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Food Cart Paradise in DC Area


Kibbee Nayee
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I was watching a Travel Channel show with both Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, where they went to a sports field in Brooklyn. The fields were being used by mostly hispanics to play soccer and softball, and all around were the food carts with every conceivable morsel of delectable south of the border treat imaginable. Which leads me to the question, does anything like that exist in the DC area? I'm thinking about multiple carts, reasonable variety, laid back ballpark crowds as opposed to festival hordes. Doesn't have to be hispanic, although that's where I got the idea....

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The only 2 things that comes to mind are: 1. Once I saw a nice spread of hispanic goodies in Adams Morgan on a Saturday when I went to the Crafty Arts festival. They had several tables of very good smelling stuff, but I have not had a chance since to revisit the area and no sporting event was involved, so I don't know if it's a common occurrance. 2. Last summer, 8th and H had a few food carts, including the DC Central Kitchen cart, but probably not of the variety and array of foods you are looking for. Just wanted to toss it out there because there were several carts that congregated.

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1. Once I saw a nice spread of hispanic goodies in Adams Morgan on a Saturday when I went to the Crafty Arts festival. They had several tables of very good smelling stuff, but I have not had a chance since to revisit the area and no sporting event was involved, so I don't know if it's a common occurrance.

The Post had an article on this market a couple of weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to visit, but it looks promising!

[Edited to correct link]

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This is all we can muster in one of the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area on this continent?

Having spoken at length with the wonderful folks at Pupatella, the rules in DC proper are so onerous for owning and operating a food cart, that it discourages creative carts. Additionally, there are really only a few locations in the area where multiple carts in the same block could all operate at a profit.

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Having spoken at length with the wonderful folks at Pupatella, the rules in DC proper are so onerous for owning and operating a food cart, that it discourages creative carts. Additionally, there are really only a few locations in the area where multiple carts in the same block could all operate at a profit.

I guess I can understand that. But what about our incredibly ethnic 'burbs? Isn't there a ballfield somewhere that attracts a few hundred players and spectators, enough to draw a few food carts for replenishment?

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I guess I can understand that. But what about our incredibly ethnic 'burbs? Isn't there a ballfield somewhere that attracts a few hundred players and spectators, enough to draw a few food carts for replenishment?
On the weekends in the summer, the Bailey's Crossroad area and at 7 corners (John Marshall & Patrick Henry, I believe) has many soccer games that draw many, many players and spectators. Probably not hundreds, but probably enough to draw attraction to setup some carts. I have not attended any of them to know if they do or do not have any, but perhaps you may want to find out.
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On the weekends in the summer, the Bailey's Crossroad area and at 7 corners (John Marshall & Patrick Henry, I believe) has many soccer games that draw many, many players and spectators. Probably not hundreds, but probably enough to draw attraction to setup some carts. I have not attended any of them to know if they do or do not have any, but perhaps you may want to find out.

OK, now we're getting somewhere! Maybe the DR board denizens can whip up some enthusiasm from the carts we frequent and aim them in the general direction of Seven Corners in the summer. Maybe we can create a sensation, where a handful of carts show up to support the players and their families, and then we descend en masse!

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On the weekends in the summer, the Bailey's Crossroad area and at 7 corners (John Marshall & Patrick Henry, I believe) has many soccer games that draw many, many players and spectators. Probably not hundreds, but probably enough to draw attraction to setup some carts. I have not attended any of them to know if they do or do not have any, but perhaps you may want to find out.

There was a story (Post, Washingtonian, City Paper?) a number of years ago about how there used to be a lot of Latino-owned carts at the soccer games, but most of them were unlicensed, and a crackdown by the police pretty much ended the practice.

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The Monkey Cty MVA offices all seem to have at least one taco truck in front.

Very true, and there's Pupatella in Ballston, the Korean cart at 14th & L, and a number of decent non-hotdog carts spread throughout DC.

But, referencing the OP, I'm not aware of any "clusters" of good food carts in one location.

