As the LATimes just reported, a sea change may be in the works for mobile food culture in LA. Within several weeks, a parking lot at South Alameda Street and Traction Avenue downtown will open to host food trucks several days a week. This follows several years of crackdowns on taco trucks and other mobile food vendors, as reported by http://saveourtacotrucks.org/ and others.
Why is this relevant to the LAEV neighborhood and community? For one thing, our neighborhood is full of vendors, mostly Latino, selling food on the street, both licensed (selling out of officially permitted trucks), and illicit (selling off tables, shopping carts, and small portable grills). The crackdown on legal food trucks, which involved forcing them to move ever 30 to 60 minutes, essentially amounted to a crackdown on a specific aspect of Latino culture by driving a major food tradition illegal and underground. I hope that this food truck court indicates a willingness on the City of LA’s part to acknowledge that the practice of street food deserves a place in this city.
Additionally, I’m fascinated by the growth of so-called ‘fusion’ food trucks, mixing the various food cultures from the area (Korean tacos, Mediterranean falafel burritos, etc). I have sadly seen these trucks harassed and driven out of several neighborhoods around LA (frequently before I even got to try their food, perhaps part of my bitterness). One of the main reasons I love our neighborhood is that I can walk 6 blocks or less to get food from at least 5 major world cultures, and I’m excited that this mix is creating something new.
As usual, we are following far behind in the tracks of Portland, a city whose transit, bike, and food cultures make me wish I liked rain more, but any more in the direction of better transit and better food makes me happy. Expo line, anyone?