The Waffle Roost food truck

meter-great-Every food truck needs to have some kind of theme, gimmick, or unique idea in order to attract attention. The Waffle Roost truck, as you might guess from the name, features chicken and waffles. While this isn’t a new or original idea, Waffle Roost just so happens to be the only one in the area serving up this deliciously weird combination. It’s one of those things that for whatever readon, just works.

This chicken must have grown up in the East Bay.

This chicken must have grown up in the East Bay.

” Waffle Roost somehow made a delicious food look exactly like collard greens “

I made my way over to this particularly-easy-to-spot-in-a-crowd truck and ordered the 2 Legit, which includes four unique and delicious foods: fried chicken, a waffle, mac and cheese, and collard greens. The boneless white meat fried chicken was darn near perfect and had a wonderful, flavorful crust on it. It was perhaps just the tiniest bit dry, but I still give it high marks. The waffle surprised me; it wasn’t the typical fluffy Bisquik style thing you’d expect, but rather a satisfying, whole-wheat-ish masterpiece with a wonderful crunch. It was excellent.

Please chicken, don't hurt 'em.

Please chicken, don’t hurt ’em.

The mac was cheesy and awesome, and it had a scratch-made flavor to it. I was starting to become impressed at this point. Last up was the collard greens, which I was not looking forward to. I don’t like cooked greens of any kind, collard even less so. Well, in for a penny in for a pound, as they say. Here goes a big bite of disgusting greens.

Hey. Now, wait a minute. Let me try that again.

Wow. They’re.. good! But they’re greens. I’m confused. I don’t know how they did it, but the magicians at Waffle Roost somehow made a delicious food look exactly like collard greens. I actually ended up eating the whole serving, I liked them so much.

This is the way they roll.

This is the way they roll.

Waffle Roost is undoubtedly one of the better food trucks in the SF Bay Area. Solid execution from the kitchen combined with high quality ingredients have made this mobile eatery the go-to spot for chicken and waffles within a 100 mile radius. I rate them a generous 215 out of 237 individual serving containers of maple syrup, a very respectable score indeed. The next time I spot this truck on the road, I’m going to follow it to wherever it’s stopping next.

+ Great waffles
+ Better collard greens
+ Can’t touch this
 –  Not the easiest thing to eat out of a to-go container
+/- But that’s just me being a whiner

Waffle Roost food truck
(408) 248-1289

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808 Plates food truck

meter-greatI had not actually planned on visiting 808 Plates. In all honesty, we (Shawn and I, the usual dynamic food duo) simply got bored while waiting for our order at Geste Shrimp, so we decided to try one of the other trucks parked in the area. This one looked good, so why not? Might as well squeeze in a quick review while we’re hanging around.

” The delicious aroma of fried fish and fancy-schmancy sauces “

Unlike all of the other trucks clustered around the dirt lot, 808 Plates was clean, shiny, and new. These guys clearly take pride in their wheels, and it shows. The overall presence and presentation of this mobile eatery is excellent – they come across as very professional.

Yeah, it's a short menu, but every single thing on it is prepared perfectly.

Yeah, it’s a short menu, but every single thing on it is prepared perfectly.

My better half and I browsed the short-but-sweet menu and stepped up to order. Following what I call “The Shawn Method”, we asked the cashier what his favorite item on the menu was. “The Katsu Yummy” he said immediately. “It’s the same as the Ono Katsu, but dipped in teriyaki sauce.” Sounds delicious. One of those please.

Within just a few minutes, our order was up. We opened the lid to the food container and were greeted with the delicious aroma of fried fish and fancy-schmancy sauces. The presentation of the dish was also very neatly done and looked great. I don’t know why I always expect food truck meals to be jumbled messes, but that was certainly not the case here.

Looks almost too good to eat. Almost.

Looks almost too good to eat. Almost.

The fish was firm, fresh as can be, and exceedingly tasty. The light and crispy, uh.. I’ll call it a “katsu exterior”, because I don’t know what the correct term is.. was not too thick or overly fried. I was skeptical about the coating of teriyaki sauce, but it really worked. It added a subtle sweetness that went wonderfully with the fish and the savory cream sauce. This dish is one of those things that you absolutely must eat immediately when served; wait more than a few minutes and it will turn into a disappointing, soggy shadow of its former self.

