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Portland Baconfest, Live Wire, Food(ography)

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This weekend will yet again be another one chalk full of activities. One person asked last weekend why all the fun things happen all at once. That’s summer baby!

On Saturday, Portland celebrates the 2nd annual Baconfest. You thought bacon had gone out of style last year, but I assure you, it is still more popular than ham. Portland Baconfest 2010 is sponsored by PDX.FM and will bring together two dozen NW vendors with bacon related products, music and beer. They will even be tasting the wildly popular Bacon Vodka. Mobster Meatballs will be in attendance along with a super secret food cart I don’t even know about. In 2009, Baconfest attracted 2500 people and collected 900lbs of canned goods for the Oregon Food Bank. 2010 will be even larger. Portland Baconfest 2010 happens Saturday, August 21 from 12-8pm in the lot next to East Burn at 1800 East Burnside. More information on the schedule and list of vendors at PortlandBaconFest.com

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Live Wire Radio with Portland food carts happens Saturday evening at Gerdling Theater at the Armory. Join Gregg Abbott from Whiffies fried pies and I as we discuss the food cart scene with the wonderful hosts of the show. The show also features Reggie Watts, Dayna Hanson, and musical guests 3 Leg Torso and Menemona. It is going to be a wonderful evening. I’m so excited. More information, including tickets can be found at LiveWireRadio.com.

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Back in May or June, Cooking Channel (Food Network spinnoff,) was in town for a week on a whirlwind tour of our carts for a new show – Food(ography.) The episode on Street Food featuring BrunchBox and Lisa Wood from Big-Ass Sandwiches aired on Sunday evening and will re-air tonight, Tuesday at 7pm on the Cooking Channel. Or, if you want, you can watch it online. A friend of Big Ass Sandwiches posted a link. Well done guys.

Happy Carting!

PDX Sliders

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PDX Sliders

PDX Sliders

Location: 8064 SE 17th, north of Tacoma
Hours: Tus-Thurs, 11am-7pm; Fri/Sat, 11am-close; Sun, 12pm-close

The Story: College introduced me to peers from around the country. I remember a friend asking if I wanted to grab a slider. I honestly had no idea what a slider was and no where in McMinnville offered them, so Safeway sold us ground beef and rolls and we set out to make sliders in the dormitory kitchen. Burned and not that flavorful, a new memory was born. Nowadays, sliders are everywhere and in all shapes and styles. A new food cart – PDX Sliders – is bringing their take on the little burger to southeast Portland.

Ryan Rollins, like many who have dove into the food cart scene in the last few years, had another career in another industry before taking the leap into food service. Granted, his tenure at Dairy Queen as a teen may have stoked the entreprenurial spirit. Ryan’s family, including his wife, have worked or owned businesses in the food industry, creating a support structure for Ryan. The slider concept came about after some time seeing restaurants creating bigger and bigger burgers. Further, there are few businesses who solely focus on the mini-burger. Ryan wanted to do the opposite. Ryan’s wife’s culinary education came into play when crafting the menu and weekly specials come about with the help of friends who both work in the cart and at local restaurants. Truly a collaborative effort between friends and family.

Sellwood Slider from PDX Sliders

Sellwood Slider from PDX Sliders

At PDX Sliders, Ryan and team craft everything from scratch daily. Ryan proudly proclaims they don’t have a freezer. Fries are fresh cut every morning. You can taste the freshness in the burger. On the menu, you find traditional sliders along with cart crafted gems. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the Broadway with braised pork, Mamma Lil’s peppers, baby arugula and house maid spicy aioli on a ciabatta bun. Not traditional, yet amazing. On a recent visit, I picked up the Sellwood, a burger with bacon, Beechers Flagship Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce and aioli served on a brioche bun. A juicy, messy treat on a cool winter day. At the prices they charge, why not pick out a couple. There is something for everyone on this menu. The St. Johns is a marinated portabella. The Ross Island, a house-made black bean chipotle patty. Burgers are cooked to medium doneness and you can swap out bread for butter lettuce if you want to make it gluten free.

PDX Sliders is a great addition to the street food scene here in Portland. Located in the Sellwood neighborhood, this is one vendor I hope will expand north. Open every day except Monday for both lunch and beyond, there is plenty of opportunity to pick up some nosh. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Sliders are $3.50; Fries, $2

  • Sellwood – burger, bacon, Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce on brioche bun
  • Hawthorne – burger, bacon, goat cheese, strawberry preserves on brioche bun
  • Steel – two burgers, bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, aioli on brioche bun
  • Burnside – house made meatballs, roasted romas, Mozzarella on ciabatta bun
  • Ross Island – house made black bean chipotle patty, pepper jack, butter lettuce on brioche bun

Phone: 971 717 5271
Website
: PDXSliders.com
Facebook: PDX Sliders
Twitter: @PDXSliders

EthelKays Grilled Cheese & Lemonade

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EthyKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade

EthelKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade

Location: N Williams Ave between Failing and Shaver
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm

The Story: A simple grilled cheese sandwich is a treat for anyone, young or old. Melty is the word I’m thinking of. EthelKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade is the newest food cart in town serving up delightful little morsels of cheese and bread.

Julie McBee opened the EthelKays food cart in 2013 in the Cully district in NE Portland after many years working in the service industry and restaurants. She always knew she wanted her own business and used the different positions to educate herself in cooking and managing a business. Before the cart was launched, Julie and her former partner had a stand at the Woodstock Farmers Market selling lemonade and grilled cheese – that business is still there named Urban Cheese. Julie moved on, opening the cart and then after a year in NE, moved to N Williams avenue, posting up next to Lodekka and the Hopworks Bike Bar. A prime location for any vendor.

