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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

 

Edgewood Eats in the Winter January 5, 2012

Now that colder weather has hit the bay area, some food truck gatherings have decided to take place less often. One of those gatherings is Edgewood Eats in Palo Alto. Instead of being every week, it is now held once a month on Tuesdays. On the plus side, this usually means more trucks come out each time. The strange part is that it is practically dark when Edgewood Eats takes place! This feels weird for those of us who frequented the event every week during the summer.

Edgewood Eats on December 6th

On December 6th, I went to the coldest Edgewood Eats I could remember. I warmed up quick with a tofu banh mi sandwich from Little Green Cyclo, an old favorite.

Tofu banh mi from Little Green Cyclo

I then followed it with another warm favorite, some Mac ‘N Rolls from Soulnese.

Mac 'N Rolls from Soulnese

I finished the night with some Butterscotch on the Go but somehow failed to take photos of it. Fear not, I have more Butterscotch to deliver with my second Edgewood Eats summary!

Sunset over Edgewood Eats on January 3rd

The nighttime line up at Edgewood Eats on January 3rd

My first stop at the most recent Edgewood Eats was An the Go.

The An the Go truck

It had been awhile since I had their garlic noodles with vegetable stir fry. I thought maybe after overeating during the holidays I could handle the filling dish all in one sitting. Sadly, I was wrong. I ended up having to finish some for lunch the next day, but luckily the noodles are great as leftovers as well.

Garlic noodles with vegetable stir fry from An the Go

I also noticed that they lowered their prices a tad by making it a combo if you get the noodles with something else. With the two prices added together, it used to add up to $10, but with the combo it’s only $9. Yay for lowered prices!

Since I stopped myself early once I realized I couldn’t eat all the noodles, I had room for another favorite, a small tofu taco from BBQ Kalbi.

Spicy tofu taco from BBQ Kalbi

My final stop was, of course, Butterscotch on the Go again. They had a couple new menu items and my favorite butterscotch brownie, so I had to buy three desserts (I mean, I had no choice, right?) Two of them I shared with the boyfriend the next day.

Gingerbread and butterscotch with apples from Butterscotch on the Go

The first new treat was the gingerbread with butterscotch and apples. I ate most of this while driving home and had a little bit the next day after finishing my garlic noodles for lunch. It kept very well for the next day!

The second new item (to me, at least) was the chocolate brownie. This also kept until the next day, although it was a little hard to cut through over twenty-four hours later. It reminded me of fudge and was super rich and yummy. I decided not to take a photo of the butterscotch brownie since my readers are probably sick of hearing me rave about how great those are. Seriously, I don’t think I could ever get sick of them!

Hopefully now that the winter solstice has taken place, we’ll see some more sunlight at next month’s Edgewood Eats. Is anyone else already looking forward to warmer weather for food trucking purposes?

 

Scoops and Edgewood Eats November 6, 2011

I’m sad to say I haven’t been to many new trucks lately. Not as many new ones seem to be popping up now that the summer has ended and the cold weather is rolling in. I did get a chance to recently try a new truck that’s been on the scene for about a month now, Scoops. Unfortunately, when I tried their truck it was at a nighttime event, and I wasn’t able to get a good photo of the truck. I did snag a photo of the ice cream I got at the truck though. I had the Cookies and Dough flavor, which I assumed meant a mixture of cookies and cream and cookie dough, two of my favorite kinds of ice cream. My assumption was correct, and I couldn’t be happier when I discovered that.

Cookies and dough ice cream from Scoops

On Tuesday, November first, I went to the first Edgewood Eats since the beginning of October. It felt like I hadn’t been there in forever since they had turned into a monthly event, and before that I hadn’t been to the last couple weekly ones. (I had chosen Newark Street Eats instead because they’re closer to my work.) Needless to say, it felt good to be back.

Edgewood Eats, November 1st

I managed to snag quite the photo of an innocent bystander enjoying his food ๐Ÿ™‚

I was determined to try something new despite none of the trucks being new to me, so I had a rice bowl at Tikka Bytes with tofu and tikka masala. It was much larger than I expected and very filling. I had to actually stop myself from eating the whole thing so I could have room for the other food I desired at the gathering! I was surprised by the amount of food for a mere $6.

