Taking portable and eco-friendly eats to the next level, Chef Daniel Noiseux’s local seafood based menu has taken Montreal by storm and not merely because it’s lip-smacking-good. His kitschy-cool pop-up MuvBox eatery capitalizes on the infinite repurposing capabilities of a standard shipping container with its state of the art kitchen, retractable outdoor dining accommodations and roof mounted solar panels. Cleverly capitalizing on seasonal patrons, the gourmet eatery is here today and gone tomorrow, able to be transported to any potentially lucrative tourist destination whenever the whim strikes.
Sold. Oh wait, there’s Vancouver City Hall and the ropes held high against street vendors. What can you get from the street or in an event parking lot in Vancouver? Tacos? Pad Thai? Forget it. We’re limited to hotdogs, ice cream, and chestnuts. It’s like we’re in some foodie Pleasantville, where the best on offer in the fresh air and on the fly is Japadog, which is only fetished because it’s the height of a mediocre mobile scene.
So the video above depicts a moveable feast in Montreal. But what of Portland, Ore., the gastropolis to which our food town is most often compared to? Here’s Matt Gross of the New York Times:
Today, there are almost 400 carts around Portland, most of them clustered into “pods” that ring parking lots, and thanks to low start-up costs and Multnomah County’s straightforward licensing and inspection regime, aspiring chefs can make their names without major investments. As a New Yorker I was jealous; as the Frugal Traveler, overjoyed at what I could find within a single pod. The slices ($2 to $3) at Give Pizza a Chance were excellent, with a thin inner crust, a thicker, chewy outer crust and fresh, brightly flavored toppings (like the tomatoes, basil, artichokes and onions on the “Compost” slice). Next door, at Tábor, I followed the painted instructions to “Czech Out Czech Food” and fell in love with the schnitzelwich ($6.50), a fried pork or chicken cutlet bound to soft bread with ajvar (a red-pepper spread) and stinging horseradish sauce. Brunch Box, around the corner, was making its own English muffins, plus crazy burgers like the OMG! ($6), a cheeseburger with egg, ham, SPAM and bacon; and the YouCanHasCheeseburger ($5), a patty stuck between two Texas-toast grilled cheese sandwiches.
We’re not winning this particular battle. We’re not even in the war. But I refuse to believe that it’s not for want of interest on the part of our populace. There’s really no good reason why we shouldn’t be so damn fortunate. Wah.