Portland: The Street Food Mecca
While other cities seem to have laws hindering street food expansion, it's like Portland has a BRING IT ON law. Since 2007, Food Carts Portland has been documenting the city's proliferation of sidewalk noshing— it is indeed the street food mecca to end all street food meccas.
The Use of Twitter
In May we compiled a list of street vendors on Twitter (sTweet vendors?), but as more commenters have chimed in, the directory has become a crazy web of regional vendors, hence our inspiration to launch the Street Food Profiles series. (So far only one vendor interviewed was sans Twitter account.)
Kogi's Cult Following
Back in February we chatted with them about the menu: tacos (short rib, spicy pork, and spicy citrus chicken), Kogi dogs (meat on meat!), the pictured kimchi quesadillas, and more. We followed them around for a day, learned about their sometimes-drunk vagabond customers, and queued up ourselves (with 200 others) when they briefly visited New York.
The Vendy Awards
The winner of the Vendy Cup (announced by emcee, and our very own, Ed Levine) was Brooklyn's Country Boys taco truck from the Red Hook ballfields, run by husband-and-wife team Fernando and Yolanda Martinez. They totally deserved it too. It doesn't get much better than their tasty Mexican goodness: huaraches (oblong wads of masa tortillas filled with beans, meat, shredded lettuce, fresh guacamole, and joy), tacos, and quesadillas.
Old Schools vs. Hipster Newcomers
But now you have the hipster vendors (code for fancypants and tech-savvy) rolling in, feeling all entitled to a certain nook on a block. And surprise surprise, the hot dog vendors don't likey. (As was the case when the Street Sweets truck showed up in front of the MoMa.) The new breed has so many more resources: Twitter, food blog chatter, Facebook, and PR firms, plus their customers are more willing to trek for them.
Perhaps new vendors need to be a bit more patient and pay their dues first? Think of the
children veteran Sno-Cone dude with the bright blue syrup. [Original photo: Zach Brooks]