Location: N Mississippi at Skidmore in Mississippi Marketplace
I won’t take up too much of your time introducing myself. But since this is my first post, I should take a moment to say who I am. I’m Anna, a sometimes blogger and lover of food carts who just spent the last two years getting my second degree. Diploma framed, I am now ready to start writing again! I’m primarily a vegetarian, a sometimes fish eater and love vegan food. Though my intent is not to convert meateaters, I can’t help but encourage carnivores to wipe those images of limp, bland bean sprouts and raw carrots from your mind’s eye and open yourself to the possibility of a healthy, delectable alternative to daily meat. Vegan fare can be incredibly tasty and satisfying even for the most hard core carnivore. Thanks Dieselboi for allowing me to add my two cents and hopefully this will not be my only post!
Last week I had the great fortune of meeting Tyler of The Ruby Dragon and trying his daily breakfast special. As a long time vegetarian (and, upon rare occasion, eater of seafood, making me, more accurately, a fishaterian I suppose) sometimes I just want to go somewhere where I can order ANYTHING on the menu and not be limited by the presence of any animal products. I also want a meal that’s satisfying and delicious without compromising or substituting on flavor or ingredients and one that isn’t all sugar and carbs. Honestly, I don’t believe this is too much to ask of my vegetarian foodies. Thankfully Portland has a growing and varied plethora of veggie and vegan options for even the most discriminating palette. The Ruby Dragon, in the new Mississippi Marketplace is a welcome addition to the already stellar selection of all-vegan fare. Tyler, a long-time vegan, and his partner decided several months ago they wanted to offer tasty, hearty vegan food with an ethnic flare. With the help of a contractor, Tyler’s beautiful food cart came into existence soon after he and his partner decided to embark on their food-cart adventures.
I happened to waltz by early on a Thursday and was treated to their daily special; a quinoa pancake (a complete protein for those of you who didn’t think vegans can get all their protein through plant products!) with blueberries. It was absolutely amazing and I immediately regretted not getting the pancake with dark chocolate and walnuts. Additional, I enjoyed a tempeh scramble stir-fried with shitake mushrooms, bell peppers, cashews and home blended Ethiopian curry which was subtle and satisfying. Finally,”You’re Home Fries,” which are best described in their menu as “sauteed to perfection… with an Ethiopian touch.” I ordered a tall coconut juice and my entire bill was $9.
The Ruby Dragon had only been open a handful of days when I wandered over to the corner of Skidmore and Mississippi. There were dozens of people milling about the carts, including an Oregonian photographer, even at 11am. Several people ordered after me, so I wasn’t able to speak with Tyler for too long about his cart. I was thoroughly impressed with their menu, the friendly, helpful service and presentation. My meal was served on a gorgeous wooden plate right off the grill. The serving size was more than adequate – I’m not a big fan of supersized meals, but I also don’t like to feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth. My sense from our brief conversation is that Tyler has really invested himself into the quality and philosophy of The Ruby Dragon. I know I’ll be stopping by again soon and you should too. When you do, tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.
“Eternal Morning” (b-fast)
- Quinoa Pancakes – made with fresh ground quinoa flour and hempseeds, topped with real maple, blueberries & walnuts or with blueberries, walnuts and dark chocolate… one $3.50 – $4.75; two $6.50 – $4.75
- Yammies – Sliced yams sauteed with onions, garlic, cashews, and a touch of spice… small $3.50; large $4.50
“Soup and Salad Noon” (lunch)
- Mamma Miso soup – Buckwheat noodles and tofu, dino kale, local miso, and a tinity of ginger, onion and garlic, topped with scallion… $5
- Roasted Roots – Leeks, potatoes, squash, carrots, parsnips and a hearty mix of fresh herbs and Indian curry. Served with sprouted toast… $5
“Afternoon Till Sun Down” (dinner)
- Roots Fried Rice – Choice of tofu or tempeh, yammies, onion, seasonal veggies, cashews, sauteed with Ethiopian curry and brown rice. Topped with veganaise and avocado… $7
- Cashew Eggplant – Eggplant, tofu, carrots, bell pepper, green onion, snow peas, cashews sauteed in a spicy brown sauce with a touch of lime (extra heat available upon request)… $7
- The Ruby Dragon has an extensive menu, this is just a sampling of what they have to offer.