Street Food Hits the Burbs

Trucks, carts, even guys on bikes have shown up all over San Francisco and Oakland to peddle their cheap and tasty food. You can find both gritty and straightforward eats, as well as the artisan gourmet variety disguised as street food.

Of course, not all food that comes out of a cart is good food. There are LOTS of posers who are jumping on this popular foodie bandwagon, lately. It’s officially become a “trend.”  It’s gone mainstream.  Perhaps, it’s even jumped the shark.

But when cheap food is GOOD food, I have no complaints. That’s why these two newer food trucks that have hit the burbs have made me very happy. No more trekking to the city to find good street food!

IMG_4194Tacos Peralta (342 E. Hillsdale, San Mateo) – There are mediocre items on the menu that I’ve tried (the carne asada and pastor meats, in particular). And I’ve heard only lukewarm reviews about their burritos, though I can’t vouch for that, myself. But fortunately, there are some excellent items, including the torta (nicely toasted bread and a good amount of meat and fillings), super quesadilla (great flavorful beans and cheese), and the carnitas tacos (well seasoned moist pork, fresh onions and cilantro, and great with a squeeze of lime juice). And I love their hot sauce. It strangely reminds me of the taco sauce I used to get on taco day in elementary school. I don’t know if that’s a complement or an insult, but I used to go nuts for the stuff.

And in classic street food fashion, it’s cheap. Tacos are only $1.25 a piece (of course you need at least four to feel satisfied). And I appreciate that their ingredients are fresh and they use good quality meats. I just polished off five carnitas tacos for dinner and I could easily eat five more for lunch tomorrow!

IMG_4223Curry Up Now (Primrose & Howard in Burlingame, Near Marine Pkwy. across from Oracle in Redwood City – @CurryUpNow on Twitter) – Let me just say that I like Indian food, but it’s usually on the bottom of my list because of the way it makes me feel. Four out of the last five Indian meals I’ve had in recent memory gave me a headache before leaving the restaurant because of the MSG, or left me reaching for my TUMS. Not fun.

So when I found out about this place foolin’ around on Twitter, I was excited because it seemed authentic, fun, and fresh. And again, I didn’t have to trek to the city to find it!

IMG_4224I’m so happy to say that this food truck exceeded my expectations. Everything we had was flat out fantastic! The food is a mixture of authentic Indian dishes with Mexican touches. Between myself and my other two diners, we had the Butter Chicken special, Tandoori Chicken “Taco”, Kathi Roll, Tikki Masala Chicken “Burrito”, and the Skirt Steak “Torta” sandwich. All the items were absolutely delicious with the perfect amount of spice that added flavor, depth, and character, not just heat. All the flavors just sang and melded together so well. It was just about the best Indian meal I’d ever had. IMG_4225The highlights were the Kathi Roll (so delicate in it’s mixture of special ingredients and sauce), the Tikki Masala Chicken “Burrito” (perfect amount of saucy flavorful chicken with special rice wrapped in parantha bread), and the Skirt Steak “Torta” (yummy special sauce again, and they did NOT skimp on the quality and amount of beef here!).

All that great food AND the owner was a whole lot of fun to talk to while we waited for our food. She was such a gem that it made me want to go back even more.

With such great “street food” options in suburbia, I don’t have to worry that I’m missing out on all the good cheap food in San Francisco proper. Let those city folks come down to suburbia instead!

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