Food on Wheels

Monday, September 15, 2014

Your Guide to This Weekend’s Eat Real Fest

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 2:44 PM

JOON OH
  • Joon Oh
Eat Real Fest, Oakland’s biggest and most widely celebrated food festival, descends on Jack London Square this weekend, bringing with it a veritable smorgasbord of street food, craft booze, and DIY demos.

The festivities kick off on Friday, September 19, at 1 p.m., and will run from 1 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. As always, admission is free.

Now heading into its sixth year, Eat Real is already something of an institution — certainly, Jack London Square residents know, by now, to brace themselves for the throng of cars scouring the neighborhood for street parking. That said, the event organizers add a few new wrinkles each year. Here are a few highlights, for those of you who wouldn’t think about attending an event like this without a concrete plan of attack:

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Friday, August 22, 2014

East Oakland’s Grilled Links Kings

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 8:57 PM

BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
On a bright Saturday afternoon in August, the line was five deep at East Oakland’s most famous grilled links and hot dog stand, and an older African American woman was telling the proprietors that she thanks Jesus for them, and for all of their success. “Just look at this line!” she said. “I’m praying for you.”

I’d come to the corner of 69th Avenue and International Boulevard to check out a food cart I’d heard about through vague rumors and scattered Yelp reviews. In this stretch of East Oakland, however, it seemed like everybody knew about it. Everyone waiting in line seemed to be a regular, anyway. 

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Off the Grid Comes to Uptown Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Even as some mobile food businesses transition to opening brick-and-mortar restaurants, the continued success of Off the Grid, noted organizer of massive food-truck gatherings in the Bay Area, offers convincing proof that the dining public has yet to tire of gourmet street food — at least as consumed while sitting on folding chairs in a tent-lined parking lot or street enclosure, surrounded by ten or twelve (or as many as 39!) trucks and a throng of fellow bao and fusion-taco lovers.

Now, Off the Grid founder Matt Cohen is looking to tap into one of the East Bay’s juiciest markets for food lovers — Uptown Oakland. Updating an initial report by Diablo Dish, Cohen confirmed that Off the Grid’s newest event will be located near the Fox Theater, on the stretch of William Street between Telegraph Avenue and Rashida Muhammad Street that’s adjacent to the Henry J. Kaiser Memorial Park.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Bites in Uptown: A New Food Pod for First Fridays

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Mar 7, 2014 at 4:26 PM

ETA: Bites in Uptown is canceled for tonight, Friday, March 7. Hester only notes, by way of explanation, that "due to circumstances beyond our control, (red tape, bureaucracy, scarcity mentality, lack of solidarity), Bites In Uptown has been cancelled tonight." Stay tuned to see if the situation is resolved in time for next month's First Friday festivities.

Food trucks have long been a prominent feature of Oakland First Fridays, even in the popular street festival’s earlier, more loosely organized incarnations. But, as they say, variety is the spice of life, and next week a major player is launching a new food truck event, adding as many as eight mobile food vendors to an already booming First Friday street food scene.

Bites in Uptown will set up shop in a private parking lot at 478 25th Street, outside a currently unused warehouse, from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, March 7 — and, if all goes well, on every First Friday thereafter. The monthly food truck gathering will be curated by events coordinator Karen Hester, who also organizes Bites Off Broadway, a similar event.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

LIBA Falafel to Open Restaurant in Uptown Oakland

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 7:00 AM

LIBA Falafel, one of the Bay Area’s longest-established “new school” gourmet food trucks, has announced that it will open its first brick-and-mortar restaurant location in Uptown Oakland, at 380 17th Street. Owner Gail Lillian, who founded the business four years ago, said she’s in the process of raising funds for the Uptown project but expects the restaurant to open by the summer of 2014.

The LIBA food truck will also continue to operate.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Bay Area’s First Soul Food Truck

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The Bay Area is home to food trucks that specialize in Eritrean-Irish fusion cuisine, Hong Kong-style egg tarts and curry fish balls, and tacos of every conceivable ethnic origin, among countless others. So it’s somewhat amazing to consider that Oakland resident Kenny Stuckey’s new venture, Kenny’s Heart & Soul, may become the first soul food truck in the Bay Area.

While there’s a mobile soul food trailer in San Francisco and a handful of trucks that serve soul-food fusion concepts — i.e., gussied-up twists on Southern-style grits or chicken and waffles — Stuckey said he wasn’t aware of any truck that specializes in “strictly soul food.”

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Daniel’s Caribbean Kitchen Serves Awesome Rotis in West Berkeley

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Jul 15, 2013 at 1:00 PM

My favorite street food discovery so far this year didn’t take place during a rollicking First Friday street party or at one of the East Bay’s many formalized convocations of gourmet food trucks, and it certainly wasn’t served on a porcelain plate at some sit-down restaurant.

Instead, on a recent Wednesday, fresh off a tip from the eagle-eyed grub seekers over at Chowhound, I found myself standing in front of a tiny shack of a food stand set up on a trailer in a barren West Berkeley lot. Daniel’s Caribbean Kitchen shares the lot with a small pottery shop called Jered’s Pottery (2720 San Pablo Ave.). It’s an unassuming little spot, but if you like Trinidadian food, you should head over as soon as possible.


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Friday, April 5, 2013

Vesta Flatbread Sells Truck, Goes into ‘Hibernation’ Mode

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 1:59 PM

The Oakland-based food truck Vesta Flatbread has announced that its last day of service will be April 13. If you’ve ever been curious about the truck’s seasonal, Mediterranean-style flatbread sandwiches, next Saturday’s Grand Lake Farmers’ Market (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) will be your last chance — for a while, anyway — to check them out.

Co-owner Traci Prendergast said that she and her partners, Jenya Chernoff and Aron Ford, have sold the truck and “will be hibernating” while they search for a permanent brick-and-mortar location for the business.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Royal Egyptian Cuisine Spices Up the Local Food Truck Scene

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 8:00 AM

On a sunny Friday afternoon in Oakland, at the corner of Webster and 2nd, Elmy Kader hands over a Styrofoam box through the Royal Egyptian Cuisine food truck’s pass-through window and says, “Here’s something special from me to you. When you go back to the office and open it, you’ll see.”

The customer had ordered Kader’s gyro, which is one of the better versions you’ll find in this city. But the personal touches — that extra “something special” — are what make each meal at Royal Egyptian more memorable than your standard food truck dining experience.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A First Look at Oakland’s Off the Grid

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Last Friday night was the second week for the street-food extravaganza Off the Grid’s first foray into Oakland, at the Oakland Museum of California. Given how long food-truck aficionados have been waiting for an event of this magnitude to hit downtown Oakland on a regular basis, these first two weeks have come and gone with relatively little pomp and circumstance — but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been a success.

I had a chance to swing by this past Friday. A few quick takeaways:

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