Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

My Week in Food Trucks August 30, 2011

Oh dear, it has been a week since I posted. I have a pretty good reason for this though. The school year has begun, and I am once again working. The life of a teacher is busy though, so my updates might become less frequent. I will most likely start posting about once a week with my food truck highlights from the week instead of posting about every single time I eat at a truck.

We begin this week’s post with last week’s Edgewood Eats on August 22nd. I went with my mind already made up, determined to eat some banh mi from Little Green Cyclo, but when I arrived I discovered there was a new truck!

The Sanguchon truck

I had never heard of Sanguchon before, let alone seen it. I don’t think I had ever had Peruvian food either. I stuck with my original plan of banh mi but headed back to Sanguchon for dessert. I got their alfajores cookies, which came in this cute packaging:

Alfajores from Sanguchon

inside the alfajores

I’m a bit of a sucker for caramel, and the alfajores delivered. They were also covered in powdered sugar, and by the time I had finished eating them so was I. Luckily, powdered sugar washes out easily!

the aftermath of alfajores on my skirt

On Saturday the 27th, I headed to Moveable Feast and ran into more new trucks! Tequila Tacos didn’t have any vegetarian options, but Mayo and Mustard did!

The Mayo and Mustard truck

I had checked their menu ahead of time and saw a veggie sandwich on it. When they only had three sandwiches listed on their chalkboard, all including meat, I was momentarily scared, but they eased my worries when they said they’d serve the rest of their menu too. Phew! I’m really glad they did because the sandwich was delicious. Since I’ve become a vegetarian I’ve discovered that veggie sandwiches are usually awesome because people really pack in the veggies, and they have so many flavors going on at once. Mayo and Mustard’s sandwich was no exception.

Veggie Delight from Mayo and Mustard

I was also happy to see Bomb Truck at Moveable Feast. They had been spending a lot of time in San Francisco and hadn’t been in San Jose much lately. This time I got two popsicles from them, avocado and mango.

Avocado popsicle from Bomb Truck

Mango popsicle from Bomb Truck

Of the two, I preferred the mango. The avocado was good, but it didn’t have quite as much flavor. Then again, more flavor would have probably been too much avocado for a popsicle. I think I still enjoyed their nutella flavor from the last time I tried the truck most overall.

Yesterday, despite being exhausted after the first day of school, I still ventured over to Edgewood Eats mostly for some butterscotch brownies. Before dessert I needed dinner though, so I went to another truck I hadn’t been to before, although I had seen it at other events. I had previously not spied any vegetarian options on the Whisk on Wheels menu, but this time they had a spinach and ricotta empanada that came with salad.

Spinach and ricotta empanada from Whisk on Wheels

inside the empenada

I hope to see this item on their menu again because it definitely hit the spot!

Despite having lots of classroom prep to do this weekend, I still plan on attending both Moveable Feast San Mateo on Friday night and Moveable Feast San Jose on Saturday afternoon. Look early next week for the highlights from those events!

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My San Francisco Street Food Festival Experience August 23, 2011

There are plenty of food trucks in San Francisco that I haven’t had an opportunity to try because they don’t venture down to the south bay at all. I had been meaning to make a trip up there to try some of them at some point, and when I found out about The San Francisco Street Food Festival I figured this was the perfect opportunity. The three main trucks I’ve been meaning to try would be there: Liba Falafel, The Creme Brulee Cart, and Nom Nom. The day of the festival, my friend and I set out to get there early before too big of a crowd arrived. I feared super long lines like I’ve experienced at food truck festivals in the past, but that didn’t end up being the case at all. The event was very well organized, and each truck or booth’s menu was limited to no more than three items to make things run more quickly. I don’t think I waited more than five minutes in a single line, but the crowd was still ginormous.

The crowd at the San Francisco Street Food Festival, August 20th

Sadly, the limited menus meant not eating at Nom Nom since they weren’t serving any vegetarian options. On the plus side, each truck or booth (and there were many more booths than trucks) had a special menu for the event, and vegetarian options were marked with a little leaf. This made it easy for people like me to tell where we could and couldn’t eat without having to wait in line and ask questions.

When my friend and I entered the festival, I spotted the Liba Falafel truck.

