[Update 9/2011 – closed]
Location: SE 43rd and Belmont
Hours: Wed-Sat, 11am-7pm
Tucked in the back of Good Food Here, I spied an old 1960s school bus with a cool paint job and a great awning to protect us from the sun. Here housed Crème de la Crème, a cart which believes in “food for the people. Fine meats and cheese, butters and bread should be available to all.”
Crème de la Crème is a husband and wife team – Michael and Bianca Benson who adopted the former camper bus from JJ Wandler, a Seattle restaurant owner. Bianca and Michael drove the bus from Montana, I assume camping along the way and have adapted to be a food cart by gutting it and building a commercial kitchen inside. The menu is from the Seattle restaurant Gainsbourg which offers a French inspired cuisine. Bianca plans on adding items to the menu including chicken wing confit. That sounds amazing. By the way, the bus is named Charlotte.
With such a robust menu, it was difficult to choose what we wanted for lunch until I realized they were out of the Onion Tart. Now that was all I could think of. Tarragon Potato Salad; Croque Monsieur; French Dip; Cheesecake. So many great items to choose from, but we opted for the roasted beet salad and a sandwich. Mixed greens were topped with roasted beets, blue cheese, hazelnuts and a grapefruit vinaigrette to create a taste explosion. We fought over the blue cheese crumbles. The sandwich was exactly what I remember from eating lunch in France. A light flaky baguette with creamy Brie and sliced crisp cucumbers brought me back to the coast of Nice 20 some odd years ago. Crunchy veggies and velvety Brie can’t be beat.
Crème de la Crème is the first cart I know serving up Escargot, snails, garlic and butter sauce with sliced baguette. The carts keep raising the bar and redefining the options available. I just wish they were in my neighborhood. Head on down, say hi to Bianca and Michael and the bus Charlotte and enjoy some well prepared French cuisine. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Roasted beet salad: mixed greens, blue cheese, hazelnuts, grapefruit vinaigrette – sm $4, lg $6
- Tarragon potato salad – $3
- Onion Tart served with over easy egg and greens – $7
- Escargot – served with baguette – $6
- Cucumber, Brie and butter baguette – $5
- Croque Monsieur: black forest ham, Gruyere sandwich topped with béchamel and more Gruyere and toasted. Served with mixed greens – $7