You’re drunk, it’s late — or lunchtime, if you’re like us — and you’ll likely be arrested if you attempt eating in a restaurant. Enter the street cart. There’s nothing quite like ordering up a mess of grease and stuffing your face on the sidewalk while breathing car exhaust. So we decided to scour the country and have found the cream of the slop just for you. Don’t ever say we never do anything for you.
TakiTacos — Los Angeles
At 75 cents, we’d eat pretty much anything and Taki’s tacos are exactly that price and amazing. Pollo, tripa, lengua, asada, cabeza, al pastor are all primed for the taking at this Mexican food heaven on earth. The owner rattles off Spanish like Speedy Gonzalez on…well, speed, but since most of the patrons are drunk and trying to soak up the booze they just consumed, communication is the least of their concerns.
Kwik Meal — Midtown Manhattan
Although it may send you on a Kwik trip to the toilet, Kwik Meal is a powerhouse food cart in the capital of food carts. Their specialty is the chicken and lamb over rice combo. Sure, paying $8 at a street cart for a plate of food could be deemed as heresy in the sidewalk grub world, but try it and you’ll understand why it’s worth every penny. Oh, and did we mention this award-winning cart has other locations? Kwik Gourmet, Kwik Meal IV, and Quick Delight. We assume Quick Delight is spelled with the traditional “Qu” because Kwik Delight was already taken.
The Boston Pretzel Company — Downtown Boston
The BPC has carts all over Boston, but downtown the pretzels apparently are made with magic. They are piping hot and not overly chewy. The salt is just right, because too much or too little can ruin your twisted little snack. We suggest getting it with Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard if you are down with pretzel perfection. The cost is a mere $2.50, so why not pick up two? You can start your diet on Monday.
Fojol Brothers — Washington D.C.
From the kickass Chicken Curry to the Gewpee’s Garlic Ribbons, this D.C. staple is a must for your street food cravings. And to finish it off grab a Mango Pop for a full-on party inside your mouth. Four dudes run it and two of them are brothers, but the coolest — or is it creepiest? — aspect of the experience is their fake mustaches and psychedelic turbans. Just lay off the LSD a day or so before you visit their cart so you can keep it together. They do move around and set their own hours, so if you are worrying about missing them, follow them on Twitter. Yep, street vendors on Twitter. Life is good.
Brunch Box — Portland
Dude. The Fatty Melt. That’s all we gotta’ say to get the juices going. Well, Brunch Box takes the concept even further with the YouCanHasCheeseburger. Here’s the set-up: make two Texas toast grilled cheese sandwiches and set them aside for a moment. Then grill a nice big greasy hunk of burger and slap it between the grilled cheese sandwiches. This culinary cardiac killer may be $5, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better grease sandwich anywhere.
Chicago Hot Dog Vendors — Chicago
Chicago-style hot dogs are by far the best dogs in the universe. We couldn’t narrow it down to just one vendor because there are so many good ones in the city that do the classic Chicago dog. Yes, you are likely doing permanent damage to your arteries by ingesting it, but we’d trade five minutes of taste heaven for five years off the end of our life. They are massive steamed, all-beef franks with a mound of shit piled on top. No, not actual shit, although we might still consider eating them. The best way to do it is get your dog and start building the toppings in this order: ketchup, yellow mustard, green relish, chopped onions, tomatoes, pickles, peppers, and celery salt. Make sure to have assistance to carry it. Note: Some argue that ketchup should be omitted. Screw ’em.