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Exploring the Culinary Tapestry: Inside Portland’s Iconic Food Cart Pods



Discover the vibrant heart of Portland’s street food scene—a dynamic and diverse culinary experience that thrives within the city’s unique food cart pods. These communal eating spaces not only offer a kaleidoscope of flavors from around the globe but also embody the spirit of innovation and community that defines Portland.

Portland’s food cart culture has roots stretching back decades, evolving from a few scattered trucks to over 500 carts citywide. The food cart revolution reflects Portlanders’ appreciation for high-quality, accessible food and the city’s ethos of supporting small, local businesses. For a deep dive into the history of street food in America, The Smithsonian Magazine provides a fascinating exploration.

Unlike the lone food truck parked on a street corner, Portland’s food cart pods—clusters of trucks, trailers, and buses—create communal dining spaces where locals and tourists alike gather to eat and socialize. These pods facilitate a unique dining experience, offering a staggering variety of cuisines in one location. According to Travel Portland, these communal spaces are a testament to the city’s innovative dining scene.

The proliferation of food carts has significantly impacted Portland’s economy and dining culture, making the city a culinary destination. The Portland Bureau of Transportation recognizes food carts as crucial to the city’s vibrant street culture, contributing to the urban fabric with their eclectic offerings and fostering a sense of community among patrons.

From traditional dishes from around the world to fusion and experimental cuisine, food carts in Portland offer an unparalleled diversity of options. These carts serve as a platform for chefs to experiment with flavors and dishes, often leading to innovative culinary creations. Websites like Eater Portland regularly feature lists of must-try food carts, showcasing the creativity and variety available.

Despite their popularity, food cart operators face challenges ranging from regulatory hurdles to the physical constraints of operating out of a small mobile kitchen. Yet, many have turned these challenges into opportunities for sustainability, utilizing local ingredients and adopting eco-friendly practices. The Oregonian provides insights into how food carts are navigating these challenges and contributing to Portland’s reputation as a green city.

Portland’s food cart pods are more than just a collection of eateries; they are a cultural phenomenon that speaks to the city’s love for food, community, and innovation. As they continue to evolve, these pods remain a symbol of Portland’s identity as a place where culinary dreams can flourish on four wheels.

To further explore the impact and intricacies of food cart culture in Portland and beyond, readers are encouraged to consult authoritative sources such as The National Restaurant Association for industry insights and The City of Portland’s Official Website for information on local regulations and support for food carts.

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A Culinary Odyssey: Istanbul’s Gastronomic Renaissance




In the heart of where East meets West, Istanbul’s culinary scene is experiencing a renaissance that mirrors the city’s rich tapestry of cultures. With its unique position straddling two continents, Istanbul has long been a melting pot of flavors, techniques, and culinary philosophies. Today, this historical confluence of civilizations is being reinterpreted by a new generation of chefs and restaurateurs who are putting Istanbul on the global culinary map.

The Rise of Contemporary Turkish Cuisine

Gone are the days when Turkish cuisine was synonymous only with kebabs and baklava. While these classics remain beloved, Istanbul’s chefs are now experimenting with traditional recipes by introducing modern techniques and international influences, creating an exciting new genre of Turkish cuisine that pays homage to its roots while boldly looking forward. Restaurants such as Mikla, led by chef Mehmet Gürs, have been pioneers in this movement, sourcing local ingredients to craft dishes that tell the story of Turkey’s gastronomic heritage with a contemporary twist.

The Importance of Local and Seasonal Ingredients

A defining feature of Istanbul’s culinary resurgence is the emphasis on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. The city’s geographical diversity, from the fertile lands of Anatolia to the abundant seas surrounding the Bosphorus, provides an extraordinary variety of produce, fish, and meats. This bounty is celebrated at places like Neolokal, where Chef Maksut Aşkar curates menus inspired by the seasonal availability of ingredients, ensuring that each dish reflects the true flavors of the region.