The Liba Falafel Truck

I had been following this truck on twitter ever since I saw them featured on Eat Street and couldn’t wait to try it. You might recall that I mentioned in a previous post how I’ve developed a bit of a falafel habit since I became a vegetarian. I ordered the falafel sandwich. I must admit, I was a little disappointed about the size of the sandwich for the price (eight dollars), but the flavor more than made up for it.

Falafel sandwich from Liba Falafel

My next stop was clear when I saw that The Creme Brulee Cart booth was nearby. Despite it not even being noon, I was ready for dessert.

The Creme Brulee Cart booth from afar

Although the raspberry nutella creme brulee sounded amazing, I wanted to go with a more classic creme brulee taste, so I got the honey vanilla creme brulee. Holy crap, it was good.

Honey vanilla creme brulee from The Creme Brulee Cart

The mass amount of people there meant my cell phone was not sending or receiving texts at the rate it usually does. I had separated from my friend and was having trouble finding him again, so I wandered around a bit and came across Hapa Ramen.

The Hapa Ramen booth

They were serving a tomato, corn, and basil salad that sounded nice and light after my dessert, and it was only two dollars. It was the perfect thing to snack on while I maneuvered the crowds trying to find my friend.

Tomato, corn, and basil salad from Hapa Ramen

Once I had finally found my friend we continued to walk the rest of the festival, and when we saw the veg option at Osha Thai we were both intrigued.

The Osha Thai booth

I’ve had a thing for egg rolls since childhood, and I’m also a big fan of samosas, so it was an obvious choice. They were both extremely tasty.

Veggie roll and Thai samosa from Osha Thai

We continued to walk around the festival afterward, but I was too full to eat anything else! Overall, I’m super glad I went and enjoyed myself, but I was done with crowds by the end. I will have to make another trip up to the city at some point to catch Nom Nom when they’re serving their regular menu with veg options!

 

Three Days of Food Truckin’ in a Row? I Must Be Crazy. August 21, 2011

Yup, you read the title right. From Thursday to Saturday this week I went to three days of food truck gatherings in a row. I will only write about the first two days in this entry and save my account of the San Francisco Street Food Festival for my next post.

Thursday I headed to my first Moveable Feast in Mountain View. It took place in the parking lot of a restaurant called Steak Out, because food trucks apparently aren’t allowed to park on the street in Mountain View. They were taking signatures for a petition to change this, but only Mountain View residents could sign it. (Sadly, that doesn’t include me.) Due to the size of the lot, there were only four trucks there.

Moveable Feast Mountain View, August 18th

The only one that wasn’t dessert food that had a vegetarian option was MoBowl. Luckily, I’m a fan of their umami tofu, as I mentioned in a recent post. This time I remembered to take a photo of it!

Umami tofu bowl from MoBowl

I apparently have also earned the status of being a regular at this truck because they remembered I love their cheesecake eggrolls and gave me an order for free with my meal. Thanks, MoBowl! I decided to take the eggrolls to go and get another free dessert at Treatbot – I had filled out my frequent buyer card and earned a free scoop. I decided to skip the Lactaid and get a scoop of their fantastic raspberry sorbet.

My free desserts: cheesecake eggrolls from MoBowl and raspberry sorbet from Treatbot

Friday night I headed to Newark Street Eats, this time with my sister (who was visiting for the weekend from LA) and my dad. Being with family made me completely forget to take photos at the festival, it seems, but once we got home and sat down to eat the food I snapped a few shots. First, I got a spicy tofu burrito from BBQ Kalbi. It seems as though this was another case of foil making the photos blurry.

Spicy tofu burrito from BBQ Kalbi

My sister, Dad, and I then split two desserts from That’s Sweet!. We got a mini apple pie and a red velvet whoopie pie. None of us had ever had a whoopie pie before and didn’t know what to expect. When we ordered it, the gentleman asked if the marshmallow filling was okay. I asked if it included gelatin and he said no and commented on that being a good question ๐Ÿ™‚

Red velvet whoopie pie from That's Sweet!

Both desserts were delicious, as treats from this truck tend to be. We also split the mini apple pie three ways.

Mini apple pie from That's Sweet!

