Archive for the ‘Food Truck’ Category

Chalk Art Festival in Luna Park

lunapark-chalk-art-festivalOn Saturday, September 20 Backesto Park comes alive with the 7th annual Luna Park Chalk Art Festival.  The festival is an all-volunteer run event created to provide a family-friendly, accessible venue to showcase the talents of local artists and students, foster awareness of the critical need for arts in schools and organizations serving youth, and to raise funds for providing grants and scholarships to meet that need.

No longer a tiny neighborhood event, the festival has grown, bringing in talented performers and musicians, vendors and food trucks, including some of my favorites, Hill Country BBQ and Waffle Amore! The dancers from  Movimiento Cosmico Indigenous Dance will be there too with their stunning ceremonial dances.

Check out the Flickr feed for the Luna Park Chalk Art Festival for more photos and follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter too.

If you’d like to participate as an artist or support the festival as a volunteer or sponsor , registration for all artists, artist/vendors, schools, and nonprofits is located here.

Did Somebody Say #Bacon Festival AND Fireworks?

Bacon Festival

What’s not to love about a bacon festival with fireworks too? July 4th and 5th is the second annual Movable Feast Bacon Festival on the Plaza de Cesar Chavez. They’ve expanded to two full days of food, entertainment, music and SJStreet Mart vendors with everything from henna tattoos and organic indigo to jewelry, clothing and more.

The food
Throughout the day there will be a load of food trucks including the famous Bacon Bacon and Baconbot trucks. Even if bacon isn’t your favorite thing there are plenty of other options from Grilled Cheese bandits, Madd Mex Cantina, Tastee Bytes, Chromatic Coffee, Treatbot and Fairycakes. Here’s the list of food vendors.

Kick up your heels to Yeshua and the Hi-Tones, Anya and the Getdown, The People and The Honey Wilders and watch the Pro Wrestling Revolution at several times both days. Silly Ricky the stilt juggler will be there as well as Brian the Bubble guy to entertain the kids. This is definitely a family friendly event.

Fireworks will start at 9:30 on July 4th courtesy of the San Jose Rotary Club

Here’s the full schedule and be sure to get tickets in advance at a discounted price. (Kids tickets are free online)

Investors and Startups Crawl Through Downtown San Jose

PitchcrawlThursday night was what I think will be the first of  many PitchCrawls in downtown San Jose. Created by the energetic Tracy Lee of Dishcrawl fame, the event brought together investors and startups in a crawl through some of downtown’s innovation centers, with a break at each for startups to pitch their ideas in 3 minute sessions to investors who offer everything from funds to technology for the companies they invest in. We heard ideas for everything from affordable tech support and iphone apps to the next hot sports drink company founded by a scientist and a well known athlete and an outsourced HR company. Ideas were flowing and so was the banter as we moved from place to place.

This is a refreshing change from the usual pitch events, that’s for sure. Instead of gathering in a room to hear elevator pitch after pitch and then the frantic rush to speak to “the” investor, startups and investors had a chance to mingle and talk more casually, eat some great food and tour some of San Jose’s downtown innovation centers at the same time. Everyone I asked was delighted with the format, even in the chilly winter weather as we worked our way from venue to venue.

The first stop was at the San Jose Tech Shop. I’ve been wanting to venture in here for months. They soft-opened in July and the place is amazing. If you’re wanting to do anything requiring very cool and expensive toys, this is your place. They offer classes to expand your knowledge for using everything from CAD programs and 3-D modeling to a sophisticated machine shop, industrial sewing equipment, a powder coating booth and a huge water cutting table that can slice through marble or steel like a hot knife through butter. Very impressive. We noshed on tacos from Juanita’s and had a tour of the facilities, then stopped for round 1 of the pitches.

Stop 2 was at the home of DishCrawl and several other burgeoning startups housed in Next Space, a co-working space on 2nd St. While we sampled the amazing concoctions provided by Raw Daddy (find him at the Sunday Campbell and Palo Alto farmer’s markets) we met more founders and toured the space with manager Gretchen Baisa. If you’re looking for a drop-in space to work or a friendly office environment that’s not in your garage, you should be checking this space out right in the heart of downtown San Jose.

The 3rd stop was–in classic DishCrawl style–a food truck. This time from House of Siam for some yummy roti wrapped around satay pork with peanut sauce. It was a quick stop but gave us more energy for the busy networking scene going on at our last stop, the Irish Innovation Center. The Innovation Center had a full-on networking event going on already in the Silicon Valley Holiday Mixer, complete with a mini trade show and music, and the place was packed. Add a pile of Pichcrawlers and you’ve got a fantastic networking opportunity. The center partners with the Kauffman Foundation, Microsoft Bizspark, IDA Ireland. and Price Waterhouse Coopers to name a few, and offers members office space, mentoring, education and the opportunity to connect with potential funders.

