I'm not sure if the trend started in Portland but I'm going to argue Portland now does it better than any other place in the country.
We have the naked bike riders who keep congregating under the Joan of Arc statue in my neighborhood, the yoga enthusiasts (count me in on that trend), the urban farmers whose chickens have resulted in urban coyotes on the urban hunt but most importantly we have our food carts.
Portland is a food lover's town. Which is lucky for me because I can be counted in on that trend too. I'm a food adventurist. If it's fresh and looks appetizing, it's for me.
Enter Portland's food carts.
I know PDX didn't invent the food cart. Carts in NYC selling unleaded coffee and doughnuts have long been a staple. And I learned the hard way to avoid street food in Southeast Asia. A side note here, it's always best to avoid unidentifiable meat on sticks purchased from carts lacking refrigeration.
Most of them are reliably stationary. I can bike over to Belmont Street any day of the week with Child #2 in tow, pick up his favorite macaroni and cheese, which is so good it should be illegal, and a fancy-ish salad with fresh figs, honey and goat cheese for me.
The PDX food carts raise the bar on the whole food scene. It's like the minor leagues of the culinary world. If you wander through the cart settlement camps you might just discover the next darling of the food world preparing homemade ice cream or pork belly sandwiches.
Last week I placed an order for a vegan Portand bowl. The man at the window took my name and told me to pick it up around the corner at the pick-up window. I complied and walked around the corner where the same man greeted me.
"Orders on the other side," he said.
"Right, I just did."
"Cool. Do you have a name."
"Johanna," I repeated, even though I was the only customer and had given him my name no less than thirty seconds ago.
"Awesome, that's right. I remember you now," he said as he handed me my food. "Peace. Enjoy."
It was the true flavor of Portland, in more ways than one.