Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11am-8pm; Friday/Saturday, 11am-2am
The Story: Fried Chicken. Quick, what is your first thought? I think of buckets of KFC and cringe. Fried chicken, when done right is moist, flavorful and almost sinful. Whole Time Chicken, a food cart in downtown Portland, has it dialed in.
Whole Time Chicken opened this past fall on the Washington side of the 3rd avenue food cart lot. Portland has seen an increase in southern fare being offered up with chicken and biscuit restaurants and even some new carts showcasing cuisine various southern states. So exciting to see the newcomers. Whole Time Chicken focuses on both deep fried and pan fried chicken served up in sandwiches or over rice or a salad. Upon arrival, you’re offered up a small sample of what they have cooking inside. Just that little nibble of seared moist chicken solidified my decision to enjoy lunch from them that day. Trying to mix the healthy with the sinful, I picked up fried chicken over rice and a mixed green salad. I pretty much asked him to make me something special and he did. I love a good fried chicken and with the right crust and seasoning, it becomes a memorable meal. This dish, with spicy chicken, greens and rice was fully enjoyable down to the last bite. No dry chicken here.
Whole Time Chicken is now open daily for lunch through the dinner hour and even late night on the weekends. Craving some fried chicken after a few visits to the downtown clubs? Whole Time will hook you up. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Chicken Sandwich – $6
- Chicken and Rice – fried or pan seared – $6
- Chicken and Salad – $7.50
- Chicken, rice and salad – $8
Facebook: Whole Time Chicken
Location: 67886 E Highway 26, Welches, Oregon
Hours: Daily, 11-6, yet check Facebook for updates
The Story: Amber, the owner of SissyMama’s, emailed a few weeks ago informing me that Mt. Hood does indeed have food carts – and her’s offers up a Gluten Free menu. I’m aware of summer vendors in Gov’t Camp, but Welches, nope. So, a field trip was in order.
Remember field trips as kids? There was always food whether it be a meal at a topical restaurant or a bag lunch made by mom. I enjoy field trips and get out of the city to visit food carts whenever I get the opportunity. Welches is a cute little village on HWY 26 on the way up Mt. Hood. Just before you get to the single stoplight, Amber has set up her red and white camper trailer – SissyMama’s. With snow blanketing the ground, I pulled up for lunch. Amber trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school and offers up a menu of Gluten Free and Paleo options. She uses the cart as a means to explore food and create amazing dishes for everyone. Being on the mountain in winter, hot soup is daily treat.
The menu is ever changing both with the seasons and at Amber’s whim, yet after trying three dishes, I trust there will always be something on the menu that is delicious. The day I visited offered up roasted cauliflower and potato soup, a vegetarian hand pie and a paleo dish of red cabbage, green pepper and Italian sausage. The hot soup, served in a 16oz cup with no spoon was delightful. Standing in the snow, sipping at the soup while chatting food made my day. Also, it fit perfect in the cup holder for the drive home. The hand pie, a newcomer to the menu and one of Amber’s first melted in my mouth. Gluten free and full of goodies, I even dipped it in the soup. The cabbage roll in a bowl offered up Asian flavors with a dash of sesame seeds. All around, three different items with three distinct flavors and all rather delectable.
SussyMama’s is open daily and offers indoor and outdoor seating. I can only imagine how magical a bowl of Amber’s soup would be on a snowy winter afternoon or a sunny summer afternoon. Either way, next time I’m headed up the mountain, I know I’ll stop. Do check her Facebook page for updates on hours. Next time you’re on the mountain, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Location: NW 19th and Quimby – Q19
Hours: lunch, weekdays
The Story: There are food trucks and food trailers. Large and small. There are vendors on bikes. But, The Lunch Box is probably the cutest, coziest little food cart I’ve seen in awhile. Creating wraps both hot and cold, the cart sated my lunchtime needs for a cool and crisp Friday.
Wraps for me are either awesome of not. I’m not sure what it is, yet I tend to shy away from them. Maybe because every corporate box lunch ever made had a poorly made wrap in it – all cold and soggy. Yet, I know wraps can be done well and Portland’s food carts have proved that. At The Lunch Box, they offer up both cold and hot pressed wraps with a variety of ingredients. Being a cool fall day, I chose the Tuna Melt hot pressed wrap. A layer of cheese on the tortilla, topped with fresh tuna salad and tomato, the wrap is then pressed similar to a panini until hot with all that tasty cheese melted throughout. Inside Quimby’s, the onsite bar, everyone asked what I had. No one had seen such a glorious sandwich from a cart I guess. Being a sucker for anything with the words tuna and melt in it, I dove in and enjoyed every bite. A great mix of tuna with seasonings and mayo. The wrap was crisp and toasty. Overall, I would trade this over some of the traditional melts I’ve had in town.
