Being a vegetarian or vegan sometimes means you're not always sure whether something like Civic Center Eats is a good plan for lunch. Sure, there will be dozens of selections -- but how many of those cater to a vegetarian palate?
Plenty, as it turns out. When we visited the food trucks that filled Civic Center Park yesterday, we found that almost every vendor carried at least one veggie-friendly plate, and most of the vegan and vegetarian meals were clearly marked.
Although Civic Center Eats was just getting rolling at 11 a.m., it's smart to arrive early. While a man on acoustic guitar covered alt-country favorites (Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel," for example), hungry would-be diners perused the menus and began lining up in front of their vendor of choice, then snagging one of the shaded tables (which filled up very quickly).
We found vegetarian- and vegan-friendly items at the Crock Spot, Street Eats and even Pinche Tacos (the queso a la plancha tacos comprise griddled cotija cheese, avocado, roasted tomatillo salsa and lime, which means vegetarians can enjoy them -- but vegans will want to steer clear of all that queso).
It was Quiero Arepas, though, that snagged our attention -- and our lunch money.
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That is the vegan arepa, a corn cake with seasoned black beans, avocado and plantains, doused in a chimichurri-style sauce. It was a tad messy to eat -- but nevertheless delicious.
The menu rotates as Quiero Arepas travels, but one of the nice things about Civic Center Eats is that there are plenty of options, and the person taking your money is working side-by-side with the cook, so questions about whether different menu items contain dairy or meat are promptly (and correctly) answered.
Learn more about Quiero Arepas at www.quieroarepas.com, and find vendor directories and other Civic Center Eats information at www.civiccenterconservancy.org/event-civic-center-eats-outdoor-cafe_31.html. Although there are a few trucks in Civic Center every day at lunchtime, the big gatherings are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.