Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

Yes, I Still Exist February 22, 2013

Oh hey, I haven’t written in over four months. I can’t say I really have a good excuse for this behavior. Mostly, I haven’t been going to as many new trucks lately. The colder months seem to launch fewer new trucks. I get sick of writing about the same trucks over and over again (and sometimes going to them over and over again when they don’t have many vegetarian options). The good news is I have been to six new trucks since my last post, and I don’t plan on sparing any details about those experiences. I guess it’s just safe to say that new posts, like new trucks, might be few and far between for awhile.

The first new truck I visited was so long ago I couldn’t even tell you the date at this point. (I’m hanging my head in shame right now, don’t worry. I never claimed to be a journalist!) I know it was at a fundraiser at a high school, but that’s about it. Fear not, I know the truck’s full name, website, and the names of the items I bought and ate. PHEW!

The Spice it Up truck

The Spice it Up truck

Spice it Up Cafe was a truck I had had my eye on for a bit before I ran into it. They advertised crepes online, and I was excited to try one. When I saw them they only had donuts though. Luckily I was in the mood for donuts too, and these ones didn’t disappoint.

Cinnamon and Sugar donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

Cinnamon and Sugar donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

Chocolate caramel swirl donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

Chocolate caramel swirl donuts from Spice it Up Cafe

The donuts were tiny in size but big in flavor. I thought I would be all about the chocolate caramel ones, but I was surprised to find I preferred the cinnamon and sugar flavor. They had just the right amount of sweetness so it wasn’t overpowering. Both kinds of donuts were light and airy and didn’t make me feel the horrible feeling in my gut that can often result from consuming donuts. This is definitely a benefit to small portions!

The next new truck I visited was on a Thursday night at @YC on Taylor street in San Jose. They often have a few trucks parked outside on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and for some reason this is the only time I ventured over there for this despite it being walking distance from where I live. A then new (now, probably not so much) truck was going to be there, and I was excited to try Melts My Heart.

The Melts My Heart truck

The Melts My Heart truck

I’m a big fan of grilled cheese despite being lactose intolerant, so I’m always eager to try the new grilled cheese truck in town. Unfortunately, they only had one vegetarian option on their menu which somewhat surprised me; grilled cheese is vegetarian in nature, and usually trucks centered around it have multiple vegetarian options. I ordered the That’s Amore and waited for it to arrive. When I arrived there was no line, so I thought my wait time would be short. Boy was I wrong. I quickly realized the people seated at the tables nearby were waiting for orders at the same truck, and there were quite a few orders before me. I ended up waiting for over a half an hour for my sandwich. Now, this was probably one of the truck’s first times out, mind you, so I’m thinking (hoping) that they’ve probably gotten their system down better since then, but I was amazed. I’ve experienced long waits for newer trucks before but nothing like this.

That's Amore from Melts My Heart

That’s Amore from Melts My Heart

The sandwich itself was yummy but not worth the wait. I haven’t had a chance to try them since then and see what the wait time is like now, but with only one vegetarian option I don’t see myself seeking them out.

The next new truck I tried was at one of the Moveable Feast mornings at San Pedro Square (so happy they brought those back, albeit temporarily). Grandma Catherine’s Homemade Foods is another truck that doesn’t have many vegetarian options, but when I saw macaroni and cheese on their menu I knew I had to double up on the Lactaid and try it.

Grandma Catherine's truck

Grandma Catherine’s truck

Macaroni and Cheese from Grandma Catherine's

Macaroni and Cheese from Grandma Catherine’s

The mac and cheese was delicious but a little oily. There was a pretty big puddle of oil at the bottom of the container after I finished eating. Grandmas do like their greasy food though, don’t they? 🙂

The next new truck I tried was at another Moveable Feast event. Bao and Bowl had been around for a little while, but I had made the silly mistake of thinking it was just a spin off of another truck and didn’t have many vegetarian options. (It probably wouldn’t take much thought to guess which truck…) Once I realized they were not only their own entity but also had a few vegetarian options, I had to give them a taste.

The Bao and Bowl truck

The Bao and Bowl truck

They actually had more than one vegetarian option (yay!), but I just tried one for my first time, the Imperial Red Braised Hodo Soy Tofu. It came in a classic Chinese takeout container served over rice.

Hodo soy tofu from Bao and Bowl

Hodo soy tofu from Bao and Bowl

It was tasty, especially with some Sriracha, and Kyle and I gobbled it right up. I’m looking forward to tying more from their menu.

The next food truck adventure happened at this year’s Meet the Brewers Festival, an event I’ve attended for three years and LOVE. What’s better than food trucks? Food trucks and beer, that’s what! One truck at the event was getting less attention than others though, and that was probably because people who are drinking beer all day aren’t really the type who watch their calorie intake. However, I was excited to see LoCal Comfort because healthy food is often also vegetarian food.