The Lunch Box is located at Q19 Food Cart Pod in NW Portland. There is outdoor seating or you can take you food inside and warm up in the bar. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Hot Pressed Wraps:
- Philly Steak – $8
- Chipotle Chicken – $7
- Tuna Melt – $7
- Chicken Cordon Bleu – $7
- Grilled Cheese w/bacon and tomato – $7
- Italian – ham, salami, basil – $7
- Chicken Bacon Club – $7
- Tuna – $7
- Veggie – $7
- Roast Beef – $7
Location: SE 28th Pl and Division – Tidbit
Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-3pm, 5:30-8:30pm
The Story: Portland restaurants offer up some of the best burgers and even dedicate an entire week to them. At Earth Burgers, a food cart at Tidbit, they offer up tasty vegetarian and vegan options for burger lovers who don’t want to eat meat.
Earth Burgers opened earlier this year and moved to the Tidbit lot in August. Owners Diane and Stan came to Portland to launch their business after attending the ROAM Mobile Food Conference in 2013. Diane is a graduate of the New York French Culinary Institute and worked in a number of New York establishments to create a stellar resume and understand food and the complexity of flavors. The two of them put together an idea and ran with it, launching Earth Burgers focusing on healthy vegetarian and vegan burgers.
At Earth Burgers, the burgers are handmade with black beans and garbanzo beans from Washington’s Haricot Farms. Grains and flours are from Bob’s Red Mill. All mixed greens and spices are organic. See the theme? They offer Gluten Free buns from Happy Campers in Tigard. The American Graffiti first piqued my interest with a black bean and sweet potato burger, mixed greens, onion, ketchup and mustard. Just what a burger should be. Then I spied the PDmeX which added pickled jalapenos and a tomatillo-avocado salsa. Mix in spice with any burger and I’m sold. The PDmeX started off with great flavors in the burger and bun with the spice from the jalapenos coming in around the halfway mark. Whew, it spiced it up in a good way. What I loved about the handmade patty was it didn’t mush up and fall apart like some veggie burgers. The bun and burger stayed together till the last bite. Looking forward to a return trip to try one of the chickpea burgers.
Earth Burgers is a great addition to our overall burger scene here in the city. At Tidbit they have found a home in one of Portland’s most welcoming spots. Drop on by when you’re craving something new and let Diane and Stan know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- The Casbah – chickpea burger, cucumbers, tomato, pickled red onions, organic mixed greens, tahini sauce – $8
- Electric Sitar – potato and vegetable burger, caramelized onions, cilantro chutney, organic mixed greens, masala sauce – $8
- PDmeX – $8.50
- Beautiful South – black-eyed pea burger, vinegar based coleslaw, organic mixed greens, bbq sauce – $7.50
- American Graffiti – $7
The ROAM Mobile Food Conference is November 8-9 in San Antonio. Only a few weeks away. If you’re an aspiring mobile food vendor or want to take your existing mobile food business to the next level, this conference is for you. The only professional conference specifically for the mobile food industry. A Food Truck Academy for newcomers will feature national experts focusing on topics including business planning, permitting, equipment, branding, sales and marketing. There will be hands-on activities and plenty of opportunity to ask seasoned veterans questions. The Owner’s Summit the same weekend will feature speakers who have experience growing mobile food businesses whether it is expanding to multiple food trucks or figuring out how to hire the right employees.
- Keith Hill – owner of KHILL BBQ and Executive Directory of San Antonio Food Truck Association
- Warren Hansen – Street Vending Coordinator, City of Madison, WI
- Jennifer Lewis – Small Food Business
- Richard Myrick – Owner, Mobile-Cuisine.com
- Ross Resnick – Founder, Roaming Hunger
- Matthew Geller – CEO, SoCal Mobile Food Vendors’ Association
- Matt Breslow – Owner, The Grilled Cheese Grill
The ROAM Mobile Food Conference may be the single best investment of your year. This week, the conference is offering 50% off registration. Register here and use the code 1/2offRoam.
ROAM Mobile Food Conference
November 8-9, San Antonio, Texas
All Roads Lead To Roam
It seems food cart power cord thefts are on the rise. Just in the past couple of weeks, carts located at Carts On Foster, Mississippi Marketplace and Tidbit have been hit. Thieves or vandals are cutting and stealing the cords. Some vendors have been forced to close for multiple days due to the damage. Cord thefts and vandalism has been an issue for a few years now, yet it seems the past two weeks has seen an increase in activity. The Portland Police are involved in investigating, so if you have seen anything untoward at any of the food cart lots at night, please give them a call. When power is cut, fridges shut down and that is a huge cost to these small businesses. As an food cart fan, head on out to one of these pods and support the vendors when you can.
The Gaufre Gourmet announced this week they are opening a cafe in Hillsdale. GiGi’s will feature a soda fountain and breakfast and lunch options along with their signature Liege style Belgian waffles. So excited for Charlene and Michael. The cart downtown will remain open.
Portland International Airport is getting food carts. Over the past year, the Port of Portland has been reviewing food options at the airport, bringing in new fresh ideas including food carts. The carts will be located in the food court area pre-security and have already been placed. They aren’t open just yet, but so far, Koi Fusion and Pok Pok have their signs up. Watch for more details soon.
