Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

New Trucks and More New Trucks May 17, 2012

Hey look, I’m actually writing before school’s out! It’s shocking, but it’s not without reason. I took today off from work because I have an ear infection. I will be returning tomorrow, pain and all, but I got lots of grading done during the day, so I’m allowing myself this time to blog. Yay!

I have so much to write about! I’m limiting myself to new trucks, and yet I still emailed myself way more photos than I usually do for a post. This might will be a long one.

I somehow failed to write about Pollo Fritto when I visited them a couple months ago at an Edgewood Eats. Maybe it was subconsciously on purpose because of their lack of vegetarian options, but I was able to eat something from them, and I found their owner to be quite friendly.

The Pollo Fritto truck

You can see him handing out samples of his cookies to the crowd in that photo. In fact, the chocolate chip cookie is the menu item I ordered. I talked with him about the possibility of vegetarian options, and he said he could put some of the cole slaw on bread, but it wouldn’t be as good. I decided on the cookie because Food Truck Nerd‘s son, C-Money, had recommended it to me. And if anyone knows good chocolate chip cookies, it’s an almost-thirteen-year-old, right? It was still warm with melted chocolate and definitely met my expectations.

Chocolate chip cookie from Pollo Fritto

Now let’s fast forward to the weekend of April 28th. Some of the food truck mafia trucks were at Washington High School in Fremont honoring the troops, and I took it as an opportunity to try a couple of the trucks I hadn’t been to yet. My first stop was Pizza Pimps.

The Pizza Pimps truck

This long-awaited truck includes a few vegetarian options, and that day they were serving two of them. One was a four cheese pizza called fourplay, and the other was called the epic. As a lactose intolerant person, I tend to prefer more toppings over more cheeses, so I went for a slice of the epic and topped it with some of their “pimp shake”.

Epic slice from Pizza Pimps

I would have preferred a few more of the epic toppings on an epic piece (I can’t even remember what they all were, and they aren’t all visible in the photo), but it was still tasty. I especially enjoyed the pimp shake. (Now that’s a sentence I don’t type often.)

Next to Pizza Pimps was another new truck to me, Conklin’s Catering. I had checked out their menu beforehand, and because they have a varied cuisine it was hard to tell if there were many vegetarian options. When I asked, they said the only one they had that day was their dessert, but they do make a rice dish that’s vegetarian. They just didn’t have it that day. I ordered the pisang panggang for dessert.

Conklin’s Catering truck

Pisang panggang from Conklin’s Catering

This dish was basically banana with chocolate sauce and shredded cheese on top. I was suspicious of such a combination, but I didn’t mind it. Kyle tried it later and didn’t like it at all. I don’t think I’d get it again, but it wasn’t bad. I hope to try their rice vegetarian option in the future though.

May 4th was the first San Mateo Moveable Feast since last summer. This had proven to be one of my favorite events, and I had a foursqure mayorship to maintain, so I made sure to show up. It helped that there were a few trucks from San Francisco attending that don’t usually come down to San Jose. My first stop was a sushi truck called Manna. Their truck was decorated in Japanese lamps and lights.

The Manna truck

The way their truck works is you get to make your own sushi rolls based on the many different options they have. However, they have a special roll that they make for vegetarians called the Sansai Vege.

Sansai vege from Manna

Now, if you know me you know that I LOVE sushi. Giving it up was one of the hardest parts of becoming a vegetarian for me. I still go to sushi joints and get their vegetarian options, and some of them are really good, but I’ll admit it isn’t the same. However, this roll is hands down the best vegetarian sushi roll I’ve ever had. I didn’t even know what some of the ingredients were. And baby corn on sushi? genius. It was so, so delicious. Please, Manna, make your way into my life more often!

My next stop was Cheese Gone Wild, a truck I got to try again this week at Edgewood Eats.

The Cheese Gone Wild truck

They have a cute themed menu that contains references to landmarks in San Francisco.

I was pretty full after my sushi feast, so I just got their cream of tomato basil soup. It was the perfect complement to the windy, cold weather, and it came with a couple slices of french bread for dipping.

