Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

Moving Right Along… June 27, 2012

This weekend I moved, and while that has presented a lot of change into my life, and a lot less time on my hands, I have managed to visit a few trucks in the last week, including two new ones.

On Tuesday afternoon of last week, I scouted out a new truck on its lunch run, Say Cheez. Kyle and I met there for lunch and were excited to try out the latest grilled cheese truck in the area.

The Say Cheez truck

They had a few different vegetarian options. Kyle went for the veggie melt. I didn’t get to try it because it had eggplant in it, but he said it was tasty.

Veggie melt from Say Cheez

I went with the jalapeno popper, wanting a little spice. It had so much cheese in it that it required two lactaids, but it was worth it. It tasted just like jalapeno popper appetizers without the jalapenos being too overwhelming.

Jalapeno popper from Say Cheez

For dessert, Kyle got the bread pudding. I had one bite and enjoyed it but was too full for something so sweet. Kyle is a huge bread pudding fan and can be rather snobby about if it’s done right. I’m happy to say Say Cheez’s bread pudding made the cut!

Bread pudding from Say Cheez

On Thursday, I saw that 333 was going to be at eBay, and they were serving Indian food that week. I was interested to see what their new Indian specials would be, so I headed down for lunch. When I got there, I was surprised to see Spice Hut Gourmet in the same location. I hadn’t actually seen their truck in person since Kyle had just picked some up on the way home from work once, so I snapped a photo of it.

The Spice Hut Gourmet truck

I still wanted to get my meal from 333, but I thought I’d try a little something from Spice Hut too. I went with the veggie crisp, not quite knowing what to expect. It ended up being similar to a samosa, but longer, with more vegetables, and not as filling. It was just perfect for a snack before the rest of my meal.

Veggie crisp from Spice Hut Gourmet

At 333, I went with the paneer tikka bento box. It included rice and some veggies in a yummy sauce. Like most Indian food, it was very filling, and I was able to save some of it for part of my next meal. I’m happy to say it was just as yummy cold a few hours later.

Paneer tikka bento from 333

On Friday, I ventured to Moveable Feast Willow Glen for the first time in a few weeks. It was nice to be back and on such a lovely day!

Moveable Feast Willow Glen, June 22nd

I decided to have something I hadn’t had in awhile, a burrito from Tacos de Los Altos. I think I posted a photo of one of their burritos here last summer, but they have since added a lot more choices. I got mine with a wheat tortilla and black beans, to be on the healthier side. Delicious!

Veggie burrito from Tacos de Los Altos

I got my dessert to go so I could share some with Kyle, so I decided to buy two Fairycakes. I ate the tuxedo and brought the peanut butter cup home to Kyle.

Peanut butter cup and tuxedo cupcakes from Fairycakes

On Sunday morning, the day after our move, Kyle and I found ourselves in our new house with empty cupboards. We quickly realized we had to go out for breakfast, and called the two closest Bill’s Cafes to see what their wait times were. The Bascom one was shorter by five minutes, so we headed in that direction. On the way, we spotted a food truck in the parking lot of Antonella’s on the corner of Park and Naglee. Kyle spotted that it was called Waffle Amore, and that was enough for us to pull over immediately and change our breakfast plans.

The Waffle Amore truck

I asked a few questions and found out that they plan to be at this location every Sunday morning and will be hitting the streets more thoroughly as well in the near future. Their menu consists of two types of waffles, the liege and the brussels, and a bunch of toppings. Each waffle comes with one topping free, and any additional toppings are a dollar. The one topping we hadn’t heard of was the Speculoos spread, and they were happy to give us a sample to try. It tasted sort of like a sweet graham cracker spread. We placed our order and sat down in their adorable personalized chairs that were set up.

Waffle Amore seats

After a short wait, we got our food, and I must say, both waffles were absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try more from these guys. I got the liege waffle with nutella on top, and Kyle got the brussels with the aforementioned Speculoos spread.

Liege waffle with nutella from Waffle Amore

Brussels waffle with Speculoo spread from Waffle Amore

On a non-truck related note, yesterday I celebrated my one year anniversary of being a vegetarian. Here’s to many, many more! And I will leave you with a quotation from the book that turned me into a vegetarian (as I have been doing all over the internet lately).

“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn’t motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn’t enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?” ~Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

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The Veggie Part of Veggie Truckin’ November 24, 2011

Filed under: vegetarianism — Laura @ 10:51 am
Tags: ,

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Veggie Truckin’ readers! I’m thankful for all of you as well as all of the trucks that sell me great food and give me great material to write about as a result 🙂 As I mentioned in my last post, I’d like to take this opportunity to write a little bit (ok, more than a little bit) about being a vegetarian.