All in all, the event was a huge success and I heard quite a few meetings being scheduled. What a unique and fun way to get in front of some interesting investors with your startup or find the next startup before anyone else! The next PitchCrawl is to be held in San Francisco on January 10. At last check there were just a few tickets left, but I expect they will be back in Silicon Valley soon. Big congrats to the DishCrawl team for another well executed concept!

Newpark Mall Food Truck Event

Two Fridays ago, I ended up swinging by Newpark Mall after hearing about the Street Eats event there with dinner service from 4:30pm -9:00pm.  I met up with Jonny, who I met through my various food truck adventures there.

The vendors that were there were there in attendance listed in no particular order:

When I got there, we made our way to check out Grillstars since I’ve never had them and Jonny told me they were really good, so we got in the line.  While in line, I ran into another food truck fanatic, Bill (@foodtrucknerd) who was nice enough to let me try his fried pickle from GrillStars.

Food Truck Buddy

Bill, one of my food truck buddies who I see all the time at events.

After placing our orders, we made our way to Mobowl to say hi to the guys there.  They’re always so cool and friendly, I always have to say hi to them just because they’re so nice all the time.  Who doesn’t like being around nice people?  I didn’t eat them today because we had eaten at their truck earlier in the week, but I always love supporting them.

Anyways, the GrillStars truck was pretty crowded especially since I think they’re one of the newest trucks on the scene, but the line seemed to go pretty fast. It was also pretty cute because it seemed to be family owned or run because there was a cute little girl helping the woman take orders at the front.

GrillStars truck...

The GrillStars truck

Jonny ended up ordering the BBQ chicken since the ribs were out by the time we got there and I ended up trying their BBQ Nachos.

I was pretty excited to get my order because the nachos were so big!  There would be no way I could finish that thing by myself, so I was glad I had Jonny there to help me. I was trying to hold the nacho plate up to my head to show how big it was…

Me and GrillStars Nachos

Me and GrillStars Nachos

Here’s some pictures of our food.  The chicken was good and the nachos were really good.

GrillStars Food Truck

Nachos and BBQ Chicken

I did want to try some cupcakes though.  So, we checked out the That’s Sweet Dessert truck.  There were so many options, Jonny and I decided to try a few of them.  We got the Salted Caramel, the Vanilla Strawberry and the Maple Bacon.  I liked the Salted Caramel and the cupcake consistency was good to where it wasn’t too sweet, but just sweet enough.  I ended up getting the Maple Bacon for a friend of mine who lives bacon/pork, but he said it was good as well.

How sweet

Maple Bacon Cupcake and Salted Caramel

Overall, not a bad event. It was crowded enough where all of the trucks were getting fairly good business, but not so crowded where the lines were overwhelming. We never waited more than 5-10 minutes to get our food at any of the trucks.  I definitely want to try to check them out in the future.  Not sure when the next event is, but if any of you guys find out, let me know.

Update: Info for the event and future times:

The NewPark Streets is every 2nd & 4th Friday. July,
however is a little different because of our Summerfest on the
9th&10th. Please check our website or Facebook/Twitter for the
latest updates on NewPark Streets. The next offical NewPark Street
Eats will be July 22nd.

Foodtruck fad reaches Northside

Visits from gourmet food trucks aren’t a regular thing in the Northside, but tonight we got a taste of the ongoing al fresco dining fad when Treatbot and The WOW Silog truck stopped at Bernal Park for a few hours.

I just barely made it to their parking spot after a long train blocked nearby roads for several minutes, but I did manage to arrive before 9 and get a chance to try the goods. Someday I’ll try a Silog, but tonight was not the night. I did get a couple of great original ice cream flavors at Treatbot: Eastside horchata and Bollywood pistachio. Both were great flavor combinations that you won’t find in the Safeway ice cream aisle.

I hope we’ll see these guys in the Northside again some time soon.

Yes, I’m on a Si Food Diet….

I was still having major latin food cravings so I hopped on yelp and searched by most popular Mexican food and ended up seeing Dia De Pesca (yelp.) met up with Amit to go check out Dia De Pesca since I still haven’t been able to satiate my latin food craving.

