Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

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 πŸ™‚

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)

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More Food Porn April 12, 2012

If you follow me on twitter then you know that this week I have had the opportunity to eat at more trucks than usual due to the fact that I’m on SPRING BREAK! In fact, I’ve been to at least one truck on every day of my Spring Break except for Sunday. (That seems to be a common day off for trucks.) I was hoping this would also mean more blogging, but it’s already Thursday, and this is my first blog of the week. Ugh. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to post another before the week is over with the few new trucks I’ve tried this week, but this post will be a classic food porn post consisting of trucks I’ve been to before.

First, the truck that was originally Small Time Cooks has gotten an upgrade including a new wrap and new name. They’re now called 333 (or Triple Dash Three).

The 333 truck and menu

I’ve tried them a couple times since the upgrade, and both times I’ve gotten their tacos. Most recently, I saw them at Milpitas Street Eats last night and ordered a paneer tikka taco. They also gave me a mushroom tofu taco on the house and came out of the truck and hand delivered it to me. Such service!

Paneer tikka and mushroom tofu tacos from 333

I’m not sure if I’ve written about Seoul on Wheels before, but I’m a big fan of their BBQ rice plate with tofu. I haven’t asked if the kimchi has shellfish in it, and sometimes I like to just remain in the dark about that kinda stuff πŸ˜‰

BBQ tofu rice plate from Seoul on Wheels

And now for some new dishes from a few trucks who need no introduction because I’ve written about them before…

Orange chocolate cake from Butterscotch on the Go

Chocolate peanut butter tart from Butterscotch on the Go

Vegetarian taco from Tacos de Los Altos

Paneer sexy fries from Curry Up Now

Caprese sandwich from Eat on Monday

Mini red velvet cupcake from Fairycakes

Aloo tikki chaat from Tandoori Chicken USA Mobile

Chocolate dipped peanut butter cookie from Mini Yums

Mint chip ice cream from Twisted Chill

At a recent Willow Glen Moveable Feast I experimented with making my first mashup. I’ve tried a few mashups that friends have made before, but this was the first one I made! I started with pandan waffles from O’Mi Ninja.

Pandan waffle from O'Mi Ninja

Then I added the waffle to Mexican chocolate ice cream from Treatbot. The result was a sweet and scrumptious mashup!

The Treatbot and O'Mi Ninja mashup

Yesterday I got to see Truckin’ Sweet in person for the first time despite trying their ice cream before.

The Truckin' Sweet truck

I tried their Voodoo Crunch flavor, which includes oreo cookies and malt balls. It was delicious and much enjoyed despite the cold weather.

Voodoo crunch ice cream from Truckin' Sweet

Today I headed to Whisk on Wheels for lunch at their usual Thursday lunch spot at Lockheed Martin. When I’m not on Spring Break, my boyfriend always goes there on Thursdays and meets up with other food truck enthusiasts, and I’m always so jealous because Whisk rarely makes it down here any other time. This time Kyle wasn’t able to make it, but I was! I ordered the pesto pasta and was soon told they had run out of pasta 😦 I opted for the spinach and ricotta empanada instead, and they also gave me a free bowl of their cream of tomato soup.

Cream of tomato soup from Whisk on Wheels

I especially enjoyed the croutons that came with it. One of these days I’ll get my hands on that pesto pasta! One thing that I saw at the Whisk truck that I haven’t seen at any other truck was a bowl of mints. I thought that was a nice touch. Many restaurants have mints that are free for the taking as you exit, so why not trucks too?

Bowl of mints at the Whisk on Wheels truck

Finally, I’d like to write about a couple of occasions where Kyle came with me and brought his camera. I bet you thought his goal to take photos for my blog had been a one time thing, huh? Well, he’s remembered on a couple more occasions now πŸ™‚ First, he brought it with us when we went to a Moveable Feast at a new location. A week ago Saturday a few trucks came out to the History Park in San Jose for a Spring Garden Festival. We were excited to see trucks at a new location and liked the line up, so we went not knowing what to expect. What we saw was a different crowd than most; instead of the usual food truck lovers, the event was mostly gardening lovers, and there were tons and tons of plants for sale! It was also raining, but that doesn’t usually stop me.

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Our first stop was Eat on Monday. Since the event had started at 9am, they were selling a few breakfast items we hadn’t tried before. We went for the egg crepe roll and absolutely loved it.

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They also gave us a free dish, that had a name I unfortunately forget. It wasn’t on the menu for the day, but it was also very yummy.

