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Farewell Ziba’s Pitas

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Zibas Pitas

Ziba's Pitas

I’m going to miss Ziba’s smile. I am going to miss Ziba’s laugh and her humble way of saying thank you. I’m going to miss the phyllo dough wrapped chunks of awesomeness she made daily. I’m going to miss Ziba.

Ziba Ljucevic, the owner and all around amazing chef behind Ziba’s Pitas is retiring Friday to take a break from cooking and spend some time grandmothering. Ziba has been a mainstay on the corner of SW 9th and Alder for upwards of 9 years if not longer. She immigrated from Sarajevo, Bosnia where she was an accountant and mother and when she arrived here in Portland, she decided to cook. A famous quote I tell everyone was how when we asked her why she decided on the cart, she responded – “I cook, that’s what I do. I cook for you.” And she has done just that – cooked amazing food for Portland eaters for more than a few years.

Ziba’s Pitas has been profiled in every major local publication and many national print editions and TV. I love introducing visitors to Ziba because I know she will take care of them and feed them something new. Everyone comes away loving the pitas.

Ziba closes her longtime cart this Friday, August 26th; your last opportunity to wish her well, congratulate her on her new duties as a grandmother and enjoy her signature dish – the Bosnian Pitas. You can’t find it anywhere else in the city. Thank you Ziba for all the wonderful lunches and great chats. You’ll be missed by Portland’s food cart community.

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BeMap

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BeMap

BeMap

CLOSED

Location: SW 10th and Washington
Hours: Lunchtime, weekdays and weekends

The Story:

In the lot with the most food carts, the highest number of Thai carts and carts that sell Japanese and Bosnian cuisine, we can add something new – fresh made mini-donuts and bubble tea from BeMap

This cute little cart that claimed its space off in the corner initially away from the other carts has made a name for itself. I’ve been hearing about the mini-donuts for a month or so now, but when I visited they were closed for an event. Finally, after Fox News profiled them, I new I had to visit, so a friend and I dropped by for a couple dozen mini donuts. At BeMap, they make the donuts to order with an extra bit of love and a dash of sugar. I had heard that a 9-year-old ate an entire dozen while everyone else waited for pad Thai down the street, but didn’t believe it until we were handed that warm bag with a dozen little bite size treats you can’t resist. We walked down the sidewalk with bag in hand joking about if we should dive in or not when we stopped for Mexican and decided to dive in. I tore the top of the bag off for easier access and we snapped up a few of the minis. Shut the front door! These were the tastiest little nibbles I’ve had. Dip them in the added chocolate sauce and you’re transported to another dimension. We got 2 dozen for $5 and there were donuts left over after everyone and their brother had one or three.

BeMap has great mini donuts, but they offer up much more, including coffee and hot chocolate, tea, smoothies and even bubble tea. If you’re up that way visiting any one of the many cart, wander down to BeMap and drop that $2.50 for some sugary treats. You and everyone you know won’t be disappointed. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Mini donuts: 8 for $2; 12 for $2.50; 16 for $3
  • Chocolate sauce for dipping – 50c
  • Coffee – $2.50
  • Banana Coffee – $3
  • Hot Chocolate – $2.50
  • Banana Chocolate – $3
  • Fresh Fruit Tea – $3
  • Honey Ginger Tea – $3
  • Smoothies – $3.95 – flavors: strawberry, banana, mixed berry, mango, pineapple, coconut, orange, avocado and papaya
  • Bubble Tea – $2.85 – flavors: strawberry, mango, peach, coconut, honeydew, taro, pineapple, papaya, green tea, lychee, milk tea

Hours: lunchtime, weekdays and special events
Contact: unknown

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Ziba’s Pitas on VendrTV

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One of my favorite cart owners, Ziba Ljucevic and her cart, Ziba’s Pitas are profiled this week on VendrTV. Ziba is one of the nicest persons you will ever meet and serve you up some of her amazing Bosnian dishes as if you were in her home. Enjoy.

13 hours, 16 Food Carts

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On Tuesday, I played host to Matt Goulding of Men’s Health Magazine and photographer to show them Portland’s food cart scene. They are on a seven city tour to see what America has to offer as far as street food. I wanted to make sure they saw that Portland is truly the center of it all. Here’s a quick recap of our adventure.

9am: Rainy, cold and actually a bit dark, everyone was still not awake, so we visited bloop for oatmeal and coffee. Down off SW 3rd and Washington, Matt from bloop was a great host and a perfect start for the day. We enjoyed a couple of bowls and some tasty Stumptown coffee.

9:30: One of our guys couldn’t eat nuts, so we ventured up to 5th and Stark to get a breakfast sandwich with a fresh English muffin at BrunchBox and a breakfast burrito from Mr. Taco.  Here is where the guys realized we had more than a few carts.

10am: We couldn’t do lunch just yet since most carts don’t open until around 11am, so we headed down to Parkers Waffles and Coffee on 4th and Hall for more breakfast shot. Here at 4th and Hall, we crossed the street to the Bureau of Development Services and went up to the 4th floor to take panoramic photos of the carts. Such a cool view seeing the carts from above.

Portland Soup Company11am: While at Parkers, I was taken aback by the new porch and covered area that Portland Soup Company had built for their cart. WOW! It was so new, you could still smell the fresh cedar decking. The menu was enticing so we ordered a few items from Jeremy, always a great chef and host.  Pork butt sandwich, Tillamook Vintage Cheddar Mac and Cheese, Chicken soup, Baby Arugula salad, Mozzarella sandwich – all great, well prepared and tasty items. Here at Portland Soup we heard a comment we repeated throughout the day: “I don’t eat bacon, but I would eat your bacon…” Jeremy, behind the counter responded sincerely “That’s the best compliment I have ever received.” Well done Portland Soup Company. [Read more…]

Portland food carts, how do I love you?

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Portland food carts, how do I love you?
I love you in the sun. Cranberry duck confit on chewy baguette, the perfect complement to dappled shade in the South Park Blocks. A crisp salad roll, cool with a splash of mint. Lunch on the waterfront can’t be beat.
I love you in the rain. Huddled under the awning, I await a steaming vat of pho. Hurrying back to my office, I don’t give it time to cool before slurping noodles. The chicken broth and spices keep my head clear all winter long.
I love you in a hurry. A giant burrito I can eat while I walk, it keeps me full all afternoon no matter how busy I get. A couple of tacos; a minute to make, a minute to eat, oh so tasty.
I love you on a leisurely family lunch. My father chats in Polish while we eat pierogies flavored with the old country. Little buttery pockets of Babcia’s kitchen. My brother, missing the Far East, prowls the bahn mi selection. Silly me, I thought it was a French roll; what a difference a little rice flour makes.
In truth I cannot count the ways. Every day some new flavor, some new place. I have never had Bosnian food before. Is it a soup day? A sandwich day? A day for barbeque or curry or pad thai? Gyros or bigos or kim chi? I am spoiled; how ever did I get through a work day without the friendly yummy carts nearby?

The winning entry by Elisabeth Flaum

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