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Food trucks bring tasty cuisine to prime Sonoma County locations

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On a brutally hot night in June, when the thought of turning on an oven seems almost cruel, the lines at The Block are snaking into the parking lot. Petaluma’s new food truck mecca opened in May, building steam with an ever-revolving lineup of culinary characters, from grilled cheese and fried chicken to burgers, tacos and ramen.

And now, everyone wants a taste. Thankfully, there’s plenty of craft beer on tap to make the wait a bit more convivial.

The Block (20 Grey St., Petaluma) is Sonoma County’s first permanent location for the region’s growing fleet of mobile kitchens. But that’s not the only place you’ll find them.

From summer concerts and festivals to farm markets, taprooms, wineries and weddings, the North Bay is finally embracing the more than 40 food truck vendors that have hit the roads of Sonoma County since 2011.

Despite early pushback by brick and mortar restaurants, who were concerned about competition, creative trucksters have found their sweet spot by showing up where traditional restaurants and caterers don’t dare to go. And though more than a few of the early trucks have been permanently parked (RIP Street Eatz, Awful Falafel and Seed to Go), a new wave of eager cooks are hitting the roads to bring food directly to your face.

Here’s a list of all the Sonoma County-based trucks we could gather—though we know there are likely a few we’ve missed. Note that locations often change from week to week, and if your heart is set on a specific truck, it’s best to find them online for updated event schedules. We’ve included Facebook handles for trucks that have info online, as well as acronyms for the many farm markets around the county. Most trucks are available for private events. A final note: For this story we have only included trucks that have regular public stops, leaving out private caterers and food stands.

California Cuisine

Bodega: (New) California Street food inspired by whatever Chef Matthew Elias finds at the farm markets. Dishes have included smoked sturgeon toast, chorizo hash, blueberry fritters and the popular “Bodega” buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with green goddess cole slaw, and bacon brown sugar cookies. With business partner Laine Ayre, Elias has created a truly farm to plastic fork experience. Watch for them at The Block (@theblockca), @thebodegaca.

Foodie Farmhouse: Fried chicken bacon sandwiches, Korean BBQ, Kimchi, & Cilantro Taco, grass fed burgers. Friday nights, Cooperage Brewing; Broadway Under the Stars; Wines and Sunsets at Paradise Ridge, The Block.

Croques and Toques: Sweet and savory croquettes, small plates, fried deliciousness. Cooperage Brewing, VMFM, The Block (starting in Sept.), @croquesandtoques

Fig Rig: The Girl and the Fig rolled out their food truck last summer, featuring ramen, burgers, grilled cheese and their famous fig salad. The Block, PFM, @thefigrig

Coffee and Sweets

Waffle Truck: (Wow) Not just waffles, but Liege Belgian waffles made with a rich dough (not batter) and crunchy, pearl sugar. Sweet and savory toppings include strawberries, scrambled eggs and bacon. SRCFM, PETFM, @wowliegewaffles

Fuel the Food Truck: Caterpillar Toast with avocado, wasabi mayo, nori and sesame seeds, grilled cheese, breakfast goodies, brownies, iced and hot coffee drinks. Find them at PETFM, SROFM, RPFM, Carneros Brewery, The Block. @fuelthefoodtruck

Trader Jim’s: Soft serve pineapple whips, floats and shave ice from their mobile tiki truck. What’s a whip? A Disneyland cult classic made with pineapple and coconut milk, blended and frozen. SRFM, PESFM, RPFM, @traderjimsfloats

Fruity Moto: (New) Raspados (shave ice) in flavors like tamarind, melon, mango and guava, along with Mangoneadas, churrolocos (Churritos, pig skin, cucumber, jicama, lime, hot sauce, chamoy and Japanese peanuts) and Sonoran hot dogs. SRWNM, 656 West Ave., Santa Rosa, open weekdays from 5-10p.m., Saturday from 4-10p.m., Sunday 11a.m. to 9p.m.

