Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Portland's Food Cart Craze in Print!

Everyone knows by now that Portland is the queen of the new food cart craze, with more than 500 food carts, some of them clustered into "food pods" and others taking a more solitary approach. Now, two local authors have pulled together a big picture look at this new industry in a book entitled Cartopia: Portland's Food Cart Revolution, by Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy. (And it's cart-opia, not car-topia!)

Kelly with the one E and Kelley with the second E come from the world of urban planning and now are "making it their life mission to make cool stuff happen in Portland." They've already started down that track with this book, published by their very own publishing company, Roy Rodgers Press (once again, cool).

The book,w hich is based on research and more than 40 interviews with food cart operators, city personnel, and urban planners, is organized into four major sections:
  1. The phenomenon of food carts
  2. Why here? Why now?
  3. How food carts are changing the urban landscape
  4. The guide, divided into SW, NW, SE, NE, and North Portland neighborhoods.
Clearly, this last section is a moving target, as carts and pods come and go and move around, so they opted to "highlight the city's most popular and distinctive food cart pods, showcasing vendor and architectural highlights as well as great food, of course." To get more up-to-date information on carts, their whereabouts and their hours of operation, visit

Some friends of mine recently ate at the food pod on the corner of North Vancouver Avenue and Fremont Street and said it was delicious, the servings ample and the service delightful. I think Cartopia would make a great gift for just about anyone in your life who likes to eat (! Who doesn't?!), and be sure to pick up a copy for yourself as well.

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