Location: SW 3rd and Stark
Hours: Weekdays, lunch; Fri/Sat late night
The Story: A few years ago, a friend told me about a new pizza he was making at home on his gas grill. I just couldn’t picture putting a pizza on a grill. Wouldn’t it stick and burn? Fast forward to this week and I was able to see how it is done at the newest pizza cart in Portland – Pulehu Pizza.
Pulehu is the work of Pierre and Annebelle who originally hail from Maui. Pierre was a chef at the Four Seasons for eight years and both wanted to escape their jobs, so while camping among waterfalls, the idea of grilling pizzas was hatched. After trying their concept at a block party, the idea grew into a full service catering and concession operation. In Hawaii, they didn’t have a cart or food truck and were forced to carry everything to their events. They earned the right to be inside a box here in Portland. Pulehu – slang for grill.
The grill used is a large outdoor style gas grill you would see permanently installed for your outdoor kitchen. Pierre makes fresh pizza dough which is rolled out for either an 8″ or 12″ personal pie. He quickly grills one side and then waits for your order. I chose the Truffle Mushroom which comes with mushrooms, grana padano, garlic, truffle oil, cracked black pepper and other seasonings. Pierre tops the grilled side then slides it onto the grill to finish the crust. After a bit, once the crust is just right, he removes it onto a pie pan and closes the lid to cook the toppings and melt the cheese. After some final seasoning and slicing, they hand it over. I love truffle oil on pizza, it adds a fruity flavor that is amazing and subtle. This pie was right up my alley. The crust, thin and crisp enough you could pick up a slice without it getting all floppy. Simple toppings and simple prep made for a wonderful meal.
Pierre and Annebelle now call Portland their home and have opened their doors to be one of only a few pizza vendors in food carts. They have a diverse menu of pizzas along with salads for the non-pizza eater. They are open late night on the weekends for your fourth meal cravings. Drop on by, welcome them to the Rose City and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Classic Cheese- 8″, $5; 12″, $11
- Margherita: tomato, cart made ricotta and pesto – 8″, $6; 12″, $13
- Pepperoni – 8″, $6; 12″, $13
- Meat Lovers: pepperoni, artisanal sausage, grana padano and garlic – 8″, 7; 12″, $13
- Veggie Lovers: tomato, mushroom, feta, kalamata olives, cart made pesto – 8″, $7; 12″, $13