Location: SW 4th and College
Hours: Weekdays 11am-3pm
In a cart that looks more like a little bungalow with a piqued roof, you’ll find a chef creating dishes out of a the rich Cajun and French country tradition. Hog and Hen Acadian Kitchen is open to serve you a different dish every time you return.
As a child, Meghann White was a fixture in her parents kitchen doing those tasks that kids love to do – grating cheese and slicing olives. This exposure to food and a family tradition to have Cajun dishes during special occasions shaped Meghann to the point when at the age of 14, she asked for and received a hand-crank pasta machine. When I was 14, all I could think about was the next Duran Duran cassette. One culinary memory Meghann shared with me was how she learned to catch yeast to make her own sourdough starter from the PBS show Breaking Bread with Father Dominic. Her mother is still feeding that starter to this day. While becoming a chef wasn’t part of Meghann’s initial plan, she continued to build these passions and skills in the kitchen and broaden her tastes into adulthood to eventually have friends to her home for regular dinner parties. The cart was the next step.
Hog and Hen has an ever changing menu with two to three items available any given day. Meghann admits her food and style are influenced by Cajun cooking, yet she doesn’t want to be defined as a Cajun cart as that pigeonholes her to a few specific dishes in the minds of many. Since Cajun is truly a mix of different cultural culinary traditions that have morphed over centuries, it continues to evolve. Mix with that some of the French country flavors Meghann has embraced and you get some great dishes. On one of the wettest days of the year, I visited the cart for the Beer Chicken Chili. Tender chunks of chicken are simmered in beer with white beans, tomatoes and peppers to create a unique flavor mashup. Served in a large cup over white rice, this is a hearty dish for a cold day. The added bonus is the cornbread, a large chunk of southern goodness you will not want to put down. I normally enjoy my bread throughout a meal dipping and nibbling along the way. I was sad when I finished Meghann’s cornbread before I even was half way through the chili. Some excellent nosh.
Hog and Hen is open weekdays from 11-3 unless she runs out of food, which happens more often than not. As stated, the menu does change, so visit often for variety. Meghann was there with a smile to greet me on the worst day of the year weather wise and I appreciate that. Walk on down, get some cornbread and let her know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Beer Chicken Chili: chicken simmered in beer, white beans, tomatoes and peppers served over rice with cornbread – sm, $4; lg, $6
- Jalapeno Mac ‘n Cheese Casserole: mac and cheese with a spicy twist, topped with a golden crust of bread crumbs and served with an apple – sm, $4; lg, $6