Location: SE 48th and Woodstock
Hours: Wed-Sun, 11-7
The Story: What’s the definition of graffiti? Is it art or mischief? I’ve seen some amazing graffiti out there – a mishmash of styles and colors almost indiscernable as either a word or name or object. At Graffiti Sandwich, the chef takes traditional style sandwiches and paints his own creations.
Travis, the sandwich chef, worked his way up the restaurant food chain from sous chef in Montana to head chef in Idaho to owner of The Tartan in Coeur d’alene before coming down to Portland and building out a superb cart and opening in Woodstock. He and his wife Maureen have known each other since high school and even then were crafty. Fast forward 20 years and the cart was born. Travis needed to get back in the kitchen. Looking at the menu he offers, you see familiar looking sandwiches you may have enjoyed in the past, yet then there are subtle differences and you think to yourself – “I never thought to do that with pork belly”. His Ono Chicken sandwich, for example, started as a Japanese-Hawaiian pasta dish which he tweaked and put on a bun. Fermented black beans mixed with cream cheese and garlic soy marinated chicken. Oh, and the buns from Fluer de Lis bakery here in town are some of the best. I honestly don’t mind getting that light bit of flour from the top of the bun all over my dark shirt.
The Da Nang Pork is Travis’ version of a banh mi. Pork meatballs, Vietnamese slaw, cilantro, sriracha may and hoisin peanut butter make up this creation. The bun is chewy and moist, a perfect delivery device for the savory pork mixed with the spice of the sriracha and the sweet of the hoisin butter. I have enjoyed many traiditional banh mi sandwiches over the years and this modified version stands out. The flavors are so diverse and so well managed, it truly is art, not just someone throwing paint on the wall.
Graffiti Sandwich is a new player in the gourmet sandwich game here in Portland. Why Graffiti? Here is their explanation from their website:
Why graffiti? Well, we both like graffiti. We like the way it sounds. We like its double f’s and every other i and just one t. We like to take pictures of graffiti anywhere from Bushwick to Boyle Heights. And, well, Portland doesn’t really have graffiti. Until now.
Well said. I challenge you to head out to Woodstock and see for yourself the magic Travis does. Open Wednesday to Saturday from 11-7, there is seating in the pod and plenty of parking in the area. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Smoked Ham & Egg: smoked ham, bacon onion jam, chive cream cheese, deviled egg and Tillamook cheddar – $7.50
- Da Nang Pork – $8
- Medianoche: braised pork shoulder, smoked ham, bacon onion jam, Graffiti pickles, Swiss, yellow mustard – $7.50
- Guisado Pork: stewed pork shoulder, caramelized onions, black beans, jack cheese, lime crema and pickled jalapeno – $8
- Dan Nang Cauliflower: spiced roasted cauliflower, Vietnamese slaw, cilantro, sriracha mayo, hoisin peanut butter – $7.50
Food Carts Portland is proud and excited to announce that Brett Burmeister, co-owner and editor of this website, is heading to Singapore along with three of Portland’s food cart leaders to attend the World Street Food Congress from May 31- June 9, 2013.
Brett will represent Food Carts Portland and our other North American-wide project, Roam Mobile Food Conference. Brett will join Portland food cart owners Cliff Allen from The People’s Pig, Charles Thomas from Euro Trash, and Trey Corkern of The Swamp Shack to showcase Portland’s thriving street food scene, including providing meals to over 10,000 attendees. Portland will be in good company, alongside forty mobile food vendors from places as diverse as Europe, SE Asia, Mexico, and beyond.
If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know Brett has been writing about Portland’s street food scene since 2008. He will speak at the Congress as part of their World Street Food Dialogue June 3 and 4, alongside culinary luminaries such as Anthony Bourdain and James Oseland, the editor of Saveur magazine. Brett’s presentation on the Portland street food model highlights how the City of Portland and Multnomah County have supported mobile food vendors to create vibrant community spaces while at the same time supporting the growth of small, local food businesses.
The attending Portland food carts will be part of a 10-day street food jamboree with street food vendors from around the world. Food showcased from Portland includes a fried softshell crab sandwich from Euro Trash, pulled pork from The People’s Pig, and smothered chicken from The Swamp Shack. The three vendors are both excited and nervous about bringing their craft halfway around the world. The World Street Food Congress organizer, KF Seetoh and his team came to Portland earlier this year to check out different vendors. They tried numerous dishes from many food carts and settled on three from our fair City of Roses: a fried softshell crab sandwich from Eurotrash, pulled pork from the People’s Pig, and smothered chicken from Swamp Shack.
