Location: SE 28th and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11-7, Friday/Saturday, 11-8
The Story: Over the years, there have been more than a few vendors trying sushi in the food carts. Some succeeded, others did not. I always thought it was an eater’s perception issue with raw fish in a food cart. Yet, with the evolution of street food and the evolution of the eater, we now have numerous options for sushi, including vegan sushi. Wasabi Sushi PDX opened in 2016 and has quickly expanded, including a restaurant to open in 2017. Eaters seem to really enjoy their offerings.
Wasabi Sushi is known for their great sushi, but more for introducing Portland to the Sushi B-Ritto, a large sushi roll similar to a burrito. An excellent modification of the simple roll and filling. The day I visited, I opted for the Treasure Island Roll and the Spider Crunchy Roll. The Treasure Island is tuna, crab, Masago, avocado and cucumber topped with a spicy mayo. Messy, but fresh and flavorful. The mix of the tuna and crab delights the tastebuds. The Spider Crunchy Roll is tempura soft shell crab with avocado, cucumber, lettuce and Masago with a spicy eel sauce. Ooh, spice. Loved the crunch along with the wasabi and a bit of ginger. Tempura soft shell crab is a weakness of mine and I devoured the entire plate without pausing.
Wasabi Sushi PDX is open daily for lunch and dinner at one of Portland’s best food cart pods – Tidbit. The lot offers up seating and a beer cart so you can sit and enjoy your sushi with local craft beers. Next time you’re in the mood for sushi, check out Wasabi Sushi PDX and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Facebook: Wasabi Sushi PDX
Location: SE 11th and Tacoma in Sellwood
Hours: Mon,Wed, Fri, Sat, 9am-7pm; Tues, Thurs – 9am-3pm
The Story: I delight in a great sandwich. In Sellwood, Village Patisserie offers up both breakfast and lunch sandwiches all day from their food cart.
Sellwood now has 2 food cart pods with Piknik Park on SW Tacoma sporting eight vendors including a beer and wine cart. Village Patisserie has been their from the start offering up breakfast and lunch sandwiches along with salads, soups and desserts. Their ginger snap cookie is the bomb, but I digress. After skipping breakfast, I needed something substantial, so opted for The Sellwood, Village Patisserie’s big boy sammy. Turkey, bacon, melted cheddar cheese, mayo, arugula, tomato, and avocado with a drizzle of special sauce is served on a ciabatta bun. Not normally a fan of turkey on sandwiches, yet with the bacon, mayo and avocado, I devoured it. The ciabatta is an unsung hero for a sandwich of this type. It held together unlike some other bread choices. Overall, a great sandwich with all the right flavors.
Village Patisserie is open at 9am most days and stays open for lunch and into the dinner hour or until they sell out. If you’re down that way, maybe checking out some antiques, visit Piknik Park and let Village Patisserie know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Facebook: Village Patisserie
Location: SE 82nd and Harney at Cartlandia
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11:30-3pm; Tues-Fri, 4:30-8pm
The Story: Portland loves ramen, that’s a fact. Just a few years ago, lines wrapped the block at the only ramen joint in town, but now every street and neighborhood sports options ranging from affordable and simple to expensive and rare. I simply love the diversity. Mizu Ramen, one of only a few food carts crafting the magical noodle dish offers their wares up at Cartlandia in SE Portland.
When I first dove into the ramen rat hole, I learned more about the dish than what Top Ramen shilled all those years. Miso, Shoyu, Shio, Tonkotsu, Alkali noodles, soft boiled eggs, chashu, the list goes on. Exploring the differences between the styles has become an obsession and joy. At Mizu Ramen, they keep it simple and straight forward – Miso, Shoyu (soy sauce broth), Shio (salt broth) and vegetarian Miso as options. Each bowl comes with chashu pork, bamboo shoots, spinach, seaweed, 1/2 a soft boiled egg and green onions. The vegetarian option comes with Tofu. For $9, this is one of the more sizable bowls I’ve had. A monster. The chashu pork had just a hint of fat which fit well with the seaweed and spinach. Everything about the bowl, the noodles, the rich broth, the veggies, the pork – spot on. I just wish they were closer to my home so I could enjoy their offerings more.
Mizu Ramen is located at Cartlandia in SE Portland which offers covered seating and a bar for you to enjoy your meals out of the rain and cold. Open daily for lunch and dinner, they have a great menu for everyone. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Facebook: Mizu Ramen
Location: SE 11th and Tacoma at Piknik
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11-7
Papa Lee’s Kitchen is one of those carts that will surprise you. While the menu offers a number of fish taco options like ahi or shrimp, it also offers up a double smoked bratwurst sandwich. Normally, vendors focus on one type of cuisine, but Papa Lee takes everything further. The Jaeger Schnitzel Sandwich is a perfect example – a breaded pork loin topped with house made mushroom gravy, jack cheese, veggies and served on a ciabatta roll. Served with a side Caesar salad, this is a hungry man’s meal. Juicy, sweet, savory and more. Papa Lee rocked it.