The Tuscan from EthylKays

The Tuscan from EthelKays

EthelKay’s Grilled Cheese and Lemonade focuses on just that – cheese and lemons. Yet, with an extra bit of love. On the menu, you’ll find hot gooey grilled cheese sandwiches made with everything from cheddar to bacon to avocado to fruit and veggie chips. Think of it and she probably has it. Being a fan of tomatoes, basil and balsamic, I chose the Tuscan with buffalo Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, balsamic and olive oil grilled between two slices of a bolo roll. Toasted just right, the Mozzarella doesn’t get really melty, but the flavors all infuse creating what I refer to as a reverse Margherita pizza. Every chomp –  balsamic and oil blended with tomato juices dripped down my chin. I didn’t mind a bit. A great choice of bread made it even better than expected.

Julie has a great little cart with an amazing menu. Her lemonade is made fresh with wedges of lemon to make it extra tangy. I can’t wait till summer when I can sit on the curb, enjoy one and people watch. Drop on by next time you’re in the neighborhood and let Julie know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Ruthie – como bread, cheddar, sharp cheddar and havartti – $5
  • Pappy – como bread, chaddar, sharp cheddar, havartti, bacon and tomato – $7
  • French Connection – bolo roll, brie, pear, arugula, balsamic, olive oil – $6.50
  • Tuscan – $6
  • Monte Cristo – como bread, swiss, gruyere, black forest ham, dijon, blackberry jam, dipped in egg, grilled and dusted with powdered sugar – $7.50
  • Soups – $3
  • Spicy Peanut Noodles – noodles, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, peapods, peanuts, asian pepper sauce – $4
  • Lemonade – $3
  • Raspberry Lemonade – $3.50

Website: EthelKaysGrilledCheese.com
Facebook: EthelKays Grilled Cheese
Twitter: @EthelKaysCheese

Star Attraction

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Star Attraction

Star Attraction

Location: SE 13th and Lexington in Sellwood
Hours: Wed-Fri, 8am-3pm; Sat/Sun, 8am-2pm

The Story: Portland! We know you love breakfast and brunch. Long lines and crowds prove it. Now’s the time to check out Star Attraction, a breakfast food cart down in the antique wonderland of Sellwood.

I enjoy a good breakfast, not the lines. I would rather hit up the greasy spoon or truckstop than the latest hot spot to avoid a line. When I discovered Star Attraction the other day, no line. Star Attraction, located at the long time lot at SE 13th and Lexington, is tucked into the back of the lot, but offers covered seating away from the traffic. Focusing on simple, yet robust breakfast fare, the menu is short an sweet with only a few items. Focus on what you do well and master it is what I always say and they have done it. Breakfast burritos, breakfast gnocchi, french toast and what I enjoyed, a stunning breakfast gordita.

Breakfast Gordita from Star Attraction

Breakfast Gordita from Star Attraction

A crisp corn cake filled with chorizo, cheese and potatoes and then topped with two eggs over easy. Runny eggs, chorizo, seasoned grilled potatoes and mouth burning pico de gallo sated me that morning and throughout the day. I crushed it and enjoyed every bit, even grabbing a spoon to scoop up the itty bits of crumbs left over. Potatoes, not usually a fave of mine, were grilled with just the right seasoning – reminded me of tater tots. Best Breakfast of the year so far.

Star Attraction does it right and from what I saw in the few minutes I was there, they have garnered a following from the hood. Next time you’re looking for that perfect Tiffany lamp and get a breakfast craving, drop on by Sellwood and let Star Attraction know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Breakfast Gnocchi – potato dumplings made from scratch sauteed in brown butter with herbs, bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms and topped with two eggs over easy – $7
  • Breakfast Gordita – $6
  • French Toast – two thick pieces of French toast topped with a peanut butter-cream cheese spread, fresh banana, maple chocolate syrup with bacon or sausage on the side – $6
  • Breakfast Burrito – $6

Facebook: Star Attraction

Get Stuffed

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Get Stuffed

Get Stuffed

Location: SW 4th and Hall
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11:15-5pm

The Story: We have great burgers in this city, so how does one differentiate itself from the others? Get Stuffed, a food cart down by PSU, has chosen to create a well made burger with a rustic bun and high quality ingredients – just what the doctor ordered.

Get Stuffed opened this past summer, but had to close for a period of time after a kitchen fire. Now they have re-opened and the father, son and friend team are slinging away. Bob, the father, runs the window. Andy and Michael run the grill and prep the goods. Bob was great to chat with, a retiree helping out where he can with the right attitude a cart owner needs. Trust me, he’ll make you laugh. The goal is a simple, high quality product. “Dazzle them with quality.” Take a rustic bun from Grand Central and use an 80/20 chuck for the burger and you sold me. While I appreciate add-ons, they sometimes mask the quality of the burger as a whole which is why I’m there. At Get Stuffed, they put everything together just right for this burger fiend. Red leaf lettuce, tomato, ketcup and mayo. That first bite, with a bit of burger juice dripping down my chin, was magical. The bun impressed me, different than many burger buns I’ve enjoyed and I would highly recommend it. For burger fans, you need to visit, not only for a hamburger made with passion and care, but also for the witty repartee from Bob.

Burger from Get Stuffed

Burger from Get Stuffed

Get Stuffed is situated in the middle of the lot on SW 4th and Hall. They are planning on renaming themselves this winter, so we’ll update the post when that occurs. While I didn’t try them, I understand the hand cut fries in rice oil are the bomb. Drop on by, say hi and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Grilled Cheese  - $2.75
  • Grilled Cheese Club – $4.75
  • Burger – $5; add cheese, $1
  • Toppings – $1.50 – bacon, guacamole, mushrooms
  • Hand cut fries – $1.50

Facebook: Get Stuffed
Twitter: @GetStuffedPDX

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