Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

The Taco Festival of (Non-Vegetarian) Innovation May 6, 2012

As you already know if you read my twitter account, the cold I came down with before my last post didn’t render me bedridden. This meant I was able to work the whole week after Spring Break, and in turn I didn’t have the down time I anticipated to write my post about the Taco Festival of Innovation. Add on top of that two weeks of STAR testing, and you have one very stressed out blogger without much time to blog. I remain determined, though. That is why I sit here on a Sunday night when I should be sleeping in preparation for a new work week writing the post that I promised three weeks ago.

Buckets leading up to the Taco Festival entrance

All of the photos in this post except this one were taken by my boyfriend Kyle and can be found with many more at his flickr set dedicated to the Taco Festival here. This photo, however, will make him cringe because it was instead taken with my phone and filtered with instagram. Kyle has been a huge instagram hater for as long as I’ve known him and complains every time I instagram a photo of anything. I like the angle of the photo I took more than his though, so it wins πŸ™‚

We arrived at the Taco Festival about fifteen minutes after it started. We were greeted by a line of the Moveable Feast buckets we food truck regulars have learned to love. Our early arrival was planned for two reasons: 1) better parking opportunities (from what I hear this became an issue. we found street parking no problem), and 2) to see the first band playing, Tumbleweed Wanderers. I had seen Tumbleweed Wanderers at one of the San Mateo Moveable Feasts last summer and enjoyed their music. I had since been following them on facebook and was excited when I saw they would be playing another Moveable Feast event. Their set started later than planned, and we got to watch the sound check as well. Eventually, they started playing, and it was a great way to kick off the festival.

DSC_0016.jpg

After their set was over, we decided it was time to scope out the menus of the trucks. Our friend Dan Hugo had already walked around a bit and tried some tacos while we were watching the band perform, and he warned us that he had seen few vegetarian options. Now, this wasn’t an issue I had anticipated before the event. I had seen the truck line up and knew many of the trucks involved usually carried vegetarian options. I hadn’t thought about the possibility that some of them might not include a vegetarian taco on their menu. It turns out that most of them did not. Those that did were simply providing the usual vegetarian menu choice and weren’t submitting them for the competition (with two exceptions).

After walking almost the entire circuit of trucks we finally found the one savory truck who invented a new vegetarian taco for the festival, Curry Up Now.

DSC_0022.jpg

This menu brought us much happiness. Even Dan, a meat eater, ordered up one of the paneer tacos.

DSC_0023.jpg

If you look closely, you can see the number we texted our vote to!

DSC_0024.jpg

This is the taco in all its deliciousness. Luckily the one savory vegetarian taco was a good one!

We then ventured to Treatbot who, being an ice cream truck, is always inherently vegetarian. They had two tacos they were serving for the festival, both with crepes as the “shells”. We ordered one of each and devoured them rather quickly. The one with raspberry sorbet, pineapple, and mint leafs on it had an interesting contrast in flavor, but I definitely preferred the one with horchata ice cream, almond slices, and cinnamon.

DSC_0025.jpg

By this time, we had realized we weren’t going to be filling up on new vegetarian tacos, so Kyle and I decided to get a vegetarian side instead at Whisk on Wheels instead.

DSC_0031.jpg

We sat down and enjoyed our garlic fries while taking in the beautiful weather and the festival around us.

DSC_0032.jpg

We also enjoyed one more dessert when Dan decided to splurge and buy us each a cupcake from Fairycakes. I chose a salted caramel cupcake, and although it wasn’t very taco-like it was tasty.

Overall, Kyle and I enjoyed ourselves at the Taco Festival. We managed to leave with full bellies but were disappointed that some of our favorite trucks we have come to rely on for good vegetarian options decided to only make new meat tacos. I have discussed the possibility of having categories at next year’s taco competition with Ryan, the owner of Moveable Feast, and he seems open to the idea of having a vegetarian one to encourage more trucks to branch out. You can hear more about my thoughts on the first Taco Festival of Innovation and ideas I have for next year on Food Truck Nerd podcast number 31.

As for my own trucking since this event, fear not, I have still been frequenting the food truck scene. In fact, I went to four new trucks just this weekend! I hope to write about them soon, but with the school year winding down I can’t make any promises about when I’ll have the time. Once summer hits, I’ll probably start posting up a storm again like last summer though. And with that I will leave you with a photo Kyle took of a poor taco we spotted on the ground at the festival. A casualty that did not have an opportunity to fulfill its purpose….