About the World Street Food Congress:
The World Street Food Congress (WSFC) is the first of its kind to connect and open up fresh ideas and thought leadership in the massive, and growing street food culture and industry throughout the world. It also celebrates and showcases this well loved gastro-culture through a ten-day celebration of street food. According to founder K.F. Seetoh, the goals of the WSFC are to “preserve, professionalize and create new possibilities for the world’s greatest culinary phenomena – comfort and street food culture.”
The World Street Food Congress takes place May 31-June 9 in Singapore. More details about the event can be found at www.wsfcongress.com.
We wish Portland’s Food Carts a Bon Voyage, and expect on-the-ground updates from Brett and Food Carts Portland throughout the event.
Location: SW 3rd and Ash
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 10:30am-3:30pm, Fri/Sat, 12-7pm
The Story: I comment regularly about how one can taste the flavors of a region by visiting the different mobile vendors here in the city. Falafel and salad rolls are perfect examples. La Sangucheria does Peruvian, allowing us now to expand our tastes to South America.
La Sangucheria translates to sandwich shop in Peru. Mary, the owner, has a catering business in Peru and came to America about four years ago with her family and opened her cart here in Portland at the end of 2012. The sandwiches on the menu are traditional items you would eat daily in Peru and Mary pointed out they like to add potatoes to everything.
La Sangucheria focuses on Peruvian sandwiches. The Saltado is a sauteed beef tenderloin served with sauteed onions, tomatoes, cilantro and fries. The Chicharron, which I enjoyed, stars with a well made sandwich bun and then sweet potato fries are laid down and topped with a generous amount of deep fried pork disks. The sandwich is topped with honey and red onion salsa and your choice of sauce. I initially thought of chicharron made with deep fried pork skin, but in Peru, they deep fry the pork disks and call it chicharron. An excellent sandwich with a breadth of flavors. I opted for spicy which paired well with the savory of the pork and the sweet of the potato. A rather large sandwich for a hearty eater.
La Sangucheria may be known to you by now. They won the Judge’s Award at the 2013 Eat Mobile festival. Their cuisine is top notch and worth the visit. Next time you have a craving for something from the southern hemisphere, drop on by La Sangucheria and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Saltado – sauteed beef tenderloin, sauteed onion, tomatoes, cilantro and fries – $8
- Chicharron – deep fried pork, sweet potato fries, hone and onion salsa – $8
- Pachamama – smoked ham, bacon, grilled chicken, fries and cheese sauce – $8
Phone: 503 957 2410
Facebook: La Sangucheria
Chikpeadx, a new food cart opening up on N Interstate will host a pop-up at the Portland Penny Diner downtown on Wednesday, May 15. Chef Yair Maidan is pursuing his dream to open his own NW influenced falafel cart. Yair has some culinary chops, having worked behind the scenes at many of Portland’s best restaurants including Clyde Common and Beaker and Flask. Born in Israel and raised in Florida, Yair will focus on showcasing the chickpea, one of the northwest’s largest crops. The pop-up will take place at the Portland Penny Diner at 410 SW Broadway Wednesday, May 15 at 5pm. His permanent location will be on N Interstate just north of Rosa Parks at Home Brew Exchange. Scheduled to open in June. More details.
Addy’s Sandwich Bar has officially opened their cafe at 911 SW 10th avenue, just 4 blocks from where their cart called home for four years. If you know Addy’s, you know her amazing gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads. With the new space and expanded kitchen, she is looking to add paninis, breakfast items, fresh vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies. Beer and wine coming soon. Follow her Facebook page for updates.
Water Avenue Coffee has gone mobile with a cute little panel truck to serve their hand crafted espresso beyond their brick and mortar location. They made their debut at the St. Johns Parade this past weekend and plan on participating in different events throughout town. Keep an eye out for them and follow them on Twitter for updates on location.
- Left Coast – SW 5th and Stark
- Mix n Match – SW 3rd and Ankeny
- Mother Goose Bakery and Wood Fired Pizza – Cartlandia, SE 82nd and Harney
- The Good & Evil Wrap Co, Cartlandia
- Farmfood – North Station, N Greeley and Kilingsworth
Remember, if you’re out an about, you can find your next meal or next cart with our mobile apps. Both iPhone and Android version available. FoodCartsPortland.com/apps
Location: SE 28th and Ankeny
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11am-9pm
The Story: A food cart born of passion, travel, friendship and…well…good cuisine. I give you Guero Tacos and Tortas.
