Jon's Street Eats - Oakland
Today's Chron mentions this new truck (?) from Jon Kosorok, formerly of Fork. There's a Twitter post about passing inspection, so I guess this is legal.
Jon's Street Eats
Pleasant Valley Ave Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
I'm pretty sure that this is the same truck ? owner I read in the Alameda Journal is going to be parked opposite City Hall, on the long defunct gas station site next to Towata Florist (also now defunct) Wed - Friday. He is hoping for a restaurant site nearby. Unfortunately, I will only rarely be home then and will not be able to visit unless he extends hours to weekends. Maybe someone will report.
He sets up on Saturday nights on Piedmont, wherever they can find a couple of parking spaces. Major traffic is from the Kona Club at Pleasant Valley and Piedmont. Tonight's menu was a lovely, classic cream of mushroom soup w/ salad ($7), seared ahi roll ($9), brandade on toast ($3), and deviled eggs ($2). Not cheap, but very high quality. My 15 year old son loved the ahi roll (I may have to rush out for another before the night is over). It's served on a bun like a lobster roll and topped with a crunchy slaw and cilantro. More traditional hubby favored the soup. I enjoyed everything.
4401 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
Went back again today (27th near Whole Foods).
Grilled cauliflower heart was fantastic. Simple, just brushed with butter, wonderful smoky flavor from the grill, melt in your mouth delicious. Topped with a soft boiled egg and crispy pancetta\bacon\whathaveyou. On the side were the excellent grilled greens, this time tossed with frisee.
It was enough food that I'm saving the ratatouille over pasta for tomorrow.
Oh yeah I also had the Chicken Liver Pate. Light, almost fruity flavor - I'm not a pate-ophile but I liked this.
Tried Jon's today (at Valdez & 24th) and sampled most of the menu.
"Scrapple" w/grilled greens - Grilled greens were excellent (or f***ing excellent as Jon humbly said) cooked briefly on the grill with a dousing of lemon-thyme butter and salt they took on a wonderful, smoky flavor. Topped with shaved parmesan. I'm a sucker for greens prepared any which way - I'm going to try this preparation at home. The "scrapple" seemed to me basically a polenta cake with bits of bacon and fresh white corn kernels. Good, but the greens made the dish.
Mozzarella Panini w/gazpacho - gazpacho was light and refreshing, with fresh basil and cracked pepper livening things a bit. Panini was also quite good although I wish I had eaten it there instead of walking back to me office - it would be better straight off the grill.
Deviled egg was a good deviled egg. I don't have anything bad to say about the deviled egg.
Didn't try the drinks or ice creams.
I love the idea of having upscale street food available around Oakland. Both Jon and his assistant were totally sweet and engaging. I'll be back whenever his truck is within striking distance.
I tried the "scrapple" too. I think it's made with grits which I guess is like polenta. I really liked the corn inside it. I also liked the greens, which were kale on the day I went to his truck. The menu isn't very long, but that's because Jon's a one-man show. Is girlfriend I think was helping him and she's going back to school soon so not sure how operations will be like. The scrapple was only $5 which I thought was a good deal. It's a light lunch, not very filling but seemed really healthy because of the greens and because it's freshly made.
I wanted to try it again, but the truck is experimenting going to different places so it's not near me too often. But if it were, I would check it out again.
Tried it today. Permits proudly posted out front, so yes, it's legal.
The truck is brand new and very, very shiny.
Overall, I was underwhelmed.
BLAT sandwich was tasty but miniscule for the price (it was gone in about 6 bites). Corn was OK but was only half an ear. Watermelon Agua Fresca was also OK, but it wasn't cold and I had no chunks of fruit in mine. And it was, indeed, slow food. We waited 15 minutes for the sandwich and corn. And I was hungry again by 3 after dropping $10 for lunch (which might be normal for some people but it's more than I normally spend on a work lunch break).
I wish him the best but I won't be back.
I had the good fortune to catch Jon at Mandana and Lakeshore in Oakland on his first day of operation. I was on the run and was thinking about grabbing something quick and there he was. For about the same price as a lunch at McDonald's, you can walk away full of Jon's special brand of "Slow food done kinda fast."
I had the B.L.A.T, Corn on the Cob, Watermelon/Cucumber Agua Fresca and the Mint/Cocoa Nib ice cream for dessert. The BLAT ( $6) was excellent. House-smoked (B)acon on a toasted bun (a fluffy white-bread style, like a lobster roll bun) with super-fresh, crisp romaine (L)ettuce, (A)vocado and heirloom (T)omato. Made fresh to order, Jon grilled the bacon and bun, slathered the bun in a tasty, garlicky aioli, laid in some romaine leaves, the bacon and then topped it with a generous dollop of a diced tomato/avocado relish. Delicious. Next up: the corn ($2). Also grilled to order - kind of elote-style - it was topped with a lime aioli, chili flakes for a little heat and grated parmesan. I washed it down with house-made watermelon/cucumber agua fresca ($2) that was also fresh with chunks of watermelon and cuke at the bottom which acted as a nice palate cleanser for the mint/coca nib ice cream. Also house-made, the ice cream ($3) was delectable. Incredibly creamy and rich, Jon said he steeped fresh mint leaves in the custard and added the nibs after turning.
All in all, a fast gourmet lunch on a paper plate with a PG&E switching box for a table--and all utensils, plates, cups, etc. are compostable.
It sounds great but tempered somewhat with the poster below, especially since the experiences with the same items were consumed so close together. Did you also receive a half ear of corn?
I haven't eaten at McDonalds in a long time but would be very surprised if it cost $13, so maybe not a fair comparison of price points.