Guest Author - Erin Floresca
One of my dreams is to own a large piece of land and put a bunch of repurposed vintage RVs on it. I envision them "circling the wagons" around a large garden courtyard in the middle. My gourmet kitchen could be a 1957 Shasta! My living room? Perhaps a 1967 Winnebago would do nicely. Guest quarters could be located in a 1969 Holiday Rambler adjacent to my tiny yoga studio housed in a 1936 Bowlus.
I love the idea of salvaging vehicles, restoring them, and putting them to good use. So imagine my delight living in Portland, Oregon as the food cart explosion bursts onto the scene. Right now, there are around 200 food carts serving up delectable cuisine in the Portland metro area. Some of the food carts stand alone, but more often you will find them clustered together in "pods" on empty lots in neighborhoods all over the city. Instead of my dream courtyard, these pods feature food court style outdoor dining areas.
Food carts have evolved from the plain old hot dog carts and ice cream trucks--they now come in all shapes and sizes. There are big trucks, little trucks, utility trailers and school buses; why, thereís even a double decker bus. But the ones I get most excited about are the classic RVs.
Take for example, the vintage 1969 Silver Streak travel trailer that is now Fuego de Lotus, featuring Venezuelan inspired dishes like the tasty black bean Arepas. Silver Streak travel trailers, founded in 1948, used to be a competitor of the Airstream. The last Silver Streak custom built trailer was made in 1997.
Another cool cart is Fuegoís pod neighbor, Solar Waffle Works, which is a solar-powered waffle cart. This eco-friendly, socially conscious, all volunteer run cart uses 400 watts of solar modules to power about half of itís electrical usage. Portland area at-risk youth are the volunteers that run the food cart.
Want to feel the allure of the Deep South in the Pacific Northwest? Moxie RX, a funkadelic, kitschy, Kenskill tin can features a dining shed covered by a corrugated tin roof and offers delicious elixirs like Mexican iced coffee along with a lovely variety of yummy treats to nosh on as well.
A darling, bright green, 1968 Aloha travel trailer is now a food cart called Porridge, which serves up tasty soups, salads and sandwiches. Plus, all proceeds from the sales of their scrumptious seasonal lemonades help send Portland area kids affected by HIV to Camp Kindle.
Located directly across from the Aloha is a shiny, 17 foot long, 1971 Airstream now dubbed Zenbu, an Asian-inspired food cart that offers appetizing dishes such as crispy spring rolls, sushi, miso soup and Szechuan green beans.
Sip Juice Cart, a 1960ís-something, petite lilí Airstream offers a tasty variety of beverages, including straw-suckingly good vegan milkshakes in all flavors.
And this is just a very small sampling of the many RVs that have now been converted into food carts to serve up hungry Portlanders. Itís really all quite amazing. RVers who are passing through Portland, Oregon should do themselves a favor and tour the food carts of Portland. Itís a culinary adventure that you wonít want to miss!