Location: SE 50th an Division – A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11-2:30 and 5-close; Sunday, 12-close
The Story: “Mediterranean Influenced, Northwest Inspired.” Creperie du Lys wants to introduce you to a new fusion of tastes and their food cart is now in Portland at A la Carts Food Pavilion.
Creperie du Lys launched in Corvallis in 2009 as a farmers market booth. After a couple of good years, Michele and Francois decided to build a cart so they could do events in the region. They’ve been crafting crepes ever since. The crepes come from Francois’ French family influence, and while they are traditional French style, Michele and Francois wanted to incorporate a bit of the NW into each dish. Also, Francois is from the south of France, so Mediterranean cuisine was a large part of that fusion. After 3 years of working with Corvallis to try and build a food cart pod, Michele and Francois decided to move the cart to Portland and this winter set up at A la Carts Food Pavilion on SE 50th and Division.
At first sight, the crepes are different than what I’ve come to expect. The dark brown color comes from buckwheat flour. Known as a galette, it is a traditional recipe from Brittany, France. I picked up a Genoa savory crepe with pesto, spinach, tomato and cheese. Michele spread the batter out on the crepe griddle, let it set and then quickly flipped it and started adding the goodies. Pesto, with that touch of garlic paired well with the bitter spinach and buckwheat crepe. Basil and fresh chopped tomato balanced the dish with cool and refreshing flavors. A great little morsel for any time of the day.
Creperie du Lys is now open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. A la Carts Food Pavilion has tented seating and cocktails on the weekends. In summer, they bring in live music. Glad to have Michele and Francois in Portland. Head on down and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Ham and Cheese savory crepe – $5
- Genoa – pesto, basil, spinach and cheese – $6
- Moroccan Saute – onion, garlic, peppers, carrot, garbonzo, preserved lemon, spices – $6.50
- Nutella sweet crepe – $5
- Marionberry preserve – $4
Location: SE 28th and Ankeny
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-7 pm , Sunday, noon-5 pm
The Story: I may have found the best dish ever created. New food cart Steak Frites PDX, just the name, defines what this cart does and that makes me a happy eater.
Steak Frites PDX is the latest addition to Pod 28 with some other stellar vendors like The Grilled Cheese Grill, Burrasca, Guero, Wolf and Bear’s and The Captured by Porches Beer Bus. Wow! Owner Sean wanted to do a food cart and was surprised no one had done the Belgian classic steak and fries. He sources prime cuts of beef and hand cuts the fries daily. Pair with one of the beers from Captured and you’re in bliss.
The day I visited, Sean was offering flank, top sirloin and hanger steak. On other days, he has offered teres major, a cut taken from the shoulder muscle. I opted for flank steak with fries and creamy horseradish sauce. Each bite, greasy and for sure against my doctor’s orders, was sublime. Sean sprinkles sea salt on the fries and the steak had a hint of fresh rosemary. Thin slices of flank steak dipped in horseradish paired with an IPA on a cool spring day and all I wanted to do was order a second plate. You can substitute the fries for sweet potato fries and Sean does offer a variety of veggies like asparagus, brussels sprouts and more.
Steak Frites PDX is one of those carts that just launched and yet is selling out daily. Bring something no one else is doing to the scene and do it well and you’ll be the king of the pod. Next time you’re down off SE 28th and Ankeny, drop on by Steak Frites PDX and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Choice of steak and fries with aioli – $8.50
- Substitute sweet potato fries for extra $.50
- Add plants – $.50
Facebook: Steak Frites PDX
The sun is out and the food carts are open. Eat, Eat Now. Some news:
The TOAST Distillers Festival presented by the Oregon Distillers Guild is happening this weekend at the World Trade Center downtown. 120 spirits from across the northwest, the country and the globe will be available for tasting and purchasing. And what’s better to pair with whiskey or rum? Food Trucks! On the patio off 1st and Salmon, trucks will be set up – Bro-Dogs and Burgers, Retrolicious, The People’s Pig, Thrive Pacific NW, Hungry Heart Cupcakes and Freshii. The event takes place April 11, 5-10pm and April 12, 4-10. $25/person. More details here.
Rose City Food Park has done some remodeling and I love it. Over the last month, they have moved some of the vendors around, brought in a couple of new ones and moved the Beer Barn to the front under a brand new patio. So many great vendors with a diverse range of options and covered seating. Check out the change at the lot daily at NE 52nd and Sandy. RoseCityFoodPark.com
Artigiano has announced their spring opening date – April 15. Mark your calendars and schedule your next amazing Italian lunch or dinner. SE 33rd and Division.