DSC_0043.jpg

(And Dan’s unforgiving foot)

Advertisements
 

More Food Porn April 12, 2012

If you follow me on twitter then you know that this week I have had the opportunity to eat at more trucks than usual due to the fact that I’m on SPRING BREAK! In fact, I’ve been to at least one truck on every day of my Spring Break except for Sunday. (That seems to be a common day off for trucks.) I was hoping this would also mean more blogging, but it’s already Thursday, and this is my first blog of the week. Ugh. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to post another before the week is over with the few new trucks I’ve tried this week, but this post will be a classic food porn post consisting of trucks I’ve been to before.

First, the truck that was originally Small Time Cooks has gotten an upgrade including a new wrap and new name. They’re now called 333 (or Triple Dash Three).

The 333 truck and menu

I’ve tried them a couple times since the upgrade, and both times I’ve gotten their tacos. Most recently, I saw them at Milpitas Street Eats last night and ordered a paneer tikka taco. They also gave me a mushroom tofu taco on the house and came out of the truck and hand delivered it to me. Such service!

Paneer tikka and mushroom tofu tacos from 333

I’m not sure if I’ve written about Seoul on Wheels before, but I’m a big fan of their BBQ rice plate with tofu. I haven’t asked if the kimchi has shellfish in it, and sometimes I like to just remain in the dark about that kinda stuff πŸ˜‰

BBQ tofu rice plate from Seoul on Wheels

And now for some new dishes from a few trucks who need no introduction because I’ve written about them before…

Orange chocolate cake from Butterscotch on the Go

Chocolate peanut butter tart from Butterscotch on the Go

Vegetarian taco from Tacos de Los Altos

Paneer sexy fries from Curry Up Now

Caprese sandwich from Eat on Monday

Mini red velvet cupcake from Fairycakes

Aloo tikki chaat from Tandoori Chicken USA Mobile

Chocolate dipped peanut butter cookie from Mini Yums

Mint chip ice cream from Twisted Chill

At a recent Willow Glen Moveable Feast I experimented with making my first mashup. I’ve tried a few mashups that friends have made before, but this was the first one I made! I started with pandan waffles from O’Mi Ninja.

Pandan waffle from O'Mi Ninja

Then I added the waffle to Mexican chocolate ice cream from Treatbot. The result was a sweet and scrumptious mashup!

The Treatbot and O'Mi Ninja mashup

Yesterday I got to see Truckin’ Sweet in person for the first time despite trying their ice cream before.

The Truckin' Sweet truck

I tried their Voodoo Crunch flavor, which includes oreo cookies and malt balls. It was delicious and much enjoyed despite the cold weather.

Voodoo crunch ice cream from Truckin' Sweet

Today I headed to Whisk on Wheels for lunch at their usual Thursday lunch spot at Lockheed Martin. When I’m not on Spring Break, my boyfriend always goes there on Thursdays and meets up with other food truck enthusiasts, and I’m always so jealous because Whisk rarely makes it down here any other time. This time Kyle wasn’t able to make it, but I was! I ordered the pesto pasta and was soon told they had run out of pasta 😦 I opted for the spinach and ricotta empanada instead, and they also gave me a free bowl of their cream of tomato soup.

Cream of tomato soup from Whisk on Wheels

I especially enjoyed the croutons that came with it. One of these days I’ll get my hands on that pesto pasta! One thing that I saw at the Whisk truck that I haven’t seen at any other truck was a bowl of mints. I thought that was a nice touch. Many restaurants have mints that are free for the taking as you exit, so why not trucks too?

Bowl of mints at the Whisk on Wheels truck

Finally, I’d like to write about a couple of occasions where Kyle came with me and brought his camera. I bet you thought his goal to take photos for my blog had been a one time thing, huh? Well, he’s remembered on a couple more occasions now πŸ™‚ First, he brought it with us when we went to a Moveable Feast at a new location. A week ago Saturday a few trucks came out to the History Park in San Jose for a Spring Garden Festival. We were excited to see trucks at a new location and liked the line up, so we went not knowing what to expect. What we saw was a different crowd than most; instead of the usual food truck lovers, the event was mostly gardening lovers, and there were tons and tons of plants for sale! It was also raining, but that doesn’t usually stop me.

