Popcorn = cheap, quick, easy street food

Popcorn cart on 6th and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis.

Popcorn cart on 6th and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis.

Popcorn is cheap and ubiquitous, sure, but how often do you get to get it from a circus cart? And in a manageable portion? I sort of hate seeing people heave those $5 human thigh-sized bags of kettle corn around Twins games. Is it really necessary? There must be a better option. (And kettle corn is overrated anyway.)

Enter the popcorn cart on 6th and Nicollet. Street food has been getting quite a bit of (deserved) play lately. Check out the Heavy Table's treatise on Minneapolis's "missing street food," and a World Hum article, featured in the latest issue of the Utne Reader, about the world's best street food.

The little red cart, which has just returned for the season to its customary spot on Nicollet, offers more realistically-sized portions of popcorn and with an appropriate price tag. A buck will get you a single serving corn in a perfectly manageable small baggie -- a quarter extra for butter, but even without it is perfectly salty and oily.

For just a dollar more, you can get a "large" portion (also in a plastic baggie, only bigger), which, between you and me, is probably unnecessary unless you're wanting to save some for later. The cart also has (in addition to other snacks, like cotton candy, slushies and those long licorice whips) caramel corn and cheese corn, which you can mix and match with the plain if you like. (Watch out for the powder on the cheese corn though -- it makes me sneeze.)

The corn is extra-portable, unlike lots of condiment-heavy street food -- easy to throw in your bag if you don't finish it off quickly. And $1 for a quick snack? Unbeatable. Do it.