Stay tuned for my post about my third day in a row of food truckin’ at the biggest food festival I’ve attended!

 

An Edgewood Eats and a New Truck August 17, 2011

Edgewood Eats, August 15th

On Monday I ventured to Edgewood Eats and decided right away that it would be an evening about returning to old favorites rather than eating from as many trucks as possible. I started at House of Siam on Wheels. They are one of the local trucks with the most vegetarian options, so it’s hard to go wrong there. I had somehow managed to not have had their basil with tofu before (I had had it with chicken before I went veg), so I made a meal out of ordering just that. The portions are huge for the price, and I was practically full after this one dish.

Basil with tofu from House of Siam on Wheels

The most exciting part of Edgewood Eats for me, however, was the return of Butterscotch on the Go. With my vacations and them skipping a couple Edgewood Eats combined, I hadn’t been to this truck in about a month and a half. I felt like I was going through withdrawals. To make matters even better, they had my absolute favorite dessert (by them, and quite possibly ever), their butterscotch brownies. I hadn’t seen them carry these since the first time I went to this truck in February. Every time I see them I automatically check their menu to see if they have the butterscotch brownies, and most days it’s not the case. This was my lucky day! I bought two.

Butterscotch brownie from Butterscotch on the Go

I ate one right away and saved the second one for the next day, along with an order of their signature butterscotch pudding.

Butterscotch pudding from Butterscotch on the Go

On Tuesday, I set out to hit up a new food truck in the area, O Mi Ninja. I had heard good things, and being a huge fan of banh mi, I knew I had to give them a taste. They were serving lunch about ten minutes from me, so I made a special trip to check them out.

The O Mi Ninja Truck

I ordered the banh mi with tofu and mushrooms. When I ordered, they asked if it was vegetarian, which I appreciated since apparently there are some other non-veg ingredients usually included. At only $6 I didn’t expect it to be a foot long, but it was!

Tofu mushroom banh mi from O Mi Ninja

It was filled with lots of vegetables and flavor. I think banh mi in general might be what made me love cucumbers when I always hated them before. There were also some bites that were very spicy, which I love. That could have been the ninja sauce I added to my sandwich though ๐Ÿ™‚

inside the banh mi

Overall, it was great food at a great price, so I will definitely be eating at O Mi Ninja again!

 

Truckin’ in Union City and San Jose August 14, 2011

I’ve been to two truck gatherings in the last few days starting with one I hadn’t been to before, Union City Street Eats. Having grown up in the tri-city area, I’ve made a point of going to each of the weekly gatherings there, and the added bonus of including my parents (who live in Newark) in my food trucking is always fun.

On Thursday, my dad and I ventured to Union City together with dinner as our mission. When we got there, we were surprised at the size of the event (ten trucks!), including a dj playing music and tables and chairs.

Union City Street Eats, August 11th

My dad was instantly overwhelmed, never having been to a food truck before, let alone ten. I, however, set out on my mission and called my mom to read her menu options so I could grab food for the two of us while Dad figured out what he was going to do. (My only complaint about how the festival was set up was that the music was so loud I could barely hear my mom on the phone.) My mom decided on a lemongrass pork bowl from The Whole Bowl Truck.

Lemongrass pork bowl from The Whole Bowl

The bowl looked super yummy, and my mom confirmed later on that it definitely was. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen any vegetarian options on the Whole Bowl’s menu. For some reason they’re marked as vegetarian on Roaming Hunger, but I don’t know why. I wish they had a tofu option or something because their food looks good!

Next I headed over to MoBowl, a truck I’ve written about previously. I’ve tried many of the options on their menu but somehow had never had their umami tofu bowl (probably because of my slight fear of mushrooms). I’m sad to say that I failed to take a photo of my food before consuming it. What can I say? I was super excited, and it was devoured pretty quickly. Luckily I did manage to snap a photo of the truck though.

The MoBowl Truck

My final stop was That’s Sweet! Dessert Truck. My mom had requested a chocolate maple cupcake, and I went ahead and got myself one as well. Once again, I was impressed by the gentleman who works the truck remembering that he had served me before when I’ve only been there three times!

That's Sweet! Truck

Chocolate maple cupcakes from That's Sweet!

