Two Curly Fries, One Foie Gras Sandwich, and a Shot of Makers To Go
There are a couple of women who travel SE Portland pulling along a cooler filled with tamales. They stop in at Stumptown on Belmont and sometimes I buy a couple. They’re pretty good and homemade. You can’t help but admire their plucky entrepreneurship....
There are a couple of women who travel SE Portland pulling along a cooler filled with tamales. They stop in at Stumptown on Belmont and sometimes I buy a couple. They’re pretty good and homemade. You can’t help but admire their plucky entrepreneurship. It’s right for Portland – unexpected and outlaw-ish.
They call it making a living by selling food to hungry people. That idea just might catch on. Imagine our streets with a steady flow of food coolers inching their way like ants, selling fruit loop doughnuts or Brazilian kefta kabobs or some such. What a new and exciting food movement that might be – so underground, so edgy. Are we not the shit? The New York Times would be all over it.
Of course our food cart operators might make a bit of a fuss. “Why should they get to compete with me while paying no rent, or gas? It’s dammed unfair.” The city council would have to be involved and what was a grass roots, owner-run trend would become regulated, which is another way of saying “Uhh, hold on there”.
Well, what goes around…
Food carts in this town are moving on up. Operators are becoming employers. They’re building decks and setting up tents with infrared heaters. They are even, I hear, attempting to add beer and wine to their menus. Shelter, seating warmth and booze, the former preserve of restaurants, are increasingly the rule rather than the exception.
And restaurants owners do take exception. Not too loudly yet, because they’re really cool with it (“Really, we are”). But soon, as soon as the first truck gets its liquor license (yes people, it’s in the works), I suspect food trucks will start getting the evil eye.
Is that cynical? Rather, is that too cynical? I mean, we do seem to get along, mostly. Fine dining patiently ignores anyone not eligible for a James Beard Award, or at least merely grumbles, “Wine bars, everybody’s got to open a fucking wine bar.” And this is as it should be. We understand that we all would like a piece of that food dollar and don’t begrudge each other the niche that gives them access to it.
So as long as food truck customers have to stand in the rain, or do without air conditioning, what’s the problem? But just stop with the architecture and the amenities please – just the truck. And keep that engine running. A ceiling is not what we mean by overhead. Don’t try to be restaurants. You’ll be starting table service and tasting menus next. Don’t even think about courses. Please, leave us something. And no alcohol – drinkers need some containment; imagine, letting them wander all over the place. It’s sloppy.
And if you’re successful, don’t rub it in. And as soon as you get a hankering for tableware and mood lighting give me a call. Maybe you can take over my lease.