Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

Moving Right Along… June 27, 2012

This weekend I moved, and while that has presented a lot of change into my life, and a lot less time on my hands, I have managed to visit a few trucks in the last week, including two new ones.

On Tuesday afternoon of last week, I scouted out a new truck on its lunch run, Say Cheez. Kyle and I met there for lunch and were excited to try out the latest grilled cheese truck in the area.

The Say Cheez truck

They had a few different vegetarian options. Kyle went for the veggie melt. I didn’t get to try it because it had eggplant in it, but he said it was tasty.

Veggie melt from Say Cheez

I went with the jalapeno popper, wanting a little spice. It had so much cheese in it that it required two lactaids, but it was worth it. It tasted just like jalapeno popper appetizers without the jalapenos being too overwhelming.

Jalapeno popper from Say Cheez

For dessert, Kyle got the bread pudding. I had one bite and enjoyed it but was too full for something so sweet. Kyle is a huge bread pudding fan and can be rather snobby about if it’s done right. I’m happy to say Say Cheez’s bread pudding made the cut!

Bread pudding from Say Cheez

On Thursday, I saw that 333 was going to be at eBay, and they were serving Indian food that week. I was interested to see what their new Indian specials would be, so I headed down for lunch. When I got there, I was surprised to see Spice Hut Gourmet in the same location. I hadn’t actually seen their truck in person since Kyle had just picked some up on the way home from work once, so I snapped a photo of it.

The Spice Hut Gourmet truck

I still wanted to get my meal from 333, but I thought I’d try a little something from Spice Hut too. I went with the veggie crisp, not quite knowing what to expect. It ended up being similar to a samosa, but longer, with more vegetables, and not as filling. It was just perfect for a snack before the rest of my meal.

Veggie crisp from Spice Hut Gourmet

At 333, I went with the paneer tikka bento box. It included rice and some veggies in a yummy sauce. Like most Indian food, it was very filling, and I was able to save some of it for part of my next meal. I’m happy to say it was just as yummy cold a few hours later.

Paneer tikka bento from 333

On Friday, I ventured to Moveable Feast Willow Glen for the first time in a few weeks. It was nice to be back and on such a lovely day!

Moveable Feast Willow Glen, June 22nd

I decided to have something I hadn’t had in awhile, a burrito from Tacos de Los Altos. I think I posted a photo of one of their burritos here last summer, but they have since added a lot more choices. I got mine with a wheat tortilla and black beans, to be on the healthier side. Delicious!

Veggie burrito from Tacos de Los Altos

I got my dessert to go so I could share some with Kyle, so I decided to buy two Fairycakes. I ate the tuxedo and brought the peanut butter cup home to Kyle.

Peanut butter cup and tuxedo cupcakes from Fairycakes

On Sunday morning, the day after our move, Kyle and I found ourselves in our new house with empty cupboards. We quickly realized we had to go out for breakfast, and called the two closest Bill’s Cafes to see what their wait times were. The Bascom one was shorter by five minutes, so we headed in that direction. On the way, we spotted a food truck in the parking lot of Antonella’s on the corner of Park and Naglee. Kyle spotted that it was called Waffle Amore, and that was enough for us to pull over immediately and change our breakfast plans.

The Waffle Amore truck

I asked a few questions and found out that they plan to be at this location every Sunday morning and will be hitting the streets more thoroughly as well in the near future. Their menu consists of two types of waffles, the liege and the brussels, and a bunch of toppings. Each waffle comes with one topping free, and any additional toppings are a dollar. The one topping we hadn’t heard of was the Speculoos spread, and they were happy to give us a sample to try. It tasted sort of like a sweet graham cracker spread. We placed our order and sat down in their adorable personalized chairs that were set up.

Waffle Amore seats

After a short wait, we got our food, and I must say, both waffles were absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try more from these guys. I got the liege waffle with nutella on top, and Kyle got the brussels with the aforementioned Speculoos spread.

Liege waffle with nutella from Waffle Amore

Brussels waffle with Speculoo spread from Waffle Amore

On a non-truck related note, yesterday I celebrated my one year anniversary of being a vegetarian. Here’s to many, many more! And I will leave you with a quotation from the book that turned me into a vegetarian (as I have been doing all over the internet lately).

“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn’t motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn’t enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?” ~Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

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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)

 

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 😉

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 🙂 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.

 

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.