When I tried them this week I got an actual sandwich, the Exploratorium melt (without eggplant because I’m allergic). It came with chips and was also delicious, even with one of its main ingredients removed.

Exploratorium melt from Cheese Gone Wild

For dessert, I headed to another new truck to me, SF Delights.

The SF Delights truck

It was a tough decision, but I got the apple crisp to go so I could share it with Kyle later. It looked like it had ice cream on top, but the gentleman serving me said it wasn’t ice cream, so it wouldn’t melt. When I finally shared it with Kyle we devoured it rather quickly. I managed to snap a quick photo before it was completely gone though.

Apple crisp from SF Delights

The next day a new truck was at Moveable Feast Garden City, The Dough Truck.

The Dough Truck

They serve sandwiches with donuts instead of bread on the outside. All of their savory sandwiches include meat, but the dessert ones do not. They also have tater tots topped with various ingredients. We went with the dessert option called Bananas in Pajamas, mostly because I loved the name (ah, British children’s shows). It included bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter inside a glazed donut.

Bananas in Pajamas from the Dough Truck

I was a little worried it would be too much peanut butter for me because I usually don’t like peanut butter unless it’s with chocolate. Luckily, it was the perfect amount with the perfect amount of chocolate.

This weekend Kyle and I ventured down to Monterey for their first street food festival. I used to live in Monterey (for a year), and I hadn’t been back in awhile. I took it as an opportunity to enjoy food trucks elsewhere and visit my old home. We didn’t arrive until a little after 4, so some of the trucks had run out of food.

The truck spread at the Monterey Street Food Festival

Luckily, the one I had never been to before, Voodoo Van still had a tofu sandwich.

The Voodoo Van

Tofu sandwich from Voodoo Van

I got out my bamboo fork immediately to tackle it, but Kyle took the “No forks. No Knives. No Mercy.” slogan seriously and attempted to pick it up and eat it. He was less successful at first, but once we had eaten some tofu out we were both able to pick it up pretty easily. It required many napkins, but it was worth it.

Our next stop was a booth I haven’t been able to find any info about online. It had a sign that read “BFF Cart”. I should have asked what BFF stood for, but I didn’t. Theyobvious answer is best friends forever. A quick google search suggests it could be Bay Functional Fitness. For all I know, it could be neither of those. Edit: I have been informed by Stitches and Dishes that the flowers on their sign are actually o’s and they are the Boffo Cart. Mystery solved!

Regardless of the name, we ordered an asparagus calzone, and it was yummy. Kyle said it could have used some sauce in addition to the cheese and asparagus, and I agree, but it was still quite good. More trucks need to include asparagus in their ingredients.

Asparagus calzone from BFF Cart

We finished the day at an old favorite, O’mi Ninja. We tried to order a new menu item that included ginger rice, and they told us there was chicken stock in it. Since they could tell how bummed we were when we ordered a banh mi instead, they gave us some vegetarian nacho fries on the house.

They were the perfect amount of spicy. I especially enjoyed how there was a mixture of both regular fries and sweet potato fries included. Yum!

The festival had a vote going on for which street food vender was the best. Each person got to choose two. I never heard who won… I’m not sure it was ever announced online. It certainly wasn’t on their facebook page. Perhaps it will forever remain a mystery!

The voting booth at the Monterey Street Food Festival

As we left we enjoyed the lovely entrance to the county fairgrounds.

Kyle even found a new friend…

Phew! That’s all for now. Check back soon to see me beg for work. No kidding. As a sub, I have nothing to do this summer, and I’d like to work for a food truck. Stay tuned!

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The Taco Festival of (Non-Vegetarian) Innovation May 6, 2012

As you already know if you read my twitter account, the cold I came down with before my last post didn’t render me bedridden. This meant I was able to work the whole week after Spring Break, and in turn I didn’t have the down time I anticipated to write my post about the Taco Festival of Innovation. Add on top of that two weeks of STAR testing, and you have one very stressed out blogger without much time to blog. I remain determined, though. That is why I sit here on a Sunday night when I should be sleeping in preparation for a new work week writing the post that I promised three weeks ago.