The LoCal Comfort truck

The LoCal Comfort truck

The concept behind this truck is that each of their comfort food dishes is low in calories. While researching them more for this post I discovered that they’re very newly opened and were partially funded by an indie gogo campaign! I love hearing about a funding success story. Kyle and I got two of their snacks that are guaranteed to be under 200 calories each.

Roasted chickpeas from LoCal Comfort

Roasted chickpeas from LoCal Comfort

The roasted chickpeas were dried and tossed with lots of seasonings that made them unlike anything I’d had before. I’m not used to chickpeas being served in a non-squishy way, and I definitely enjoyed the change. We were also informed that we got the last batch of them for the day, so maybe the truck was getting more business at the event than I originally thought!

Bean dip from LoCal Comfort

Bean dip from LoCal Comfort

Their bean dip was also not what I was expecting. It wasn’t brown in color, and the chips that came with it were not fattening tortilla chips. It was, however, quite tasty. Unfortunately, there also weren’t very many of the chips (especially in comparison to how big the cup of bean dip was), so after I downed as much of the dip as I could with what they gave us, Kyle went to a… um… non-low cal truck and got some nachos that completely cancelled out our healthy eating. Oops.

Spicy nachos from Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile

Spicy nachos from Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile

This Monday, we ventured up the peninsula to Menlo Park for the food truck event at the Willows Market. I had been to the Willows Market to fulfill my need for butterscotch now that Butterscotch on the Go is no longer, well, on the go, but I hadn’t been to one of the truck events there. There was one truck there making its presence much more known than the others, Hill Country BBQ. Despite the gloomy weather, the smell of barbecue made it feel like a summer’s day as we walked up to the gathering.

The Hill Country BBQ truck

The Hill Country BBQ truck

Of course, being a BBQ truck, the vegetarian options were limited. We managed to snag one of their sides though, the potato salad. It tasted just how potato salad should, and if I closed my eyes I could imagine I was at a picnic and not hiding under an umbrella trying not to get sprinkling rain on me.

Potato salad from Hill Country BBQ

Potato salad from Hill Country BBQ

Those are all the new trucks for now, but hopefully once this cold weather ends more new trucks will start showing their faces…. or whatever the truck equivalent to faces is. Windshields? I’ll leave you with a sign I spotted at the Willows Market tables that I found amusing and posted on instagram with the caption, “but food trucks make everything exceptional!”



More Where That Came From March 16, 2012

Oh dear. I guess it’s been over a month since I hit 100 trucks and posted the big list. I even posted two blogs in one week then thinking I was going to start writing more often, and now look at me! I blame my blogging absence on two things: 1) Having to finish Mockingjay before its due date at the library, and 2) taking on a new long-term subbing job. Obviously the latter has taken up the most time in my life, but for awhile all my free time was reserved for the former. Worry not though; I haven’t stopped going to trucks after reaching 100. Much to the contrary, I’m actually up to 104 now. As with any new job, I’ve just been learning how to balance my time again, and hopefully I’ve come pretty close to figuring it out. Also, I know how Katniss Everdeen’s story ends now, so that is no longer a hurdle 🙂

Since I last wrote, so much has happened. First of all, if you follow Veggie Truckin’ on twitter or facebook, you know that I have a new logo! It was created by friend and avid food truck follower Dan Hugo, and I’m happy to finally post it in my blog for the first time!

Credit: Dan Hugo

Secondly, if you follow food trucks at all, you have probably heard about the bill that has stirred a lot of response in California, AB 1678. I’m obviously against it as both someone who follows food trucks and an educator in public schools. I don’t think it is a solution to childhood obesity at all. For more detail on my thoughts, I’d like to direct you to this Food Truck Nerd podcast where I was interviewed, as well as many owners of food trucks, about the bill. The bill has since been amended, and while the changes are welcome, I would prefer there not be a bill at all and believe these issues should be handled at a local level, not a state level. I highly recommend checking out the many Food Truck Nerd podcasts and blogs about the bill; he has been a huge advocate against it and has done a great job of covering the issue as it unfolds.

Now, on to the trucks! While I have been to four new trucks in recent weeks, I’m going to make this another food porn post of new dishes (to me) from trucks about which I’ve already posted.

First on the agenda? Eat on Monday!

The Eat on Monday truck

Is it possible that I’ve never posted a photo of the actual Eat on Monday truck in here and just the food? Maybe, I’m not sure. I’ve revisited this truck a couple times recently and tried items I hadn’t tried before. First, the same day I hit my 100th truck, I ate at Eat on Monday for lunch, also at Rockage. Kyle and I got their fried brussels sprouts, and holy geez were they amazing.

Fried brussels sprouts from Eat on Monday with a side of fries

On another occasion, we met for lunch at Eat On Monday, and I finally had the anticipated veggie burger. Kyle had raved about how great their veggie burger was, and it did not disappoint. I especially enjoyed the bun.