We were very happy with our experience at this food truck and would love to eat here again sometime. We probably would never have visited this truck if we weren’t already in the area, but I’ll chalk it up as one of those happy accidents. I rate 808 Plates a satisfying 481 out of 563 teriyaki-coated Panko particles, a very worthy score. Pull off the side of the road and give this place a try the next time you’re in the area. It’s an excellent way to pass the time when you’re waiting for your order at Geste Shrimp.

+ Some of the freshest fish on the island
+ Great presentation
+ It’s often near Geste Shrimp
 –  No place to sit and eat
+/- It’s a food truck, so stop whining

808 Plates
Kahului Beach Road
Lahaina, HI 96732
(808) 870-2841

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My arms ache just thinking about washing this thing every day.

My arms ache just thinking about washing this thing every day.

Geste Shrimp food truck

meter-ha-A friend recommended this Maui hotspot to me more than two years ago, and it’s taken me all this time to finally try it for myself. Frequent readers of my blog (my thanks and condolences to you all) know that I have a thing for sketchy food served on the side of the highway, so I’m sure you can imagine my excitement to visit this truck. In spite of nearly 800 days of anticipation, I was not disappointed in the slightest to experience Geste Shrimp for myself.

Food court, Maui style

Food court, Maui style

” Our rental car was never going to smell the same again”

Within 45 minutes of touching down on the tarmac at Kahului Airport, my wife and I were on the backroads of Maui, headed straight towards Geste Shrimp. After a couple of wrong turns in the industrial part of town, we finally spotted a cluster of cars stopped on the side of the highway. We parked amidst half a dozen food trucks and trailers and looked for the one with all the people hanging around it. Yep, there was Geste. It sure wasn’t much to look at – nothing more than a drab white box with a window cut in the side of it – but that didn’t have much effect on our appetites. We headed over to that side of the dirt lot and got in line.

The menu at Geste Shrimp is short and mostly devoid of useful information. We decided on spicy pineapple shrimp and placed our order. The soft-spoken and patient cashier explained that we would need to wait for about twenty minutes, and we were ok with that. Everybody else seemed fine hanging around waiting and besides, we were on island time. Nobody gives a crap how long anything takes when they’re in Hawaii.

This is my kind of tourist attraction.

This is my kind of tourist attraction.

The wait was slightly annoying but bearable, and before long our order was called. The cashier handed me a Styrofoam container, two forks, and a HUGE stack of napkins through the dingy, cramped window. Shawn and I went back to the car, bemused at the enormous pile of dead trees we’d been given, and opened up the container.

Three things were immediately apparent: 1) This was no typical food truck meal, 2) our rental car was never going to smell the same again, and 3) we were going to need a lot more napkins.

The generous helping of shrimp and pineapple chunks were absolutely swimming in an even more generous lake of wickedly seasoned butter. We plastered the car and our clothes with napkins, precariously perched the brimming food container on the center console, and started peeling shrimp.

There is no way mere words can explain how good this tastes.

There is no way mere words can explain how good this tastes.

Oh. My. Goodness. That flavor.

Those were the most incredible peel-and-eat shrimp I have ever experienced in my life. I didn’t even bother complaining about my burnt fingers, I just kept peeling shrimp and stuffing them in my face. I looked up at Shawn and she was in the same boat as me – loving the amazing flavor of those shrimp but making a total mess of everything. The conversation over the next ten minutes went something like this:

“I got some butter on my clothes. Crap! Twice.”
“Here take another napk… Damn it, I dropped some in my lap.”
“We should have brought a Tide pen.”
“Yeah, we.. Ack! Don’t move. There goes a shrimp tail.”
“I’ll get it before it falls between the seats.”
“Too late.”
“I’m glad this isn’t our car.”
“No kidding.”
“I dropped some shell down there too.”

Fortunately for us, week-old garlicky seafood odor is not explicitly called out in Hertz rental contracts, otherwise we’d be purchasing a brand new interior for a Kia Optima. And that, boys and girls, is reason number 783 for not ever buying a used rental car. Randomly Edible, bringing you restaurant reviews, recipes, and automobile buying advice.