Meaty

Gators Rustic Burgers: (New) Serious grassfed beef burgers from Chef Glen “Gator” Thompson. He’s a three-day-a-week regular at The Block, , @gatorsrusticburger

Tips Tri-Tip Trolley: Longtime food trucksters (actually, they have a remodeled trolley), the Tips folks have a wrap on tri-tip sandwiches and bowls, but also offer Southern-inspired dishes for breakfast and lunch including the NOLA shrimp sandwich, red eye gravy and biscuits (amazing) and eggs adobe (poached eggs in smoked ham broth) from Chef Thaddeus Palmese. The Tips Trippers plan to open a brick and mortar restaurant in 8445 Sonoma Hwy. in the coming months. Meanwhile, they’re parked outside Wednesday throrugh Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Broadway Under the Stars and The Block, @tipstritip

Picazo Cafe Food Truck: Sonoma’s famous Picazo Cafe is serving up burgers at Sonoma Springs Brewing Company (19449 Riverside Dr #101, Sonoma) from 5-9p.m. Thursdays, @picazocafe

Got Balls Meatball Factory: Meatball-themed food truck with pasta, sandwiches and salads. Sonoma Raceway, VMFM. @gbmeatballfactory

Mexican

Delicias Elenita Taco Truck: Stationed in front of La Fondita, this truck is a mecca for elotes, or steamed corn on the cob slathered with mayo, cojita and chile powder. 816 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa.

El Roy’s: A relative newcomer to the scene, the El Roy’s trucks have some of the best Mexican food around. They’re usually stationed across the street from the Elenita truck, and is a regular fixture at The Block.

Guerneville Taco Truck: Hands down, one of the favorite taco trucks in the region. Find them in the Guerneville Safeway shopping center.

El Coronel: An extension of Sebastopol’s El Coronel restaurant, faves are burritos and torta Cubana. elcoronelrestaurant.com

Tacos La Bamba: A favorite night-time taqueria on wheels in Sonoma, open from 5p.m. to 1am. It’s not fancy, but chances are all your neighbors are there. Armando’s Auto Center, 18017 CA-12, Sonoma. @labombanmbrone

El Coyote: Burritos reign supreme, but you can get tacos, quesadillas, burgs, and nachos as well. 1001 Broadway, Sonoma.

Los Plebes: Straight-up traditional taco truck that Healdsburg and Geyserville chefs swear by. Lytton Springs exit of Hwy. 101.

Far Off Lands

Caribbean Spices: Haitian and Caribbean cuisine including shrimp, jerk chicken tacos and island-inspired pizzas. @carribeanspicesfoodtruck

Shoubu Japanese: A former sushi chef decided that he wanted to create a more sustainable, ocean-friendly model of Japanese cuisine. You’ll find his craveable sushi burritos, homemade miso soup and other freshly made items wherever the truck is parked. Which is a little hard to find, but often at the Santa Rosa Community Farmers Market at the Veteran’s Building.

Mai Thai Kitchen: (New) Satay, pad thai, spring rolls, curry, rice bowls. The Block, PFM, @maithaikitchen

Pizza

Red Horse Pizza: A converted horse trailer is home to this pizzeria on wheels. HenHouse Brewing Co, 322 Bellevue Ave, Santa Rosa and various festivals.

Worth noting: The Block also includes a permanent resident, Firetrail Pizza, serving up wood-fired pizza.

Sandwiches

Which Cheese: Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. The Block, 101 North Brewing. @whichcheese

Black Piglet: This seasonal truck from the folks at Zazu Restaurant and Farm is all about the BLT. In their case, however, it’s The BLT, made with Black Pig Bacon, fresh tomatoes (you can pick yourself right off the vine) and aioli. Davis Family Vineyards, 52 Front St., Healdsburg. Weekends only through October.

Other trucks not based in Sonoma County, but frequently found in the North Bay include Drums and Crumbs, Fabulous Frickle Brothers, Cousin’s Maine Lobster, and Tuck Box.

Key: SROFM (Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmer’s Market at LBC), SRCFM (Santa Rosa Community Farmers Market at the Veteran’s Building), RPFM (Rohnert Park Farmer’s Market), PETFM (Petaluma Farmers Market), VMFM (Valley of the Moon Certified Farmer’s Market, Downtown Sonoma), PFM (Plaza Farmer’s Market, Sonoma), PESFM (Petaluma East Side Farmers Market), WFM(Windsor Certified Farmers Market), SRWNM (Santa Rosa Wednesday Night Market); also Food Truck Saturday at Cline Cellars, Sebastiani Winery Food Truck Friday.