21
Jul
10

Food on Wheels

I love my German sausages fresh out of a van

Don’t you love it when you can get your enchiladas and fresh guacamole right out of the back of a van equipped with a mega stove and the cooking capacity of a small restaurant?

I do, and apparently so does the mayor, because within a few weeks his office will propose rules to make street vending- like food trucks- easier to set up.

Although Seattleites and visitors love this proposed deal, restaurant owners are not too happy about the idea. It’s to bad for them, because this post is about the awesomeness that is the glowing orb of the food truck, not the competitors.

While visiting our flannel-heavy and shaving-light southern friends in Portland I had the food truck experience of a lifetime. More pictures after the jump- no salivating on your keyboard please.

One of my favorites

Portland has over 575 food trucks stationed around the city, compared to Seattle’s measly 119 (though that small number includes the efforts of Molly Moon Neitzel, owner of two Seattle ice cream shops, who just recruited five newbies to run an ice cream truck that provides  the frozen goodness to everything from corporate events to birthday parties).  But this is all likely to change with the soon-to-be-proposed loosening some of the outrageous rules and requirements that make it difficult to get close to the crowds.

Permitting and parking make make it tough for street vendors in Seattle, since they are only allowed to park on private property. In other cities, such as New York, owners can obtain permits to park in most public spots.

Portland’s street vending is incredibly user friendly. You can check out the Food Carts Portland website to find out who sells an “Indecent wet hot beef sandwich” and even use a

Great place to pick up the ladies......

Google maps feature to pinpoint the exact location. The website also categorizes the food trucks by cuisine so it’s super simple to find that pesky gluten free option or your late night pastry fix.

Around the world from Bangkok to Zimbabwe, snack shacks have been promoting local businesses and small start ups for years. I don’t know why has it taken so long for the US to catch up. Food carts allow those who would normally not have enough funds to open a (pseudo) restaurant. They also have the added benefit of diversifying what community members can eat through their varied offerings.

But there’s a growing movement here in the US:  New York City recently held the annual “Vendy Awards” that is actually a fundraiser for Street Vendor Project, a non-profit that provides legal support to NYC vendors. Food cart advocates have expanded that activism to include a petition against an anti-food truck bill in New York that revokes a food truck permit if a vendor receives more than three parking tickets in a year! crazy! You can check out and sign the petition here.

As with everything else, the Internet has also changed the world of food trucks. Ever since Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles started to “tweet” their location, operators have been posting their information on Twitter and sending texts to their followers. This has greatly increased Kogi’s revenue and popularity.

There’s a lot of great things about food trucks. Best of all, the cheap prices allow you to get more bang for your buck! boom!

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