Food Carts Portland


Location: SW 5th and Oak/Alder Parking Lot


The other day I was wandering around from pod to pod, trying to decide what to eat. I just couldn’t choose, so kept walking and enjoying the fall air and moisture. After checking out about 25 carts and pausing at a couple, I decided upon soup. It was a cool day, but not rainy and soup just sounded good. Spoons is one of a few carts in town who offer exclusively soup and when I decided to order, I was excited that they had borscht. Earlier in the week, I wondered aloud with friends if there were any carts selling borscht.

Borscht from Spoons

Borscht from Spoons

Borscht originated in the Ukraine, but has become the soup of central and eastern Europe. Many in America associate it with traditional Russian food. Made with beets as the base, it is famous for its deep red or burgundy color. The soup is usually served with a dollop of sour cream atop. That contrast of stark white with the deep red is simply beautiful. Yet once you mix it together, you sometimes get a color of the soup that may seem strange – a pinkish hue. No worries, it still tastes great.

The borscht I enjoyed at Spoons was deep burgundy, so I wasn’t able to see the bright contrast. As I ate it, I tasted the beets, onions and cabbage. I wasn’t sure if it was a meat stock, but the overall flavor of the soup was wonderful. Hot and savory and served with a small baguette, I enjoyed every bit, even tipping up the cup and drinking the last bits.

Soup is one of my favorite foods when winter comes. I have images of carrying around a thermos that is always full of hot miso or a Hungarian mushroom or potato leek – a thermos I can just pop the top and drink in the soup. Spoons’ soups were what I needed that day. When you are seeking a meal that will warm you up on these cold winter lunches, stop on by Spoons and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[profile updated Nov. 2009]

Sample Menu:

  • All soups come in either a cup – $3.50 or a bowl – $4.50 and come with a small roll
  • Soups change daily – visit website for updated list
  • Soup and salad combo – $7
  • Oregon fall seasonal salad – mixed baby greens, fresh pears, hazelnuts, blue cheese, cranberries, marinated red onions, champagne vinaigrette – $5.50
  • Classic Caesar – $4.50

Hours: Mon-Fri 10:30AM-2:00PM.
503 522 3576



  1. I don’t think I’ve ever been blown away by Spoons’ soups, but I still eat there fairly frequently, mainly because for $3.50 I can get a relatively healthy meal (compared to most carts). Sometimes the soups aren’t as hot as I’d wish by the time I get back to my office, and sometimes the soups don’t seem all that fresh (possibly because I eat lunch later in the day than most people, so they’ve been warming for quite a while).

    That said, I’ve never had a bad soup there, and sometimes their soups surprise me with interesting flavors. I recently had a nice corn and roasted pepper one. And the Grand Central bread is a nice touch.

  2. This guy is the best… the soups rock and he’s a surfer… how can you go wrong with that combo?

  3. You know, I need to give these a try and since this is perfect soup weather, I think I’ll do just that.

  4. I have been eating at this soup cart for over 3 years now (wow) and it is one of my favorite places to eat downtown. The chili has a kick and the ingredients are fresh and healthy. The soup guy is fun to chat with and always friendly. The soup, salads, and wraps are all delicious and as a loyal patrron I recommend this cart to any downtowner…in fact I’m going there right now….

  5. Weirdly lame. I had soup and salad today and the chipotle chili soup was from a can. No kidding. Mushy beans and little pieces of mushy meat. Salad was on the small side and had a canola oil dressing. I hate the smell of canola oil, smells like all those nasty bottled dressings that I don’t use. Really strange for a downtown food cart. $6 for a very unhappy lunch.

  6. Derrick (the owner) is a fun, friendly guy, and the tomato bisque I had there the other day was so good I was licking the cup clean! I mean, surprisingly good. And I don’t even love tomato soups (normally). Two thumbs up.

  7. love.love.love this cart. Enough variety to keep me interested and hearty salad portions with a side of rustic bread fill me up and help me avoid the tempting, unhealthy options on the block. The soups are great for drizzly portland days. yummy, healthy, fresh

  8. AMAZING!! Finishing up the Tortilla Salad right now (forgive me, that is not the exact name). I couldn’t even wait to finish my salad to track them down. I will back again…and again…and again…

    Side Note: The man in the cart is smokin HOT. Bonus!

  9. Just bought a soup made with moldy cauliflower. The whole soup tastes moldy. How do you miss something like that?

  10. *Actually, if you are referring to the Blue Cheese Cauliflower soup, it’s not moldy. That’s what blue cheese tastes like. Maybe it’s not for everyone.

    I am enjoying the Seasonal Fall salad with mixed greens, bosch pears, hazelnuts and blue cheese along side fresh Grand Central bakery bread and a yummy, brothy potato soup. YUM!
    Service is fast and always with a smile! Thank you Derrick!


  1. […] hadn’t packed lunch, so after our walk i stopped at Spoons and got their veggie wrap, which they say is served on lavash, but once i got it back into work and […]

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