Cartlandia has announced the opening of The Blue Room, a full service bar/restaurant located in the building on the lot. They have worked hard for two years to make this happen, even salvaging some items from an 1860′s church for the inside. They will offer local microbrews and cocktails along with live music on Friday and Saturday nights. As with Mississippi Marketplace, food from the food carts is welcome in The Blue Room. Official Grand Opening is April 18 at 6pm, but it is open now. Sports and Portlandia will show on the big screens.
Cartlandia has also added a couple of new vendors – Ooh Pasta!, Melt It, and Bardo’s Grill. Smokin’ Rome’s BBQ has reopened for the season.
New vendors, changes, and moves:
- Ole Latte 2 – SW 5th and Harrison by PSU
- The Bus Stop Cafe – NE 52nd and Sandy
- Captain Dillies – NE 52nd and Sandy
- Steak Frites – SE 28th and Ankeny
- The Whole Bowl has expanded and taken over the Nourishment cart at NE Sandy between 46th and 47th
- Koi Fusion has setup at Base Camp Brewing with Gonzo at SE 9th and Oak
- Pizza Box has moved to E Burnside and 9th
Koi Fusion, one of Portland’s most well known vendors is partnering with Bridgetown Inc every 3rd Thursday of the month for Night Strike. Koi Fusion sets up their truck under the Burnside Bridge downtown and dishes out tacos for Portland’s homeless. Night Strike is an opportunity for members of Portland’s homeless community to hang out, enjoy a hot meal, receive a free haircut, shave, have their feet washed and have their old shoes/clothes/sleeping bags replaced. Volunteers are welcome. Such a great event. Thanks Koi Fusion for being a part of it. More information about Night Strike.
Spring is here, but some vendors are still transitioning from winter sales numbers, so on those sunny days when Portland gets out and eats, they may sell out. Don’t fret. They’ll reopen the next day with more goodies. Thank you for supporting Portland’s street food scene.
Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11:30-6pm; Sun, 11:30-4pm
The Story: Jason Myers is back with some mouthwatering Vietnamese cuisine at his new food cart Rùa.
Jason Myers first arrived in the food cart scene a couple of years ago with his Sideshow cart serving up beignets, Belgian fries and poutine, sandwiches and his famous fancy burger. Yet, it wasn’t enough for him and one night, the idea of doing Vietnamese inspired cuisine came to him in a dream. He took a couple of weeks last fall and visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to explore and take culinary classes. Upon his return, he closed Sideshow, bought a new cart and in March, launched Rùa. Rùa means turtle.
At Rùa, you find Vietnamese and South East Asian inspired food with Jason’s approach. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying both the pork meatball and the Saigon Fried Chicken banh mi sandwiches. With a crisp and crunchy baguette from Pearl Bakery, they layer pickled carrots, jicama, cucumber, cilantro and sriracha mayo along with good sized chunks of the Saigon fried chicken which comes out crisp with a sweet and spicy tang. The detail for the sandwich was astounding – the carrots are hand shaved and each leaf of cilantro picked off the stem. The veggies along with the chicken melded together brilliantly with every bite. Oh, and that baguette? A work of art. You can also get the Saigon Fried Chicken as it’s own meal.
Rùa is one of the newest vendors on the block and brings us yet another new taste to the ever evolving street food landscape that is the Alder pod. I’m glad to see Jason’s new concept is gaining followers. Keep an eye out for specials as they tweak the menu and try new things. Drop on by, they’re open every day and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Banh Mi sandwiches – Pork Belly, $8; Saigon Fried Chicken, $7; Pork Meatball, $7; Tofu, $6
- Saigon Fried Chicken – a la carte, $6; with spicy arugula and cucumber salad, $8
- Green Papaya Salad – $6
Eat Mobile is back for its 7th year and will take place on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Willamette Week will bring more than 35 of the city’s favorite food carts to OMSI to serve up small bites of their signature dishes. They’ll also be competing for the coveted Carty Award. I have had the pleasure of enjoying Eat Mobile in years past and it is always a great time to meet the vendors, enjoy their dishes and mingle with fellow street food fans. For 2014, the event is changing from Saturday to Sunday and will feature shorter lines as fewer tickets will be sold, so get your tickets early. Tickets for Eat Mobile go on sale April 2. General Admission and VIP tickets (with early entry) will be available.
Get more information about Willamette Week’s Eat Mobile 2014 here.
Eat Mobile 2014
April 27, 2014 2:30-6pm
Location: SW 2nd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm
The Story: Great food comes from mom. That’s my takeaway from Mama Chow’s Kitchen, a new food cart serving up Mama’s wonton soup and more on SW 2nd and Oak.
