Quick Bites: Rolling Sushi – Ask and ye SHALL receive vegan7December 26th, 2010other
I have to be honest: It was one of THOSE kinda days. Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy, but I can lift a box or two. Add to that, I had nothing to do on Christmas Eve Eve, so I was very happy to rock it on down to Orange County in a friend’s truck to help load some chairs, on the promise of “grabbing a beer or two” on the way back.
Listen – If offered, ALWAYS help your friends get stuff from far afield, as you’ll have a designated driver (they don’t see it that way, but you sure as heck fire should) and if you’re extra lucky they’ll want to pick up the tab pretty much anywhere you go. After all, time and muscles (even my puny ones) = money. Or beer at least. And maybe even vegan food too. Read on….
So, after a leisurely drive down to Santa Fe Springs (sounds much nicer than it is) to load up a truck, I got the inevitable question: “Hey, wanna grab a beer on the way back?” The equally inevitable answer was “HELL YES!”, and I directed my friend, his chairs and truck to Fullerton and the Bootlegger’s Brewery. After all, “a beer” to me means at least two in the hand and a growler in the bush.
Timing was good: After a navigation faux pas via Disneyland (entirely my fault) we opened up the brewery, walking straight past the “Rolling Sushi” food truck that was in the process of setting up outside, and settled in to a couple of Rustic Rye IPAs. Dreading the thought of driving back to LA up I5 (would it take 20 minutes or two hours?!) we started to wonder about what we should eat.
Well, the brewery was filling up with people eating fish sushi rolls (all colorful with little umbrellas sticking out the top), but they’re not my thing — to say the least. I did spot a steaming bowl of edamame though, and figured a couple of those might tide me over until I got back to LA. I stood in line at the food truck, reading the chalkboard menu (“fish this, fish that yoghurt the other) and held little hope I’d have anything other than edamame to eat.
Once I got to the window, I asked the very polite and engaging gentleman if he had anything vegan. He was most apologetic: “I’m afraid we don’t have any tofu today, so I can’t make you anything vegan, only veggie rolls”. WTF? “ONLY???” veggie rolls sounded absolutely divine!
After being presented with a ton of vegetable options (cucumber, avocado, daikon, asparagus, various unpronounceable Japanese things etc.), and after triple checking that everything was vegan (even to the degree that they clean the surfaces in between each dish preparation) I settled on cucumber rolls, with a side of ginger and wasabi, as well as a bowl of edamame.
I was so delighted not only with the rolls themselves (positively scrumptious!) but also the attitude of the man on the truck. The entire thing cost only $5, and he went out of his way to explain the options, answer my paranoid vegan/contamination questions and to prepare a really good snack.
If I didn’t have a bunch of groceries to cook for dinner waiting for me back in LA I’d have chowed down on a roll or two more, and tried some of the other vegetarian/vegan options. This just proves that sometimes it really pays if you just ask about a special order of something that might not be on the menu.
Also, my friend insisted on picking up the drink and food tap (not a lot as Bootlegger’s is dirt-cheap considering how good the beer is), and I got to walk out with a growler of the awesomely 10% Knuckle Sandwich to go, which was entirely responsible for my hangover the next day.
Tags: beer, food truck, orange county, quick bites, sushi
“But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine”
Cucumber (kappa) rolls are pretty plain but I like them with a little bit of ume paste (sour and salty plum) inside if they can make them like that.
Here with a Japanese lesson! Kappa isn’t the Japanese word for “cucumber”. A kappa is a Japanese mythological creature known for its love of cucumbers, and the rolls are named after it.
Yes, that’s why they’re called kappamaki. Kappamaki are traditionally make in a thin roll, hosomaki, and not as wide like in the picture so those might be called something like kyuurimaki.
Most sushi places also have inari-zushi, deep fried tofu pockets filled with rice, which are normally vegan too. Inari is a Shinto god connected with foxes who like fried tofu and the pointed corners look like fox ears.
(I don’t speak Japanese very well but my mom is Japanese and has owned many Japanese restaurants since the 80s.)
Reading about edamame tangentially reminded me of this video. Please enjoy.
Cucumber-avocado rolls are really good.
Inari is the fucking BEST. (Provided it’s seasoned; I don’t like the inari at Shojin because it doesn’t seem to have any sugary vinegar in it, just straight-up fried tofu.)
Oh. PS – We have mameshiba STATIONARY.