Veggie Truckin'

Bay Area Food Trucks from a Vegetarian Perspective

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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….

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(And Dan’s unforgiving foot)

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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 πŸ™‚

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!

 

My Week in Food Trucks August 30, 2011

Oh dear, it has been a week since I posted. I have a pretty good reason for this though. The school year has begun, and I am once again working. The life of a teacher is busy though, so my updates might become less frequent. I will most likely start posting about once a week with my food truck highlights from the week instead of posting about every single time I eat at a truck.

We begin this week’s post with last week’s Edgewood Eats on August 22nd. I went with my mind already made up, determined to eat some banh mi from Little Green Cyclo, but when I arrived I discovered there was a new truck!

The Sanguchon truck

I had never heard of Sanguchon before, let alone seen it. I don’t think I had ever had Peruvian food either. I stuck with my original plan of banh mi but headed back to Sanguchon for dessert. I got their alfajores cookies, which came in this cute packaging:

Alfajores from Sanguchon

inside the alfajores

I’m a bit of a sucker for caramel, and the alfajores delivered. They were also covered in powdered sugar, and by the time I had finished eating them so was I. Luckily, powdered sugar washes out easily!

the aftermath of alfajores on my skirt

On Saturday the 27th, I headed to Moveable Feast and ran into more new trucks! Tequila Tacos didn’t have any vegetarian options, but Mayo and Mustard did!

The Mayo and Mustard truck

I had checked their menu ahead of time and saw a veggie sandwich on it. When they only had three sandwiches listed on their chalkboard, all including meat, I was momentarily scared, but they eased my worries when they said they’d serve the rest of their menu too. Phew! I’m really glad they did because the sandwich was delicious. Since I’ve become a vegetarian I’ve discovered that veggie sandwiches are usually awesome because people really pack in the veggies, and they have so many flavors going on at once. Mayo and Mustard’s sandwich was no exception.

Veggie Delight from Mayo and Mustard

I was also happy to see Bomb Truck at Moveable Feast. They had been spending a lot of time in San Francisco and hadn’t been in San Jose much lately. This time I got two popsicles from them, avocado and mango.

Avocado popsicle from Bomb Truck

Mango popsicle from Bomb Truck

Of the two, I preferred the mango. The avocado was good, but it didn’t have quite as much flavor. Then again, more flavor would have probably been too much avocado for a popsicle. I think I still enjoyed their nutella flavor from the last time I tried the truck most overall.

Yesterday, despite being exhausted after the first day of school, I still ventured over to Edgewood Eats mostly for some butterscotch brownies. Before dessert I needed dinner though, so I went to another truck I hadn’t been to before, although I had seen it at other events. I had previously not spied any vegetarian options on the Whisk on Wheels menu, but this time they had a spinach and ricotta empanada that came with salad.

Spinach and ricotta empanada from Whisk on Wheels

inside the empenada

I hope to see this item on their menu again because it definitely hit the spot!

Despite having lots of classroom prep to do this weekend, I still plan on attending both Moveable Feast San Mateo on Friday night and Moveable Feast San Jose on Saturday afternoon. Look early next week for the highlights from those events!