Monday Munchies: Streat Food Adventures of a Fat Vegetarian

Fair Warning: This post will be more on the personal experience & perhaps not as thought provoking a read as other postings I’ve made. If you’re wanting a fun recipes blog come back next week for quick & easy homemade spiced and fruity chocolates. And if you’re seeking a SESS analysis of the world come back tomorrow. If you’re here just to read about Crimes Against Vegetarians and you want to skip the general Soma Streat Park review my advice is to keep scrolling. 

SOMA Streat Truck Park Overview:

This evening I met up with a bunch of friends to enjoy tantalizing street truck food (including a beer & sangria truck) amongst even more tantalizing company. I got there a bit early to stake out and balloon decorate some tables and survey the scene.

Soma Street Food Soma Streat Food

SOMA Streat Food

SOMA Streat Food

It was a gorgeous balmy evening with lively conversation and some really nice shared bites. The reasonably priced Firetrail margherita pizza was sprinkled with delicious fresh herbs and the tomato sauce was scrumptious. The Dusty Buns Bistro slider sized veggie sandwich had the crunch of a homemade toasty buttered bun, the tang of a tasty pesto spread, and was filled with lots of organic cucumbers & cherry tomatoes. Given the snack size it was a bit pricey (hipster yuppie pricing); I miss the days of the 2 dollar taco trucks. Nevertheless, the taste made one yearn for more. Sharing parmesan-garlic fries from the Me So Hungry truck left the delightful essence of garlic lingering in one’s mouth hours after consumption. Our group also purchased plates from Lil Burma, which was by far the most bountiful dish and best financial deal. Despite a reasonably flavorful menu, as a vegetarian, I cannot recommend them because I’m fairly certain their tofu noodle salad contained both msg and fish sauce. Which brings me to one of the most frustrating things to navigate, when trying out new foods. Restaurants and Street Trucks often have a different concept of what constitutes vegetarian, and that means there is always the risk of being served something that has animal sourced products. Especially, ones that incorporate prepared canned foods into their cooking. Another truck in the mix was Sabor De San Miguel, which warrants their own paragraph for crimes against vegetarians. But first here’s a photo of the venue as the sky darkened into a festively lit evening.

Soma Streat Park @ Night

Soma Streat Park @ Night

Wanted: Sabor de San Miguel for Crimes Against Vegetarians.

A few weeks ago my main squeeze and I arrived, board games underarm, ready to chow down on truck food delicacies. You see we’re a Jack Sprat couple; I shun meat and my sweetie shuns vegetables. This makes food truck gatherings a comfortable resource for a geeky gaming outing complete with appropriate sustenance & libations. After browsing the offerings, I settled on a Guatemalan tamal from Sabor de San Miguel. It was 3 bites of pure flavor, prettily presented. I decided to go back for 2 tamales more. As I returned to the games salivating at the 2 beautiful veggie tamales, that I happily noted were each double the size of the first one (more than justifying the additional tip I’d left). I went to take a mouthful and as my fork melted in it came back out with chicken!  Horrified at the disaster I managed to just barely avoid, I traipsed back and patiently waited my turn and explained that I’d asked for 2 vegetarian tamales (there must have been a mistake).Here’s what went down.

Me: I’m sorry to bother you, but I ordered 2 vegetarian tamales and these have chicken.

Her: Eyeballing me up and down, her eyes taking in every pound of my lusciously abundant body, “No, you didn’t.”

Me: Actually, I did I’m a vegetarian.

Her: No, you aren’t.

(um what? – scratching head) Me: I’ve been a vegetarian for 35 years. Therefore, I wouldn’t have ordered chicken.

Her: Well the default is always chicken, you must have said 2 tamales and not specified. There’s nothing I can do. (She incredulously eyeballed my body one more time shaking her head in disbelief).

So basically I spent $17 for one vegetarian tamal ($5 a piece plus $2 tip) that was 3 bites of yummy goodness, that was accompanied by a side of despicable customer service. It is never a good idea to call one’s customer a liar.  Nor is it a good idea to assume your customer’s eating habits based on their body type. 

Pos, nimodo.
Adios Sabor de San Miguel, adios.

Also – the balloons decorating the tables on this last outing? Make great hats!

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Monday Munchies – Pantry Raid – Cheesy Spiced Rice & Beans w/ microgreens

So I was house & kitty sitting last weekend for 2 adorable cats (friends contact me if you need a pet sitter – life is better with doggy snuggles and kitty cuddles), when a girlfriend I hadn’t seen in a while came visitin’. Now I’d only brought over a few items from my own home pantry, and it not being my house we ordered a pizza that Piedmont Cybelle’s failed to deliver (tsk-tsk Cybelle). It being inhospitable to allow a guest to go hungry, I needed to resolve this situation stat.

