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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This Week in Food Trucks June 18, 2012

I’ve gotta say, it’s nice to be writing a mere week after my last post. This means I get to write a little more thoroughly about each truck and all of my food truck experiences.

Last week I went to Edgewood Eats on Tuesday. There was a new truck I hadn’t heard of there. Sunrise Deli seems to be a brick and mortar restaurant that became a truck. When I saw falafel on their menu, I was in. It had been far too long since I’d had falafel from a food truck!

The Sunrise Deli Truck

As you can see, their doors were down when I arrived about twenty minutes after Edgewood started. I was willing to wait to try a new truck though. It didn’t take much waiting either, and before I knew it I had ordered my avocado falafel wrap.

Avocado falafel wrap from Sunrise Deli

I have to admit, I pretty much inhaled it. I couldn’t help it; falafel is so yummy, especially when paired with avocado. I don’t know how I never had falafel until I became a vegetarian. I feel like I have 27 years of falafel eating to catch up on.

The avocado falafel wrap after meeting my wrath

I also stopped by Scoops and grabbed a scoop of their birfday cake flavor. The gentleman taking my order made sure I pronounced the name the “right” way before serving me. He also took a photo of me and put it in the “happy customers” folder on their facebook page here. I ate a bit before I got a really good photo of all the colors of confetti in this ice cream.

Birfday cake ice cream from Scoops

On Friday, Kyle and I decided to go to a Word on the StreEatz event at Piedmont Hills High School for dinner. While there I got to try a new truck I’ve heard lots about but hadn’t run into yet, Takoz Mod Mex.

The Takoz truck

I ordered a vegetarian “el tako”. I was impressed with all the toppings which consisted of more than just the regular toppings you see on a traditional taco. It was very yummy.

A vegetarian taco from Takoz

My next stop was the Dough Truck. I had been wanting to try their tater tots ever since listening to Food Truck Nerd’s podcast about them. After verifying that the “special sauce” was vegetarian, I ordered the Animal, which is basically tater tots served animal style like at In-and-Out: melted cheese, special sauce, and onions on top.

The Animal from Dough Truck

From there, we drove to Club Auto Sport where a new candy truck, Sugar Tree Sweets and Treats was serving at an event. If you know me, you know that I love candy. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a new truck that includes candy. When we got there, we quickly discovered that this was a HUGE event. It took forever to find parking, and we felt like we were crashing someone’s party. Eventually, though, we found our destination.

The Sugar Tree trailer

This is one of the rare trucks where you actually get to walk inside. What’s more, the inside of the truck is decorated, complete with checkered floor. I’m a sucker for checkered floor. Get it, sucker? oh boy…

Shelves of candy, and checkered floor!

Another photo of the inside, including Kyle checking out the goods

It took some deliberating, but I eventually decided on a small bin of organic blueberry cotton candy, a red velvet cake pop, and a packet of fun dip (an old favorite from my childhood).

Organic blueberry cotton candy from Sugar Tree

The cotton candy had just the right amount of flavor without being too sugary sweet. It definitely tasted healthier than the kind you get at the carnival.

Red velvet cake pop from Sugar Tree

The cake pop was incredible. I don’t know how else to describe it, just utterly delicious.

Inside the cake pop

This morning, I woke up and had a mediocre half-breakfast of stale cereal. I quickly realized I need to do some grocery shopping and would need to go to a food truck for lunch before then. When I checked roaming hunger, I saw a food truck I hadn’t heard of before in Mountain View, another one that seems to be a brick and mortar gone mobile, SF Soupmobile.

The SF Soupmobile truck

They had a lot of vegetarian options, and all of them sounded delicious after my poor excuse for a breakfast. I decided to try a couple at once and went for a small bowl of the split pea soup and a half hummus wrap. After I ordered my food it was ready almost immediately. The soup seemed too hot to eat right away, so I decided to just high-tail it home. Luckily, I live close enough for the soup to still be warm when I got there.

Hummus wrap from SF Soupmobile

The hummus wrap was the perfect blend of flavors. I though the kalamata olives were an especially good touch.

I consider myself a bit of a split pea soup snob because I grew up going to Andersen’s on family vacations, and I think nothing measures up as a result. This split pea made the cut though. They also included a bit of a sourdough roll for dipping purposes, but I didn’t get a photo of it. Most importantly, after I finished the soup I let my cat lick the bowl.

I think he enjoyed it.

I’m not even sure he focused on breathing while eating the soup.

SF Soupmobile: KITTY APPROVED!

 

School’s Out for Summer! June 10, 2012

You read me right. I’m done teaching for the school year, so I’m hoping that means lots more blogging in the near future. Granted, I’m moving in two weeks and still plenty busy because of that, but not working full time tends to be a big difference in terms of time on my hands. I’m also still looking for summer work if you know of a truck that’s hiring!

On with the food, though! I’ve only visited a few new trucks since my last post, and I’ve also sampled some new food from trucks I already visited. I’ll start with the new ones and then hit you with a wave of photos from trucks I’ve written about before.

The first new truck I tried was at a recent Word on the StreEatz. It’s called Mustache Mike’s, and it serves Italian ice.

The Mustache Mike’s truck

I had never had Italian ice before. I expected it to be somewhat like shave ice, or maybe I hoped it would be since I’ve been craving a shave ice truck in the bay area ever since I went to one in LA last summer. The consistency was more like a cross between ice cream and shave ice, very similar to sorbet.

