I’ve mentioned before that I have a bit of a food obsession (and Roger recently divulged my baking prowess), so I hope you’ll tolerate a digression for our usual policy bent to discuss a phenomenon that brings together two things nearest and dearest to my heart—good food and common sense sustainability solutions

You can read the scoop at the Stranger, but the gist is that the seven-year street food ban in downtown Seattle has been lifted. And the masses rejoiced!

I hail from Portland, and when I moved to Seattle I was perplexed—where were the city lots packed with street food vendors: tricked out RVs, gutted third-wheels, tin shacks on tires? Where were the 3rd and Starks or the 10th and Alders? Even a small town like Walla Walla has half a dozen taco trucks roaming the streets.

Behold: the answer in all its porcine glory:

Pig Bus

Portland food cartsThe news that the city of Seattle is actively working to bring back street vendors was music to my (and many on Sightline staff’s) ears. It’s not just that they provide cheap, quick, and diverse food (it’s like a mini United Nations, tucked into a single city block). There’s something about a line of culinary carts that represents smart urban living: an array of affordable selections—walkable for thousands of downtown workers (not to mention the delight of seeing steaming gyros being delivered from a spot once occupied by parked cars).

I don’t think I’m alone on this one. Do any of our cousins from more street food-friendly places care to weigh in? How does street food compare across Cascadia? Vancouver, BC? Vancouver, WA? Salem? Spokane? Missoula?

PS. Some pictures of food cart centers—like the one above—would make a great addition to Sightline’s Flickr photopool. Send ’em our way—with your culinary critique!

Update 11:30am: The Wall Street Journal has a tantalizing take on this issue, and so does the Oregonian.

Update 6/11: Sightline staff did a field study at Maximus Minimus with positive results.

Top photo courtesy of Maximus Minimus, Seattle’s newest street food vendor. Bottom photo courtesy of Oran Viriyincy via Flickr under the Creative Commons License.