Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

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.

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Three New (to me) Trucks! January 10, 2012

Filed under: food trucks,vegetarianism — Laura @ 8:25 pm
Tags: , ,

In the last week I’ve been to three food trucks I hadn’t been to before! The first was introduced to me when Moveable Feast posted on facebook about a vegan taco truck that always stays in the same location on Julian and 26th in San Jose. Of course, I immediately had to check this out. The next day I went there to pick up dinner for the boyfriend and me. The truck is positioned in the parking lot of a liquor store, and it even has some tables and chairs set up.

The tables set up outside Gorditas Universales

I was greeted by an informative young woman who gave me a lot of the details about the truck. Goditas Universales doesn’t have a website, facebook, or twitter yet, but they’re working on a website. All of their “meat” is meat-free (soy protein, I’m assuming), although it’s all listed on the menu as the meat it is imitating.

The Gorditas Universales menu

The burrito sizes are “regular” and “super” which, as the girl who works there said, basically means “huge” and “humongous”. They’re at the same location all the time, and they’re there Wednesdays through Sundays from 6pm until roughly midnight, although they’ll stay open later if there’s a line. Everything on the menu is vegetarian. I regret not asking her if it’s all vegan as well. There was definitely sour cream in my meal, but I don’t know if it had dairy in it or not. They have a Supreme Master sticker on the truck, which usually means vegan. I will be sure to ask when I return, which I am definitely bound to do!

I got two “regular” burritos, one chipotle chicken flavored and one fajitas flavored. My boyfriend and I shared them, switching back and forth regularly, and they were both amazingly delicious. As vegetarians, we were both so used to eating burritos with just the fillings or some tofu at the most that it was great to have them with a little something more in them. Unfortunately, only my photo from the chipotle chicken burrito came out well. (I guess the foil can still be a problem with my new phone.)

Chipotle chicken burrito from Gorditas Universales

I have a story that is also worth noting. When I finished eating, I got up to throw my trash away, and my cat hopped up on the couch because I had left some crumbs, one of which being a big chunk of fake meat. My cat scarfed it down and even licked the couch to get the last remnants of it, completely oblivious to the fact that it wasn’t real meat. He was licking his chops for awhile afterward too. In summation, Gorditas Universales is so good it fooled my carnivorous cat into thinking he was eating meat!

The second food truck I went to was actually a food cart, and I happened upon it accidentally. (I love it when that happens!) On Sunday, my mom and I ventured into the city to see Shen Yun at the Opera House. The grandmother of one of my students from last school year had bought us tickets, so we made a day of it. When we came out of the Civic Center BART station, we were greeted by the Heart of the City Farmers Market. This immediately made me wonder if any food trucks would be around, and I whipped out my phone and used one of my many food truck apps to figure out that Onigilly was there. Before long, I hunted the cart down.

The Onigilly cart

Since I had already eaten lunch, I just wanted a quick bite of something small. I had some choices since there was more than one vegetarian option on the menu.

The Onigilly menu

I settled on the hijiki, and I was happy with my decision. It was similar to sushi, of course. I also added extra soy sauce and sriracha 🙂

Hijiki rice ball from Onigilly

My third and final food truck was just visited today! I first heard about ChowBow from Food Truck Nerd a few weeks ago. After viewing their menu and all the veg options on their website, I was determined to check them out. Food Truck Nerd said they were at the same location ever day on Freedom Circle in Santa Clara, but I think they might skip Fridays. I tried on two different Fridays, and they weren’t there. However, the third time was the charm. Today I subbed a half day, so I was able to do some daytime truckin’. I headed to Freedom Circle, and lo and behold, there ChowBow was!

The ChowBow truck

One of the (many) unique things about ChowBow is that their food is served buffet style, so you actually get to step into the truck to grab the food you want. Then it is weighed on a scale and priced by the pound. I have to admit, being my first time stepping foot on a food truck, I was kinda geeking out over being inside one. Your first stop when you step in is a pile of to go containers located right next to the driver’s seat.

The pile of to go containers that greet you on the ChowBow truck

Next, you make your way in to see a classic buffet spread across the interior of the truck.

The spread inside ChowBow

If you walk a couple more feet and look on the other side of the truck, you see the sign that pretty much made my day.

Yesssssss!

Upon seeing the sign I immediately started dishing up just about every vegetarian option the truck carried (although I did skip the one with paneer in it since I didn’t want to take Lactaid).

The vegetarian options on ChowBow

After piling food on my plate, I went to have it weighed, and to my surprise my heaping plate only cost $6.50! And the best part? All proceeds go to charity. You can’t beat that!

Everything on my plate was tasty, and some of it was also spicy (although I couldn’t tell you which dishes were since I mixed everything together). I will definitely be back the next time I’m in the mood for some daytime truckin’ when it’s not a Friday!

With these three trucks, my food trucks foursquare list has reached 100! Don’t forget to follow if you’re a foursquare user and you want to see which trucks and truck gatherings I’ve been to. I haven’t tallied up just how many trucks I’ve been to now, but it’s definitely nearing 100 since I probably only have about 10-15 gatherings in that list. I’ll have to figure this out soon so I can celebrate my 100th truck!