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Our next stop was the B2 coffee booth where we each got a drink to warm us up. Kyle took this opportunity to take a silly photo of me drinking my mocha.

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Afterward we walked around for a little while, and I even took the opportunity to buy something for my grandma for her 89th birthday! My family was planning on fixing up the patio of her apartment and making a garden out of it, and when I saw a hummingbird feeder at one of the booths I thought that would be a fun gift for her. She likes to watch the squirrels that run around her retirement home from her apartment, so I thought she’d like watching hummingbirds even more.

Hummingbird feeder (photo taken with my phone, not Kyle's camera)

I just love how my food truck obsession sometimes brings me to places and things I otherwise would not access!

Kyle also brought his camera along to the Moveable Feast this weekend at Garden City. We both ate at No Way Jose. Kyle got a veggie burrito.

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I got a veggie taco salad. They first made it with meat in it, and when I sent it back I could tell they made an all new one for me instead of just picking out the meat like some restaurants do because the toppings I had thrown on were missing. That’s good vegetarian customer service!

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As always, I recommend checking out Kyle’s flickr photostream for more photos. He got some good meta photos of Food Truck Nerd taking photos of his food that day.

 

New Food From Old Favorites February 8, 2012

I’ve decided to take a break from my countdown to 100 trucks. I have visited my 98th and 99th trucks since my last post, but the 100th still looms in the future. Rather than spend one post writing about only two trucks, I’d like to play some catch up. I try to have themes in my posts, and as a result some of my visits to trucks fall through the cracks if they don’t fit a theme. I have a lot of photos of trucks on my phone, and they deserve some recognition! Many of the trucks I’ve written about I eat at on a regular basis, and I’m constantly trying new menu items from the trucks that offer multiple vegetarian options. This will be a photo-heavy post without a ton of words. Enjoy the food porn!

Apple walnut cake from Butterscotch on the Go

Paneer kathi roll from Curry Up Now

Fried pickles from Grill Stars

Mushrooms on a roll from Hiyaaa!

Rice box with tofu from Little Green Cyclo

Tofu tacos from Eat on Monday

Eat on Monday will make any of their meat tacos vegetarian by substituting the meat with tofu, so you have your choice of styles! They do the same with their burgers and veggie burgers, but I haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet. Kyle says they’re super tasty, so I look forward to trying them sometime soon!

Sweet potato fries from Sanguchon

Chocolate cupcake with caramel frosting, sprinkles, and cinnamon from Project Cupcake

Veggie gyoza roll and cucumber avocado roll from We Sushi

We Sushi recently updated their menu, and they added these two veg rolls to it and lowered the price of the veggie burrito I wrote about previously. I especially enjoyed the gyoza roll. I love gyoza, and it was my first time having it inside a sushi roll.

Sugar cookie and pecan cookie from Mini Yums

Tofu burrito from Mogo

MIlkshake cheesecake from Mogo

This isn’t the best photo because of the plastic wrap, but Mogo’s cheesecake is probably my favorite dessert from a non-dessert truck. They don’t always carry it, but I highly recommend grabbing a slice when they do have some!

Last night’s Edgewood Eats marked my one year anniversary of attending the event. It was cold and gloomy, and the turnout wasn’t as great as usual, but I still managed to fill my belly with yummy food, and there was a new truck that wasn’t a food truck; it was an art truck!

The Palo Alto Art Center truck

Quite a crowd of children ended up developing around the tables, and they all seemed to be enjoying making cupcakes out of clay. Definitely a fun idea for food truck events where there are a lot of families.

Once again, my boyfriend Kyle and I made a cameo on the latest Food Truck Nerd podcast. We had a round table discussion about food trucks in general, and I went into a lot of detail about what sorts of vegetarian options I like to see on food trucks. Food Truck Nerd’s podcast is now up on iTunes as well, so you can download it from the iTunes store and even subscribe!

Finally, Kyle has decided to start photographing our food truck experiences as often as possible (or as often as he remembers his camera). I guess he was getting sick of my less-than-stellar camera phone photos πŸ™‚ He started his quest when we went to Moveable Feast on Saturday, and he snapped quite a few good shots. You can find a photo of me receiving my ice cream from Treatbot as well as many more photos in this album. Once I figure out how to take his photos from flickr and put them on my blog, you can expect even better photography on Veggie Truckin’.

I hope this post tides you over until the big 100 hits!

