Vegan Van's street food rolls into our repertoire

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Sure, it's freezing outside today, but tomorrow, it's supposed to be back to a more mellow thirty-some degrees, which means it's a good time to head to Fifth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, where the Vegan Van -- along with a handful of other food trucks -- parks for a few hours during lunchtime to serve its plant-based street food to the masses. (This Wednesday the van is skipping the lunch, but you can catch it on Saturday and Sunday at various locations.)

Apart from the Steamin' Demon and the now-permanently-parked Sprout House, vegetarians and vegans seeking good street food are dealing with hit-or-miss menus, and this is the first all-vegan food truck in the city. Some mobile units make their vegan and veggie options obvious, but no one wants to be the person holding up the line to ask if the burgers are egg-and-dairy-free. That's why we love options like the Vegan Van -- and the food is delicious, too.

The Vegan Van's website includes a link to its winter menu, and Amie Arias (who runs the van) is good about updating its presence and what it's dishing up on the Facebook and Twitter feeds. Pictured above is the Planet Rock: spicy buffalo-style tofu and ranch-celery slaw on a roll.

This Caesar-style salad was the first one we've been able to eat in a long time (the anchovies in the Caesar dressing and Parmesan cheese get us every time). Dubbed the Rock Steady, it's romaine lettuce, walnut parm, Caesar-style dressing, house-made croutons and coconut bacon. You can order it with buffalo tofu on top if you'd like a more robust meal. And this meatball-sandwich style option, called the Freak Out, features veggie balls, marinara sauce and spinach-cashew ricotta on a garlic roll. (And we're not naming names, but our dining companion dropped one of the veggie balls in the street -- and still ate it. So we're guessing it was a pretty freaking good sandwich.)

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