Street Food: The Soul of Istanbul’s Culinary Scene

No exploration of Istanbul’s food scene would be complete without delving into its vibrant street food culture. From simit vendors dotting the city’s streets to fish sandwiches served fresh off the boats in Eminönü, street food is an integral part of Istanbul’s gastronomic identity. It offers a glimpse into the daily lives of its residents and a taste of the city’s dynamic flavors. The Istanbul Culinary Institute regularly conducts tours for those eager to explore these culinary delights, providing insights into the traditions and stories behind the food.

Fine Dining with a View

Istanbul’s restaurant scene is as diverse as its landscape, offering everything from intimate eateries tucked away in historic neighborhoods to luxurious dining establishments overlooking the Bosphorus. Restaurants like Sunset Grill & Bar combine exquisite food with breathtaking views, offering a dining experience that is both sensorial and visual. These establishments not only showcase the culinary prowess of their chefs but also the unparalleled beauty of Istanbul itself.

Preserving Culinary Heritage

Amidst the innovation, there’s a concerted effort to preserve Istanbul’s culinary heritage. Organizations like Yunus Emre Institute are instrumental in promoting Turkish culture, including its culinary traditions, to the world. By documenting recipes, cooking techniques, and food stories, they ensure that the legacy of Turkish cuisine is passed down to future generations while adapting to the tastes of the present.

The Future of Istanbul’s Culinary Scene

As Istanbul continues to evolve, so too does its culinary landscape. With each passing day, new cafes, bistros, and restaurants open their doors, offering novel experiences that challenge and delight the palates of locals and tourists alike. It’s a testament to the city’s unbreakable spirit and its enduring love affair with food.

In a city as storied and vibrant as Istanbul, the culinary scene is more than just a reflection of its history and culture—it’s a living, breathing entity that continues to grow and adapt. Whether you’re savoring the complex flavors of a well-crafted dish at a high-end restaurant or biting into a simple yet delicious simit by the roadside, you’re participating in a culinary tradition that has been centuries in the making.

As Istanbul marches forward, bridging continents and cultures, its food scene stands as a beacon of innovation and tradition, inviting all who visit to partake in its culinary odyssey.

Exploring Further

For those looking to dive deeper into the culinary wonders of Istanbul, National Geographic’s feature on the city’s best restaurants is an excellent starting point. Additionally, resources such as The Culinary Institute of America and The World’s 50 Best Restaurants offer insights and inspiration from the global food scene, contextualizing Istanbul’s place within the wider world of gastronomy.

In Istanbul, every meal is an adventure, and every bite tells a story. It’s a city where food is not just nourishment but an expression of culture, history, and love. Welcome to Istanbul’s table—where the past and the future are served side by side, inviting you to savor the moment.

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Reducing Food Waste with AI: Iberostar’s Pioneering Approach




In a groundbreaking move, Iberostar Hotels and Resorts has significantly reduced its food waste by 28% across 48 of its hotels, thanks to the innovative use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. This remarkable achievement is part of the hotel group’s ambitious Wave of Change sustainability program, which aims to save 1,600 tons of food waste annually, equivalent to approximately 5.3 million meals.

The Role of AI in Minimizing Waste

The key to this success lies in the deployment of Winnow Vision AI technology. This advanced system utilizes intelligent cameras, smart scales, and meters to meticulously analyze ingredients used during food preparation. By doing so, it identifies the most wasted food items and their quantities, enabling chefs and kitchen staff to make more informed decisions about food usage and procurement.

Impressive Environmental Impact

The implementation of this technology has not only reduced food waste but also significantly cut down CO2 emissions. In the first half of the year alone, the hotels equipped with Winnow technology saved 735,000 meals from being wasted, which corresponds to a reduction of 1,264 tons of CO2 emissions. It’s projected that by the end of the year, the total number of saved meals will reach 1.5 million, reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 2,500 tons.

