food truck field trip – socal

It’s been a busy springtime here in the Truckista household, but we’ve still managed to make time for some fun food outings and “detours” as I like to call them.

Chris grew up in Southern California, so we find ourselves down there at least a few times a year to visit family and friends. A few weekends ago we were visiting for a birthday party and ended up making a few foodie detours.

Stopping at Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood has come to almost be a regular thing when we first arrive in LA. Since we were traveling on National Donut Day, there was no excuse to miss it! (For a not-so-fun anecdote – last time we drove to LA we were anticipating our Randy’s stop the whole way only to find out it was closed for the spaceshuttle to pass through town.) Unfortunately I scarfed down my favorite coconut donut before I remembered to snap a pic, but I had plenty of time to get some snapshots of the iconic giant donut as we waited in the long drive through line. (Please ignore my dirty windshield. A drive down the 5 will do that…)

IMG_2959After our donut stop we were supposed to pick up my mother-in-law from the airport, but we learned we had an extra hour or so to kill – just enough time to track down a food truck! Since I’ve never tried the famous Kogi, so I quickly tracked them down and  discovered they weren’t too far away.IMG_2964I ordered one of their menu combos, which included a burrito, a taco and a beverage. 

short rib & kimchi burrito

short rib & kimchi burrito

spicy pork taco

spicy pork taco

The taco was flavorful and fresh, and was definitely one of my favorite food truck tacos. I enjoyed the burrito too, but not quite as much. I’m not exactly sure what it was, perhaps just my allegiance to my local fave Mogo

After a fabulous weekend of fun with family and friends, we decided to make one more food truck stop on the way out of LA. I had a serious hankering for some Coolhaus, but none of the trucks were along our path, so we decided to check out their shop in Culver City. I opted for the chicken and waffle ice cream sandwiched between a pretzel chocolate chunk and snack food cookies. 

IMG_2981This was delicious! The cookies were soft and chewy, and the ice cream was super creamy. I suppose you might be wondering what chicken and waffle ice cream tastes like, which is really all the more reason to try it. The flavor was subtle, and while it didn’t necessarily taste like chicken, there were some “crunchies” mixed in that were reminiscent of friend chicken crust. It’s a must-try in my book!

 

moveable feast low-carb style

Happy New Year!

As you may have noticed, my postings have become quite infrequent and I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for the last few months. In an effort to adopt a healthier lifestyle, Chris and I have been following a pretty strict low-carbohydrate diet lately, which has really put a damper on most of our favorite food truck feasts – until last Friday!

The weather was a bit warmer on Friday and I was starting to have serious Moveable Feast withdrawals. It’s been months since we’ve attended any Moveable Feasts, since we felt the temptation was just too great, but on Friday we decided to give it a shot. There had to be something healthier we could eat.

I’ve never left Moveable Feast dissappointed, so I’m not sure why I was so convinced I would this time, but I’m so glad I was wrong!

I started off Takoz Mod Mex, where I ordered the Street Dog sans bun.IMG_2222

The bacon-wrapped dog was delicious, though definitely a bit difficult to eat. I ended up spearing the dog with my fork and taking bites, which may not have looked pretty, but worked fairly well. The only issue was that it didn’t really allow me to enjoy the dog and the toppings at the same time.

Next, I went for the shrimp tacos at Bigg Shrimp’n, but I skipped the tortillas. I was worried I’d end up with a wimpy little plate of food, but they actually hooked me up with a really awesome salad.IMG_2223

For the grand finale we decided to go for some bunless pork belly baos from The Chairman Truck. I have to admit, I was convinced baos would be a waste without the warm delicious bun, but again, I was so wrong. IMG_2226

They might not be the prettiest thing on earth, but the lack of bun actually brought out the flavors ingredients really nicely. To add to it, the folks at Chairman Truck were really generous with their portions and we left feeling more than satisfied.

I have to admit I was truly pleased with my lower-carb food truck experience. Overall, each truck we visited was truly accommodating and made us something delicious.

Do you modify your favorite food truck items to make them healthier? Let me know in the comments!

food truck treats in your grocer’s freezer!

I’m not sure why I’ve been on such an ice cream kick lately, maybe just because I love ice cream. Sometimes I seriously feel like a kid, but I’ve always loved ice cream, and can never get enough (though I try to limit myself these days).

I also hold a special place in my heart for gourmet food truck ice cream, since my very first food truck experience was with Coolhaus in New York City. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Coolhaus trucks serve unique ice cream flavors, which can be paired with your choice of cookie (locals – think Treatbot but with a different flair).

