It’s exciting to witness the explosion of street food across the country, whether it’s served out of trucks, trailers, wagons, carts, easy-ups, tables, or suburban garages. As a taco truck fiend originally from Redwood City, Calif. I witnessed the slow, inexorable growth of the taco truck and taqueria trade there and elsewhere in the SF Bay Area starting in the mid-80′s. During my reveries over the next two decades, I’ve delighted in spotting taquerias and trucks in towns and cities that previously had no street cuisine of any kind. The street food “genre” is growing rapidly across the country, and it’s gone way beyond the old roach coach cliche, which you probably already knew if you didn’t come across this post accidentally. And though I am particularly fetishized to the taco sub-genre, I cheer loudly for all mobile vendors.
That said, the Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday calling out the Best Food Trucks in the country. Included in the top ten are the umlautable Ã¼ber-famous Korean/Mexican fusion taco truck Kogi BBQ. I’m so jealous that I can’t go to LA and eat their short ribs that I might start Twitterbullying them! On the list too, Calexico Carne Asada in New York City makes me yearn for a perfectly executed taco de asada. They won the Vendy awards for best street vendor in NYC last year so I bet they’re way on top of their game, as all you asada fans know one must be to turn out proper tacos de asada day in and day out. Another cool looking mobile vendor in the nation’s capitol called On The Fly sports a sign that reads HOT DOGS & TACOS! Without having tried them, and noting here that those two things are my favorite foods, I must say that their sign makes me nervous. The sub tag “natural, healthy & delicious” puts fear into me as well. Putting the words hot dogs, tacos, natural, healthy and delicious together like that makes me uneasy. Though hot dogs and tacos can certainly be all those things, I would rather keep the value-based adjectives to myself when shopping for street food. However, I’m just a punk with one verified reader here, and they be on the WSJ top ten!
Over in Portland, Oregon, the writer of a very cool blog that deserves an umlaut, Food Carts Portland, hung out in Portland with the production crew of VendrTV, a web-based show that travels around documenting street food. The show was headed to San Francisco and Los Angeles after Portland. There are bound to be some taco profiles in there. Check back on FCP for a schedule of the shows. And if you didn’t know, Portland is famous for it’s street food friendly atmosphere. Check out the interesting write-up on Portland’s Food Cart Study and and the study itself: Portland’s Food Cart Study.
Here are a few photos of food carts in Portland. It was a weekend last summer. I was attending a distilling festival on the weekend and all the carts were closed. Bummer.