A Commitment to Sustainability

Megan Morikawa, Iberostar’s Global Sustainability Director, expressed her enthusiasm for the program, stating, “Our partnership with Winnow is a testament to our commitment towards a waste-free future. It is truly inspiring to see our chefs embrace the program and create tangible change.” This initiative is a crucial step in Iberostar’s journey to becoming waste-free by 2025 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

A Growing Trend in the Hospitality Industry

Iberostar is not alone in its quest to tackle food waste. Other hotel giants like Accor and IHG Hotels and Resorts have also adopted Winnow’s technology in selected properties. Additionally, Radisson Hotel Group has partnered with the anti-waste app Too Good To Go to redistribute food surplus, further highlighting the industry’s growing focus on sustainability.

The Bigger Picture

Food waste is a significant global issue, with about one-third of all food produced for human consumption lost or wasted, amounting to approximately 1.3 billion tons per year. This not only represents a colossal waste of resources but also contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, food waste accounts for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Technology Behind the Change

Winnow’s AI technology represents a new frontier in the fight against food waste. By leveraging machine learning and advanced analytics, the system provides actionable insights that help kitchens operate more efficiently. This technology aligns with the broader trend of digital transformation in the hospitality industry, where AI and data analytics are increasingly being used to enhance operational efficiency and sustainability.

The Road Ahead

As the hospitality industry continues to grapple with its environmental impact, initiatives like Iberostar’s are setting a new standard for sustainability. The successful integration of AI technology in reducing food waste is a testament to the potential of digital solutions in addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.

In conclusion, Iberostar’s initiative is more than just a corporate responsibility strategy; it’s a beacon of hope for a more sustainable future in the hospitality industry. By embracing innovative technologies and sustainable practices, the industry can play a pivotal role in building a more environmentally conscious and resource-efficient world.

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Foodies embrace culinary travel trend




Food and dining are becoming a more central part of many travelers’ vacation experiences. In fact, AAA’s latest travel survey found that an estimated 22 million Americans expect to take a culinary-focused vacation in the next 12 months.

Seventy-five percent of Americans feel that food and dining are an important part of their travel experiences and four in five say they have engaged in such unique activities as touring wineries and distilleries, eating with local families and engaging in hands-on experiences such as cooking classes led by local chefs while traveling.

“A great way to learn about a destination and the local culture is by experiencing its unique food and dining customs,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “When planning a culinary vacation, seek the advice of a trusted travel advisor, who can help customize a trip that matches the individual traveler’s dining preferences.”

Millennials Crave Culinary Experiences

The younger generation is particularly interested in culinary travel, with 88 percent of millennials having participated in food-related experiences while vacationing, outpacing members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. In fact, 43 percent of AAA travel agents report a recent increase in the number of members planning culinary-focused vacations, with most planning foodie trips to Italy, France, and Spain.

“One of the top mistakes travelers make when preparing for an international trip is not planning their meals and activities in advance,” continued Evans. “Meals can quickly become a significant portion of a family’s vacation budget. Our survey found that travelers spent an average of $63 per person, per day on food and dining purchases during their last vacation. With that kind of money on the table, travelers should consider speaking to a travel advisor to identify the best experience that fits within their budget.”

AAA Diamond-Rated Dining

In addition to planning their trips with a knowledgeable travel agent, do-it-yourself planners can now make dining reservations at thousands of AAA Diamond Rated restaurants via OpenTable through the AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner tool on

Travelers can find thousands of AAA Diamond Rated restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean through the AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner tool on and in the AAA Mobile app. To be AAA Diamond-rated, all restaurants must meet and uphold rigorous minimum standards to pass an anonymous inspection and be approved by AAA. A rating of One to Five Diamonds is then assigned to describe the complexity of the restaurant’s service, décor, and food. The Diamond Ratings help diners find restaurants that offer the kind of experience they prefer, whether they want affordable, family-friendly establishments or to indulge in luxurious menu offerings and first-class service.

AAA’s report presents the findings of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,013 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted March 9-12, 2017. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.8 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults. Additionally, AAA/CAA travel executives responded to an online survey conducted Feb. 10-24, 2017. Each travel executive was asked to respond on behalf of all travel agents at their club, and responses were weighted by the number of full-time travel agents at that club. The club travel executive survey represents the input of 2,110 AAA/CAA travel agents.

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