The place is extremely cute and cool looking.  Strangely, it reminded me a bit of a trailer park in New Mexico or Southern California, but to me that was a bit of an appeal. It is a bit confusing at first since when you walk in, it’s an open space with a few trailers/trucks and a standalone building.  Do you order at the truck or do you order at the building.  Everyone there was really nice and helpful and explained the process to us, so we went into small building to order which had a few tables set up inside there as well.

There are quite a few items on the menu and we wanted to try a few different things.  Once you order they give you a number and you find a table and they bring the food out to you.  The numbers themselves are also pretty cute. They’re old playing cards.

They have a few drinks as well like horchata, some strawberry fruit drink and a lime cucumber drink.  I ended up getting the cucumber drink, which was really refreshing.

The food came out pretty quickly from the taco truck.  They deliver it to your table and the food was pretty fresh.  The ceviche came out more like a crispy torta type dish.  I ended up getting the mixed seafood ceviche, which was pretty good. This was probably my most favorite dish, but lately I’ve been into simple things.  It was pretty simple with little extra sauce, just the lime juice and the seafood, but all the items were fresh.


We also got a variety of tacos as well. We pretty much tried all the tacos on the menu and I think once again, my favorite was the shrimp taco.

As we sat there on the patio, I really enjoyed the weather and the atmosphere.  The food was good and fresh and while I know there are better mexican food places, but with a mix of the atmosphere and novelty of the place, I know I’ll be back here for sure.  I don’t even know why, but I also started thinking that this would be a great place for a party especially if the fruit drinks were spiked. =P Perhaps for my birthday next year…

As comfy as your living room, with higher ceilings

San Jose Woman's Club Landmark ballroom

The Landmark Ballroom at the San Jose Woman's Club

This weekend San Jose will get what might be the most unique movie-watching experience I’ve heard of: the “inaugural” Bean Bag Film Fest, hosted by the San Jose Woman’s Club. You can enjoy a double feature of cult films each night for three nights, seated in a comfy bean bag chair (first-come first-served), while sipping a pleasant adult beverage, in a beautiful art deco ballroom. There’s also food provided by a different food truck each night.

Thursday is Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland with Tikka Bytes food truck. Friday is Harold and Maude and Rushmore with Tac Gos food truck. Libations on Thursday and Friday include beer and wine selections. Saturday is a special 21+ event with Swingers and The Big Lebowski with BBQ Kalbi and cocktail selections including White Russians (natch!).

For more info, check it on the SJ Woman’s Club website.

  • What: Bean Bag Film Fest
  • Where: The San Jose Woman’s Club, 75 S 11th St, San Jose
  • When: April 14-16, doors open at 7 each night
  • Who: Thursday and Friday, 18+; Saturday 21+
  • How much: $10 per night

Photo by superde1uxe on Flickr, used by permission under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Dishcrawl San Jose: Exotic San Pedro Square

UPDATED! – See the final list below!
Want the scoop on next week’s San Jose Dishcrawl?

On March 23rd food lovers will gather once again to roam about downtown tasting food with exotic twists.

For just $26 (or $27 for ‘latebirds’) you will get to try delicious food from:

Tikka Bytes Food Truck – known for their authentic Indian street food dishes like pani purr.
— I saw them at Edgewood Eats the other day but only glanced at their menu since I knew they’d be at Dishcrawl. I can’t wait to try their food, it looked and smelled so good.
Tikka Bytes Web // Facebook // @TikkaBytesTruck

Satori Tea – Who knew there was a tea bar in San Pedro square? It is totally hidden. Looking forward to trying something new. I’m not a big tea drinker but that’s only because I don’t know what I’d like! Anyone else feel the same way? This is yet another great reason for an event like Dishcrawl.
Satori Tea: Web // Facebook // @SatoriTea

Morocco’s Restaurant – fresh culinary delights of Moroccan cuisine.
Morocco’s Restataurant: Web // Facebook // @Moroccos – Gourmet marshmallows! They come in six flavors: Strawberry Raspberry, Mango, Passion Fruit, Pineapple and Chocolate. I’m crossing my fingers that we get to try the pineapple one. Someone from LP will be handing out fluffy delicious marshmallows to the Dishcrawl crowd.
LilPuffs: Web // Facebook // @Lil_Puffs

** Announcing one more stop: La Pinata! **

La Pinata Restaurant – Great portions of tasty mexican dishes. Also they serve only 100% blue agave tequilas and have a TON to choose from. They’re known for their Tequila Bars! I’ve been there a few times (the one in Alameda as well as San Pedro Square) and I have to say, their margaritas are tasty! A fave of mine – the Desert Rose.
La Pinata: Web // Facebook // @LasPinata

If you were at one of the previous Dishcrawls the crowd started at one of location. Food and/or drinks are served as the crowd mingles with each other. The owners of the establishment (or chefs) talk to the crowd about the culture of the food. It’s a really great experience for people who want to learn just a little bit more about different cuisines (or uniquely crafted food.) After the first location, it’s time to move on to the next!

