Location: NW 19th and Quimby, Q19
Hours: Weekdays, 11-3pm
The Story: More often then not, when talking with a food cart owner about the origins of their culinary adventure, grandma comes into the conversation. Something about grandma’s recipe for a certain dish or how Sunday brunches were magical stuck with the individual and shaped their menu. For me, it was Fruit Loops. I remember my grandma always had Fruit Loops. For Bones & Bits, grandma’s Sunday meal was always something everyone in the family looked forward to.
Bones & Bits, located in NW Portland at the Q19 pod is the work of Paul and his longtime friend Michael. They have been friends since before first grade at St. A’s in New Jersey in the 60’s. Two great guys who decided it was time to try something new and launched the food cart. Michael is the chef and where the inspiration for the name and primary dishes comes from. His Sicilian grandmothers would slow cook pork and lamb bones and chicken thighs with tomatoes to create a signature gravy. He and his siblings would fight over the bits of pork meat left on the bones at the end of the meal. There you have it, Bones & Bits.
The menu is broken out between Bones and Bits. Under bones are the meat dishes and bits lists salads. Paul and Michael put together a mixture for me – shoulder chop lamb atop a polenta cake with steamed spinach and tomato gravy. He then topped it with ricotta and some fresh herbs. Secondly, he made me a generous arugula and watermelon salad. The lamb was fall off the bone, toss it in your mouth and let it melt goodness. The tomato gravy, mixed with the polenta cake and the herbs reminded me of some of the best restaurant meals I have had. The different layers and flavors all jumped off the plate to create a truly amazing dish. The salad, another excellent flavor explosion came with a generous amount of wild organic arugula, feta, chopped kalamata olives and watermelon with a dressing made from lemon, honey and thyme. Wow! I love arugula, yet paired with the fruit and the herb vinaigrette, that love just became an obsession. Two great dishes from some great guys.
The goal of the guys is to showcase some dishes not readily found at the carts. The menu here are their staples, but they hope to offer specials now and again to show us what we’re missing. I get the impression Michael has a memory warehouse of unique recipes. Drop on by Bones & Bits and enjoy some southern Italian flavor and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Bones: served with tomato gravy, wilted spinach, Ricotta, and choice of polenta cake or ziti
- Pork – shoulder chop – $8.50
- Chicken – 1 thigh – $7.50
- No Bones – two fried eggs, tomato sauce – $5
- Lamb – shoulder chop – $9.50
- Polenta Cake – $4
- Arugula Salad – $6
- Watermelon Salad – $6
- Kale Salad – $6
- Sicilian Tuna Salad- $8
Phone: (503) 847-9492