Food carts are the restaurants of tomorrow. Seriously, who has time to sit down and eat a meal anymore? Well, actually, while many of us slackers out there love to use eating a meal as an excuse to take a break from anything productive, many others only have time for fast food when it comes to grabbing lunch. After four years of eating the same unhealthy fast food at UCSB, it’s about time someone thought of the idea to mesh the healthy sustainable eating fad with the ever-growing, hip food-cart industry. I.S.L.A. (Incorporating Sustainable Local Agriculture) Carte has come to answer the prayers of foodies at UCSB.
Last Tuesday, I.S.L.A. Carte provided a tasting outside of the SRB with the theme “Spring into Summer.” The cart only used in-season and locally grown produce. Its menu consisted of veggie skewers, soba noodles, spring rolls and strawberry tarts, all of which were made from ingredients sourced by the Isla Vista Food Co-op. All items on the menu were vegan-friendly and offered a take on vegan food other than the stereotype of bland-tasting cuisine that usually comes with vegan menus. I ordered a spring roll and two vegetable skewers for seven dollars, a bit pricey for the amount of food, but you are paying for quality food.
The skewer consisted of roasted purple potatoes, yams, onions and zucchini, and was served with a basil and carrot-top pesto. All the veggies were exceptionally sweet, and it was perfectly simple with just the right amount of pesto for a delicious fresh flavor. My main complaint is that the skewer was basically ice cold. I expected it to be warm because it was served to me out of a hot plate, but it seemed like it was taken right out of a refrigerator. However, I actually did not mind that it was chilled because it was a hot day; but still, it was unexpected.
The spring roll was my favorite of the two. It was light and filled with tofu, pickled carrots, cucumber, red cabbage and radish. The roll had a nice crunch to every bite. The spring roll was bigger than expected, but I was still craving more when I was done with the last bite. A peanut sauce was evenly spread throughout the roll, so each bite had a bit of its taste, but no bite was overwhelmingly sauced. This spring roll had a delicious ginger taste which mixed with the sweet peanut sauce and created a whirlpool of flavor that still remained refreshingly simple. I would definitely recommend shelling out the three dollars for this on a hot day.
I.S.L.A. Carte is put on by the I.S.L.A. Student Collective, and their end goal is to provide an on-campus food truck with locally based, sustainable foods. They also aim to promote less resource-intensive ingredients to the UCSB community and are happy to talk about their food with all their customers. It would definitely fill a need for a new fresh and natural food option on campus. Next I.S.L.A. Carte tasting will be at First Friday and will include a different menu. There is a 50 cent discount off of your meal when you bring your own container so as to minimize waste.