Juicy rancher from Mustache Mike’s

I chose one of their mixtures of three flavors, the Juicy Rancher. It included lemon, watermelon, and green apple flavored Italian ice. They had two choices for price based on what container you received your ice in; you could pay two dollars extra for an MLB themed container, shaped like the baseball cap of your favorite team. Being a big A’s fan, I already have plenty of the same hats from going to games and getting frozen treats at them, so I opted for the simple plastic cup. I enjoyed the Italian ice, especially since it didn’t require me to take lactaid. I haven’t seen the truck since, so I hope they start popping up in more locations!

The next new truck I visited happened in San Francisco before an A’s/Giants game a few weekends ago. Kyle had noticed a truck was supposed to be parked just a few blocks from the ballpark, so we headed into the city early to hit up Le Truc. Le truc is not actually a truck at all but rather a bus!

Le Truc

(Note the enthusiastic cook inside cheesing for the camera.) Le Truc was serving vegetarian Thai tacos, but they unfortunately had eggplant in them that couldn’t be removed. Once again, I despise my dreaded eggplant allergy. Kyle got the tacos though, and I got a salad.

Tacos and salad from Le Truc

The food was delicious, but perhaps the coolest thing about Le Truc was the fact that patrons are invited to eat inside the bus. They have tables set up and music playing so that you get the full dining experience.

Seats and tables inside Le Truc

Our food right next to the driver’s seat

Another new truck I tried, just this week, was El Taco de Oro. I haven’t been able to find a website for them, being one of the more authentic local taco trucks. They were at the new Moveable Feast location at Five Wounds on Tuesday.

El Taco de Oro truck

I just grabbed one vegetarian taco from this truck because I had my eyes set on a bigger menu item at a different truck. At $1.50, it was one of the cheapest tacos I’ve had a truck, and well worth the price. They piled it high with fresh ingredients.

Vegetarian taco from El Taco de Oro

My final new truck for this post was one I tried on Wednesday when Kyle stopped by Milpitas Street Eats on his way home from work. He picked up some food at Spice Hut Gourmet as well as at 333.

Vegetable curry rice bowl from Spice Hut Gourmet

This rice bowl combo came with naan and chole. We found the “spice” part of the truck’s name to be quite accurate. The curry was very spicy and full of flavor. It also included tasty paneer.

As far as 333 is concerned, Kyle delivered the news that they’ve decided to focus on one of their three cuisines each week, and this week the focus was on Mexican food. He picked up a vegetarian quesadilla after accidentally ordering one with steak in it. The vegetarian option wasn’t on the menu, but the 333 guys were kind enough to cook one up after Kyle realized his mistake.

Vegetarian quesadilla from 333

An inside view of the quesadilla

It was easily one of the best quesadillas I’ve tasted, and the green sauce that came with it complemented the flavors especially well.

Now on to other new foods I’ve tried from some of my favorite trucks!

I had been to Mona’s Fruits once before last summer at a Moveable Feast. I only saw the truck one other time, at the taco festival with way too huge of a line to wait in, before I saw them on Tuesday at Moveable Feast Five Wounds.

Mona’s Fruits truck

I ordered one of their small fruit bowls, which is still quite large! When you ask for the fruit bowl “spicy” they add chili flakes that add some pep to the fruit. I have to admit I like the spicy and sweet combination more with some fruits than others, but it definitely feels nice to eat something sweet and healthy from a truck when that isn’t always the case.

Small fruit bowl from Mona’s Fruits

And while we’re on the topic of Moveable Feast Five Wounds, here’s a photo I took of the spread:

Moveable Feast Five Wounds on June 5th

At the same Word on the StreEatz where I saw Mustache Mike’s I also tried Kaati Fresh again, and I’m happy to say that this time I had a much better experience. It helps that they didn’t have a line at all when I went up to them, and they decided to start taking money when you order like most trucks. When I asked for a veggie roll, the gentleman taking my order let me choose between the potato and paneer options and let me sample each one to make my decision. I had wanted to avoid lactaid, but the paneer option tasted too good to pass up.

Paneer roll from Kaati Fresh

I also appreciated that it came with a small salad, and the two only cost $6. Definitely a good amount of food for the price!

A couple weeks ago, Kyle and I walked down to St. James park for a special event called A Day in the Park. We were excited to have trucks walking distance from where I live again (we miss when Moveable Feast was at San Pedro Square). There was a DJ playing some great remixes of oldies and 80s music.

After getting some of our usual favorites at trucks we frequent, we grabbed dessert at Scoops. I went for a flavor I hadn’t tried before, their salted caramel on a cone. Then I decided to take a Foodtrucknerd-esque photo that captured both the food and the truck with its “I am San Jose” sign on it.

Salted Caramel ice cream cone from Scoops

At Friday night’s Moveable Feast Willow Glen, I saw the Market Express truck that carries fresh produce for the first time. I didn’t get a chance to browse it much, but I did take a photo!

Market Express truck

I will close this post with a few photos of menu items I haven’t posted before from trucks I have posted about before. I might not post comments about them, but I guarantee all of this food was delicious.

Cream of asparagus soup from Whisk on Wheels

Tofu bi bim bap plate from BBQ Kalbi

S’more brownie from Mini Yums

Sugar cookie from Mini Yums

 

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 🙂

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!