Seabirds Truck: Contains No Actual Birds

Seabirds Truck: Contains No Actual Birds
Dave Lieberman

I am an unabashed carnivore. I love to eat meat. The chances of my going vegetarian or, God forbid, vegan, are slim to none. That said, I also love vegetables, and I love people who do creative things with vegetables. Great things done to plant matter are one of the hallmarks of a truly serious chef.

I was curious, then, when the Seabirds truck pulled up to Bootlegger's Brewery last week. (Did I mention that in addition to meat, I also love beer?) Once I read the menu, I had to try it. I mean, who makes jackfruit tacos?

Seabirds specializes in local, organic, vegan food. The "local" means local--the truck is based in Irvine and the bulk of their produce comes from Tanaka Farms, off of Jeffrey Road.

The veggie burrito reminded me of burrito night at my vegetarian father-in-law's house: spiced beans and sautéed veggies wrapped up in a large flour tortilla. This was substantial enough to be lunch by itself, but I wanted some crazier vegetables: zucchini and bell peppers were fine, but why not something dark and leafy green?

Sweet potato fries were crispy and meaty enough to taste like sweet potatoes; a little more salt would have been nice. Corn salad with avocado, tomato and onion was a better choice for a side dish.

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We ordered one of each taco. the jerk tofu was good but extremely aggressively spiced; it and its dressing (onion, cilantro, red salsa and lime juice) overwhelmed the delicate taste of the tofu.

I viewed the deep-fried avocado taco with grave suspicion--the last time I had cooked avocadoes was a disaster of a pizza at Pat and Oscar's--but when I bit into it I was very surprised. The avocado was still creamy, and went perfectly (if not especially healthily) with cabbage, onion and a tangy tequila sauce.

Tell me this isn't chicken, just by looking.
Tell me this isn't chicken, just by looking.
Dave Lieberman

The winner, however, was the jackfruit taco, made from a Southeast Asian fruit more familiar to me in canned, be-syruped form. This was cooked so that it was slightly stringy. Mixed with a green salsa, it was absolutely a dead ringer for chicken tinga; I dare you to do a blind tasting of chicken and jackfruit in the same sauce and tell me which is which.

The Seabirds truck also gets props for getting the food out relatively quickly. Only a few minutes elapsed between my orders and my food's arrival, which tells me that they run a tight ship and an efficient commissary.

The Seabirds Truck usually hangs around Irvine; you can follow its whereabouts by checking their website or their Twitter feed.

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