Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

Nostalgia Overload July 11, 2012

As those of you who follow me on twitter might know, this blog’s first anniversary passed last week. I accidentally missed it. Food Truck Nerd reminded me on Monday that it was coming up, so I looked up what day it was in the archives. I thought it was the 5th, but I apparently missed the fact that I had so many posts in July of 2011 that there was more than one page of them! The first post was actually written on the 3rd, and I didn’t realize that until the 5th, naturally. Ugh. By the time I realized that, I was so disappointed in myself I couldn’t bring myself to write for awhile, but now I’ve sucked it up and am back. This was mostly a result of another nostalgic moment for me yesterday, the last Edgewood Eats indefinitely. Before I write about that, though, let’s catch up on some of the truckin’ I’ve done in the couple weeks since my last post.

I caught up with Baba Kabob for the second time during one of their lunch runs. I had been craving the veggie kabobs I had the last time I tried their truck. This time they were serving them over rice I hadn’t had yet, and it was the perfect combination.

Veggie kabobs over rice from Baba Kabob

I also sought out Sugar Tree for a second taste on a lunch run. This time I even got to meet the owners and chat with them! I was sure to grab two new treats. I had to have more of the organic cotton candy, but this time I got a new flavor. I also picked up some cookies and cream popcorn, which one of the owners said had been referred to as “crack” before. I wouldn’t say that description is too far off; when I ate it I easily ate it all in one sitting.

Watermelon organic cotton candy from Sugar Tree

Cookies and cream popcorn from Sugar Tree

On the Fourth of July, Kyle and I headed to the Rose, White, and Blue parade, but we bypassed the Moveable Feast lineup to high-tail it to a new truck we hadn’t tried before, Grilled Cheese Bandits. When we found them we were greeted by a young lady handing out paper menus, which I thought was a nice touch to get the word out and prevent the usual crowding around the menu at a truck.

The front of the Grilled Cheese Bandits menu

We looked at the options, made our choices, and went up to the truck to place our orders.

The Grilled Cheese Bandits truck

Kyle decided on the Dillinger, which consisted of jack cheese and garlic on texas toast. I tried a bite, and it was a nice spin on a classic grilled cheese.

The dillinger from Grilled Cheese Bandits

I went with the Giuliano which was similar to a caprese style grilled cheese. It was smaller, but had much more flavor. I also liked how they served their sandwiches in baskets that you could then return to them after you finished; much better for the environment!

The giuliano from Grilled Cheese Bandits

My final food truck visit before I get into Edgewood Eats took place at yet another lunch run. (Do you see a pattern here?) I was in Palo Alto for a doctor appointment and happened to see on my phone that Manna was going to be at Sequoia hospital in Redwood City. I had only tried them once before and thought the roll I got was so awesome I couldn’t wait to have it again. They don’t really travel down to the south bay, so I didn’t mind going out of my way to try them again. I usually try to get something new when I go to a truck for the second time, but I couldn’t not get the best veg sushi I’d had again! I also got a Japanese soft drink to enjoy while I waited for my meal.

Ramune from Manna

They included a lollipop with the packaging for the sushi, and I thought that was a nice touch that I could enjoy on the drive home 🙂

The Manna takeout container with a lollipop

And finally, the wonderful sushi. Mmmmmm. I try not to post the same food twice on here, but I just can’t describe how great this roll is.

Veggie roll from Manna

And with that we can finally move on to yesterday’s Edgewood Eats. Like many, I am sad to see this event coming to an end. They are looking for a new location but haven’t found one yet. Edgewood was the first food truck gathering I attended in the bay area, and I’ve been going since February of 2011. I have discovered many, many new trucks there and will always associate the event with my earliest food truck memories. As I approached the shopping center for the last time before it is broken down, I saw that someone had spray painted a greeting along the wall.

A final greeting

Now, as those who follow Food Truck Nerd might know, he considers it a “Pacman” when you eat at five or more trucks at one food truck gathering. I have never attempted a Pacman, although I have inadvertently completed many Ms. Pacmans (four trucks) without trying. I didn’t exactly plan to complete a Pacman at the final Edgewood, but as I bought food and realized I was buying small portions, I also realized that a Pacman was completely within my grasp. It helped that I wasn’t rushing and was chatting with Dan Hugo throughout my time there. Unfortunately, since I didn’t realize I was achieving a Pacman until halfway through it, I didn’t take photos of all of my items. Dan will have to serve as my witness. I usually only photograph the food I haven’t had before, and some of the food I got was food I’ve tried many times!

I started my Pacman journey with a menu item at Little Green Cyclo I hadn’t tried before, tofu spring rolls. I had seen them serve duck spring rolls many times, but this was the first tofu ones. I jumped at this opportunity since spring rolls are one of my weaknesses. They were out of the peanut sauce that comes with them, but I got a soy sauce instead that complemented the spring rolls nicely.