On Saturday, I made my return to Moveable Feast. It felt good to be back and hang out with people like Food Truck Nerd.

Moveable Feast, August 13th

I decided to join the longest line in the place, the one for Little Green Cyclo. It had been a good three or four months since I last had their vermicelli, and I hadn’t had it with tofu yet. It was tasty, although I apparently made the mistake of using the fish sauce that came with it not realizing it was fish sauce. Oops. I’m still learning when it comes to being a good vegetarian!

Little Green Cyclo Truck

Tofu vermicelli from Little Green Cyclo

After enjoying my meal I craved dessert, and Treatbot was serving a special strawberry and raspberry shortcake. I jumped at the opportunity, especially since it was premade and didn’t require waiting in line as a result. It was some of the best strawberry shortcake I’ve tasted.

Strawberry and raspberry shortcake from Treatbot

I know it was a special, but I still hope Treatbot serves it again!

Tonight was the season premiere of The Great Food Truck Race. I was super excited about it; this show reminds me of when I first started going to food trucks in LA last August. The first season aired just as I was discovering the food truck phenomenon, and this season seems bigger and better! Naturally, I’m already siding with the vegan truck, but I have a few other favorites as well. I can’t wait to see how they deal with the challenge that involves sausage next week, eek!

 

I’m a Liar, and I’m Home August 10, 2011

I pretty much posted all over the internet that my last post about LA food trucks would be my last, and then I went ahead and ate at another food truck in LA a couple hours later. What can I say, I’m addicted. Plus it was in South Pasadena just a ten minute drive away…

I went to Dumpling Station, which I wrote about more extensively in my first post about LA trucks. It’s the only LA food truck I’ve been to more than once (four times now!), and is quite possibly my favorite LA food truck as well. They get bonus points for putting up with my sister’s dog barking and growling at them this time around. I didn’t know he would be so rude in a food truck setting, but they were totally cool about it! I got their vegetable dumplings (which I had had before) and their Nutella banana wontons (which I hadn’t).

Nutella banana wontons from Dumpling Station

Sunday I drove back to the bay area, and Monday evening I returned to Edgewood Eats. It felt good to be home, and at a local food truck gathering again.

Edgewood Eats on August 8th

My first stop was Eat on Monday, a truck that doesn’t usually have vegetarian options. This time, though, they were serving fried mozzarella, and I knew I had to try it.

Eat on Monday

Fried mozzarella from Eat on Monday

I loved the dressing and tomatoes on top. It was the perfect return to bay area food trucking. Next I went to The Armadillo Willy’s BBQ truck. I was never a huge BBQ fan even when I ate meat, but they were serving a veggie salad that I hadn’t tried before. After eating something fried, I felt like trying something more healthy.

The Armadillo Willy's menu

Very veggie salad from Armadillo Willy's

As a new vegetarian, I find myself trying to expand my tastes and eat more veggies I didn’t used to eat since I’m already limiting my diet. I have started eating tomatoes and cucumbers when I didn’t before, and I’m working toward eating mushrooms as well. A lot of vegetarian dishes use portobello mushrooms as the “meat” of the dish, so I’ve been wanting to like them. This salad had huge portobello mushroom pieces on top, and unfortunately, I knew after the first bite it just wasn’t gonna happen. I ate the rest of the salad around them, but I’m still mad at my tastebuds for not adapting to mushrooms yet!

My final stop for the night (that salad was filling!) was Twisted Chill. I was happy to see they had lowered their price from $5 to $4. They still only had one size though. I loaded my cup up with the pomegranate raspberry flavor I loved so much from last time, and I added a little kiwi strawberry too. I only put one topping on it, bits of heath. Yum.

Frozen yogurt from Twisted Chill

While I enjoyed my foray into trucks from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles, it still feels good to be home and eating from local trucks again.

 

I Seem to be Writing About LA Trucks Four at a Time… August 6, 2011

I am proud to say that I have, in fact, met and exceeded my previous record for number of LA food trucks visited in one trip to SoCal. Last time, when I was here for over two weeks, I went to eleven trucks. As of last night, I’ve been to twelve on this trip, which has only been just over a week. Go me!