DSC_0065.jpg

Our first stop was Eat on Monday. Since the event had started at 9am, they were selling a few breakfast items we hadn’t tried before. We went for the egg crepe roll and absolutely loved it.

DSC_0069.jpg

They also gave us a free dish, that had a name I unfortunately forget. It wasn’t on the menu for the day, but it was also very yummy.

DSC_0067.jpg

Our next stop was the B2 coffee booth where we each got a drink to warm us up. Kyle took this opportunity to take a silly photo of me drinking my mocha.

DSC_0071.jpg

Afterward we walked around for a little while, and I even took the opportunity to buy something for my grandma for her 89th birthday! My family was planning on fixing up the patio of her apartment and making a garden out of it, and when I saw a hummingbird feeder at one of the booths I thought that would be a fun gift for her. She likes to watch the squirrels that run around her retirement home from her apartment, so I thought she’d like watching hummingbirds even more.

Hummingbird feeder (photo taken with my phone, not Kyle's camera)

I just love how my food truck obsession sometimes brings me to places and things I otherwise would not access!

Kyle also brought his camera along to the Moveable Feast this weekend at Garden City. We both ate at No Way Jose. Kyle got a veggie burrito.

DSC_0080.jpg

I got a veggie taco salad. They first made it with meat in it, and when I sent it back I could tell they made an all new one for me instead of just picking out the meat like some restaurants do because the toppings I had thrown on were missing. That’s good vegetarian customer service!

DSC_0077.jpg

As always, I recommend checking out Kyle’s flickr photostream for more photos. He got some good meta photos of Food Truck Nerd taking photos of his food that day.

 

The Final Countdown February 13, 2012

Filed under: food trucks — Laura @ 6:52 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I am a changed woman, dear readers. If you follow my twitter account you probably already know: Saturday night I ate at my 100th food truck. However, before I can write about the 100th truck, I need to pick up where I left off with my 98th and 99th trucks.

I visited my 98th and 99th trucks on the same day at the same event. On January 28th, Kyle and I headed into the city to see a couple shows at Sf Sketchfest. We showed up a little earlier with food trucks on our minds and found ourselves at Off the Grid McCoppin. This was somehow my first Off the Grid, and I was long overdue. San Francisco is an hour away, but that’s no excuse for not attending one of these events sooner. The crowd was different than the south bay crowds I’m used to at food truck events; instead of families and people of all ages it seemed to be mostly twenty and thirty-somethings. There was also a speaker system set up playing The Shins. Needless to say, I felt right at home.

Off the Grid McCoppin, January 28th

The first truck I went to was El Norteno. They don’t seem to have much of an internet presence since their twitter doesn’t have any tweets since 2010, and their facebook is a member account instead of a page you can like.

The El Norteno menu

On their menu, I saw something called the “veggie plate” that had a reasonable price. I didn’t know what to expect from it but figured it would be vegetarian, so I took a gamble and ordered it.

Veggie plate from El Norteno

I was pleasantly surprised. The plate came with some tortillas which I used to eat up the beans, cheese, and some of the veggies. The rest of the veggies I ate as a salad. I especially enjoyed the olives. I found that I was mostly full once I had finished the entire plate, so I decided to just get dessert at my 99th truck, 3-Sum Eats.

The 3-Sum Eats menu

I decided to go with the chocolate whoopie pie with mint chocolate chip filling, and when I ordered it the friendly gentleman taking orders was ecstatic. He said they had hardly sold any of the whoopie pies that day, and he didn’t know why because they were delicious.

Chocolate whoopie pie from 3-Sum Eats

He did not lie. The whoopie pie was exactly as I expected, and the cookies that made the outside of the pie were the perfect consistency: moist but not so much that it falls apart. Kyle got his meal at this truck, their grilled cheese sandwich. It included eggplant, so I couldn’t take a bite, but he said it was also delicious.

Two weeks later, the 100th truck hit. I had already been planning on attending Rockage as a fan of live music, video games, beer, and food trucks. Then when they released their food truck schedule and I saw a San Francisco truck I had never been to, Kung Fu Tacos, would be there I knew the 100th truck had presented itself. Kung Fu tacos was scheduled to arrive at 6, and they were a little late. Between video games I kept routinely popping outside to see if the truck was there. I watched with excitement as I saw them pull up behind Treatbot.

Kung Fu Tacos pulls up behind Treatbot

It took them a little longer to prep, so I continued playing games and popping my head out occasionally until I saw they were open.

