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August 2010

Food Truck Nation

It seems as though we're being over-run with food trucks.

A couple of months ago, before I'd ever given this topic much thought, a friend mentioned an interest in starting one. So when I read about the Clover Food Truck debut in June, I sent him the link. Then I learned about Fillbelly and Silk Road BBQ and sent him those links as well.

The April issue of Cooking Light referenced Portland, OR, as the epicenter of the food-cart craze, host to 440 of them serving more exotic menus like Thai and Korean barbecue. But we had our own first annual Food Truck Festival here in Boston last weekend, and judging from the ridiculously long lines at all of them, the craze is now local.

Food Truck.jpg 
The Atlantic recently reported on the Food Truck Economy, and on Sunday night The Food Network will premier its latest reality show, The Great Food Truck Race. Have we reached the tipping point?

It's fascinating to look at this trend in the context of the broader economy. Maybe food trucks represent the long tail of the dining industry, with fewer products but more highly engaged customers. They're mobile, social (often Tweeting out their locations and engaging with fans on Facebook), and entrepreneurial. They are less institutional and more personal than traditional restaurants (where you may never see or speak to the people making your food).  They are pull (vs. push) marketing, going out to where the people are, instead of waiting for the people to come to them.

Fill 'er up.

Buon Giorno, San Giusto

Earlier this week, Boston welcomed the prestigious Italian Navy training ship San Giusto to its waters.

In fact, it's docked right outside our office at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, giving us some great views. And today, they allowed visitors to board the ship for a tour (pictures below, although they wouldn't allow us to take photographs in the really interesting areas, like the control room, mess hall, and sick bay - complete with full surgical and dentistry equipment!).

The San Giusto is an amphibious transport dock which can lift a battalion of troops (350 people!) and up to 36 armored vehicles. It also has a runway on deck and can accommodate 3 aircraft. Today, it's used as a training ship, and is currently carrying second year midshipmen from the Italian Naval Academy. It's a young crowd, and a co-worker mentioned that it sounded like they were having a dance party there last night :)

Tomorrow (Saturday), Cardinal Sean O'Malley (who I just realized has a blog, where he announced that the archdiocesan newspaper is now available on the Kindle and iPhone...ha!) will celebrate a Mass aimed at Boston's Italian Community on board the ship.