There’s a twist to next week’s Dishcrawl that will change it up a bit.

“We’re making one big change this month.” says Dishcrawl Founder Tracy Lee. “Our last two Dishcrawls have been massive, but this time Dishcrawlers can expect more intimate groups for a more relaxed time. Besides that, folks can expect just as great of a time and the same fabulous food experience!”

So there you go San Jose – what are you waiting for? Go get your tickets now before it’s too late!

What: Dishcrawl San Jose: Discovering San Pedro Square’s Exotic Food Side
When: March 23rd, 7pm-9:45pm
Where: Misc locations, San Pedro Square area

Dishcrawl: Web // Facebook // @Dishcrawl // Tickets

SJ Eats: A Moveable Feast

Get your appetites ready because it’s time to FEAST.

What: SJ Eats: A Moveable Feast
When: Saturday, April 2nd
Where: Fallon House Parking Lot, Almaden Ave. and Saint John St.
When: Lunch 11:30a to 3:30p, Dinner 5p-9p
Free admission

Follow SJ Eats on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information.

Here are two tips from someone who has gone to a few Off the Grids and Edgewood Eats; bring plenty of cash and hungry friends. When you get to the location, scope out the eats and have your friends stand in different lines. Buy something you’ve never had before, gather with your friends and share!

Then go back for seconds.

They’re planning for a mix of 20 trucks and carts; 10 during lunch/10 during dinner.
Here is a list of some of the trucks/carts involved:
Sam’s ChowderMobile
Chairman Bao
Kara’s Cupcakes
Bill’s Beer Steamed Hot Dog Cart
Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie

By the way, the second SJ MADE Vendor Fair is happening the same day as SJ Eats. Support your local artists and vendors! (SJ MADE is from 12pm to 8pm, San Pedro Square.)

*Correction: SJ Made and SJ Eats are two separate events; they’re just working together to make the day for both a great success! Updated the schedule and added newly confirmed trucks.

Gorditas Universal

Gorditas Universal

Gorditas Universal serves vegetarian Mexican fare five nights a week.

Food trucks have developed over the past couple of years into a way for entrepreneurs to bring specialty foods to a wide audience on a modest budget. In the south bay we have regular visits from food trucks that provide premium ice cream with karaoke, upscale cupcakes, fresh-from-the docks seafood, and bul-go-gi burritos (see our earlier article). Gorditas Universal has been providing a unique cuisine option for years, but managed to miss out on the spotlight that’s been put on the trucks you see at events like Zer01 and Left Coast Live.

Partly, their low profile may be because they don’t travel to trendy events. Instead, Wednesday through Sunday evenings, from late afternoon until the wee hours of the morning (or when the food runs out), you’ll find Gorditas Universal set up at the corner of East Julian and North 26th Streets, in the parking lot of the Shan corner market.

Gorditas cooking in the fryer

The truck serves simple Mexican taqueria or snack food including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. As the name suggests, the specialty is gorditas, or little fatties. These are small masa cakes, deep-fried to a golden color, then cut open and stuffed with various tasty choices, cabbage, and cheese. Fillings include carne asada, barbacoa, and three different preparations of chicken.

The twist is that all of these choices are completely vegetarian, although many of the customers don’t seem to notice the difference from the usual taqueria fare. Flavorful sauces and fresh roasted chiles mixed in with the “meat” make the food delicious even for people who normally wouldn’t touch a piece of tofu, seitan, or wheat gluten with a long stick. Potato, refried bean, and mushroom fillings are also an option for those who want their vegetarian food to actually look vegetarian.

The atmosphere is very friendly: with just a few tables set out under the tarpaulins, you’ll usually find yourself sharing a table and making new friends. Chips, salsa, and roasted peppers are set out on the table for snacking while you wait for your food. Prices are very affordable, with gorditas at $1 each, or $10 for a dozen (which you’ll need a couple of friends to help you finish).

If you’re looking for a quick late-night snack, or trying to find a dining choice where vegetarians and non-vegetarians will find something flavorful and delicious, or just want some inexpensive but tasty Mexican food, check out Gorditas Universal.

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