Just like that, Geste Shrimp made the number one spot on our tastiest-meals-of-the-trip list. It might be the very best shrimp dish of any kind I’ve ever had, and it was certainly the messiest. Everything was amazing about the meal, even the crab macaroni salad and the sticky rice. Twenty minutes was no time at all to wait – we would have been fine with twice that. Geste Shrimp earns a nearly perfect rating of 89 out of 90 lost shrimp tails, darn near worth the price of a plane ticket to Maui just to try their food. You will never experience shrimp like this anywhere else, and neither will the upholstery of your car.

+ Best shrimp you may ever eat
+ You’re in Hawaii!
All other shrimp will seem terrible after this
Nowhere to sit and eat

Geste Shrimp
Kahului Beach Road
Kahului, HI
(808) 298-7109

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Best meal I've had in Hawaii by a long shot

Best meal I’ve had in Hawaii by a long shot

Curry Up Now food truck

meter-good-greatIt was a typical Thursday evening, and I was stuck in typical Bay Area traffic. A glance at my GPS told me that I was 2.3 miles from home, estimated time to arrival 26 minutes. What the f… Yeah, ok, that’s just dumb. I can moonwalk faster than that for crying out loud. I exited the roadway in a desperate ploy to find an alternate route, and fell straight into the lap of Off The Grid, a “roaming mobile food extravaganza”. Explained simply, Off The Grid equals a crapload of food trucks all parked in one spot. Awesome. Apparently my stomach knows things that my GPS does not.

What an artsy photograph. Completely unintentional.

What an artsy photograph. Completely unintentional.

I have a love/hate relationships with food trucks. I love everything about them, and I hate that I can’t eat food truck food for every single meal. You know, that whole “it’s bad for you” thing that medical professionals drone on and on about. Lame.

It's usually right about now that the drool starts happening.

It’s usually right about now that the drool starts happening.

” Drenched with flavorful, saucy chicken tikka masala “

I was thrilled to see the Curry Up Now truck parked at the end of the row, one of my long-time favorites. Aside from sporting the cleverest name among its peers, the folks at Curry Up Now can cook like nobody’s business. Their menu is excitingly varied and creative, while at the same time being straightforward and easy to understand.

If you like spicy stuff, Curry Up Now is happy to help you burn your face off.

If you like spicy stuff, Curry Up Now is happy to help you burn your face off.

I’ve previously sampled most of what Curry Up Now has to offer, and everything they make is fantastic. Their signature dish is something they call “sexy fries”, a diabolically irresistible combination of sweet potato waffle fries and your choice of curry.

The sexy fries are genius. Why didn't I think of this?

The sexy fries are genius. Why didn’t I think of this?

I’m sure sweet potato waffle fries exist somewhere else on the planet, but I’ve never found where. They become downright magical when drenched with flavorful, saucy chicken tikka masala, my personal favorite. Barely a minute after paying the cashier, I had my order in my hand, and I started shoveling sexy fries into my gullet as fast as I could. This is not because I am an oinker, although that may also be the case.

The reason I started eating before I even found a place to sit is because sexy fries have a time limit. They are at peak crispy, saucy goodness the moment they are served, and it only takes a couple of minutes for them to become a soggy mess. The good news is that they are still wonderfully delicious as a soggy mess, but they are even better when eaten straight out of the truck window.

The folks at Off The Grid always prepare a great venue.

The folks at Off The Grid always prepare a great venue.

Curry Up Now is a truly excellent food truck, so good in fact that it spawned several brick-and-mortar restaurant locations as well. The menu is both familiar and excitingly different, and the hard work going on in the kitchen really shows in the finished dishes. I rate Curry Up Now 11 out of 13 potato-based sporks, putting it right near the top of the Bay Area food truck pyramid. If you’re in the mood for a tasty curry with a twist, look no further.

Curry Up Now
Food truck / multiple restaurant locations

Curry Up Now Food Truck on Urbanspoon

Curry on wheels. It totally works.

Curry on wheels. It totally works.

Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.