Veggie burger from Eat on Monday

Another truck that has become incredibly active on twitter and whose constant communication with customers has made me appreciate them even more is Koja Kitchen. After trying and loving their teriyaki zen koja I was eager to try more, and on a couple different occasions I’ve tried two more items from their menu. First, the kamikaze fries. They’re usually made with meat and kimchi that includes shellfish, but they make a vegetarian option that is superb. The fake meat they use is delicious (which can’t always be said for fake meat), and I’m a total sucker for criss cut fries.

Vegetarian kamikaze fries from Koja Kitchen

Another tasty item from their menu is their signature dessert, the Mochimisu. From the unique plastic dish that gives the Mochimisu a fun spinning effect to the strawberry on top, this dessert rivals some of the best desserts on the food truck scene.

Mochimisu from Koja Kitchen

As part of SF Beerweek, Kyle and I attended the third annual Beerfest which had multiple trucks in attendance. For lunch we decided on a truck I had only actually tried from their booth at the farmer’s market, Oaxacan Kitchen. Beware: the following photo includes Kyle being adorably excited to get their food from a truck.

The Oaxacan Kitchen truck

I forget the name of what I got (I swear I hadn’t that many drinks at that point; it just happened awhile ago!), but rest assured that it was yummy.

Our meals from Oaxacan Kitchen (and beer!)

We also tried their churros, which were better than any churro I’ve ever had at a fair. One of the elements of Oaxacan Kitchen’s food that I love most is how authentic it is.

Churros from Oaxacan Kitchen

I feel like I’m being a tad verbose, perhaps due to my lack of writing in the last month, so for the next three trucks I’d just like to say that they were all trucks I had only tried once before, and not since the summer. I was happy to try new items from each of them, and they were all delicious!

Tofu sisig from Senor Sisig

Curry rice bowl from Tandoori Chicken USA Mobile

Seasoned fries from Whisk on Wheels

Kyle and I have started frequenting Gorditas Universales on weekday nights because it’s conveniently located between our two apartments. We’ve tried many of the fake meat options from their menu in burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. Somehow I only managed to take photos of a couple of their tacos though. I haven’t had a single thing from their menu that wasn’t delicious. Now if only they’d get a website, twitter, or facebook I could link to!

Tacos from Gorditas Universales

Finally, I’ll close with a special I tried at the Tikka Bytes truck. At a recent Edgewood Eats, they were serving a vegetable briyani that was so spicy I had to eat it in shifts.

Vegetable briyani from Tikka Bytes

I’m hoping my next post will be much sooner and will include the four new trucks I’ve visited in the last month. Stay tuned!


Last Week’s Highlights November 22, 2011

The weekend before last, my boyfriend and I ventured to the farmer’s market in Campbell with two goals in mind: 1) to buy veggies for a Tofurky feast the boyfriend was planning to cook, and 2) to try the food at the Oaxacan Kitchen booth. The Oaxacan Kitchen truck wasn’t there, but they did have a booth serving the same food the truck does. I ordered an empanada, which was unlike other empanadas I’ve had before.

Veggie empanada from Oaxacan Kitchen Mobile

It was tasty but had more cheese than I anticipated, and since I only had one Lactaid on me I had to stop before I was finished.

The following weekend, we went to another Moveable Feast at Garden City. This time I came with a can of food in hand.

You might be wondering what would motivate me to bring canned food to a food truck gathering, but if you’re someone who follows local food trucks you probably already know that several of them are currently collecting canned food and giving people who bring a can a dollar off of their order. I knew one of those trucks was MoBowl, and I was craving an old favorite, their umami tofu.

Umami tofu from MoBowl

My next stop was Butterscotch on the Go, which I feel like I haven’t been eating nearly enough now that Edgewood Eats is only once a month. I was happy to see them in San Jose, the first time I had, and was also happy to try another new item on their menu, the nutella and milk chocolate panna.

Nutella and milk chocolate panna from Butterscotch on the Go

This new treat tasted similar to their chocolate pudding and had the same crispy topping (which I love!), but the Nutella added an extra hint of hazelnut that I enjoyed. When the owner saw me waiting for my food, she was also kind enough to give me a free piece of their poundcake.

Poundcake from Butterscotch on the Go

I had to take most of the poundcake to go because I had gotten full on everything else, but it was as delicious as was to be expected.

This week I’m off work because the school district where I work doesn’t have school. I’m enjoying this opportunity to check out some food trucks in the afternoon on their lunch runs, something I don’t get to do often with my schedule. Today I visited two and hope to visit another two tomorrow, so you can look forward to a post about those adventures soon. Additionally, I hope to write a post about the veggie part of Veggie Truckin’ in honor of the upcoming holiday that glorifies eating meat. I haven’t touched too much on my vegetarianism here aside from writing about how easy or not easy it is to choose dishes at food trucks because of it, and I think my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian is as good a time as any to go into a little bit of depth about why I’ve made this choice.