Last year I found good vegetarian sandwiches at The Dandelion, an all-vegetarian and sometime-vegan food cart that parked just off the Square on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. A grilled tofu sandwich and a portobello mushroom Reuben had a tendency to fall apart, but were very satisfying.
This year, the bright green cart is back, and with an entirely new menu.
The menu is more adventuresome than last year's and goes more deeply into vegetables. I was all set to go for the sweet potato wrap when the woman ahead of me in line ordered the stuffed pepper, which looked so beautiful as it was handed out to her in its little cardboard basket that I had to follow suit.
A poblano pepper is stuffed with artichoke cream cheese and diced veggies and served on a corn husk, with a side of "cumin rice" and a side of scrambled tofu. These two sides tended to run into each other somewhat, not unpleasantly. The tofu had a peanutty flavor; new potatoes, peppers, black-eyed peas, onions and other bits of pepper and corn cilantro lent the sides a vaguely southwestern flair. The scramble (available on its own, too as part of the breakfast sandwich) was so good it almost overshadowed the stuffed pepper, which was rich and mellow, not spicy hot. The cream-cheese/artichoke filling may have been a little too mild, but overall the dish with its sides had plenty of flavor. If the pepper were served solo, though, it could have used a more distinctive cheese for its filling.
The sweet potato wrap features a good balance of flavors, with baked sweet potato, peppers, pesto and gouda cheese inside a flour tortilla; it's served with a side of corn chips.
The San Juaquin wrap is more like a bean-and-tofu burrito, with chilies, onions, tomatoes and kale in a tortilla. The creamy chickpea sandwich is more like a hummus sandwich on ciabatta bread.
Everything is priced between $6 and $7, with the exception of the best value, the yummy side order of veggies and tofu, just $3. Cap it all off with a homemade peanut butter cup, 75 cents.
So the MLK cart population looks a lot like last year's, with Dandelion and last fall's late arriver LMNO Pie's pasty cart, returning, but no Mad Dog's and, sadly, no Indian curries from Spice Yatra. Spice Yatra, where are you?