Well it's Spring, at least according to the calendar and Portland starts becoming a more interesting place again. The warm weather always brings out the crazies and the festivals start popping up on the agenda. Last weekend was a busy one. The Spring Beer and Wine Festival happened as did Eat Mobile, a festival featuring food carts. The former was fun as always. I like the more free-form arrangement of the festival in the convention center. You don't have to stand in tightly formed queues smashed in with all of humanity. You walk up to tables and even talk to people who make the beer, not just volunteers. That said, the selection isn't quite as wide as the Summer and Winter fests. I still think it's my favorite. It was the first I ever attended, even before we moved here. It, in part, helped convince me that Portland was somewhere I could live. It's a definite plus for Portland.
Portland is a food cart mecca. I am an OCD germ freak. Food carts scare me. I could get food poisoning;I could contract a horrible disease! There are perhaps 2 carts in this city I will actually visit. Scott, the ironed gulleted adventuresome eater, wants to eat at them all the time. How could we rectify this situation? The Eat Mobile event held by Willamette Week seemed the answer. I could try carts that were presumably reputable (as reputable as a food cart can be) and therefore not be so squeamish about it.
Sadly the whole thing was less than organized. It was impossible to get samples from every cart. Two hours in and we had only eaten 14 samples. There were 36 carts. The lines were long and so slow. Most carts seemed incapable of preparing a high number of samples at a time. When Scott and I realized that 2 hours had passed and we still had 20 carts to go we made an executive decision. We decided to select carts that we were truly interested in. It seemed like a solution but no... food carts are notoriously poorly organized. With an hour left over 12 carts were completely out of food. The event had a set attendance, they knew how much to make, how did they run out? Clearly they didn't plan properly. What's funny is that one of my favorite carts, one I used to think was incompetently run, actually had enough food. So Koi Fusion while I still think you have a lot of room to grow as a business, kudos to you for actually planning properly for this event. And thank you for that chicken wing, it was one of the most delicious things I ate at the event.
So Scott and I left and headed to Olympic Provisions to share a chef's selection of yummy meats. Just enough food to make up for all the carts we missed and truthfully better than most of what I ate at Eat Mobile. What I learned from Eat Mobile is that there are food carts with decent food, but very few are well run. Just pick ones you know you like and tolerate the less than stellar way the business is run, at least your belly will be happy.
This weekend holds more adventures with a Belgian Beer Festival and a Fair held by the Society for Creative Anachronism. If all goes well, I'll blog about them next week.
Obligatory shot of Scott with his mug at beer fest