistachio gelato (and her baby bump!)

The next day, Kyle and I sought out another food truck for lunch. This time we went to Tortas 2 Die 4.

The Tortas 2 Die 4 truck (which is more of a trailer)

As we ordered our food, we discovered that each torta came with a side salad, and they had several options for which kind of side salad we wanted. It was definitely a good deal for $8 each. After we ordered and paid, I put a tip in their tip jar that looked like this:

The Tortas 2 Die 4 tip jar

The cashier then yelled to his cook, “JOSE, WE’RE GOING BACK TO MEXICO!” Too funny.

Now, I’ve never considered dying for food before and thought the name might be an exaggeration, but this was some really good food. I think I might value my life a little more than whoever titled the truck though :) I got the vegetarian baja torta with pasta salad on the side, and Kyle got the “valley girl” torta (which consisted of mushrooms, so I didn’t try any), and a jicama and mango side salad (which I did try and found quite yummy).

Vegetarian baja torta with pasta salad from Tortas 2 Die 4

Valley girl torta with jicama and mango salad

We were both stuffed after eating our meals, but not too long after while we were walking around Pasadena we ran into another truck! We couldn’t not try something and add another truck to our list of LA ones we’d tried. We were also very impressed with the number of vegetarian options at Baja Express. There were veggie sandwiches, burgers, and tacos, which is pretty rare for an authentic Mexican taco truck. Sadly, I wasn’t able to find this truck online anywhere. This is common for authentic taco trucks, and it didn’t help that this one had a pretty basic name.

The Baja Express truck

Since we were both still full, we just shared a veggie taco, but it was worth the lactaid I had to take to do so.

Vegetarian taco from Baja Express

That concludes the trucks I visited in LA this time around. I’m still proud of adding seven new trucks to my list, especially since we weren’t in town for very long!

 

 
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