Tofu spring rolls from Little Green Cyclo

My next stop was House of Siam on Wheels for my usual favorite, the tofu taco. Sadly, no photo was taken.

The third truck I visited was Conklin’s Catering, a truck I had only seen once before and hadn’t been too impressed with in terms of vegetarian options. This time I ordered some of their roti, which usually comes with a dipping sauce that has meat in it. Dan suggested I get a soy vegetable sauce that comes with one of the other menu items with it instead. I then waited about 20 minutes to a half hour for a little bit of bread. Dan ordered his meal after me and got it and ate it in the time it took them to bring my order up. I was rather disappointed.

Roti from Conklin’s Catering

The roti itself wasn’t bad, but the “vegetable” sauce had exactly one slice of a vegetable in it. While we waited, I heard one other vegetarian and one vegan ask about meat free options and get turned away by the truck’s staff. I try to be understanding of trucks without vegetarian options, but it really looked like they were losing business because of it, and it wouldn’t be difficult for them to just remove the beef from some of their menu items and make them vegetarian. As much as I hate to write negative reviews of trucks, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be returning to this one anytime soon.

The fourth truck of my Pacman was a much better experience. I ordered an avocado roll from We Sushi, and they let me know ahead of time that it would be 15-20 minutes. I was grateful for that knowledge because it allowed me time to go to another truck and pick up dinner for Kyle. (Don’t worry, I’m not counting that in my Pacman since I didn’t eat it!) When I came back, my food was ready when it hadn’t even been fifteen minutes yet. Unfortunately, I also didn’t take a photo of this item since I’ve had it before.

The final leg of my Pacman took place at Scoops where I tried a flavor I hadn’t had before, the raspbernet chip.

Raspbernet chip ice cream from Scoops

It was a refreshing end to my Pacman on such a hot day. By this time, Edgewood was the most crowded I’d ever seen it. Dan said they should have their last Edgewood every week with that kind of turnout.

The crowd at Edgewood Eats, July 10th

Today I ventured to Hiller Aviation to check out the trucks there for the first time, but I will save that for another post. I will leave you with a not-exactly-food-truck-related reminder that today is 7/11 which means it’s free Slurpee day! Don’t forget to get your free Slurpee. If you live in San Jose, I recommend the 7-11 on First and Gish. I’ve also had luck with the one on 11th and San Carlos in years past, but the one at 6th and St. James has told me they don’t participate in free Slurpee day before… pshaw!

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An Edgewood Eats and a New Truck August 17, 2011

Edgewood Eats, August 15th

On Monday I ventured to Edgewood Eats and decided right away that it would be an evening about returning to old favorites rather than eating from as many trucks as possible. I started at House of Siam on Wheels. They are one of the local trucks with the most vegetarian options, so it’s hard to go wrong there. I had somehow managed to not have had their basil with tofu before (I had had it with chicken before I went veg), so I made a meal out of ordering just that. The portions are huge for the price, and I was practically full after this one dish.

Basil with tofu from House of Siam on Wheels

The most exciting part of Edgewood Eats for me, however, was the return of Butterscotch on the Go. With my vacations and them skipping a couple Edgewood Eats combined, I hadn’t been to this truck in about a month and a half. I felt like I was going through withdrawals. To make matters even better, they had my absolute favorite dessert (by them, and quite possibly ever), their butterscotch brownies. I hadn’t seen them carry these since the first time I went to this truck in February. Every time I see them I automatically check their menu to see if they have the butterscotch brownies, and most days it’s not the case. This was my lucky day! I bought two.

Butterscotch brownie from Butterscotch on the Go

I ate one right away and saved the second one for the next day, along with an order of their signature butterscotch pudding.

Butterscotch pudding from Butterscotch on the Go

On Tuesday, I set out to hit up a new food truck in the area, O Mi Ninja. I had heard good things, and being a huge fan of banh mi, I knew I had to give them a taste. They were serving lunch about ten minutes from me, so I made a special trip to check them out.

The O Mi Ninja Truck

I ordered the banh mi with tofu and mushrooms. When I ordered, they asked if it was vegetarian, which I appreciated since apparently there are some other non-veg ingredients usually included. At only $6 I didn’t expect it to be a foot long, but it was!

Tofu mushroom banh mi from O Mi Ninja

It was filled with lots of vegetables and flavor. I think banh mi in general might be what made me love cucumbers when I always hated them before. There were also some bites that were very spicy, which I love. That could have been the ninja sauce I added to my sandwich though 🙂

inside the banh mi

Overall, it was great food at a great price, so I will definitely be eating at O Mi Ninja again!

 

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?