Yesterday I headed to Burbank once again to hit up two trucks that were parked together, Crepe’n Around and Greenz on Wheelz. These were two trucks I had definitely been seeking out. I love crepes, and I love love love salad. My love affair with salad began before I was a vegetarian, even before I was an adult. I used to be a rather picky eater in my youth, but chicken caesar salads were always a staple.

The Crepe'n Around and Greenz on Wheelz trucks

I went to Crepe’n Around first, and while I was waiting in line made the discovery that I had made a major food trucking mistake: I had forgotten to make sure I had enough cash for everything I planned on buying. Granted, LA food trucks are more likely to allow credit, but there are often limits for how much you have to spend before you charge, and I feel silly charging a small amount anyway. I had ten bucks on me, and a crepe was $7. Now, they have a vegetarian crepe that includes four cheeses, and being lactose intolerant, I didn’t know if I wanted to chance that even with double Lactaid. Plus, another one of my love affairs is with pesto, and they had a chicken pesto crepe as well. I asked if it was possible to get the chicken pesto without chicken, and the gentleman working the window paused and then said, “sure!” He proceeded to only charge me $4 for it! This left me with more money for Greenz on Wheelz. I was pleased. I also think he enjoyed saying “chicken no chicken” to the cook and me, so it worked out for all of us ๐Ÿ™‚ It didn’t taste like it was missing anything either.

Chicken Pesto crepe from Crepe'n Around, with no chicken

The only salad on the Greenz on Wheelz menu that was $6 or less was the caesar, and I had no problem with that. I got it in a wrap. I was afraid that the wrap would mean a loss of croutons, one of my favorite parts of salad, but I was wrong; there were still croutons in the wrap! Now, like I said, I used to be quite the caesar salad connoisseur, and this one was definitely a cut above the rest. In fact, I was practically full after only eating half of it, so I took the rest to go.

Caesar salad wrap from Greenz on Wheelz

My next stop (after getting some cash back at a store) was also in Burbank at another truck I’d been following since last summer, Lake Street Creamery. They specialize in out of the ordinary ice cream flavors.

Lake Street Creamery Truck

I went with the donut flavor, not knowing what to expect. It ended up tasting exactly like a donut. It even had little bits of donut inside. I also enjoyed the waffle cone that came standard. It was slightly burnt, and I’m a big fan of food being slightly burnt. It was also my first time eating ice cream (or maybe anything) with a wooden spoon.

Donut ice cream from Lake Street Creamery

That evening, I had the other half of my caesar wrap for dinner, and it was enough food considering what a big lunch I had. However, I noticed that there was a food truck gathering in Pasadena near the dog park I’ve been frequenting. I figured I might as well try to stop by after taking the dog to the park to beat my record of food trucks from last year.

the crowd at a Pasadena food truck gathering

The crowd was larger than I expected with each truck having a line at least a few people deep. I decided to go for the truck with the shortest line since the dog was waiting patiently in the car. This happened to be The Paradise Cookies Truck. It was convenient since I already had dinner, and I’m a sucker for an ice cream cookie sandwich from a food truck (see also Treatbot and Cool Haus).

The Paradise Cookie Truck

This was the first truck I’ve seen with windows so that you could see what the cooks (or bakers) were doing inside. I found this an interesting touch.

putting some cookies in to bake on the Paradise Cookie Truck

I ordered nutella ice cream on a white chocolate chip cookie. And can I just say? Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe it. The cookies were especially yummy.

Nutella ice cream on white chocolate chip cookies from Paradise Cookie Truck

This will probably be my last LA post for this trip, unless I happen to go to another truck tonight. Tomorrow I make the drive back to the bay area. It’s been fun visiting new places with new trucks, but I miss my cat, I miss south bay trucks, and I miss people letting me in when I use my blinker on the freeway. NorCal, I’m coming home!

Edit: A fellow vegetarian friend of mine has pointed out to me the fact that most caesar dressing includes an anchovy paste. This is something I knew but had somehow completely forgotten. Can I just express how sad I am about this? Seriously, I know it’s not true of all of them, but there goes my salad staple. This might be one of my biggest disappointments since becoming a vegetarian, after giving up most kinds of sushi. At least my last caesar salad experience was a good one.