Popcorn isn't something you typically -- or ever -- really think of as being seasonal. If you're a big enough sports fan and attend enough home games you can practically subsist on the stuff, and of course, movie popcorn's always available (Riverview Theater's is, bar none, the best!). But in the case of two local seasonal vendors, popcorn season is quickly coming to a close. Here's how they match up. Hit them up before the season closes!
No one really plans to go to the little red cart on 6th and Nicollet. That's kind of the best thing about it. It's always spontaneous, always a treat. The cart serves typical street vendor fare: cotton candy and slush and such. But its main attraction is its popcorn. The cart serves up a fantastic grab-n-go version, and it's only a buck for a healthy serving (consisting of about four big handfuls). The plain corn (you can get caramel, cheese or a mix of the three as well) is dry, crunchy, and appropriately salty. For a quarter more you can get butter.
Dave's Popcorn is the greatest little throwback of a place tucked in to South Minneapolis in an odd, elongated building facing not the busier thoroughfare of 38th St. but rather the residential 18th Ave. (one block east of Cedar Ave.) Point being, it's easy to miss. Dave's serves up ice cream, nachos, hot dogs, and a few other things, but Dave's real commitment is to its corn. In addition to plain, caramel, and cheese, you can also get chocolate, herb, and caramel with nuts. A small plain corn costs $1.25 and comes with real butter and salt in one of those fun, circus-y boxes.
The Winner: Dave's Popcorn, with its rich flavor and its satisfying harmony of salt and butter, takes the cake. The amount of oil, butter, and salt -- crucial to good popcorn -- make it hard to get through a small box of it in one sitting without in any way being overkill, ie no soggy kernels to speak of! Dave's only drawback is its semi-obscure location, but it's well-worth the trip.