While we have so many other awesome options in the Bay Area, I’ve always been a little bummed we don’t have a Coolhaus truck. They have them in New York City, Miami, Austin, Dallas and LA after all.

Anyway, last week I was browsing the new New Leaf Community Market in my neighborhood (totally awesome by the way!), and was just about done filling up my cart with various healthy treats, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye and had to take a closer look. I was intrigued by the shiny retro packaging. It couldn’t be. Could it? Had I really spotted prepackaged Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches in the grocer’s freezer? I think I blinked a few times to make sure it was real.

I carefully read over each package and decided on the brown butter and candied bacon ice cream, sandwiched between chocolate chip cookies. Other options included vegan ginger molasses cookies with mango sorbet and Tahitian vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies. It looks like they have even more flavors, but those were the only ones at New Leaf that day.When I got home with my delicious findings, I quickly hid them in the bottom of the freezer. It look everything in my willpower not to gobble them both up immediately, but with a wedding eight months away, Chris and I have been limiting all of our unhealthy eating to one day a week. Needless to say, I think I counted down each day to Saturday, when we could finally eat them.

Finally, Saturday arrived (or maybe we cheated and ate them Friday night), and I quickly tore open then packaging and snapped a few pictures.

So I guess you’re probably wondering – how good is a pre-packaged ice cream sandwich? Were the cookies soft? Was it freezer burned? Did it taste fresh?

All I have to say is – it was amazing! Seriously, I’m not sure how they did it but the cookies were incredibly soft and the ice cream tasted fresh and delicious. Dare I say it was almost better than the truck because it was neatly frozen and much easier to eat?

So I thought maybe New Leaf Community Market was super special for carrying Coolhaus products, but as it turns out, tons of stores, including some Whole Foods Locations, sell these babies. Currently they’re available in about 20 states. I forget exactly how much I paid, but I think they were on sale for around $4 each.

After enjoying my delicious sandwich I got to thinking – is Coolhaus the first gourmet food truck to sell prepackaged goods at the supermarket? Has anyone spotted others and might this be a new trend? I have to say I prefer the whole food truck experience, but was really excited to find an out-of-state favorite in the supermarket.

bacon waffle cone!

While I’ve got you on ice cream mode, I wanted to share with you another one of my new favorite frozen treats — or  frozen treat vehicle rather.

By now you’re probably fairly familiar with Treatbot, the karaoke ice cream truck founded by the same guys behind the Moveable Feast events, but since they opened up their San Pedro Square Market factory in Downtown San Jose, they’ve been cooking up some extra special treats.

A few weeks ago, Treatbot started offering homemade bacon waffle cones at the factory, and from the second I laid eyes on them, I had to have one. While I was close to running right down to the factory to get my hands on one immediately, I decided to wait for a more opportune time. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long, since I was tasked with choosing a dinner location to catch up with a few friends just a few days later. Perfect.

I lured my friends to San Pedro Square Market with the prospect of bacon waffle cones, and after we dined on savory treats from The Little Chef Counter and Pizza Bocca Lupo (my favorite Bay Area pizza so far), we headed to the factory for dessert. My friends ordered the bacon waffle cone with Chocolate Mint and Eastside Horchata and I opted for The 408, a creamy caramel ice cream with fudge swirls and Oreo Cookies.

While everyone enjoyed their treats, I think The 408 complemented the salty bits of bacon the best.

Check out that fudge close up!

Treatbot sells their bacon waffle cones in one size only for six bucks a pop. While it seems a bit pricey, the servings are generous and will surely please your taste buds.

Can’t get enough ice cream? Stay tuned for another featured frozen treat next week. Check out my tweets from yesterday for a clue!

food truck field trip: off the grid mc coppin hub and more smitten!

This post is a few weeks overdue, but so tasty I figure it’s better late than never.

So, remember when I said I had an issue with favorites? I wasn’t lying.

Chris and I liked Smitten Ice Cream’s Sweet Corn ice cream so much that we drove all the way back to San Francisco again the following weekend to get some more before the seasonal flavors changed at the end of the month. This time I got the regular size instead of small and added a pizzelle cone (they were out last time). It was just as delicious as I’d remembered it.

