[Closed Jan 2011]
Location: SW 2nd and Stark
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-2pm, Saturday lunch
We don’t have many closures of late in the food cart scene of Portland, but many were saddened when SpudLocker and their unique military cart closed this past spring. Yet, with a closure comes change in the form of a new cart. Joslyn’s Ciao Chow has taken over the ubiquitous cart on the corner of SW 2nd and Stark with a bright new paint job you can’t miss.
Joslyn worked in restaurants for many years before leaving for corporate America, yet, in the past few years, with the changes in the economy and life, Joslyn decided she wanted to get back to the kitchen and found the SpudLocker cart on Craigslist. With a background in Sicilian cooking and having lived there for awhile, Joclyn put together a robust menu offering complex Italian pasta dishes and more. From that small kitchen, she manages to crank out 20 different dishes.
The day we visited, my lunch mates were immediately drawn to the menu and began ordering with the perfect pronunciation and accent required for Italian fare. I just stood there and read the menu, asking – “What did you just order?” Luckily, Joslyn came to the rescue to explain each dish to me with simple terms like pasta with vodka sauce or meatballs with sauteed vegetables. I stayed simple with Pasta al provero, “poor man’s pasta.” Spaghetti with a generous amount of garlic, olive oil and crushed red chili flakes was just the right amount for lunch. The noodles were al dente, but not crunchy, and the garlic and red chili gave the dish a wonderful spice that had more flavor than heat. A good portion with bread for $5. Now that I’ve had a moment to take in the entire menu, I think I would order the prosciutto wrapped melon or the sliced flank steak wrapped around scallions and Fontina cheese next time. Wow, what a menu.
Joslyn’s Ciao Chow isn’t just about pasta. She offers a secondi menu which includes seared chicken breast, thinly sliced flank steak and even fresh fish. Well made pasta is a treat and we have only a few carts in the city doing it well. I’m happy to see the former SpudLocker tank reborn as it is always fun to look at the strange control panel inside the cart. Wander on down to SW 2nd and Stark and give Joslyn a try. Let her know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Bruschetta classica: fresh tomatoes and basil atop grilled bread – $3
- Bruschetta di olive – grilled bread topped with homemade olive tapenade and goat cheese – $3
- Prosciutto con melone: slices of melon wrapped in prosciutto di parma – $5
- Caprese: fresh Mozzarella layered with heirloom tomatoes and basil finished with olive oil – $5
- Rucola: arugula tossed with cherry tomatoes, shaved Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette – $5
- Babuchia: roasted red pepper stuffed with feta cheese on mixed greens with balsamic vinegar – $7
- Penne alla vodka con gamberi: penne tossed in vodka sauce topped with sauteed shrimp – $9
- Pasta al povero: “poor man’s pasta” spaghetti with garlic, olived oil and crushed red chili flakes – $5
- Cavatappi con la salsa: Cavatappi tossed in a light and fresh tomato basil sauce – $7
- Penne con Pesto: penne in fresh basil pesto with kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes – $7
- Pasta del Giardiniao: pasta with sauteed local seasonal vegetables in a light white wine broth – $7
- Pette di pollo: seared chicken breast served on mixed greens with lemon vinaigrette – $7
- Involtini: thinly sliced flank steak wrapped around scallions and Fontina cheese – $9
- Scampi: shrimp sauteed in butter and white wine with garlic and fresh herbs – $7
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-2pm; Saturday, lunchtime into early afternoon
Phone: 503 432 0434