Food on the Road: Califarmia is unforgettable

Califarmia Food Truck provides a welcomed break from the dining hall, serving up homestyle, international bowls with farm-fresh ingredients.

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Emery Little

Califarmia serves up fan favorites.

Veronica Tadross, Staff Writer

Satisfying both our stress and our stomachs was exactly Vanderbilt Campus Dining’s goal when they launched a new program to bring food trucks to campus daily for lunch and dinner. Whether you’re at Branscomb Quad or the Ingram Commons, you’re bound to find tasty and unique cuisine only a meal swipe (and maybe a short line) away. In this series, we’ll be reviewing the various visiting trucks—and providing mouth-watering photos, because our phones always eat first. Duh.

Repetitive dining hall food has certainly left us craving an international feast. Luckily, Califarmia, a farm-fresh food catering truck, has been gracing Vanderbilt’s campus with its presence over the past few weeks with healthy and trendy food.

Califarmia is a farm-fresh food truck that is simultaneously everything and nothing you’d expect from a food truck with this name. The truck prides itself on creating dishes with only the freshest ingredients, many straight from our neighbors in Tennessee. However, while you might anticipate salads and vegan specialties from a truck named after the Golden State, it actually serves up Asian-Mexican fusion in a variety of colorful bowls.

When I indulged, the menu offered everything from the Coconut Bang Bang Bowl with chicken and toasted coconut to a Burrito Bowl featuring classic Mexican flavors. Although only a condensed version of their full menu was available, there were nevertheless some great options to try out before heading back to Peabody to hit the books.

Califarmia Food Truck serves a Chicken Teriyaki Bowl with chips and salsa on Alumni Lawn.
(Hustler Staff/Veronica Tadross)

I ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl. Each meal comes with fresh tortilla chips and queso or salsa to munch on while you wait for your food (Rand, take notes).

My bowl came quickly and certainly didn’t betray my expectations. Warm rice was piled high with cubed teriyaki chicken, fresh vegetables and scallion garnish. After taking pictures from multiple angles while people stared at me in front of Alumni Hall (check out @foodby__veronica on Instagram to see more of them), I dug in.

The chicken was tender and flavorful and paired well with the rice and cabbage. However, the carrots were a bit bland, and the bowl could have benefited from more flavorful toppings like edamame or mango. But, how much can one ask from a food truck with limited resources? Califarmia was definitely one of the most friendly and well-thought-out dining experiences I’ve had here—no wonder the line’s always so long.

When it’s not parked near Alumni Lawn or Commons, Califarmia can be found at Franklin Farmers Market, at other locations in Old Hickory and Brentwood or at weddings and other private events. These locations and more are great opportunities to try some of the items from their extended menu, such as Asian BBQ Tacos or Blackened Chicken Biscuits.

Until then, I’ll see you at Alumni Lawn as I feast on some of the other colorful bowls that Califarmia brings us straight from the Golden State.