Two Jewish food trucks roll onto the scene but they’re for Google only

Here’s yet another reason why you wish you worked for Google: A new food truck operation at the company’s Mountain View headquarters includes not one but two Jewish-centric eateries on wheels.

New York Delhi and Old World Delicatessen are part of a fleet of 14 food trucks serving the Googleplex daily. The food is free, just as it is at the other 20-plus cafés at Google.

Rather than being run by independent operators, these trucks are run by the Whole Cart, an enterprise started last year by Off the Grid founder Matt Cohen. While Off the Grid organizes public food truck gatherings around the Bay Area, the Whole Cart milieu is corporate catering. Starting with Google means meeting Google’s high standards for food services, such as “responsible sourcing, portion size and a plant-centric diet,” Cohen told Business Insider.

The game plan is to have a rotating group of 25 trucks exclusively serving Google by the end of 2016, Stephanie Faro-Kuo, the Whole Cart’s corporate operations director, told me. But sorry, she added, the general public won’t get to eat from any of them — a dagger to the heart and to the taste buds.

I will now go on to describe two Jewish food trucks you’ll probably never get to try. Continue reading at the risk of developing hunger pangs.

Two new food trucks are serving up free Jewish specialties at Google. photos/courtesy the whole cart

First, there’s New York Delhi, which fuses Indian cuisine with a New York deli. Among the menu items, there’s corned beef biryani (corned beef brisket, fried egg, basmati rice, cashews and raisins), a Reuben Mehta (corned lamb with cilantro raita and tamarind chutney on a challah bun) and a chicken soup with chicken and vegetable pakora (fritters).

“The concept was really born from the catchy name,” the truck’s creator, Daniel Azarkman, told me. He’s an operations manager at the Whole Cart. “Google had asked us to develop an Indian mash-up and we got to brainstorming when I recalled this ‘New York Delhi’ idea I’d been keeping in my back pocket for years.”

Azarkman, 29, of San Francisco, didn’t develop the menu, but he offered a few suggestions to get things rolling. Looking for similarities between the two cuisines, he equated cream cheese with paneer, latkes with aloo tikki, sour cream with raita, and matzah with papadum.

His favorite menu item is the “everything” naan, an Indian-style flatbread seasoned like an everything bagel then topped with a palak-paneer “schmear,” smoked salmon and dill cream. Palak paneer is an Indian veggie dish of spinach and farmer’s cheese in a thick, spicy green sauce.

Meanwhile, the Old World Delicatessen truck was developed in a different manner: The Whole Cart planning team worked hand-in-hand with Kenny Hockert, who created and operated the Old World Food Truck in the Bay Area from 2011 to 2014.

“We acquired his name and consulted with him for about six months on the menu,” Faro-Kuo said. “We wanted to keep the integrity of his original concept alive.” Hockert, who is Jewish, is no longer involved.

The menu includes classic Jewish deli sandwiches, such as pastrami and corned beef Reubens. There’s also a veggie “pastrami” sandwich made with Portobello mushrooms that have been marinated in pastrami spices; it’s served on rye with braised cabbage, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese.

One of Hockert’s signature items, the Chicken Schnitzel-wich — which earned a spot on a few “best sandwich” lists — is among the choices. It’s served on a baguette and made with crispy chicken, caraway honey, horseradish cream, pickled red onions, and cabbage and carrot slaw.

A “falafel concept” truck will be introduced early next year, Faro-Kuo told me, and then I asked about a kosher truck. “There hasn’t been any discussion,” she replied, “although it’s certainly a possibility. Our culinary program has been quite robust and shows no sign of boundaries or limitations.”

LEFTOVERS: By the time you read this, the new parklet in front of Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen in Berkeley should be up and running, just in time for the nice, sunny weather (not!). The parklet will be used not only by Saul’s customers, but also by patrons of other local businesses and visitors to the nearby Thursday farmers market … According to Tablehopper, Wise Sons Bagel in the Fillmore is on track for a December opening. Baking of rye and other items is taking place at the new Wise Sons location at 1520 Fillmore St. (near Geary), but the public area of the shop is still somewhat a mess, according to one of the owners … Two book events in San Francisco this weekend will feature smoked fish, shmears and pickles transported from Russ & Daughters in New York City, and malted rye bagels baked by artisan breadmeister Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery. The $60 price tag also includes a copy of Danny Bowien’s new “Mission Chinese Cookbook” and an appearance by Bowien. He is a co-founder of Mission Chinese Food, where the events will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15. For more info, visit www.mcfsf.bpt.me … A tip of the kippah to Jewish deli stalwart Adam Mesnick of San Francisco’s Deli Board and Rye Project, whose recipe for a “Cheesegiving” sandwich appears in the November issue of Bon Appétit magazine. The recipe (www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cheesegiving) resuscitates leftover turkey by combining it with a cheese sauce and garlic butter … Stealing from East Bay Express food writer Luke Tsai, I present ICYMI: my article last week on the impending closure of another local kosher restaurant, the Jerusalem Grill and Bar in the South Bay (“Another Bay Area kosher restaurant shuts its doors”).  ICYMI, by the way, is “in case you missed it” … Here’s a “this just in” note for my online readers only (this didn’t make it into this week’s print edition): The next pop-up for Shegetz Bagel (which serves N.Y.-style bagels hot and fresh right out of the oven) is slated for Sunday, Nov. 22 in San Francisco. It’s not even on their website yet, but that’s still a good place to turn for more information (www.shegetzbagel.com).

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Send hot tips and out-of-the-way finds to Andy Altman-Ohr at andy@jweekly.com.

Andy Altman-Ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr is J.'s former managing editor and former Hardly Strictly Bagels food columnist. He lives and writes in Mexico.