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!

Advertisements
 

New Trucks and More New Trucks May 17, 2012

Hey look, I’m actually writing before school’s out! It’s shocking, but it’s not without reason. I took today off from work because I have an ear infection. I will be returning tomorrow, pain and all, but I got lots of grading done during the day, so I’m allowing myself this time to blog. Yay!

I have so much to write about! I’m limiting myself to new trucks, and yet I still emailed myself way more photos than I usually do for a post. This might will be a long one.

I somehow failed to write about Pollo Fritto when I visited them a couple months ago at an Edgewood Eats. Maybe it was subconsciously on purpose because of their lack of vegetarian options, but I was able to eat something from them, and I found their owner to be quite friendly.

The Pollo Fritto truck

You can see him handing out samples of his cookies to the crowd in that photo. In fact, the chocolate chip cookie is the menu item I ordered. I talked with him about the possibility of vegetarian options, and he said he could put some of the cole slaw on bread, but it wouldn’t be as good. I decided on the cookie because Food Truck Nerd‘s son, C-Money, had recommended it to me. And if anyone knows good chocolate chip cookies, it’s an almost-thirteen-year-old, right? It was still warm with melted chocolate and definitely met my expectations.

Chocolate chip cookie from Pollo Fritto

Now let’s fast forward to the weekend of April 28th. Some of the food truck mafia trucks were at Washington High School in Fremont honoring the troops, and I took it as an opportunity to try a couple of the trucks I hadn’t been to yet. My first stop was Pizza Pimps.

The Pizza Pimps truck

This long-awaited truck includes a few vegetarian options, and that day they were serving two of them. One was a four cheese pizza called fourplay, and the other was called the epic. As a lactose intolerant person, I tend to prefer more toppings over more cheeses, so I went for a slice of the epic and topped it with some of their “pimp shake”.

Epic slice from Pizza Pimps

I would have preferred a few more of the epic toppings on an epic piece (I can’t even remember what they all were, and they aren’t all visible in the photo), but it was still tasty. I especially enjoyed the pimp shake. (Now that’s a sentence I don’t type often.)

Next to Pizza Pimps was another new truck to me, Conklin’s Catering. I had checked out their menu beforehand, and because they have a varied cuisine it was hard to tell if there were many vegetarian options. When I asked, they said the only one they had that day was their dessert, but they do make a rice dish that’s vegetarian. They just didn’t have it that day. I ordered the pisang panggang for dessert.

Conklin’s Catering truck

Pisang panggang from Conklin’s Catering

This dish was basically banana with chocolate sauce and shredded cheese on top. I was suspicious of such a combination, but I didn’t mind it. Kyle tried it later and didn’t like it at all. I don’t think I’d get it again, but it wasn’t bad. I hope to try their rice vegetarian option in the future though.

May 4th was the first San Mateo Moveable Feast since last summer. This had proven to be one of my favorite events, and I had a foursqure mayorship to maintain, so I made sure to show up. It helped that there were a few trucks from San Francisco attending that don’t usually come down to San Jose. My first stop was a sushi truck called Manna. Their truck was decorated in Japanese lamps and lights.

The Manna truck

The way their truck works is you get to make your own sushi rolls based on the many different options they have. However, they have a special roll that they make for vegetarians called the Sansai Vege.

Sansai vege from Manna

Now, if you know me you know that I LOVE sushi. Giving it up was one of the hardest parts of becoming a vegetarian for me. I still go to sushi joints and get their vegetarian options, and some of them are really good, but I’ll admit it isn’t the same. However, this roll is hands down the best vegetarian sushi roll I’ve ever had. I didn’t even know what some of the ingredients were. And baby corn on sushi? genius. It was so, so delicious. Please, Manna, make your way into my life more often!

My next stop was Cheese Gone Wild, a truck I got to try again this week at Edgewood Eats.

The Cheese Gone Wild truck

They have a cute themed menu that contains references to landmarks in San Francisco.

I was pretty full after my sushi feast, so I just got their cream of tomato basil soup. It was the perfect complement to the windy, cold weather, and it came with a couple slices of french bread for dipping.

When I tried them this week I got an actual sandwich, the Exploratorium melt (without eggplant because I’m allergic). It came with chips and was also delicious, even with one of its main ingredients removed.

Exploratorium melt from Cheese Gone Wild

For dessert, I headed to another new truck to me, SF Delights.

The SF Delights truck

It was a tough decision, but I got the apple crisp to go so I could share it with Kyle later. It looked like it had ice cream on top, but the gentleman serving me said it wasn’t ice cream, so it wouldn’t melt. When I finally shared it with Kyle we devoured it rather quickly. I managed to snap a quick photo before it was completely gone though.

Apple crisp from SF Delights

The next day a new truck was at Moveable Feast Garden City, The Dough Truck.

The Dough Truck

They serve sandwiches with donuts instead of bread on the outside. All of their savory sandwiches include meat, but the dessert ones do not. They also have tater tots topped with various ingredients. We went with the dessert option called Bananas in Pajamas, mostly because I loved the name (ah, British children’s shows). It included bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter inside a glazed donut.

Bananas in Pajamas from the Dough Truck

I was a little worried it would be too much peanut butter for me because I usually don’t like peanut butter unless it’s with chocolate. Luckily, it was the perfect amount with the perfect amount of chocolate.

This weekend Kyle and I ventured down to Monterey for their first street food festival. I used to live in Monterey (for a year), and I hadn’t been back in awhile. I took it as an opportunity to enjoy food trucks elsewhere and visit my old home. We didn’t arrive until a little after 4, so some of the trucks had run out of food.

The truck spread at the Monterey Street Food Festival

Luckily, the one I had never been to before, Voodoo Van still had a tofu sandwich.

The Voodoo Van

Tofu sandwich from Voodoo Van

I got out my bamboo fork immediately to tackle it, but Kyle took the “No forks. No Knives. No Mercy.” slogan seriously and attempted to pick it up and eat it. He was less successful at first, but once we had eaten some tofu out we were both able to pick it up pretty easily. It required many napkins, but it was worth it.

Our next stop was a booth I haven’t been able to find any info about online. It had a sign that read “BFF Cart”. I should have asked what BFF stood for, but I didn’t. Theyobvious answer is best friends forever. A quick google search suggests it could be Bay Functional Fitness. For all I know, it could be neither of those. Edit: I have been informed by Stitches and Dishes that the flowers on their sign are actually o’s and they are the Boffo Cart. Mystery solved!

Regardless of the name, we ordered an asparagus calzone, and it was yummy. Kyle said it could have used some sauce in addition to the cheese and asparagus, and I agree, but it was still quite good. More trucks need to include asparagus in their ingredients.

Asparagus calzone from BFF Cart

We finished the day at an old favorite, O’mi Ninja. We tried to order a new menu item that included ginger rice, and they told us there was chicken stock in it. Since they could tell how bummed we were when we ordered a banh mi instead, they gave us some vegetarian nacho fries on the house.

They were the perfect amount of spicy. I especially enjoyed how there was a mixture of both regular fries and sweet potato fries included. Yum!

The festival had a vote going on for which street food vender was the best. Each person got to choose two. I never heard who won… I’m not sure it was ever announced online. It certainly wasn’t on their facebook page. Perhaps it will forever remain a mystery!

The voting booth at the Monterey Street Food Festival

As we left we enjoyed the lovely entrance to the county fairgrounds.

Kyle even found a new friend…

Phew! That’s all for now. Check back soon to see me beg for work. No kidding. As a sub, I have nothing to do this summer, and I’d like to work for a food truck. Stay tuned!