Location: SW 4th and College by PSU
Every so often I realize I go to the same set of carts and eat all the same meals. I’m a creature of habit. As a result, I sometimes miss the carts that sit on the outer edges or are alone in a lot. The other day, while perusing the choices at SW 4th and Hall, I saw a cart in the 76 station parking lot that I hadn’t tried. I bee-lined it, intent on trying something new, no matter what it was. I’m glad I did because Ahla W Sahla Lebanese food was superb.
This bright silver cart is newish, but I think it has been around for awhile. Run by an older Lebanese gentleman, it offers some of the standards you would expect from a middle eastern cart – falafel, hummus, gyros, kabob, kafta and much more. The prices are reasonable – $6 for a sandwich and $8 for a platter. I think the difference may be what you get.
I ordered the kafta sandwich which includes ground beef mixed with herbs then formed into small patties and grilled. Once cooked, it is chopped up for the sandwich and placed on a pita with pickles, lettuce, parsley, some potato slices and a red hot sauce. Everything was prepared fresh while I waited, which is perfectly fine with me. As I watched him construct the sandwich, he piled on the ingredients and started rolling it together. There were splits in the pita and stuff was falling out which concerned me, yet he then rolled it in a second pita and placed the entire wrap in a toaster oven. It was at this point that I realized I was getting something new. Kafta sandwiches elsewhere haven’t been toasted. The sandwich came out crispy on the outside with the pita formed perfectly around the goodies inside and while I ate it, nothing fell apart. A great sandwich with just the right mix of spiciness and ingredients.
While I waited, the owner had a spirited conversation with a young many who came to order. They spoke in what I can only assume was Arabic. What I gleaned was that they were discussing the food being served. Back and forth. A sample of a rice dish. Back and forth. Hands flailing about in animated fashion. The owner even pulled out a huge bag of jasmine rice to show the young guy what he was serving. I enjoyed the conversation even though I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew they were talking food, no matter what the language was.
Ahla W Sahla serves up Lebanese food from their cart at the 76 station at SW 4h and College. If you are down by the big pod on 4th, cross the street and try something new. I’m glad I did because I was introduced to a new way of serving kafta. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Falafel – $5
- Hummus – $5
- Labneh – strained yogurt – $5
- Zaatar – mix of Middle Eastern herbs spread on pita – $5
- Gyros – $6
- Chicken Shawarma – $6
- Chicken Kabob – $6
- Kafta – $6
- Kibbeh and Rice – $7
- Chicken and Rice – $8
- Falafel and Hummus – $8
Hours: Monday-Friday, lunchtime
Phone: 503 901-8951