April 9, 2009

All the Single People..and family people... and lonely people... and everyone else, too.

add to kirtsy

Sometimes the benefits of single life are debatable. Sometimes they are not. On this particular night, I didn't feel like being at home. It was 9:00 and I had no commitments, no one waiting for me at home. I drove through downtown. Nothing really looked inspiring. I drove across the Hawthorne Bridge. Then I remembered. The late night fry cart.

Next to the car dealership at 12th and Hawthorne, across the street from Burgerville, a semi-circle of food carts glowed in the dark, like a camp of covered wagons. There was more than a fry cart. There was a creperie and Mexican food and BBQ and Italian. It looked a little intimidating, even for me, who is not afraid of heading out alone on the weekend.

I texted my friend Jen and we conspired to meet up in 40 minutes when she got done with work. As we approached the camp, loud music was playing and there was quite a few people standing around - some munching on fries.

The Potato Champion cart had some interesting offerings: Poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds) and regular fries, with so many sauce options it was dizzying. We ordered the Poutine because hello, fries+gravy+cheese? Then we ordered some regular fries and the tarragon anchovy mayo and the rosemary truffle ketchup. Who thinks these combos up? Because I wouls like to kiss him. Or her. Or at least give them a really big hug.

There was one guy, who was finishing up his fries and we watched him jealously while he finished the last of them. Then when he got up, we snagged his seat. And. Delightful. The picnic table has holes in it! To hold the cones of fries. Genius. It was windy and cold, so thank heavens for the outdoor heater they had going on.

As we sat chomping on our fries, a cute little family came up to the cart - now mind you it was 10:30 at night by this time - with two kids and a dog, the kids probably 10 and 12, or something like that. Adorable and out for a late night treat. What cool parents. That's gonna be me sometime. If my ovaries don't expire first.

The fries were crispy and hot and creamy inside - the sauces were a nice exploration of flavor and I want to try all of them. I think it was $8 for everything and we were pleased with our choices. The Poutine was a bunch of carmelized onions, with a little gravy and cheese curds - it tasted like MY onion gravy that I make, so I loved it!

Meanwhile, a couple rode up on bikes. He was wearing a tux. She was wearing a floor length formal with some flats. Did I mention they were on bikes? They ordered crepes from the next door crepe cart after debating fries or crepes.

Another group wandered up. "I think it's kind of weird to have a place that ONLY sells fries," said one guy, who had clearly never eaten anywhere except Applebees and Macaroni Grill. "But they are really good!" The girl was losing the argument. Finally, they decided to order fries and also get some take out on the way home, because the guys felt that you couldn't have just fries. You definitely needed something else.

We actually decided that, too. So we ordered some crepes. I ordered chocolate and pear. "Do you want the Frangelico with that?" Dancing crepe making girl asked, as the music blared from their cart. I looked at Jen. "That's alcohol," she said. I started laughing. Yes! Give me the Frangelico. Jen promised to take my keys if I got tipsy. (See previous incident in my life involving rum cake.) They put a very small amount of Frangelico in the crepe, which was cooked on the circle hot plate thingy while they added pears and chocolate. Jen ordered lemon and sugar.

Amazing. Delicious. Perfect end to the night. We headed back to my car, where we finished up our crepes, wadded up the paper wrapping they were in and hollered as we threw them over our shoulders, into the garbage can... I mean my back seat. "Single girls can eat fries and crepes for dinner at 10:30 at night!" Jen was right. We can do whatever we want!

But that night we had seen a family, a single person, a couple on a date, and a group of friends. It made me happy that we can all, no matter our circumstances, enjoy some excellent treats late at night, outside in the cold.

SE Twelfth and Hawthorne Food Carts

Potato Champion on Urbanspoon

Perierra Crêperie

Open from 8pm - 3am, Wednesday through Saturday


Sara said...

Clearly the Applebee's guy has never been to Holland or Belgium. They carts and shops all over the place that just sell fries. Yummmmmm.

Katherine said...

I completely understand the single and alone thing on a Friday night. I ended up doing a very similar thing just last week and headed over to Potato Champion on my own after enjoying a dance series downtown.

jj said...

*grin* i was just searching for info on the crepe cart's hours, and randomly came across your post. that was me and my husband in the tux and gown on the bikes! we were on our way back from our son's school auction and decided it was a good time to hit the food carts.

we had the chocolate and prosciutto crepe and it was amazing, but i really want to try the chocolate and pear too.