Over the years, I have met food cart owners who are parents or boyfriends and girlfriends or fathers and sons. While most of these small businesses are single owners, many are the hard work of a few who have banded together to pursue a dream. I have fond memories of younger years when I and friends worked together to fullfill a collective dream. Granted, none were as ambitious as a full service restaurant on wheels, but I know the hard work it takes for people to come together for a single focused idea. At Guero, the three partners – Alec, Mike and Megan – all share in the duty to create the best cuisine they can. The idea behind Guero came from Alec’s time spent travelling and living in Mexico and then a transition to Burlington Vermont where he partnered with his mates and launched a mobile taco business named Taco the Town, a short lived service of delivering tacos by bike. When an opportunity to transition to a full service food cart, they jumped at it and opened Guero. But don’t fret, the delivery by bike is still a passion and may return.
At Guero, you can get tacos, tortas and bolos. Tacos are my crutch. When I see a chef hand pressing a masa tortilla, I’m blinded, seeing nothing else on the menu but the taco. The day we visited offered three different tacos – Carnitas el Guero, Cochinita Pibil and Jitomate. Each one’s description activated my tastebuds, but in the end, I chose the latter two. The Cochinita Pibil is a specialty from La Riviera May with pork slow cooked in achiote with shredded banana leaf and served with pickled onion. Take a bite and enjoy the savory pork, the acidity of onion along with the moist of the freshmade tortilla. Divine. The Jitomate taco is habanero-tamarind stewed tomato atop pinto beans and topped with crumbly Mexican cheese and a slice of avocado. I read it as a stewed habanero, so was expecting a spicy bite, yet it was a tomato with so much flavor, I couldn’t easily describe it. Another amazing example of the craft and care Guero takes with every single item they produce.
As stated, Guero was born from a taco bike delivery service, so these guys know what Portland eaters seek. Located at SE 28th and Ankeny at a lot with covered seating, a London bus to hang out in and three other food vendors. The lot boasts Captured by Porches so you can enjoy a microbrew with your taco or torta. Drop on by, grab something new and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Menu may change daily or weekly. Be adventurous, visit and try something new.
- Carnitas al Guero Taco – $2
- Cochinita Pibil – $2
- Tortas – all served with cilantro aioli, cabbage, avocado; carnitas; cochinita pibil, huarachi – $7
Location: SW 3rd and Stark
Hours: Weekdays, lunch
The Story: Elloy Martin makes an amazing panucho. Simple, satisfying and oh, so flavorful. Elloy Martin has been making Mexican street food magic in his cart El Taco Yucateco for a couple of years and now comes to serve the downtown eaters.
I first met Elloy a year or so ago when he was at Green Castle. I made the mistake of assuming his cart was the same as a similar named vendor out east. Lucky for me, it wasn’t a huge error as it was his brother’s cart I had visited. After some ups and downs at Green Castle, Elloy moved the cart downtown this year and opened up on SW Stark between 2nd and 3rd. The menu at the cart is what you would expect from most Mexican vendors – tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas. All fresh, made to order with pride. What stands out here are the panuchos, a special type of taco. Elloy has to go as far as Sandy to source his special masa paste for the tortillas. A panucho is different than a taco and served open face like a tostada. He makes a tortilla then quickly fries it, puffing it up. Elloy then pulls it out, slices it open and stuffs it with black bean paste. Back in the pan to finish up, he then tops it with lettuce, cabbage, shredded and seasoned chicken, pickled red onion, tomato and avocado. A panucho, done right, is one of those dishes you don’t want to eat – so beautiful. If I could, I would take it somewhere so they could preserve it for all time. Each bite is a treat from the avocado mixing with the marinated onion and the creamy beans. The tortilla isn’t hard, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking up in your hand. A couple of panuchos and a Jarochita on a sunny day is all this boy needs to make him smile.
While waiting for my order, a few other patrons came along for burritos. One woman came up proclaiming that the cart “had the best taco salad in town.” I’ll have to try that next. Elloy is one of those vendors who smiles and engages his customers whether he’s busy or not and I enjoyed chatting with him about Mexican street food. Makes me want to take a trip. Drop on by El Taco Yucateco next time you have a craving for something new. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Panuchos – $2
- Tacos – beef, chicken, cactus – $1.50
- Quesadilla- $3, add beef or chicken for $1
- Tamale – $3
- Taco Salad – beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, your choice of meat – $7
- Burritos – $5
- Tortas – $5
Phone: (503) 901-0768
Facebook: El Taco Yucateco
Location: SW Washington and 10th
Hours: Weekdays and Saturdays, lunch- late afternoon.