 

Lots and Lots of Eats July 16, 2011

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been to three food truck gatherings this week. That’s the nature of food trucks in this area now, and I’m totally loving it. In fact, I’m kinda bummed that I’m going to be out of town so much in the next month and won’t be able to frequent my favorite trucks. However, I’m also excited to experience food trucks in other cities (Chicago and Los Angeles, specifically) and share them with you here!

My first stop this week was Edgewood Eats.

Edgewood Eats on Monday, July 11th

One of my favorite trucks, Little Green Cyclo was there. This truck was high on my list before I became a vegetarian, but now I love it even more. It has multiple vegetarian options as opposed to most trucks which only have one or two. I had had their banh mi with chicken before I became a vegetarian and loved it, so I was excited to try it with tofu instead. It did not disappoint.

Banh mi with tamarind organic tofu from Little Green Cyclo

The sandwich was filling, so I just wanted a little something more. I hadn’t eaten at Curry Up Now in awhile and had never tried one of their deconstructed samosas before. I wasn’t sure how big it would be, but at $6 I figured it wouldn’t be too too much food. I was wrong. It was a lot of food and very filling. That is in no way a complaint; I just didn’t have enough room in my tummy to finish it!

Paneer deconstructed samosa from Curry Up Now

Although I was stuffed, I made one last stop at Kara’s Cupcakes. I love to take two of their cupcakes to go, eat one for dessert later in the night, and have the other one after lunch the next day. This time around I got the Fleur de Sel and Kara’s Carrot.

The cute box in which Kara's Cupcakes are served

Fleur de Sel and Kara's Carrot cupcakes from Kara's Cupcakes

And now on to my second festival of the week! Last night (Friday), I went to the first Fremont Street Eats in the Pacific Commons shopping center in Fremont. I convinced my mom to have her first food truck gathering experience as well and gave her recommendations for some of my favorite non-veg foods I used to enjoy before I went vegetarian.

Half of the trucks at Fremont Street Eats

My first stop was Grill Stars, a truck I had yet to visit. Being a burger truck, they only had one vegetarian option on their menu (although I’ve heard great things about their fried pickles they weren’t serving that night), sweet potato fries. Although I only had to wait for one person in front of me to order, it took an unexpectedly long time for my fries to be prepared. In fact, I went to another truck while I waited, and my food still wasn’t ready. I’m sad to say that when I finally did get my fries, I wasn’t that impressed with the flavor. They were missing the usual bite sweet potato fries have. It felt like they just barely fell short. The fries also came with a marshmallow dipping sauce, but I didn’t try it since most marshmallows contain gelatin. Considering how long I waited, I’m assuming that they make their food as it’s ordered, so maybe in the future I can order their nachos without meat on them. I’m trying not to write this truck off completely after one bad experience; after all, they’re still a rather new truck, so maybe they still need to work out the kinks.

Sweet potato fries with marshmallow dipping sauce from Grill Stars

The truck I visited while I was waiting for my food at Grill Stars was That’s Sweet! Dessert Truck. I had gotten cupcakes from them once before about a month ago at Newark Street Eats. This is why I was surprised when the gentleman manning the truck recognized me as a returning customer. Impressive! I got a red velvet and a salted caramel.

Red velvet and salted caramel cupcakes from That's Sweet!

The next two trucks I hit up, for both my mom’s and my meals were two old favorites, House of Siam on Wheels and BBQ Kalbi. I got a tofu taco from each.

Tofu tacos from House of Siam on Wheels and BBQ Kalbi

Tonight was my last Moveable Feast in San Jose for about a month 😦 I didn’t take many photos because I spent some time chatting with Food Truck Nerd and his wife. They also introduced me to Ryan, the owner of Treatbot and creator of Moveable Feast.

When I arrived I made a beeline straight to the line for Toasty Melts, a San Francisco based truck that doesn’t make it to these parts very often. I had had food from their truck once before and had been waiting to try more. I got an Irish Cheddar Bomb, which consisted of two types of cheddar cheese and garlic mashed potatoes. Being lactose intolerant, I had to double up on the lactaid, but it was totally worth it.

Irish Cheddar Bomb from Toasty Melts

I wanted some Treatbot afterward but thought I should cool it on the dairy, so I got a cup of their lemon sorbet flavor. It was perfectly refreshing and fun to snack on while chatting.

Phew! What a week. I’m gonna miss my regular truck gatherings while I’m out of town, but that will make them seem that much better when I come back, right?