Sunday, January 13, 2008

On the Fly Lands in Chinatown

I finally visited the On the Fly Smartkarts last Friday. The company, which began operations in Chinatown/PQ last month, adds some variety to the downtown street vendor food scene. The Smartkarts were introduced by the same fellow who bought Zipcar to the DC area. The two carts are located at F and 7th Streets NW an H and 8th Streets NW. One was described to me as the Bar-B-Que cart and the other as the Latin cart. They actually carry foods from local restaurants, which seems to be the best aspect of the operation.

The carts are battery operated, emission-free vehicles and promise to offer healthy and local alternatives to the usual PQ lunch fare. I do think that the city needs some good street vendors. Most of the street food vendors in DC are in and around the Mall area and sell the worst food ever! Mostly soggy pretzels, hot dogs and "pizza." I hate to think that visitors to DC get the impression that all we offer in the way of street food to go are those Mall carts. Luckily its become easier for tourists to be loured up 7th street.

The Smartkarts definitely seem more futuristic and cleaner than anything you'd see on the sidewalks of New York, and what we've previously seen in DC. I love that most current vendors here have the same dirty, extra large, white(?) cooler with overpriced Gatorade and bottles of Poland Springs water. Also the hot dogs appear "cooked," but what does cooked really mean? Really. Well, all that goes to say that I'm glad to see On the Fly in PQ and hope they add more vegan options to their carts for the kids. Julia's is a good start!