Last night, after spending some time at the Doug Fir, a strangely calculated and even more strangely attended bar in SE Portland, we headed off to SE 12th and Hawthorne to check out some more food carts on a friend’s recommendation. Good late night grub. It was when we pulled up across the street and saw the bustling scene, complete with white lights on strings and numerous picnic tables, that I realized how big the food cart movement is in Portland.

I guess it makes perfect sense, if you have a large number of small, local food producers, that they might band together and create this kind of environment. Running a food cart (even for nearly 20 hours a day, which is how long these carts are open) must be significantly cheaper than renting permanent space. And by clumping the carts together, you’re each benefitting from the others’ popularity. I’m not sure how well-loved they are by the neighboring businesses (someone’s car got towed from a nearby parking lot while we were there, the poor girl running down the street yelling a friend’s name with a cone of Belgian style fries in her hand) but it is a fairly sparsely populated area, and so they must benefit from the foot traffic at least a little.


I had a crepe with ham and gruyere, and Brian had a Philly cheesesteak. We shared a delicious vanilla milkshake. I didn’t have my trusty camera with me, so I used my favorite iPhone application, “Shake It”, to get a few Polaroid-esque shots.