Facebook: Papa Lee’s Kitchen
Location: N Vancouver and Fremont
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-7
Stoopid Burger is North Portland’s answer to the big-ass burger with all the toppings. Need some ham and sausage along with a fried egg? They have it. You can go for a “Boring Burger” for $5 or get the signature Stoopid Burger with bacon, ham, sausage link, fried egg and choice of cheese.
Facebook: Stoopid Burger
Location: NE 23rd and Alberta
Hours: Wed/Thurs, 12-9; Fri/Sat, 12-10:30; Sunday 12-9
The Story: PARM – Huge lighted letters greet you upon the arrival to The Parmacy, a food cart on NE Alberta serving up New York style Italian favorites.
I sometimes feel we have a dearth of Italian options in the street food scene until I sit down and ruminate all we see at the different food cart pods. The Hoagie. Wood fired pizza. Piadinas. Pasta. Artigiano and Burrasca (now a restaurant) put Portland’s food cart pasta scene on the map with handcrafted noodles and regional flavors from the boot shaped land. Now, The Parmacy makes their mark. With a menu and namesake featuring chicken and eggplant parmesan sandwiches, they also offer additinal New York style Italian dishes while sourcing locally and making it all from scratch, including the pasta, breadcrumbs and tomato paste.
Chicken parm, an iconic sandwich. I don’t believe I’ve had a bad chicken or eggplant parm sammie, so on that cold winter day I visited The Parmacy, I needed a change, a creamy dish, and on the lighter side. For pasta, three options – pesto basil, marinara or olio. A wide tagliatelle noodle is the base for Olio which comes with garlic olive oil, chili flakes, breadcrumbs and hand grated parmesan. A delightful dish of creamy pasta with just enough garlic and chili to balance out the parmesan. As a treat, I also devoured a plate of fried olives with marinara. So much for the light lunch.
The Parmacy is a great addition to the street food options on NE Alberta, a street that offers up a diverse set of cuisines both at food carts and restaurants. Sandwiches, pasta dishes, sides, salads. They have it all. Next time you’re craving Italian, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Facebook: The Parmacy
Location: N Mississippi and Skidmore, Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Mon, 11:30-4; Tues-Sat, 11:30-7:30; Sun, 11:30-6
The Story: Mississippi Marketplace continues to shift vendors around, bringing in new choices for us north Portland eaters. Teppanyaki Hut brings us ramen and sushi, much needed in the N Mississippi corridor.
Teppanyaki Hut offers up ramen, sushi in the form of nigiri and sushi burritos. Ramen starts with broth – tonkotsu (pork), miso (bean paste), shoyu (soy), and finally shio (salt). You chose pork, fish or vegetarian options with tofu. A great mix up can be had. The sushi burrito intrigued me most of all. Imagine a large hand roll with all the fixin’s. The Volcanic Eruption wraps spicy tuna, spicy salmon, jalapeno, masago, tobiko, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber and crab salad inside rice and a seaweed wrapper. Truly burrito size and with the mix of the spicy fish and eggs with the cool cucumber and cabbage, the roll was brilliant.
Teppanyaki Hut is located at Mississippi Marketplace in North Portland which offers up covered seating and access to the onsite pub. Check out their offerings and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Facebook: Teppanyaki Hut
Location: 2401 NE Argyle
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-1:30pm
The Story: Most food carts are born of a long simmering desire or skill. Some concieved based on family recipes or traditions. And then there are the carts created to build and promote a brand. WBX Meat Wagon is the work of Western Boxed Meats and feeds the many in and around the industrial area of NE Portland.
Over the years, numerous corporations have utilized the food cart or food truck model to promote the brand or build customer loyalty. A few years back, the State of Wyoming parked a food truck in Pioneer Courthouse Square to give out “Buffalo Chips,” heavy chocolate chunk cookies. Come to Wyoming, see buffalo. The WBX Meat Wagon is a full service food cart and kitchen dishing up everything from salads to pasta dishes, sandwiches and burgers. The purpose here isn’t just the food, but to showcase the brands that the company Western Boxed Meats works with. Why not? You never know who your customer may be.
Since the cart is named the Meat Wagon, I ordered the Double Bypass Burger. Honestly, I misread the menu and didn’t realize I had just ordered 2 1/2lb burgers with bacon and cheese. Holy crap that’s a big burger. But at $7, I just halved it and, boom, lunch and dinner. Juicy, cheesy, bacony. Everything one needs for a solid lunch.
WBX Meat Wagon offers up a great option for breakfast and lunch for industrial NE along with turning the food cart model around to promote Western Boxed Meats’ products. A win-win for all. Next time you’re up that way, stop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.