Taste of the Nation May 7

Brett Burmeister

Taste of the Nation is back and better than ever. This annual event brings together some of the best chefs, winemakers, brewers and distillers to end childhood hunger. Imagine an evening of wandering from table to table trying bites from Aviary or Departure or Lardo and mixing in sweets from Batch Chocolates or Fifty Licks while washing it all down with something from Cana’s Feast or maybe a House Spirits cocktail. For me, it is a night of fun, a bit of gluttony and a way to give back to the community. Share Our Strength is bringing Portland’s finest to the Crystal Ballroom on Tuesday evening, May 7. This year, 100% of ticket sales will go to local beneficiaries – Oregon Food Bank, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, St. Vincent DePaul and Klamath/Lake Counties Food Bank.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending this event for a couple of years now and everyone involved is passionate about their craft and about ending childhood hunger. Tickets are $85 for General Admission and VIP and LUXE tickets are also available. 60 purveyors of their craft – a bargain.

We have 2 VIP tickets to give away for this wonderful event. Just leave a comment stating which of the 60 purveyors you’re most excited to indulge. We’ll pick a winner on Friday morning. You can find more details about Taste of the Nation and the list of restaurants, wineries, breweries and distillers at Strength.org/Portland.

We have a winner-  Ann wants to try some Broder and Lardo. Congrats Ann.

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Pulehu Pizza

Brett Burmeister
Puhelu Pizza

Pulehu Pizza

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.

On The Grill

On The Grill

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.

Truffle Mushroom Pizza from Pulehu Pizza

Truffle Mushroom Pizza from Pulehu Pizza

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.

Sample Menu:

  • 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

Phone: 503 915 6869
Website
: PulehuPizza.com
Twitter: @PulehuPizza
Facebook: Pulehu Pizza

I Heart This Cart

Brett Burmeister
comfort food cart portland

I Heart This Cart

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-4

The Story:

Multicultural Comfort Food is the theme for I Heart This Cart at SW 3rd and Washington. Looking at the diverse items on the menu, I see what they mean.

On a cool winter day, I revisited the cart to chat with the new owner Heather and check out the latest menu offerings. Heather trained at Western Culinary and has worked in every restaurant and catering spot she could. She even worked a kitchen at a fly fishing camp in Alaska and at the Playboy mansion. How ’bout them apples? Heather worked with the previous owner and took over the cart earlier this year and has made it her own. The goal is to make people happy. Heather can pretty much cook anything, but prefers to create dishes where she can “stand over a pot and stir.” Comfort food.

At I Heart this Cart you can pick up everything from pulled pork sliders to a chicken sub or jalapeno mac & cheese. If you’re truly into the ultimate comfort food, check out the different tater tot dishes including cajun tots, loaded tots with cheese, bacon, green onion and chipotle ranch or go crazy and enjoy a plate of carne asada tots with everything you can imagine plus seared carne asada. If you’re looking for a healthy dish, I heart this Cart offers up a fresh cobb salad also.

I Heart This Cart has a steady stream of patrons while I stood around chatting with other vendors. Heather has built a following of regulars, but also attracts newcomers who are looking for good home cooked food. Drop on by next time you’re looking for something new and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tater Tot dishes range from $2-$8 depending on toppings and size
  • Cobb Salad – $7
  • Chicken Caesar Wrap – $7
  • Pulled Pork or Roasted Chicken and Grits – $8
  • Pulled Pork Sliders – $8
  •  Cheesesteak – $5 or 8 depending on size

Phone: 971 407 9930
Facebook: I Heart This Cart
Twitter: @this_cart

Food Cart Review – 2012 Edition

Brett Burmeister

We made it another year friends and the Portland street food scene is stronger than ever. It seems like just last week I was navigating the crowds at the 10th and Alder pod on a sunny hot summer day.

Retrolicious

Retrolicious

Stats:

As with every type of stat, these numbers are my best estimates based on our tracking of the carts throughout the year. As of today, Multnomah County has 702 licensed mobile vendors on the books. That doesn’t necessarily mean there are 702 vendors in pods throughout the city. This number reflects catering company trucks, coffee carts on your daily commute and many of those vendors who only work summers or farmers markets. By my count, there are 350 vendors throughout the city available any given time. Add to that the mobile trucks who roam to corporate campuses beyond downtown and suburbs and you get that number up to 400.

At the end of 2011, we had 689 licensed vendors. Does that mean we only added 13 new vendors? No, 150 new vendors opened throughout the year, but around 60 closed. Some of those new vendors opened brand new carts, but this year we saw a large number of cart transfers where one cart throughout the year ended up being multiple vendors. This was mostly seen downtown where the turnover is greater.

[Read more…]

Events, Radio, News

Brett Burmeister

The New Leaders Council of The City Club invites you to the first of a series, “The Why Behind the Weird” what makes Portland, well, Portland. For this segment of the series they ask, “Is Portland truly the place where young people go to retire?” What does this mean for the future of Portland? What can we do to capitalize on the innovation brought by entrepreneurs, adventurers, and innovators?

Our series will highlight the stereotypes of Portland, create dialogue, and cast light on the truth behind Portlandia. Remember the video and song “I Dream of the 90s – Portlandia?

The expert panel: Greg Schrock and Jason Jurjevich of Portland State discuss their research on the economic landscape, Crispin Argento, Owner of Pino, and Brett Burmeister of Food Carts Portland, discuss their perspectives and insights on the economic landscape of Portland and its entrepeanurial spirit.

Free for City Club Members, $5 for Non-Members. Please RSVP to rachel@pdxcityclub.org. Purchase tickets here. This event is brought to you by the New Leaders Council and through the generous support of Steven Rosenbaum, President of Pop Art.

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I’ll be on the radio talking all things food carts on Sunday, December 2. Simple Kitchen with Missy Maki airs on KPAM 860 from 9-11am. I should be on around 10am if you want to tune in.

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Kim Jong Grillin’ is back, but this time with a restaurant. The winner of the Judges prize at Eat Mobile in 2011, Han Ly Hwang returned to his food cart that night to find it in flames and never re-opened. Now, after some challenges, they are ready to open Bhap Sang, a Korean BBQ restaurant, but they need a little bit more help funding it. Han launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the final capital.

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Winter and the Holidays are here and that means food cart closures. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a trend where some carts close for an extended winter break. With sales dropping off since summer, it sometimes doesn’t make sense to stay open. Other carts may just take a week or a few days during Christmas/New Years. If the weather turns cold, many will not open due to mechanical issues or frozen water tanks. If you’re planning a trip to your favorite cart, be sure to check their Facebook, Twitter or website to make sure they are open. Many have published phone numbers also. If you find your favorite cart closed, don’t fret, there is usually another cart close by who would love your business and has great food. Thanks for continuing to support Portland’s street food vendors.

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