Mama Chow’s opened earlier this year in a cedar festooned food cart built locally by PDX Cart Builders. Probably one of the more beautiful carts I’ve seen in the many years I’ve been tracking the scene. Mama Chow’s is the work of Jeff Chow with a little help from his mama Lalie. Jeff is a trained chef having worked in restaurants in Oakland, yet became a bit burned out and came to Portland to try something new. It was when he sat down to enjoy has mother’s wontons that he hatched the idea of opening a wonton cart. Portland doesn’t have one, so Jeff is the first. His mother’s wontons are the toast of the neighborhood, so he worked with her to figure out how to translate her signature recipe into a dish he could replicate daily. A pinch of this and dash of that was transformed into an amazing dish and has garnered Mama Chow’s a solid following.
At Mama Chow’s Kitchen, Jeff offers up wonton soup with house made broth, baby bok choi and your choice of either chicken or pork and shrimp wontons. I found the wontons to be flavorful and paired nicely with the par-cooked bok choi and broth. Jeff offered up some of his personal spicy sauce which amped up the soup superbly. Beyond wontons, Jeff also throws down lollipop chicken, chicken legs prepared like lollipops. Having never had them, I was intrigued to discover a new delight. Jeff pushes the meat down the bone of the leg and then fries and marinates it. The bone acts as a handle. Oh, and with the marinade and sauce and a dash of sesame seeds and chives, I may have found a new favorite go-to cart.
Jeff is keeping it simple with only a few items. He doesn’t want you, the eater, to have to wait to enjoy your dish. Located down off SW 2nd and Stark, Mama Chow’s Kitchen is open Monday through Friday, 11-3. He’s even working on some specials, so visit often for a treat. For wontons and lollipop chicken, this is the cart to visit. Drop on by and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Wonton Soup with baby bok choi and choice of chicken wonton or pork and shrimp wonton – $7
- Wonton Soup with noodles – $7
- Lollipop chicken with baby bok choi on a bed of rice – $6
The Beech Pod at N Mississippi and Beech is celebrating its Grand Opening on Saturday, March 22. Vendors on the site include Gabagool, Tiffin Asha, The Doner Haus and Moberi. Each cart will offer $3-4 tasting menu options and a band will entertain guests throughout the day. N Mississippi has become a mecca for food carts with 16 vendors between Fremont and Skidmore. Head on down between 12 and 9pm and welcome the pod to the neighborhood. More details on their Facebook page.
Beaverton is revisiting their approach to mobile food vendors with a survey. Do you live or work in Beaverton and want to have a say in how the city approaches new regulations? If so, take the survey and let your voice be heard. Find the survey here.
Some morsels of news from Portland’s street food scene:
Carts opening Restaurants:
Nong’s Khao Man Gai announced they are opening a true to form brick and mortar restaurant in the space next to their current commissary kitchen on SE Ankeny. The restaurant will feature 38 seats with both indoor and outdoor seating and Nong will bring in soft serve ice cream. The menu will feature her signature Khao Man Gai chicken/rice dish along with other items from her PSU location like Thai Basketball MoM’s wings and Coca Cola/cocoa powder-braised pork and rice. And beer – including some from Southeast Asia. Congrats Nong. Watch for opening the first week of April. 609 SE Ankeny.
Cheese and Crack opened their new Snack Shop this week at the former Black Bike Cafe space on E. Burnside. I loved this cart and am excited to visit the new shop which will feature their creative cheese plate, homemade crackers plus other items like charcuterie, pickled goods, and sandwiches. 22 SE 28th Ave. Soft Open Wednesday-Sun, 8am-8pm. (Hat tip to EaterPDX)
Tamale Boy opened their brick and mortar on Friday in the NE neighborhood of Woodlawn on Friday. The restaurant will feature their amazing tamales which were named Yelp’s 2012 Dish of the Year along with other treats. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, GMO Free and delicious. Full bar with cocktails and beer. Find Tamale Boy at 1764 NE Dekum. Open Tuesday to Sunday.
Cultured Caveman, with 3 carts in the city, announced they will take over the former E-San Thai space in the Kenton neighborhood. The 50 seat palio focused restaurant will also feature a small retail space and a revamped menu. They have launched a Kickstarter to raise funds. Watch for an April/May opening.
A few new vendors have popped up out there:
- Rift Valley – Ethiopian – SW 3rd and Washington
- The Leyland Cafe – Breakfast in a double decker bus – NE 52nd and Sandy
- Rua – Vietnamese – SW 9th and Washington
- Satay Indonesia – SW 9th and Alder
- Mama Chow’s Kichen – SW 2nd and Oak
- Thai Pasta 2 – SW 6th and Columbia
- Tandoor Indian – expanded to SW 6th and Columbia
Moberi re-opened their bike smoothie cart in North Portland at the lot at N Mississippi and Beech. They are also setting up shop at NW 23rd and Quimby. Get your smoothie on!
Enjoy the carts!