Since we couldn’t really justify driving all the way to San Francisco just for ice cream (or maybe we just weren’t comfortable admitting it), we decided to hit up some food trucks on the way. We opted for Off the Grid at McCoppin Hub, which featured all new trucks for us. I chose Eire Trea, which offers Irish and Eritrean cuisine, because I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The owners of this truck were born and raised in Ireland and Eritrea and bringing together each of their country’s favorites on the streets of San Francisco.I selected the Ziggy Wrap, and to be honest, I don’t remember exactly what was in it and I can’t find a good description of it anywhere online, so let me tell you what I do know. First of all, this wrap was huge. I shared a few bites with Chris and I still couldn’t finish it. Definitely a good one for when you’re REALLY hungry.As for the inside, it was a combo of chicken, sauce, assorted veggies and rice. For some reason the flavor kind of reminded me of a spicy vegetable lasagna with rice and chicken. Interesting, right? While that probably wasn’t the flavor they were going for, it was definitely a unique experience. Looking back, I probably should have opted for the chicken curry or curry fries, which seem to be their more popular menu items. Next time!

Friday night feast

It has occurred to me that while I’ve been many, many times, I haven’t shared a whole lot about my Moveable Feast experiences, so here goes.

My fiancé Chris had a short workday on Friday, so we decided to head to Moveable Feast in Willow Glen as early as possible. I think we arrived around 5:04 PM to be exact. We usually don’t make it until around 7, so it was pretty exciting to be some of the first folks in line and to not have to scour the lot for free buckets (in case you’re wondering, Moveable Feast provides five-gallon buckets to use as seats). We were also really excited to see a few new trucks in the lineup since the last time we went.

We entered near Angelica’s Tacos, which was a new truck for us and was the perfect spot to grab an “appetizer” before deciding where we’d go next.

Chris and I split the spicy pork taco, which was both spicy and messy, but also delicious. Sadly I’ve got to deduct a point for the big hunk of carrot on the plate. I know it’s not their fault, but Chris and I hate carrots (like so much so that we want to request no one gets  served any carrots at our wedding – that’s a reasonable request, right?).

Next, I decided to give The Baba Kabob truck a try. I’ve been wanting to try them for a while and went for the chicken Baba Kabob sandwich, which is chicken, slaw, chipotle aioli and house sauce.

I have to confess, it’s probably not the best for my blog, but I kind of play favorites. I love trying new trucks and food, but when I find something I like, it’s hard to say no. This can become problematic because it doesn’t leave enough room for new things – a rookie problem I suppose.

Speaking of trying new things, the kind folks from Jo on the Go were passing around samples of their blueberry lemonade, which I was lucky enough to try while waiting in line for my sandwich. It was totally refreshing and the perfect palette cleanser between my spicy pork taco and kabob sandwich.

Anyway, I really loved my kabob sandwich. I’m not sure exactly what the bread was, but it kind of reminded me of a cross between naan and a Portuguese roll. Either way, it was really soft and delicious  – the perfect vehicle for an awesome sandwich.

Somehow, after all that deliciousness, I still found room for a little bit of dessert and grabbed a cup of mango ice cream from Treatbot before heading home.

celebrating one year in CA with awesome food

My fiancé and I were supposed to go to the beach today to celebrate the one-year anniversary of my arrival in California (!!!), but when we woke up this morning the conversation went something like this:

“Beach today?”

“Sure.”

“Or San Francisco?”

“Sure.”

“Where’s Arki Truck?”

“Probably Off the Grid at Larkspur Landing in Marin.”

All of a sudden we were in the car on our way to Larkspur Landing. That’s our idea of spontaneity.

On the way to Larkspur Landing, I decided to check which other trucks were going to be around in case there was room in my belly (after filling it with chicken and donuts) to try something new. Suddenly Arki Truck was no longer on the list, but reported a new location in San Francisco at Octavia and Linden, so off we went! Thank goodness for GPS.

While I’d love to recount the awesome deliciousness that is Arki Truck, they’re pretty consistent, so you can read about that in a previous post here. This post actually isn’t about a food truck at all, but a food truck led me to it, so I think it’s okay. You like food and cool stuff, don’t you?

Arki Truck was parked in a small lot along with two other trucks I haven’t tried yet, Naked Chorizo and The Meat Wagon, which appears to be a mobile butcher shop. Pretty neat.

Anyway, along with the trucks, there were a couple businesses operating out of recycled shipping containers, one of which was Smitten Ice Cream. This name rung a bell to me, but I wasn’t exactly sure why until I did a quick Google search and remembered reading about them a few months ago and desperately wanting to give their ice cream a try.

You see, Smitten Ice Cream started out as a one-woman-show that included a one-of-a-kind hand crafted liquid nitrogen ice cream maker and a Radio Flyer wagon. That’s kind of like a food truck, right? After a very successful run with her wagon, founder Robyn Sue Goldman opened up a permanent shop last year.