The Kung Fu Tacos truck, open for business!

Once they had opened, Kyle and I decided to order four of their vegetarian option, the mu shu vegetable tacos, two for each of us. When they came out we each poured on some sriracha.

Mu shu vegetable tacos from Kung Fu Tacos

Then I made sure I was in semi-decent lighting (for it being nighttime) and had Kyle take a photo of me taking a bite of food from my 100th food truck!

Eating food from my 100th food truck!

Kung Fu Tacos was the perfect 100th truck. Their tacos were full of veggies and flavor, and I don’t know if it was just the sriracha, but they had the perfect amount of spice. Appropriately, while we enjoyed our meal, someone sang a horrible karaoke version of “The Final Countdown” at Treatbot.

The rest is history. Worry not, I will continue eating and writing about the food I eat, but I doubt anything will be as monumental as reaching 100 trucks πŸ™‚ I hope to type up my list of the 100 trucks with links to each one in a future post, so stay tuned for that!

 

Pumpkin Treasures October 25, 2011

I have come to Veggie Truckin’ to write about two topics tonight: my food truck experience at Treasure Island Music Festival and my love for pumpkin flavored food sold at food trucks.

The weekend before last was the Treasure Island Music Festival. I ended up going on a whim with my boyfriend to the Saturday show, and this unfortunately meant missing my usual Moveable Feast tradition on Saturdays. On the plus side, there were food trucks at the festival, and most of them were San Francisco based trucks I had never even heard of! My boyfriend and I shared food from two different trucks. Our first stop was Fogcutter, a truck that, according to my research, was previously called both Brunch Box and Bandit Truck.

The Fogcutter truck

Despite the many name changes, Fogcutter’s food met my standards. I can’t find the item I had on their menu, but it was a sandwich with cheese and broccoli inside, and it was unlike anything I had tasted before. Sadly, the photo I took didn’t come out great in the sunny Treasure Island lighting.

Sandwich from Fogcutter

Meanwhile, my boyfriend grabbed his lunch at Eat Curbside.

The Eat Curbside truck

He opted for their grilled cheese sandwich with brie and caramelized onions. I had a bite, and it was tasty as well. However, the best part by far was the fries that came with it. Please excuse another less-than-stellar photo thanks to the sunlight. (Side note: I have ordered a new iPhone 4S, so hopefully my photos will also be getting an upgrade soon!)

Grilled cheese with fries from Eat Curbside

And now…. my love for pumpkin.

Like many people, I look forward to fall for a couple of reasons. One is the sound of leaves crunching under my feet when I walk. The second is pumpkin flavored food. I can’t get enough of it. If pumpkin stuff was sold year round, I would eat it year round. I just had some pumpkin cream cheese while drinking pumpkin ale. I’m obsessed. This obsession overlaps well with my food truck obsession because many trucks choose to add special seasonal pumpkin flavored food to their menus. And then I rejoice.

The first pumpkin flavored treat I had from a truck happened at the final San Mateo Moveable Feast earlier this month. Pacific Puffs was serving a special pumpkin puff that was filled with pumpkin flavored cream. The gentleman who sold it to me warned me that the cream would explode all over me when I bit into it, but I was still surprised when that’s exactly what it did. The flavor more than made up for the mess though.

Pumpkin puff from Pacific Puffs

Another special pumpkin menu item that I’ve had more than once now is the That’s Sweet! Dessert Truck‘s pumpkin spice cupcake.

Pumpkin spice cupcake from That's Sweet!

There’s something about the mixture of pumpkin and cream cheese that can’t be beat. It is also worth noting that the gentleman who runs That’s Sweet! recently told me that they discovered a problem with their ovens, and now that it’s fixed their cupcakes (which I loved before) are better than ever.

The final pumpkin experience I had was at the debut of Feast at the Flea, a new event where food trucks meet at the San Jose flea market parking lot.

Feast at the Flea, October 21st

After enjoying a dinner from O Mi Ninja, I headed over to Treatbot for an old favorite from last year. I had been waiting for the return of their pumpkin flavored ice cream, and this was the first event I went to where it was served (although they had been serving it all week). I chose to get my pumpkin ice cream in a waffle bowl with their apple pie ice cream. It was like Thanksgiving dessert a month early.

