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A culinary (and digital!) revolution

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 by beau

For those of you who don’t live in Portland OR, we are known for many things, including our ever-growing collection of food carts. I’m not talking about the hot dog cart on the corner, but what I call gourmet food carts.

Food carts have the advantage of supporting small, locally-owned businesses and small start-ups that might not have the capital or credit to open up their own full-fledged restaurants. That said, food carts are not restaurants! With limited hours, lack of indoor (and sometimes any) seating, and small menus, they complement rather than compete with full-scale restaurants.

Set up in parking lots, sidewalks, and sometimes in large “pods”, food carts offer you the potential to nosh on a fresh tortilla Baja fish taco one day, a rib-sticking bowl of traditional goulash the next, have a coffee and pastry for an afternoon snack, and then take home a giant Indian combo plate for dinner. If you ever come to Portland, check out my favorite, Whiffies Fried Pies.

But while the food cart business may be thriving, they’re not always easy to find. Enter social media. By using a combination of Twitter and GPS, several apps are here to help you find the sometimes-elusive food cart of your dreams. Here are four of my favorites:

1) Food Truck Fiesta (for the Washington, DC area)

2) Eat St. (iTunes link)

3) Roaming Hunger

4) Road Stoves GPS

And if you’re in Portland, don’t forget about Food Carts Portland, an exhaustive compendium of all of the food carts available in the Rose City. Have fun, and happy eating!

- Steve Murphy - CFO, Cyber Acoustics

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