Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

When SF trucks come to SJ March 25, 2012

Two weeks ago, the Cinequest festival was wrapping up in downtown San Jose, and many food trucks were invited to participate in the closing day celebrations. I don’t know how they did it, but somehow a few trucks from San Francisco that never venture down to the south bay made the trip for this occasion, and all of the south bay food truck followers rejoiced at the new variety.

Trucks lining First Street on the last day of Cinequest, March 11th.

Our first stop was El Tonayense, a truck I had seen listed on Roaming Hunger plenty of times but have never run into while in the city.

El Tonayense truck

I wanted to have room to try all the trucks I wasn’t used to seeing, so I just ordered a vegetarian taco, and it was a great start to my meal.

Vegetarian taco from El Tonayense

Our next stop was Onigilly. I had tried this truck once before in the city, but Kyle hadn’t. We got two onigillies: a hijiki for Kyle and an ume for me.

Hijiki and and ume from Onigilly

The ume started off like other tastes I’ve tried, but once I got to the salted plum portion there was an explosion of salty goodness. Definitely unlike anything I’ve tasted before!

Next came The Southern Sandwich Co. truck, which I had only tried the potato wedges from before. This time Kyle went all out and got a hickory smoked portobello sandwich, pepper jack mac, and Carolina cole slaw.

Hickory smoked portobello sandwich and pepper jack mac from Southern Sandwich Co.

Carolina cole slaw from Southern Sandwich Co.

Not being a huge mushroom fan, I didn’t try the sandwich. I did have plenty of the two sides, though, and they were both delicious. The slaw had a spicy bite to it that I especially enjoyed.

To complete our meal, we stopped by The Ben and Jerry’s Truck, which I didn’t know existed before this event.

The Ben and Jerry's Truck

Although I’m plenty familiar with what Ben and Jerry’s has to offer, I stuck with my determined goal of hitting up every truck possible. I got a scoop of one of my favorites, Americone Dream. (Gotta love anything Stephen Colbert related!)

Americone dream from Ben and Jerry's

Overall, it was a welcomed change to the usual trucks we’re used to seeing in the south bay. Don’t get me wrong, I love the south bay trucks, but it’s always nice to try something new!

I have also had the pleasure of trying three other new trucks to the area recently. First, Fairycakes has started making appearances at Moveable Feasts.

The Fairycakes truck

The first time they showed up at Moveable Feast, their line was huge. Dan Hugo waited in it and got a bunch of cupcakes to share for his efforts. I took a photo of the box after it had emptied half-way in crappy nighttime lighting. Although the photo doesn’t do it justice, the red velvet cupcake I had from them was delicious.

Cupcakes from Fairycakes

The next new truck I tried was one Kyle picked up food from on his way home at a Milpitas Street Eats. Truckin’ Sweet serves just ice cream now, but they will soon be serving other sweets as well. Kyle grabbed their mystery flavor, which apparently was a mystery even to the people who run the truck.

There were many different layers of different ice creams, some with chunks of nuts or berries in them. Somehow they all converged to make a yummy treat. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this truck.

Finally, a new truck was serving up at yesterday’s Moveable Feast named Chutney Mary’s.

The Chutney Mary's truck

They had two vegetarian options, and we ordered both not knowing what they were. First came the bhel papri chaat, which was a sort of Indian take on nachos.

I assumed the yellow topping was cheese, given the nachos comparison. I soon realized they were little noodle crisps and felt silly for taking lactaid. The dish consisted of many different flavors that went well together and were especially complemented by the many different chutney sauces the truck had to choose from. Kyle added a couple to our plate. The second vegetarian dish was the puchkas. These little hollowed out crispy bites wer served with a filling that had to be spooned in and then an additional watery sauce that should be added just before popping the whole thing in your mouth.

Puchkas from Chutney Mary's

We tried our best to get an action shot of how the dish is prepared. The gentlemen running the truck were very helpful with explaining the process to us, and the results were tasty as well. We got so into eating them we quickly lost track of how many we had eaten to figure out if we each had an equal portion.

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More Where That Came From March 16, 2012

Oh dear. I guess it’s been over a month since I hit 100 trucks and posted the big list. I even posted two blogs in one week then thinking I was going to start writing more often, and now look at me! I blame my blogging absence on two things: 1) Having to finish Mockingjay before its due date at the library, and 2) taking on a new long-term subbing job. Obviously the latter has taken up the most time in my life, but for awhile all my free time was reserved for the former. Worry not though; I haven’t stopped going to trucks after reaching 100. Much to the contrary, I’m actually up to 104 now. As with any new job, I’ve just been learning how to balance my time again, and hopefully I’ve come pretty close to figuring it out. Also, I know how Katniss Everdeen’s story ends now, so that is no longer a hurdle 🙂

Since I last wrote, so much has happened. First of all, if you follow Veggie Truckin’ on twitter or facebook, you know that I have a new logo! It was created by friend and avid food truck follower Dan Hugo, and I’m happy to finally post it in my blog for the first time!

