Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

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!

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All the Food I Shouldn’t Have Eaten (And then Some) October 8, 2011

Two weekends ago I came down with my first cold of the school year. This was a little bit of a triumph in itself because with my weak immune system it usually takes a lot less time. I had convinced myself it wasn’t a bad cold, and I proceeded to go to food truck gatherings two days in a row when I should have been resting. As a result, I ended up having to take a day off work (which, as a sub, means without pay) later in the week. It was a mistake, but at least I got some good food and good blogging material out of it. Now I will summarize all the food truck food I ate that weekend that I shouldn’t have…

First, I went to the Moveable Feast that took place at TechShop for their grand opening. I went to two trucks I knew about but hadn’t been to before. First, I went to Soulnese, a Chinese comfort food truck that only has one vegetarian option.

The Soulnese Truck

That one vegetarian option was mac and cheese egg rolls that I had had my eye on every time I’d previously seen them but hadn’t had a chance to try. They required double lactaid and made it so I had to skip my original plan of following the egg rolls with a toasty melt, but they were worth it.

Mac and cheese egg rolls from Soulnese

My next stop was Hiyaaa!, a truck I’ve known about for months but never tried. I had avoided them because their vegetarian options are heavy in mushrooms, and as anyone who’s read this blog at any length knows, I have very mixed feelings about mushrooms.

the Hiyaaa! truck

Since I was already dairy-ed out from my mac and cheese egg rolls, the only vegetarian option left was Hiyaaa! so I decided to take a chance on the mushrooms, and I’m glad I did. I got the vegetarian salad, and although there were a lot of mushrooms, they were seasoned so much (and so tastily) that they hardly tasted like mushrooms at all.

Vegetarian salad from Hiyaaa!

That weekend was also the Eat Real festival in Oakland. It lasted all three days of the weekend, but I planned to attend on Sunday. It was the first gloomy, rainy day of the fall, and I realized about halfway through my time there that it was only making my cold worse. That didn’t stop me from enjoying yummy food though. I first went to Liba Falafel again since it is so rare I’m at an event where they’re serving. This time I tried their vegetable tempura, and it started the day off right.

Vegetable tempura from Liba Falafel

My next stop was a truck I had never heard of before, Vesta Flatbread.

The Vesta Flatbread truck

I got the one vegetarian option they were serving that day not knowing what to expect because I had never heard of and couldn’t pronounce most of the ingredients it contained. However, I was met by amazing flavors and some of the freshest bread I’ve ever eaten.

Vegetarian Flatbread from Vesta Flatbread

I next went to the Scream Sorbet booth. I had been hoping to try them since I first started using Roaming Hunger over a year ago and always spotted them in the east bay. This was the first time I’d come across them, and I was happy to discover that all of their sorbet was dairy free. I got the chocolate option and it enjoyed it inside since it was already so cold outside!

Chocolate sorbet from Scream Sorbet

My final stop of the festival was the Tru Gourmet Dim Sum booth where I got an order of vegetable egg rolls. After this, I was sufficiently full and ready to get out of the cold for good.

Vegetable egg rolls from Tru Gourmet Dim Sum

By the following weekend, my cold had mostly gone away, so I don’t have to look at any of those food truck experiences in retrospect with regret. Friday the 30th I went to my first Word on the StreEatz (although the second they had held) at Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara.

Word on the StreEatz, September 30th

I got my dinner from Babaloo, a truck I had eaten at before but not since I became vegetarian. I got the Babaloo itself which was filled with black bean humus, mushrooms, and peppers. It was delicious.

The Babaloo from Babaloo

On Saturday October first, I ventured to another Moveable Feast. This one featured another truck I hadn’t heard of, Tacos de Los Altos. I haven’t been able to find a website or twitter account for them either.

The Tacos de Los Altos truck

They didn’t have any vegetarian options on their menu but were happy to make a vegetarian burrito when asked. The truck also had a full spread of salsas, guacamole, and other toppings that could be added and came with tortilla chips. It was very filling!

Vegetarian burrito from Tacos de Los Altos

With the weather getting cooler, many of my favorite food truck events are ending or becoming monthly instead of weekly. The visits might become less frequent, but I still plan on eating at trucks whenever possible. The good thing about living in California is not having to worry about the weather being too too cold. I’m especially loving when food trucks add pumpkin flavored options to their menus!