Buckets leading up to the Taco Festival entrance

All of the photos in this post except this one were taken by my boyfriend Kyle and can be found with many more at his flickr set dedicated to the Taco Festival here. This photo, however, will make him cringe because it was instead taken with my phone and filtered with instagram. Kyle has been a huge instagram hater for as long as I’ve known him and complains every time I instagram a photo of anything. I like the angle of the photo I took more than his though, so it wins 🙂

We arrived at the Taco Festival about fifteen minutes after it started. We were greeted by a line of the Moveable Feast buckets we food truck regulars have learned to love. Our early arrival was planned for two reasons: 1) better parking opportunities (from what I hear this became an issue. we found street parking no problem), and 2) to see the first band playing, Tumbleweed Wanderers. I had seen Tumbleweed Wanderers at one of the San Mateo Moveable Feasts last summer and enjoyed their music. I had since been following them on facebook and was excited when I saw they would be playing another Moveable Feast event. Their set started later than planned, and we got to watch the sound check as well. Eventually, they started playing, and it was a great way to kick off the festival.

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After their set was over, we decided it was time to scope out the menus of the trucks. Our friend Dan Hugo had already walked around a bit and tried some tacos while we were watching the band perform, and he warned us that he had seen few vegetarian options. Now, this wasn’t an issue I had anticipated before the event. I had seen the truck line up and knew many of the trucks involved usually carried vegetarian options. I hadn’t thought about the possibility that some of them might not include a vegetarian taco on their menu. It turns out that most of them did not. Those that did were simply providing the usual vegetarian menu choice and weren’t submitting them for the competition (with two exceptions).

After walking almost the entire circuit of trucks we finally found the one savory truck who invented a new vegetarian taco for the festival, Curry Up Now.

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This menu brought us much happiness. Even Dan, a meat eater, ordered up one of the paneer tacos.

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If you look closely, you can see the number we texted our vote to!

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This is the taco in all its deliciousness. Luckily the one savory vegetarian taco was a good one!

We then ventured to Treatbot who, being an ice cream truck, is always inherently vegetarian. They had two tacos they were serving for the festival, both with crepes as the “shells”. We ordered one of each and devoured them rather quickly. The one with raspberry sorbet, pineapple, and mint leafs on it had an interesting contrast in flavor, but I definitely preferred the one with horchata ice cream, almond slices, and cinnamon.

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By this time, we had realized we weren’t going to be filling up on new vegetarian tacos, so Kyle and I decided to get a vegetarian side instead at Whisk on Wheels instead.

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We sat down and enjoyed our garlic fries while taking in the beautiful weather and the festival around us.

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We also enjoyed one more dessert when Dan decided to splurge and buy us each a cupcake from Fairycakes. I chose a salted caramel cupcake, and although it wasn’t very taco-like it was tasty.

Overall, Kyle and I enjoyed ourselves at the Taco Festival. We managed to leave with full bellies but were disappointed that some of our favorite trucks we have come to rely on for good vegetarian options decided to only make new meat tacos. I have discussed the possibility of having categories at next year’s taco competition with Ryan, the owner of Moveable Feast, and he seems open to the idea of having a vegetarian one to encourage more trucks to branch out. You can hear more about my thoughts on the first Taco Festival of Innovation and ideas I have for next year on Food Truck Nerd podcast number 31.

As for my own trucking since this event, fear not, I have still been frequenting the food truck scene. In fact, I went to four new trucks just this weekend! I hope to write about them soon, but with the school year winding down I can’t make any promises about when I’ll have the time. Once summer hits, I’ll probably start posting up a storm again like last summer though. And with that I will leave you with a photo Kyle took of a poor taco we spotted on the ground at the festival. A casualty that did not have an opportunity to fulfill its purpose….

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(And Dan’s unforgiving foot)