It seems that food trucks are popping up all over Kauai as quickly as mushrooms in the forest after a good rain.
Speaking of mushrooms, today’s culinary adventure to one such food truck took place along the main drag on Kauai’s East Side in Kapaa--in the parking lot of the tired Kojima grocery store, of all places.
The professionally-painted, custom-made food truck (read: not a cheap paint-over of a hand-me-down) appeared about a month ago with its short name of two letters centered in a graphic of a bright sun: BE.
With a name like “BE,” I wondered what kind of food it would serve. Was the name a play off the current life advice, “Be Here Now?” A reminder to stay focused in the present moment? A prompt to unshackle the monkey mind of thoughts that hijack our attention and make us deaf to the rustle of palm fronds and blind to the variegated hibiscus flowers as big as dinner plates right in front of us? And if that was the case, would BE Food Truck Café serve vegetarian—daresay, vegan—food? If so, I wanted to be their first customer.
Turns out, “BE” stands for Bill and Eric, the two friends who dreamed up the adventure and opened the food truck three weeks ago. And, no, their menu is not entirely vegetarian, but there was a tantalizing Portobello mushroom sandwich, the taste memory of which will get me to return again and again. I’ll try to wait a day or two, though.
The sandwich was one of Eric’s specialties, something he’s been perfecting, he said, for several years. The secret, I learned, was marinating the mushroom for a couple days in balsamic vinegar; then, grilling and serving it with roasted red peppers, red onions, and feta cheese between a sliced taro bun.
For meat eaters, the changing day’s menu included a BE.L.T. sandwich, made with fried, green tomatoes, a chunky cut of bacon, some maple syrup and, of course, lettuce. They were also serving fried chicken—between two waffles—and burgers.
The guys are a friendly duo, with Bill handling the back of truck duties while I was there. He’d visited Kauai earlier in the year, and after four days, decided to vacate his home and personal chef career in Arizona for life—and a food truck—on Kauai. He convinced Eric (or maybe it was Eric who convinced Bill, I’m not really sure) to leave his front-of-house restaurant career that spanned nearly a decade on Kauai to join him.
If BE didn’t turn out to be quite what I had imagined—much to my delight, I might add—another food truck a short jaunt down the street served up pretty much what I was expecting of BE.
Gopal’s Creperie serves vegetarian crepes—both sweet and savory—and their vibe includes a spiritual bent toward India, although their menu reads more American. On the savory side, there are crepes with locally-made pesto, tomatoes and feta cheese; gingered lentil with feta cheese; and sundried tomato spread with olives, basil and goat cheese.
The sweet crepes get a little more creative, especially the tasty licorice and lavender one. Their sweet crepes feature tastes for which Hawaii is known—mango with dark chocolate; creamed coconut with dark chocolate; mac nut butter with apple banana and local, raw honey.
But, for me, what I really liked about Gopal’s Creperie was its chef/cashier/waiter/owner Gadhai, a man as sweet as any crepe you’d ever find.
If you go: The mushrooming of food trucks is happening across Kauai but particularly so in Kapaa, just down the street from two Outrigger-managed condominium resorts—Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort and Spa, and Outrigger at Lae nani. As mentioned above, BE Food Truck Café is located in the Kojima’s Grocery Store parking lot. Gopal’s Creperie is located on the south side of Otsuka’s Furniture store, along with El Pastor Tacos and Happy Snacks. On the north side of Otsuka’s , there are Paco’s Tacos and Little Greek Town. A couple miles north, there is the Green Pig, across from Kealia Beach. And you never know what will pop up after the next rain;-)
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