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The Post had an article on this market a couple of weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to visit, but it looks promising!
I guess I can understand that. But what about our incredibly ethnic 'burbs? Isn't there a ballfield somewhere that attracts a few hundred players and spectators, enough to draw a few food carts for replenishment?
Doesn't the outdoor market described in the article linked by qwertyy fit the bill, minus the soccer players and spectators? I haven't made it yet, but hear that there are a variety of vendors. For those who don't want to read the article, here's a brief excerpt:
Mi Tierra ("My Homeland"), a new outdoor street food and craft market in Unity Park at Columbia Road and Champlain Street NW, is an idyll of antojitos from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Argentina, plus bigger plates for bigger appetites. For weekend prowlers whose hunger outpaces their budget, it's a strong match.
Friday through Sunday

Approximate hours: 9 am - 7 pm

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Now that I live within walking distance of the Mall, and have had to negotiate w groups of students and tourists for space as I try to move from the SE to NE to NW, I have grown appalled again by the absolute crap sold by street carts to ravenous outsiders.

Unbelievable the lack of variety and quality. Icky looking hot dogs. Red white and blue frozen ladybug snot on a stick.

Sigh. How come you can go to Manhattan and seek out the corner where the guy sells eye-popping, glorious Middle-Eastern sandwiches filled w moist chunks of spicy chicken slathered in garlicky yogurt and here...

This is our nation's best?

Why not kick all those uncreative, nutrition-less bums out and hold auditions for the best of our multicultural city's street food?

Award: free license for one year to sanitory, top-quality, delicious pupas, charcuterie, Ethopian stews, fish tacos, gelato, smoothies, croissants...

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Now that I live within walking distance of the Mall, and have had to negotiate w groups of students and tourists for space as I try to move from the SE to NE to NW, I have grown appalled again by the absolute crap sold by street carts to ravenous outsiders.

Unbelievable the lack of variety and quality. Icky looking hot dogs. Red white and blue frozen ladybug snot on a stick.

Sigh. How come you can go to Manhattan and seek out the corner where the guy sells eye-popping, glorious Middle-Eastern sandwiches filled w moist chunks of spicy chicken slathered in garlicky yogurt and here...

This is our nation's best?

Why not kick all those uncreative, nutrition-less bums out and hold auditions for the best of our multicultural city's street food?

Award: free license for one year to sanitory, top-quality, delicious pupas, charcuterie, Ethopian stews, fish tacos, gelato, smoothies, croissants...

Hear-hear! Let's stimulate this initiative!

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Went to Mi Tierra yesterday. We had some food from 4 carts - (i) carne asada ($8 for fairly tough grilled steak but good flavor), (ii) chicken enchilada (they use a crunchy puffy fried shell - great flavor with the chicken but everything is in there, including cartilage and skin), (iii) empanada (good flavor but warmed on a steam table), and (iv) soft tacos (beef and pork, no tongue). I wish the carts have names, or that they have names for their food.

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Went to Mi Tierra yesterday. We had some food from 4 carts - (i) carne asada ($8 for fairly tough grilled steak but good flavor), (ii) chicken enchilada (they use a crunchy puffy fried shell - great flavor with the chicken but everything is in there, including cartilage and skin), (iii) empanada (good flavor but warmed on a steam table), and (iv) soft tacos (beef and pork, no tongue). I wish the carts have names, or that they have names for their food.

Didn't make it this weekend as hope. I know you tried 4 carts but how many carts in total where there and what were some of the other offerings?

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Didn't make it this weekend as hope. I know you tried 4 carts but how many carts in total where there and what were some of the other offerings?

7 food carts. Each generally sell from 4 to 8 different items. Some chicken, pork, beef, rice, potatoes, yucca,....I wasn't sure what everything was. There was one place selling a fish quiche-like pie (that was the only cart that labed their food) but I did not see the actual product. Did not see any other seafood. I did not get to see what 2 carts were selling (got stuffed after going by 5 carts).

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I was in Adams Morgan yesterday and didn't see this market. Does it still exist? I was still a little hungry after a bowl of ramen and I wanted to take some empanadas home. :(

It was shut down several months ago, after pressure from the brick-and-mortar restaurants around there. Before that, it was a weekend-only arrangement, so you would have been out of luck today in any case.

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