The Story: Grab your passports and your geography books, Kargi Gogo serves a cuisine we rarely see in Portland and they do an outstanding job of it too: The foods of the Georgian Republic. No, this is not fried chicken, grits, okra and peach pie found in the Southern United State of Georgia. This is food from the COUNTRY of Georgia. Located on the Black Sea, nestled under Russia, and surrounded by Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, Georgia is a culturally and geographically diverse country with a diverse cuisine to match it. In Kargi Gogo’s own words:
Georgians make food that combines elements of Eastern European and Middle Eastern cuisines, resulting in fresh, flavorful dishes.
You’ll find Khachapuri – melted blend of cheeses in a flaky light crust. Then there’s Badrijani – cooked eggplant strips stuffed with ground walnuts, garlic and Georgian spices. Light but satisfying, and vegan and gluten free to boot. Yet, it’s the Georgian dumplings named Khinkali that really win us over. Think of generous fistfull sized tender and boiled wontons stuffed with a mixture of meats, garlic, herbs and broth. They are a Georgian obsession and highly addictive, and pro-tip provided by the owners of Kargi Gogo and the way the Georgians eat them – grab the dumpling by the top, turn them upside down, then bite in. This keeps the hot broth inside the dumplings from exploding all over your nice clean shirt.
Kargi Gogo, literally translates to Good Girl in the Georgian language and their cute little white cart with the quirky cartoon girl logo (the good girl) is a nice introduction to Georgian food. Kargi Gogo has put a lot of thought into their design and menu, including descriptions and photos of their food as well as making sure there are offerings for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. They even have some gluten free foods. This commitment to education about their food is really helpful in choosing what mouth-watering treats to try.
A great introduction to sampling Kargi Gogo’s menu is their “Supra Feast”, describe as:
A Georgian supra is an epic feast with an abundance of delicious food. Indulge with a slice of Khachapuri, a slice of Lobiani, two Khinkali, two Badrijani and Peasant’s Salad.
Sean and McKinzie are the two affable young Americans who own Kargi Gogo. They were both stationed in Georgia for two years in the Peace Corps, met there, and decided to introduce Portlanders to this fantastic cuisine. Food Carts Portland salutes Kargi Gogo for their efforts and excellence. Or, as the robust and friendly Georgian people might say, Gemrielad Miirthvith! (Enjoy your meal!)
- Khachapuri – Georgian Cheese Stuffed Bread – $6
- Lobani – stuffed Bean and Onion Bread – $6
- Khinkali – meat stuffed boiled dumplings – $6
- Badrijani – eggplant, garlic and walnut rolls – $6
- Peasant Salad – tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions in a walnut-garlic dressing – $6
- Supra Feast – a large sampler of all menu items – $8
Phone: 503- 489-8432
Facebook: Kargi Gogo PDX
No fish Go Fish, the venerable soup and Korean sandwich cart closed this past month after staking their claim to the corner of SW 5th and Yamhill for 16 years. I can’t count how many quick little fishes I picked up from John Doyle, the soup slinger at the cute little cart. John and his partner Sean Brown opened the cart in the 90′s, long before the current street food craze. They were there rain or shine and I even remember a snowy day. The Portland Business Journal has a wonderful interview with John and points out that the soup may not be gone forever. We wish John and Sean the best of luck with their new adventures.
Retrolicious, the southern comfort and bright pink food cart, has found a new permanent home for this beautiful weather we’re having. Kimberly and Roy have take the often roaming cart off the street and plopped it at NE 23rd and Alberta with The Cheese Plate, Fijian Indian Curry and Captured by Porches. Wow! What a line up. Now open.
Picnic, John Dovydenas’ amazingly beautiful cart has come out of winter hibernation and now calls SW 3rd and Stark home. You may remember Picnic from Green Castle last summer and SW 10th and Alder the summer before. John, a winemaker in his free time, focuses on scratch made sandwiches and salads and according to many, makes the best chocolate chip cookies. More details at PDXPicnic.com.
Big-Ass Sandwiches will take over the kiosk above section 92 for the Timbers vs. Chivas match on Sunday, May 12. What a great way to celebrate Mother’s day – the Timbers and a Big-Ass Sandwich. The full schedule of which mobile vendors will be at which game can be found here.
La Sangucheria won the coveted Judges Choice award at Eat Mobile 2013. The event at OMSI was amazing and well attended. I personally enjoyed hanging out with some of the vendors and chatting about how this all came to be. Kinda reminiscing about the old days. Cheese & Crack won the Style Award and Garcelon’s Soup and Grilled Cheese won the People’s Choice award. Congrats everyone.
So much good food out there. The sun is out and the vendors are prepped. Now it is your duty to go eat. Thanks for continuing to support Portland’s mobile vendors.