Credit: Dan Hugo

Secondly, if you follow food trucks at all, you have probably heard about the bill that has stirred a lot of response in California, AB 1678. I’m obviously against it as both someone who follows food trucks and an educator in public schools. I don’t think it is a solution to childhood obesity at all. For more detail on my thoughts, I’d like to direct you to this Food Truck Nerd podcast where I was interviewed, as well as many owners of food trucks, about the bill. The bill has since been amended, and while the changes are welcome, I would prefer there not be a bill at all and believe these issues should be handled at a local level, not a state level. I highly recommend checking out the many Food Truck Nerd podcasts and blogs about the bill; he has been a huge advocate against it and has done a great job of covering the issue as it unfolds.

Now, on to the trucks! While I have been to four new trucks in recent weeks, I’m going to make this another food porn post of new dishes (to me) from trucks about which I’ve already posted.

First on the agenda? Eat on Monday!

The Eat on Monday truck

Is it possible that I’ve never posted a photo of the actual Eat on Monday truck in here and just the food? Maybe, I’m not sure. I’ve revisited this truck a couple times recently and tried items I hadn’t tried before. First, the same day I hit my 100th truck, I ate at Eat on Monday for lunch, also at Rockage. Kyle and I got their fried brussels sprouts, and holy geez were they amazing.

Fried brussels sprouts from Eat on Monday with a side of fries

On another occasion, we met for lunch at Eat On Monday, and I finally had the anticipated veggie burger. Kyle had raved about how great their veggie burger was, and it did not disappoint. I especially enjoyed the bun.

Veggie burger from Eat on Monday

Another truck that has become incredibly active on twitter and whose constant communication with customers has made me appreciate them even more is Koja Kitchen. After trying and loving their teriyaki zen koja I was eager to try more, and on a couple different occasions I’ve tried two more items from their menu. First, the kamikaze fries. They’re usually made with meat and kimchi that includes shellfish, but they make a vegetarian option that is superb. The fake meat they use is delicious (which can’t always be said for fake meat), and I’m a total sucker for criss cut fries.

Vegetarian kamikaze fries from Koja Kitchen

Another tasty item from their menu is their signature dessert, the Mochimisu. From the unique plastic dish that gives the Mochimisu a fun spinning effect to the strawberry on top, this dessert rivals some of the best desserts on the food truck scene.

Mochimisu from Koja Kitchen

As part of SF Beerweek, Kyle and I attended the third annual Beerfest which had multiple trucks in attendance. For lunch we decided on a truck I had only actually tried from their booth at the farmer’s market, Oaxacan Kitchen. Beware: the following photo includes Kyle being adorably excited to get their food from a truck.

The Oaxacan Kitchen truck

I forget the name of what I got (I swear I hadn’t that many drinks at that point; it just happened awhile ago!), but rest assured that it was yummy.

Our meals from Oaxacan Kitchen (and beer!)

We also tried their churros, which were better than any churro I’ve ever had at a fair. One of the elements of Oaxacan Kitchen’s food that I love most is how authentic it is.

Churros from Oaxacan Kitchen

I feel like I’m being a tad verbose, perhaps due to my lack of writing in the last month, so for the next three trucks I’d just like to say that they were all trucks I had only tried once before, and not since the summer. I was happy to try new items from each of them, and they were all delicious!

Tofu sisig from Senor Sisig

Curry rice bowl from Tandoori Chicken USA Mobile

Seasoned fries from Whisk on Wheels

Kyle and I have started frequenting Gorditas Universales on weekday nights because it’s conveniently located between our two apartments. We’ve tried many of the fake meat options from their menu in burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. Somehow I only managed to take photos of a couple of their tacos though. I haven’t had a single thing from their menu that wasn’t delicious. Now if only they’d get a website, twitter, or facebook I could link to!

Tacos from Gorditas Universales

Finally, I’ll close with a special I tried at the Tikka Bytes truck. At a recent Edgewood Eats, they were serving a vegetable briyani that was so spicy I had to eat it in shifts.

Vegetable briyani from Tikka Bytes

I’m hoping my next post will be much sooner and will include the four new trucks I’ve visited in the last month. Stay tuned!