I wish I had someone to credit for this, but I stole it from the internet 🙂

This is my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, and I, of course, am looking at it in a different way than I have before. The holiday still means I get to spend time with my family, reflect on what I’m thankful for, and pig out, but what I eat while pigging out will be a tad different. I’m not exaggerating with that statement; most of the food traditionally eaten on Thanksgiving is vegetarian, with the one big exception of the turkey. Yes, there’s also gravy, but I’ve never been a huge fan of it. And if you have understanding family like I do, the stuffing doesn’t have to be stuffed into the turkey while it’s cooking. I momentarily considered being one of the vegetarians I’ve heard of that still eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but the thought only passed my mind briefly. It’s true that a new bird wouldn’t die if I had some of the turkey the rest of my family was eating, but knowing what I know about the factory farm industry and going five months without eating meat, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I would be filled with guilt and disgust if I did. Plus, I would be afraid it would ruin the changes I’ve seen in my health since I became a vegetarian.

In the last five months I have noticed weight loss, which is to be expected when meat is eliminated from your diet. I have noticed that my immune system, which is one of the weakest immune systems ever, has gotten a tiny bit stronger. Usually I would average about one cold a month during the school year (working with kids doesn’t mix well with my weak immune system, but I love it too much to stop), but I’ve only had two so far this year, and they didn’t last as long as they usually do. Finally, I have noticed an extreme change in the amount of acne on my face. Aside from certain times in my cycle, my face has been significantly clearer since I became a vegetarian. At first I didn’t even see the connection, but my mom brought it up about three months after I changed my diet, and it totally made sense. These changes are small, but I’m happy with them and don’t want to go back to the way it used to be.

As a vegetarian, I am asked a lot of the same questions often. Do I eat fish? No, that would be a pescetarian. Do I eat dairy and eggs? Yes, otherwise I’d be a vegan. I’m lucky that I live in a liberal area where vegetarianism is common and people know more about it. I’m mostly met with respect and understanding, although there is the occasional meat lover who takes my vegetarianism as a personal affront. As a friend of mine once said, I found that more meat eaters cared about me becoming a vegetarian than anyone else did. When I was reading the book that made me become a vegetarian, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, a lot of meat eating friends and family joked around saying things like, “don’t get that book anymore near me!” or, “I don’t want to read that one!” In the book, Jonathan Safran Foer mentions that while he was writing the book, whenever he told someone he was writing a book about eating animals they would react in much the same way. The fact of the matter is that people know the factory farm industry is wrong. They know what they’re eating is tainted. They don’t want to be exposed to that knowledge any more than they have to because then they would have to change the way they eat too. It’s one of the only areas in our culture where I find people are happily, willfully ignorant. I can’t tell you the number of times while talking to people about the factory farm industry they’ve responded with “ignorance is bliss”. In what other part of our society is being uninformed acceptable and joked about repeatedly? People have been eating meat their whole lives; it’s a huge part of our society, and they don’t want to let go of it. Instead they joke about it when faced with someone who has let go of it.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the factory farm industry and why it deserves more attention. If you want more information, read the book. (Please do!) But my reasons for not eating meat can be broken down into three categories.

health: This is number one. I don’t think I need to go into much detail about why eating less meat is healthier, but the treatment of animals in factory farms adds greatly to the obvious reasons for vegetarianism being healthy. The fact that animals are injected with antibiotics and hormones that find their way into the meat you eat is enough to make me stop eating meat alone. Add to that the poor treatment of the animals, the small spaces they live in, how they’re piled on top of each other and covered in each other’s blood, feces, and vomit? That’s not something I want to be putting in my body. Foer also states in his book that scientists predict the next big epidemic virus will undoubtedly be spread to humans via their meat because of the way meat is being produced in factory farms. I’d like to distance myself from that as much as possible.

environmental: The statistic that affected me most in the book was the one that stated that global warming is caused more by the factory farm industry than all forms of transportation combined. Of course, this argument has no pull at all to a crazy person who doesn’t believe in global warming, but for those of us who, y’know, know science is fact, it is impossible to say you care about the environment and still eat factory farmed meat. One of my favorite quotes from Eating Animals is: “The factory farm will come to an end because of its absurd economics someday. It is radically unsustainable. The earth will eventually shake off factory farming like a dog shakes off fleas; the only question is whether we will get shaken off along with it.”