Needless to say, I made sure to save room for dessert. As a matter of fact, I gave a spare piece of fried chicken to a hungry homeless man just to be sure (too bad I watched him cross the street with it and throw it away… at least I tried).

Smitten Ice Cream is made to order and offers Vanilla and THCO 65% Dark Chocolate ice cream daily, along with seasonal specials, which today included Sweet Corn with Blackberries and Salted Caramel. I opted for the Sweet Corn with Blackberries and my fiancé had the Vanilla with malt. If you’ve never had sweet corn ice cream, which I hadn’t until today, I definitely recommend it. The flavor was mild and subtly sweet, which paired perfect with the rich blackberry sauce. Yum! Smitten Ice Cream boasts the creamiest ice cream you’ll ever eat, which was more evident with the vanilla, but both were extremely creamy and delicious.

Today was a happy anniversary indeed.

I’m baaack

So I didn’t really plan to take a break, but here it is August and I haven’t written in an embarrassingly long time. Moving will do that to you I suppose. Anyway, thanks for hanging in there.

Apparently the food trucks missed me because several came to me tonight.

Okay, so maybe that’s not quite true, but I was pretty excited when I received a newsletter a few weeks prior to moving into our new condo about a National Night Out event featuring food trucks in my community. August sounded super far away at the time, but suddenly it’s here.

There wasn’t any talk of which food trucks would be here tonight, so I was happy when I discovered this morning that it would be MoBowl and ScoopsSJ.

It’s nearing a year since I left Manhattan for the West Coast, and suddenly being able to walk somewhere for dinner has become novel again.

Walking to dinner in New York City might have been more novel if the sky always looked like that.

I wish this was a nightly (or even weekly) occurrence.

I started with the peanut pesto chicken from MoBowl – no rice and extra salad. I was being good …

… but it’s impossible to resist these guys, so I had to end the evening with a scoop of Birfday Cake.

Home Depot Tacos

If you’ve noticed I’ve been posting less frequently lately, it’s because I’ve got a few new temporary hang outs that sadly don’t involve food trucks.

For those of you who don’t know, Truckista is also a “New Home Ownerista,” and I’ve been spending more time at Lowe’s, Home Depot and other random flooring stores than I’d like to admit.

Though I’ve been spending massive amounts of time preparing for the big move and a mini renovation, a girl’s still gotta eat.

So while you’ve all been out at your favorite trucks, I’ve been chowing down on Home Depot tacos. That’s right, Home Depot sells tacos! (Maybe that’s not so shocking to you, but it’s definitely a West Coast thing. I’ve definitely never seen a cafe at Home Depot in Connecticut.)

To be exact, the cafe at Home Depot’s Sunnyvale (and maybe others?) location has Carne Asada tacos on Wednesdays. While I can’t exactly say they’re amazing, they’re not half bad. Then again, I could just be delirious from hours of weighing the pros and cons of hardwood versus laminate flooring.

farewell tikka bytes cafe

This weekend marks the grand closing of Tikka Bytes cafe in Milpitas, and I have to admit I was pretty bummed when I first heard the news. The owners posted a heartfelt notice on their blog, explaining their decision and announcing the cafe doors would soon be closed — but the truck will remain open.

While the cafe garnered mixed reviews on Yelp, I was a pretty big fan (the duchess in fact). While wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur of authentic Indian food, it definitely filled my Indian takeout needs – tasty food, reasonable prices, hearty portions and sturdy takeout containers (a major plus in my book).

After reading about the closing, I decided I’d take one last trip to the cafe on Friday night for a few of my favorites – tandoori chicken and paneer tikka masala. While the location of the cafe isn’t great, it never really bothered me since it’s a short drive from my home, but with the bar crowd spilling out into the parking lot on Friday night, I could see why their locale is not so ideal. Nevertheless, I placed my order and excitedly headed home with my dinner.

When I arrived home, I realized that instead of paneer tikka masala, they had given me chicken. While the chicken was equally delicious, I was pretty bummed since it wasn’t the paneer I’d been dreaming about all day, and I surely was too lazy to drive back to correct the mistake.

While everyone makes mistakes, and I don’t hold it against them, it changed my sadness about them closing into more mixed feelings. I’ll definitely miss the cafe, but I’m glad the truck will still be around.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that having a somewhat less stellar experience on Friday night put me at peace with their closing. I’m certain the owners thought long and hard about their decision and expect it just means it’s time for bigger and better things. Now I’ll just have to get my paneer tikka masala fix exclusively on wheels:-)

P.S. My cat Zoey loves tandoori chicken too!