Shift gears for dinner and park yourselves near the neighborhood food trucks. These rolling restaurants are ideal for families: the whole crew enjoys an inexpensive gourmet meal, everyone gets their choice of cuisine, and dinner jackets are always optional. For the widest variety (and the promise of some actual seating), head to a food truck meetup such as Off The Grid, Food Truck Mafia, SoMa StrEAT Food Park or Moveable Feast where your mobile meal can be paired with live music, beer and wine and dedicated space to dine. Chase down the family-friendly trucks below for a meal everyone is sure love.
America’s favorite breakfast meat has gone way beyond burgers and muffins; these days, you’ll find bacon in everything from ice cream to vodka. Bacon Bacon take the bacon craze to the streets, with bacon on everything in its menu from cheeseburgers to banh mi to (almost) veggie sandwiches to dessert. You haven’t lived till you’ve tasted a chocolate chip bacon cookie!
What’s better than a taco? A taco that sizzles! Señor Sisig’s serves up traditional Filipino sisig (pork, beef, or chicken marinated in vinegar and garlic), fresh off the grill. They’re topped with Mexican-American toppings (pico de gallo, cilantro, and sour cream) and trappings (tacos, burritos, nachos).
Formerly known as Chairman Bao, The Chairman draws long lines and crowds wherever it appears. Their steamed and baked buns are perfect for little ones; they’re bite-sized, portable, and (relatively) mess-free. Fillings vary daily, and include pork, pork belly (their signature dish), duck, and tofu. Adults will need at least 3 buns to fill up, and don’t forget to wash them down with a fresh coconut shaved ice.
Skylite’s adorable, vintage powder-blue truck is as unique as their menu. Traditional Baltimore-style snowballs are traditionally topped with cloyingly sweet artificial syrup, but Skylite’s owner partnered with Chez Panisse pastry chef Stacie Pierce to give the lowly shaved ice treat a gourmet twist. Skylite has over fifty syrup flavors (rotating about a dozen flavors per day) including Earl Grey tea, hibiscus, Tcho chocolate, cardamom vanilla, Meyer lemon and ginger, and more traditional flavors like cherry, grape, lemon, and lime. For a true Baltimore-style treat, top your snowball off with a dollop of marshmallow crème.
Cheese Gone Wild
Amidst all the “fusion cuisine” and “food-with-a-twist” food trucks, Cheese Gone Wild is an oasis for picky eaters and those seeking comfort food. Not that there’s anything boring about their menu: grownups loved their grilled cheese melts and creamy tomato soup as much as any kid! The Grilled Bacon Cheddar Mac ‘N Cheese pairs and the Strawberry Lemonade (made with fresh lemons and strawberries) make a perfect meal for kids of any age.
A staple of the Palo Alto and the South Bay food truck scene, Oaxacan Kitchen is traditional Oaxacan food at its best. Owner Ron Kent shut down his popular Oaxacan Kitchen restaurant on Palo Alto Alto to focus solely on bringing his handmade tortillas, fresh-steamed tamales, and mole sauce on the road. In keeping with their eco-concscious philosophy, ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, and meats are hormone-free and sustainably raised.
Seafood lovers no longer have to make the drive to Half Moon Bay to enjoy fresh, local seafood: the famous Sam’s Chowder House now has a four-wheeled version. Sam’s Chowdermobile makes its way up and down the Peninsula, serving up clam chowder, lobster rolls, and fish & chips to hungry families all over the Bay Area. People love the Chowdermobile as much as they love the restaurant; Sam’s Chowdermobile always seems to land on every Best Bay Area Food Truck list
Curry Up Now
Curry Up Now’s dishes feature Indian street favorites such as tikka masala, chana masala, and chutneys, reimagined as burrito fillings, sandwich fillings, and french fry toppings. Their open faced naan sandwices and sexy fries (sweet potato fries topped with curry) and mango lassi have been favorites since 2009.
It’s easy to tell when you’re near the Waffle Amore truck: the sweet, buttery scent of freshly baking Belgian waffles will drive you wild. Craving a salty snack? Top your waffle with pulled pork, or chicken and gravy. In the mood for something sweet? Top it with whipped cream, Belgian chocolate, Maple Bacon Butter, or Speculoos. Now that’s amore!
How to find them: Each food truck meetup features a selection of food trucks that varies by the day, so check the website of the meetup you’re attending for a list of trucks. If you’re looking for a particular food truck, head to their website to view their schedule, or follow them on Twitter.
How to pay: Most food trucks accept credit cards, but take some cash just in case.
Where to sit: Seating is limited at most food truck meetups, so bring your own folding chairs or be prepared to sit on the sidewalk.
Do you have a favorite food truck? Tell us in the comments below!
All images courtesy of the businesses unless otherwise noted.