San Jose, CA: Second Helping of SJ Eats was Much Easier to Digest

Treatbot Food Truck "The karaoke equipment can be seen mounted on the inside back door of the truck."
Treatbot Food Truck "The karaoke equipment can be seen mounted on the inside back door of the truck."

The second time around was much tastier for SJ Eats, the gourmet food truck festival that took place Saturday in downtown San Jose.

There was plenty of breathing room. No overcrowding problems or long, confusing lines like the ones that marred the first event in April. Organizer Ryan Sebastian — who owns the Treatbot karaoke ice cream truck — worked with the still-in-progress San Pedro Public Market to use more street space and open the Peralta Adobe courtyard.

In addition to a mobile foodie’s dream, it provided a nice preview of the kind of vibe the public market could have when it finally opens. There were families pushing strollers, a band playing a few feet from San Jose’s oldest structure and lots of coordinated capitalism going on.

Sure, there were a lot fewer people than last time, a horde of hungry stomachs that Sebastian estimated at 10,000. This time it was closer to 4,000, but you’ve got to figure that folks had a much better experience and are more likely to come back for another helping.

MYSTERY SOLVED: Every Friday the 13th, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose invites a community leader to ring the mansion’s tower bell 13 times at 1300 hours, to honor Sarah Winchester’s preoccupation with the number 13. The ominous date hits this week, and the ringer will be Judy Whittier, director of community relations for the Bill Wilson Center in Santa Clara.

The center, which works with homeless and at-risk youth in Santa Clara County, also will receive a check for $1,341 — representing the amount collected from coins thrown into the Winchester House’s fountains during the past year.

There also will be rare evening flashlight tours of the sprawling landmark that night for those who dare.

REP HELPS OUT: The best reason to go to the theater this week may be the San Jose Rep’s world-premiere production of Philip Kan Gotanda’s “Love in American Times.” Thursday is “Pay What You Will Night,” and any donation given for a ticket will go to the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California’s Japan earthquake relief fund. The suggested donation is $10.

Tickets are available only at the box office at 101 Paseo de San Antonio. Get details on the show at

OOPS: I mixed up the times for this week’s appearances by E.L. Doctorow at San Jose State’s University Theatre. His reading and book signing take place Tuesday at 7 p.m., and the conversation with Andrew Altschul is at 1 p.m. Wednesday.