Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The ultimate gourmet food cart on wheels

Jon's Street Eats is part of a thriving crusade of street food proprietors in Emeryville and around the Bay Area that are in tune with our food-obsessed culture.  What makes Jon's Street Eats unique, though, is this: it doesn't operate from a bricks-and-mortar location, although in the future, it would like to. Instead, it's a traveling kitchen ~ the ultimate gourmet food cart on wheels.  And every week, the menu features something new and different.

Jon's Street Eats:
the ultimate gourmet food cart
Jon's Street Eats was started a year ago by culinary enthusiast and Oakland resident Jon Kosorek, a trained chef, with a goal of bringing quality, "real" food to the public at an affordable price.  According to Jon's website, the menu changes with the seasons and also is based on what's available. Plus, it's heavily influenced by the Bay Area weather which, for much of the year, is very mild and moderate.

This summer, Jon's Street Eats can be found most weekday afternoons from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (or when the food runs out) in an office park at the busy corner of Hollis St. and Stanford Ave. in Emeryville.  (It also has a regular street date for lunch on Fridays in Alameda and for dinner on Saturday evenings in Oakland on trendy Piedmont Ave.).  It even provides a few tables and chairs and umbrella stands for patrons who wish to enjoy their dining experience al fresco.

A recent menu at
Jon's Street Eats
Except for bread, all of the menu items found at Jon's Street Eats are made from scratch and the menu, which can be found via Twitter feeds (, changes weekly.  One week, the main course may be BLTs using bacon Kosorek has cured himself.  Another week, it's grilled steak and corn salad or, perhaps, Ahi rolls and grilled peach salad.  Kosorek takes a creative approach in his presentation, turning a dish like macaroni and cheese into mac and cheese cakes ~ balls of macaroni and cheese, breaded with panko, then grilled and topped with a gremolata.

Additionally, sourcing from local, natural and sustaining producers is a serious deal with Jon's Street Eats, and much of the packaging and utensils used is compostable, which is appealing to the socially responsible and eco-conscious clientele that Jon's Street Eats attracts.

On a recent Thursday, my wife and I treated ourselves to a Jon's Street Eats lunch ~ and, simply, it was good, fresh and delicious.  We even got lucky by scoring a covered table in the shade that enhanced our experience.

The menu, posted on Jon's Street Eats Twitter feed and on a grease board propped against the portable kitchen truck, on the day we went included:

* Cuban sandwiches, consisting of house-cured ham and pickles, with mojo marinated pork, Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard, pressed in a sweet roll ($8.00).

* Grilled cheese sandwiches, consisting of house-pulled mozzarella with a tomato jam and basil, pressed between two slices of pan de mei; served with an herbed side salad ($7.00).

* Grilled corn, slathered in a lime aioli and dusted in chili flakes and shaved grana ($3.00).

* Melon salad, consisting of canari and honeydew melon tossed with olive oil, chili flakes, cotija and arugula ($4.00).

* Dulce de leche ice cream ($3.00).

Jon's Street Eats has a big social
media following.  It posts its menu
updates on Twitter, where it has
nearly 1,500 followers.
You can follow
 Jon's Street Eats at:

I ordered the Cuban sandwich while my wife chose the grilled cheese sandwich and salad.  Both sandwiches were pressed Panini-style and were sliced in half, allowing us to share and enjoy half of each sandwich treat.  The meat in the Cuban sandwich was tender, the cheese nicely melted and the bread was crispy.  The combined cost for our "Street Eats" was a reasonable $15.00, plus tip. We brought our own cans of diet Coke as well as some carrot sticks, fresh grapes and cookies, and created our own picnic experience.

While Jon's Street Eats is among the most visible traveling kitchens in Emeryville, there are others worth noting that operate on a regular schedule, including: Seoul on Wheels (Korean BBQ), Liba Falafel Truck (falafel) and CupKates (cupcakes).  Each has a loyal and devoted customer following.

A fast, fresh, quality gourmet meal
Among many who have commented about their street food experience on, a couple worth sharing sum up the raison d'etre of Jon's Street Eats:

"There's something quite nice about frequenting a new place for the first time, and having the 'luxury' to actually converse and get to know your cooks personally..."

"I had the Grits & Greens, it was wonderfully prepared creamy polenta, grilled kale, a soft-boiled egg with cheese to garnish. The portion was perfect and (Jon's Street Eats) certainly has a following.  I'll be back."

While every week is a different taste treat at Jon's Street Eats, one thing is certain:  you will be treated to a fast, fresh, quality gourmet meal.  Bon appetit!

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