Friday, August 28, 2009

Lunch on the Road: Jon’s Street Eats

The number of gourmet lunch trucks and makeshift fancy sandwich places seem to be increasing every day — all in San Francisco! Problem is, I work in Oakland.

So that means either spend the $6 and some change for a roundtrip BART ride for a very long lunch, or do without. Back to brown bagging it.

A couple of weeks ago, my lunch life changed dramatically when I read about Jon’s Street Eats, a rolling gourmet lunch truck by Jon Kosorek, formerly of Fork in San Anselmo. Kosorek started his own lunch truck and he was driving around the East Bay!

Please come to Lake Merritt. Please come to Lake Merritt.

I used all my will to draw Kosorek’s truck to my office near Lake Merritt and Oakland’s Uptown district. For days I watched his Twitter feed, where he posts his daily location in the morning. One day, Grand Lake. Next day, Emeryville. It was like Christmas eve wondering when Santa will get his fat ass down your chimney.

Finally, last week he posted that he would be near my office. So I grabbed my camera and headed to the block where he said he’d be, and that’s where I saw the shiny new truck parked on the sidewalk.

Kosorek, pretty much a one-man show, has a limited menu because he preps and cooks everything himself. When I went last week, he was offering up a panini and gazpacho ($6), a “scrapple” ($5) and deviled eggs. I ordered the scrapple, which is a grilled cake made of grits.

The scrapple was served with bitter greens, in this case kale topped with shaved parmesan. Kosorek cooks your order after you place it, so the food is nice and warm, and fresh.

When eating the scrapple, I could tell the quality in the ingredients Kosorek used. It was definitely restaurant-standard. The scrapple had bits of bacon (or maybe it was smoked ham?) and sweet corn, which I really enjoyed. I also liked the kale, which I generally find too heavy. But Kosorek grilled it with a sauce that made it very tasty.

I was really happy about my lunch, and glad it only cost $5. But I should warn people that it’s a very light lunch. I did feel a bit hungry afterwards. Still, I loved the way everything was prepared and presented.

Jon’s Street Eats came again on Tuesday (he apparently goes to a different location every day, but hopefully to my area in Uptown once a week) and this time he was selling a ratatouille pasta ($6), grilled cauliflower ($5) and chicken liver crostini. He also had some ice cream and specialty drinks for sale.

This time I grabbed my co-worker Sue with me as we searched out Kosorek’s parked truck, this time a bit farther away but still within walking distance. (Kosorek is still feeling out locations to find the best spot with lots of foot traffic; for now he’s relying on the people who follow his tweets.)

Sue ordered the ratatouille pasta and I got the grilled cauliflower, which was a thick slice of cauliflower that was grilled and served with grilled greens and frisee topped with half a soft-boiled egg.

Sue’s ratatouille looked really good and she said she liked the taste. Kosorek actually cooks the pasta at his truck, so everything is definitely made to order (which could mean a bit of a wait depending on how many other people are there before you). I enjoyed my cauliflower, which was nicely seasoned and tender. Everything was flavorful and fresh.

I hope Kosorek does well because his dishes are always so interesting and healthy given the big use of greens. At least once a week, I don’t have to worry about bringing in leftovers.

Follow Jon’s Street Eats on Twitter at to find his weekday lunch locations.

More street stuff:
Taking it to the Streets (San Francisco Street Food Festival)
On the Trail of the Crème Brulee Cart
Big Idea Party at YBCA


Cookie said...

It's hard to find good quality street food but these dishes definitely look like restaurant quality! I don't mind the good old taco trucks once in a while either though! :)

Hungry Dog said...

Wow, what a great lunch option. The scrapple sounds great. I love grits, and grits in a cake sounds even better, especially topped with kale. Yum!