Jerry Seinfeld came to Portland this last weekend filming an interview with Fred Armisen of Portlandia and SNL fame. As part of the show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, they visited Coava Coffee and enjoyed lunch from Wolf and Bear’s at Pod 28 at 28th and Ankeny in southeast. So cool.
The holidays are just around the corner. If you’re looking to have your event catered by a food cart or truck, drop us a line. We work with a number of Portland’s best food trucks who are fully mobile and can come to your location and feed your guests. Email
Events@FoodCartsPortland.com or call 503 896 2771.
Location: SE 28th pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-9pm
The Story: Lefse. A Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes. I’ve probably eaten more than my weight in lefse over the years, a traditional item on the holiday table in my family. Ingrid’s Scandinavian Food is a new food cart making lefse wraps for us Portlanders.
A few years ago, Portland was introduced to lefse from a cart with the opening of Viking Soul Food. This summer, with the launch of the new Tidbit food cart lot on SE Division, Ingrid’s opened, offering up the traditional thin lefse with a range of options. If you’ve never enjoyed lefse, it is large and thin, almost crepe like, yet rolled out instead of a batter. I call it a Scandinavian tortilla much to the chagrin of my mother. I grew up enjoying it with butter and sugar, yet as with any type of bread or wrap, you can do anything with it. At Ingrid’s, they have lefse wraps with meatballs, house smoked salmon, roasted blueberries, or arugula, egg and pear. Something for everyone.
I picked up the Pølse Wrap with smoked sausage and a Norwegian coleslaw with dill mustard. Thin lefse enveloped the two small brats lathered with mustard. Pared with the red cabbage coleslaw’s vinegar whisper, each bite was a smoky and lightly tangy joy. I almost walked overe for a second or to try one of the sweeter wraps. Using lefse with these ingredients is a great choice.
Ingrid’s Scandinavian is now open Wednesday through Sunday at Tidbit which offers covered seating, a firepit and an on site beer cart. Drop on by for a taste of Scandinavia and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Norwegian Meatball Wrap – meatballs with surkal and Gjetost cheese sauce wrapped in lefse – $6.25
- Salmon Wrap – house smoked salmon, egg, cucumber, arugula, chèvre and dill sauce wrapped in lefse – $7.25
- Pølse Wrap – $6.25
- Veggie Pear Wrap – arugula, egg, peer, fete, walnuts, creamy cranberry sauce wrapped in lefse – $5.75
- Roasted Blueberry Wrap – $4
- Deep Fried Meatballs – $4.50
Facebook: Ingrid’s Scandinavian
Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi at Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Monday/Thursday – 11:30-3; Friday/Saturday, 11:30-8; Sunday, 11:30-7
The Story: I grew up eating pizza from Round Table and Abby’s and in college, the ubiquitous Domino’s. It was only the last couple of decades I was introduced to what really good pizza is and Portland has it. Midwest Pizza Co is a new food cart serving up Chicago and Detroit style pizza.
I remember the first time ordering a Chicago style pizza in Chicago. We were accosted with menus. Told to order quickly as it takes an hour. And then we waited. It was great, yet coming from the west coast where pizza was quick and thin, it was a different experience all together. Here in Portland, at the food carts, the vendors offer the pizza by the slice, so there isn’t the hour long wait. You can still get a whole pie if you want, just call ahead. At Midwest Pizza Co, their goal was to bring to Portland the flavors so you don’t have to endure the 100 degree weather and 100% humidity.
The Chicago Deep Dish starts with the crust. A flaky, buttery bed with slabs of Mozzarella and then the homemade sauce and toppings. The first slice I enjoyed on opening weekend was almost 2″ thick and so much cheese. The Detroit Style originated from baking the pie in spare parts trays giving the pizza a distinct rectangular shape. Caramelization occurs on the edges of the crust and when topped with Mozzarella and Monterey Jack and a few slices of pepperoni, you just can’t go wrong. Lastly, the Classic Chicago Dog. Made with Red Hot Chicago dogs, I enjoyed it “dragged through the garden.” The dog was topped with yellow mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish which glowed green, pickle spears, tomato wedges, sport peppers and celery salt. Each bit was fulfilling with veggies and pickled goodness and, well, hot dog happiness.
Midwest Pizza Co. is a great addition to the food cart scene here in Portland. We now have a number of wood fired pizza vendors and a Chicago style cart in downtown, so I’m glad they located in my neighborhood. Open Thursday-Monday for both lunch and dinner, if you’re in the neighborhood, you should check them out. Also, if you’re from the midwest, they offer other tasty regional treats including Sprecher Root Beer and Faygo. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu (Full menu on MWPizza.com)
- Chicago Dog – $4
- Chicago Dog with all the fixin’s – $5.50
- Chicago Deep Dish – slices are $5.50; whole pies are $15-20.
- Detroit Style – $4-4.50/slice; whole pies are $10-15