Finished Dish

Finished Dish

The results were yummy, took under 20 minutes, and as a bonus it was affordable to most (about $11 worth of ingredients for 2 folks – which is about $5 -$10 more than most schools get to feed 2 folks lunch – say no to war and yes to kid’s nourishment). Also, if you live in the San Francisco, Bay Area, California or Portland, Oregon it is useful to be able to make a quick ‘n easy vegetarian, gluten free meal (with an optional vegan method). If you live in Terrell, Texas not so much (and move to Austin stat). 

Me unknowingly being naughty

Me unknowingly being naughty

You will need a TJ’s Shopping Trip (or your own alternative twist). Note do NOT take photos in Trader Joe’s – it’s a naughty no-no there. In recreating this dish I went to purchase ingredients, and snapped a cell pic only to be chided. I solemnly swore to behave and snap no more, but still suffered a green shirted shadow the remainder of the trip. 

Purchase the following:

  • Microgreens (1 package, organic)
  • Baby Swiss Cheese (or your cheese alternative choice here)
  • Can of Cuban Style Black Beans
  • Chimichurri Rice (frozen section)
  • Handmade corn tortillas

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Now, it’s time I divulged something. I am not a recipe follower cook, I’m a little of this, a little of that, whatever works, yum lets eat!  I ignored the steps on the Chimichurri rice package and didn’t measure. However, it worked because the liquid from the beans replaced the suggested addition of water to the rice.

Cooking & Preparing Steps:

  • Wash hands (pussy hair is not a desired ingredient and lets not forget I was kitty sitting)
  • Pour some oil or spoon some butter into a deep frying pan (for recipe followers lets go with 1-2TBL)
  • Add the frozen rice and allow it to begin to heat up – (lets go with medium temperature)
  • Open the can of black beans and dump them in (do not drain first), 
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  • Stir with your spatula until they are mixed well
  • Stir on occasion to prevent burning
  • Grate some cheese while it cooks
  • Turn off the burner when the majority of the liquid is absorbed (if it’s too liquidy the rice will be mushy –  yech)
  • Heat up some tortillas 
  • Spoon into 2 bowls
  • Add the grated cheese and stir it in to melt
  • Add the washed microgreens on top (it provides a nice crunch and something fresh)
  • Place on table
  • Say something lovely to your guest (I went with: I hope this food is as scrumptious as you always are)
  • Eat & end by rubbing your beautiful bountiful full belly in appreciation

SESSpool factors:

O.K. Let’s be real here. If you are expecting authentic flavors you’ll need to cook from scratch. While there is such a thing as cultural appreciation rather than appropriation (a topic for another time) most prepackaged ethnic foods have a level of cultural exploitation through the use of the latest trendy buzz foods. For example the rice was labeled chimichurri Peruvian style rice. The first ingredient was basmati rice. Now last time I checked Chimichurri originated in Argentina, not Peru, and basmati is a type of rice grown in India. I’m sure there is at least one person out there cringing at the thought of my ruining the authenticity of Cuban Style Black Beans by dumping them in the rice, but don’t worry they weren’t all that authentic to begin with.

So, basically I took a bunch of prepackaged ingredients that used trendy buzz words and reasonably tasty flavorings and quickly combined them into my own thing. It’s only a matter of time until Chopped calls me. The T.J. chimichurri rice is quite picante (spicy hot) and the cheesy goodness and black beans tempered that, as well as adding creaminess. As a vegetarian I often focus on pairing up proteins, and this dish has a complete protein (beans, rice, & corn) even if you prepare it vegan style without the cheese. This dish may be too tangy or too spicy-hot for some folks. Once it’s all mixed together I found it mild and delicious, but I grew up on chile & limón.  If your gluten free friend comes over – no changes are necessary. If you’re an omnivore use this as a side dish and add some grilled chicken to your plate. If this feels like diet food to you add more cheese and end the meal with a cookie. I made this and ate this, because I enjoy the flavors, the different textures, and the sustenance.And had limited ingredients on hand. But if you desire to eat completely different things for completely different reasons – I give you a high five from a tea-totaller (it is Monday Munchies after all) for choosing the foodie path that is right for you. 

BTW here is a picture of one of the cats I kitty sat. Adorable – amirite? 

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Come back next week for Monday Munchies Streat Food Adventures of a Fat Vegetarian