Pumpkin and apple pie ice cream from Treatbot

Although these three pumpkin flavored treats were great, I’m on the hunt for more. Do you know of any trucks in the south bay serving special pumpkin flavored options this fall? Please let me know so I can hunt them down!

 

New Food and a New Month September 6, 2011

Happy September, food truck lovers! I’ve started the month off right by going to three food truck events in the last few days. Here are some of the highlights!

On Friday I attended Moveable Feast San Mateo. It was a beautiful evening for trucks. There was a big crowd, but it was much easier to manage than the first event in San Mateo in July. The lines didn’t take nearly as long!

Moveable Feast San Mateo, September 2nd

I made the mistake of ordering a three cheese melt from Toasty Melts before checking how much lactaid I had. I only had one pill when I usually take two for grilled cheese, and I regretted it afterward. Of course, it was not the truck’s fault, and the sandwich was delicious. I appreciated the added bonus of kettle chips with the sandwich.

Three cheese melt from Toasty Melts

Another highlight from the night was going to a truck I hadn’t visited before, Pacific Puffs. I had to take my classic puff to go because of the aforementioned lack of lactaid, but I did enjoy it when I got the chance to eat it. It exploded all over me and made a mess, but I’m not complaining.

Classic puff from Pacific Puffs

Pacific Puffs and Toasty Melts at Moveable Feast San Mateo

On Saturday, I went to Moveable Feast San Jose. I didn’t go to any new trucks (the only new one didn’t have any vegetarian options), but I did try a waffle bowl from Treatbot when I hadn’t before. I went with raspberry sorbet in my bowl. It reminded me of the ones from Lake Street Creamery in LA.

Raspberry sorbet in a waffle bowl from Treatbot

At Monday’s Edgewood Eats, I again got a new menu item from an old favorite. This time it was a blondie from Butterscotch on the Go.

Blondie from Butterscotch on the Go

Like most treats from this truck, I was surprised by how great it tasted at first. Then I said to myself, of course it tastes good; it’s from Butterscotch on the Go!

Those were my highlights of the week; here’s hoping the rest of the month provides as many highlights if not more.

 

Three Days of Food Truckin’ in a Row? I Must Be Crazy. August 21, 2011

Yup, you read the title right. From Thursday to Saturday this week I went to three days of food truck gatherings in a row. I will only write about the first two days in this entry and save my account of the San Francisco Street Food Festival for my next post.

Thursday I headed to my first Moveable Feast in Mountain View. It took place in the parking lot of a restaurant called Steak Out, because food trucks apparently aren’t allowed to park on the street in Mountain View. They were taking signatures for a petition to change this, but only Mountain View residents could sign it. (Sadly, that doesn’t include me.) Due to the size of the lot, there were only four trucks there.

Moveable Feast Mountain View, August 18th

The only one that wasn’t dessert food that had a vegetarian option was MoBowl. Luckily, I’m a fan of their umami tofu, as I mentioned in a recent post. This time I remembered to take a photo of it!

Umami tofu bowl from MoBowl

I apparently have also earned the status of being a regular at this truck because they remembered I love their cheesecake eggrolls and gave me an order for free with my meal. Thanks, MoBowl! I decided to take the eggrolls to go and get another free dessert at Treatbot – I had filled out my frequent buyer card and earned a free scoop. I decided to skip the Lactaid and get a scoop of their fantastic raspberry sorbet.

My free desserts: cheesecake eggrolls from MoBowl and raspberry sorbet from Treatbot

Friday night I headed to Newark Street Eats, this time with my sister (who was visiting for the weekend from LA) and my dad. Being with family made me completely forget to take photos at the festival, it seems, but once we got home and sat down to eat the food I snapped a few shots. First, I got a spicy tofu burrito from BBQ Kalbi. It seems as though this was another case of foil making the photos blurry.

Spicy tofu burrito from BBQ Kalbi

My sister, Dad, and I then split two desserts from That’s Sweet!. We got a mini apple pie and a red velvet whoopie pie. None of us had ever had a whoopie pie before and didn’t know what to expect. When we ordered it, the gentleman asked if the marshmallow filling was okay. I asked if it included gelatin and he said no and commented on that being a good question πŸ™‚

Red velvet whoopie pie from That's Sweet!

Both desserts were delicious, as treats from this truck tend to be. We also split the mini apple pie three ways.

Mini apple pie from That's Sweet!

Stay tuned for my post about my third day in a row of food truckin’ at the biggest food festival I’ve attended!

 

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!