the animals: Before I became a vegetarian, I thought it was silly to put the well being of animals in front of the well being of humans when we have enough people facing cruelty and starvation on the planet. When I realized that the health and environmental factors made the factory farm industry a human problem as well, that was what made me become a vegetarian. However, I still feel for the millions of animals that are killed in horrible ways. They are tortured repeatedly before they even reach slaughter. What disgusts me even more is the lengths the factory farm industry goes to to tap in to human sympathy when it comes to treatment of animals by creating terms like “organic”, “free range”, and “grass fed” to make people think the meat they’re eating is somehow better than the rest of the meat. The truth is that 99% of meat comes from factory farms. There are a few family farms that still exist, but most of the meat you eat, regardless of the label given to it, is tortured. When I first became a vegetarian, I considered seeking out some of the rare family farms that actually treat their animals well and only eating meat from them. In the end, I decided it was easier to just not eat meat at all, and at this point I don’t crave it enough to seek it out. I’ve considered eating meat from some of the food trucks who use meat from family farms, but overall I’d rather just keep my diet the way it is. Just because an animal isn’t tortured, that doesn’t mean my face won’t break out again the second I start eating it 🙂

When it comes to vegetarianism, I try not to be preachy unless someone specifically asks me about my choice. I don’t pretend to know everything about the subject after reading one book, and I don’t think I’m a perfect vegetarian. Defensive meat eaters are always trying to find flaws in my arguments for being a vegetarian, and I think that’s more for themselves than it is for me. It took me two years to read Eating Animals after I knew it existed because I knew I would become a vegetarian, and I was afraid to. I can’t blame other people for feeling the same way, but I can encourage them to stop holding on to the “ignorance is bliss” cliche. I have been asked why I’m not a vegan if I care so much about the factory farm industry, and I honestly don’t have a very good reason. Becoming a vegetarian wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, but I’ve found I rely more on dairy for protein now. I’m a picky eater with little skill when it comes to cooking, and I don’t see a vegan diet being possible for me right now. I still have the utmost respect for vegans, and I hope to one day suck it up and become one. Right now I’m taking it one change in diet at a time.

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful that I have a family that has been understanding of my vegetarianism for the most part. My immediate family has been fantastic, especially my mom who always makes sure she cooks something I can eat when I spend the night at my parents’ house. I’m thankful for a boyfriend who became a vegetarian three years before me and has shared lots of his expert vegetarian knowledge with me (and cooked me a yummy Tofurky feast last weekend). And of course, I’m thankful for all the food trucks who serve vegetarian options, even if it’s just one of them.

I will leave you with two of my favorite quotations from Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer:

“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn’t motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn’t enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?”

“We can’t plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, what did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?”

 

Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start)… July 3, 2011

Filed under: food trucks,vegetarianism — Laura @ 4:11 pm
Tags: ,

Welcome to the beginning of the Veggie Truckin’ food truck blog!  My name is Laura, and I am a huge food truck fan.  I had been toying with the idea of starting a food truck blog for months, but I was having trouble deciding what would make my blog different.  Further inspiration was necessary in order to follow through.

A few weeks ago I began reading the book Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Eighty pages in to the book, I was so disgusted by the facts I was absorbing about the factory farm industry that I knew I would soon become a vegetarian.  I finished the last of the meat I had left in my refrigerator, and it has now been one week since I ate meat.  Overall, the transition has been much easier than I expected.  Living in a metropolitan area like the bay area helps; almost every restaurant has vegetarian options, and almost every grocery store has a section filled with imitation meat and tofu.  However, I found my usual habit of hitting up weekly food truck events like Moveable Feast and Edgewood Eats caused me to hit some road blocks. Some of my favorite dishes at certain trucks were off limits, and some entire trucks became off limits too as a direct result of them not serving any vegetarian dishes.

The solution was clear: I would start the food truck blog I had been contemplating, and I would do so from the point of view of a vegetarian. I hope to guide readers through my experiences at bay area food trucks as best I can. Granted, the only camera I have is the one on my two and a half year-old 3G iPhone, but hopefully my descriptions will help in that department. My emphasis will most likely be on the south bay food truck scene, since I live in San Jose myself and rarely venture up to San Francisco just for food trucks. Sometimes San Francisco trucks come down to our neck of the woods for festivals, though. I will also occasionally write about Los Angeles food trucks, since that’s where my obsession with food trucks began in August of 2010 while I was dogsitting for my sister in Pasadena.

Please join me on my journey to continue eating at food trucks with my newfound limited diet, and you just might get some bonus points if you catch the completely-not-food-truck-related reference in the title of this entry 🙂