Aladdin’s Castle Cafe

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Aladdin's Castle Cafe

Aladdin’s Castle Cafe

CLOSED

Location: SE 50th and Ivon at A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11am-9pm; Fri/Sat, 11am-10pm

The Story:

Every cart has its story. It may be the unique food they create or a family recipe or a childhood dream. For Aladdin’s Castle, the cart would never have been if it hadn’t been for two people falling in love at first sight.

Aladdin’s Castle Cafe is the creation of Ghaith and Tiffany who met and fell in love in a hostel in Amsterdam. Holland was Ghaith’s third country of refuge after leaving the perpetual violence of Baghdad where he grew up, had been injured during the war and where some of his family still live. Ghaith fell in love with street food while in Amsterdam and lo and behold, Tiffany was from the street food capitol of the world – Portland. Beyond each other, they obviously had other passions in common. Ghaith didn’t learn his trade in school, he just cooked and experimented and listened to his mother. Some of the best food comes from family tradition and plenty of love in the kitchen. Standing there, watching Ghaith, his mother and Tiffany prepare some dishes for me showed that kinship.

Mahshi from Aladdin's Castle

Mahshi from Aladdin’s Castle

At Aladdin’s Castle Cafe they serve up traditional dishes from Baghdad and Iraq. You will recognize many of them like hummus and flatbread wraps and lentil soup, but there are a few that were new to me. Mahshi is like dolma, but they stuff onion with rice, vegetables and spices infused with the flavors of sun-dried tomato and pomegranate. This is one unique dish. I didn’t really understand it until I saw it with the onion as the outer skin. It was cooked just right that I was able to cut through it with a fork. The flavors were amazing. Another treat was the Marga, a slow cooked chickpea stew served warm over basmati rice with a side of cucumber salad. The rice was fluffy and light and the chickpea was just amazing. I had more food than I knew what to do with and each and every one had its own special flavor.

Ghaith put together three whole plates of food for me so I was able to sample almost every flavor on the menu including desserts like chocolate bean cake and a date roll. There was so much food there, I enjoyed it that night and most of the next day with my family. This is one of those carts you will need to visit a few times to try everything. Ghaith and Tiffany are welcoming and generous and we’re glad to have them in our city. Drop on by, enjoy an Arabic coffee while you wait and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Eggplant Marga, Hummus and Salad

Eggplant Marga, Hummus and Salad

Sample Menu:

  • Flatbread Wrap Sandwich: Iraqi shawarma or falafel served on warm flatbread with hummus, lettuce, tomato, onion and garlic-yogurt dressing. Beef, chicken or lamb shawarma and falafel available – $6
  • Rice Plate: bed of basmati rice with a dollop of marga, green salad and cucumber yogurt salad. Beef, chicken or lamb shawarma and falafel available – $7.50
  • Marga: slow cooked stew served warm over basmati rice with side salad or yogurt and cucumber salad – chickpea stew or eggplant – $5
  • Sambusa: a savory pastry stuffed with cheese and zaatar – $2
  • Mahshi: onions stuffed with rice, vegetables and spices infused with flavors of sun-dried tomato and pomegranate – $1.50 for 1 or $5 for 3 with a side salad.
  • Mezza Platter – $5 – choose 3 of the following: hummus, baba ghanoush, yogurt and cucumber salad, eggplant saute, beet salad, pickled mango with garbanzo beans, full mudammas (fava beans, olive oil and garlic)

Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11am-9pm; Fri/Sat, 11am-10pm
Phone: 971 400 3447
Website: Aladdin’s Castle Cafe
Facebook: Aladdin’s Castle Cafe
Other: Gift Certificates available and they take Debit/Credit Cards

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Comments

  1. Great picture that did it for me i have to go there after all a picture is worth a million

  2. that is great dishes and i hope to test it soon. i love Iraqi food.

  3. Try the sambusa! It’s delicious flaky pastry with melted cheese and spices wrapped in. So good with a cup of lentil soup. Plus you really get a lot of food for your money!

  4. I raced out on Saturday after seeing the picture and reading the menu on the food cart review. I ordered 4 different dishes and we were overwhelmed by all of them. I think my favorite was the stuffed onion; it looked like a stuffed baked hens with little carrots where the legs would be. The rice was fantastic. It was all savory and delicious. We’ll be going back soon. I really got a sense of being invited to a great chef’s house for dinner. All of the items were different than the usual Lebanese Middle Eastern restaurants.

  5. Great food and very nice people.

  6. Jose Francisco says:

    Went there on Monday 2/27/12 around 1 p.m.and it was closed. So frustrating after driving out all the way from Beaverton.

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