Rice bowl from Tikka Bytes

Next I craved an old favorite, sweet potato tater tots from Little Green Cyclo (whose name I recently found out from, Food Truck Nerd, I’ve been pronouncing incorrectly). I got the black sesame sauce with them to try something different, but I didn’t feel it measured up to the mango ketchup I usually get.

Sweet potato tater tots from Little Green Cyclo

My final stop was a truck I hadn’t been to in far too long, Butterscotch on the Go. They were serving a menu item I hadn’t seen before, the chocolate pots de creme. I got two, one for my mom and one for me, and decided to “try” some of mine on the drive home. The reason I put try in quotation marks is because I ended up eating the whole thing despite how full I was. It was so good I couldn’t stop eating. The peanut butter crunch they put on top of the pudding was definitely the best part, and the next day when I shared with my mom she concurred.

Chocolate pots de creme from Butterscotch on the Go

It was the fullest I’d been in awhile, and it made me realize how much I had truly missed Edgewood Eats. Here’s hoping next month’s feels like it comes sooner!

 

Truckin’ in Union City and San Jose August 14, 2011

I’ve been to two truck gatherings in the last few days starting with one I hadn’t been to before, Union City Street Eats. Having grown up in the tri-city area, I’ve made a point of going to each of the weekly gatherings there, and the added bonus of including my parents (who live in Newark) in my food trucking is always fun.

On Thursday, my dad and I ventured to Union City together with dinner as our mission. When we got there, we were surprised at the size of the event (ten trucks!), including a dj playing music and tables and chairs.

Union City Street Eats, August 11th

My dad was instantly overwhelmed, never having been to a food truck before, let alone ten. I, however, set out on my mission and called my mom to read her menu options so I could grab food for the two of us while Dad figured out what he was going to do. (My only complaint about how the festival was set up was that the music was so loud I could barely hear my mom on the phone.) My mom decided on a lemongrass pork bowl from The Whole Bowl Truck.

Lemongrass pork bowl from The Whole Bowl

The bowl looked super yummy, and my mom confirmed later on that it definitely was. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen any vegetarian options on the Whole Bowl’s menu. For some reason they’re marked as vegetarian on Roaming Hunger, but I don’t know why. I wish they had a tofu option or something because their food looks good!

Next I headed over to MoBowl, a truck I’ve written about previously. I’ve tried many of the options on their menu but somehow had never had their umami tofu bowl (probably because of my slight fear of mushrooms). I’m sad to say that I failed to take a photo of my food before consuming it. What can I say? I was super excited, and it was devoured pretty quickly. Luckily I did manage to snap a photo of the truck though.

The MoBowl Truck

My final stop was That’s Sweet! Dessert Truck. My mom had requested a chocolate maple cupcake, and I went ahead and got myself one as well. Once again, I was impressed by the gentleman who works the truck remembering that he had served me before when I’ve only been there three times!

That's Sweet! Truck

Chocolate maple cupcakes from That's Sweet!

On Saturday, I made my return to Moveable Feast. It felt good to be back and hang out with people like Food Truck Nerd.

Moveable Feast, August 13th

I decided to join the longest line in the place, the one for Little Green Cyclo. It had been a good three or four months since I last had their vermicelli, and I hadn’t had it with tofu yet. It was tasty, although I apparently made the mistake of using the fish sauce that came with it not realizing it was fish sauce. Oops. I’m still learning when it comes to being a good vegetarian!

Little Green Cyclo Truck

Tofu vermicelli from Little Green Cyclo

After enjoying my meal I craved dessert, and Treatbot was serving a special strawberry and raspberry shortcake. I jumped at the opportunity, especially since it was premade and didn’t require waiting in line as a result. It was some of the best strawberry shortcake I’ve tasted.

Strawberry and raspberry shortcake from Treatbot

I know it was a special, but I still hope Treatbot serves it again!

Tonight was the season premiere of The Great Food Truck Race. I was super excited about it; this show reminds me of when I first started going to food trucks in LA last August. The first season aired just as I was discovering the food truck phenomenon, and this season seems bigger and better! Naturally, I’m already siding with the vegan truck, but I have a few other favorites as well. I can’t wait to see how they deal with the challenge that involves sausage next week, eek!

 

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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?