JuJu

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JuJu Food Cart

JuJu Food Cart

CLOSED

Location: SW 10th and Washington
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11-3:30pm

The Story: Ever wonder how one cart competes against another when ostensibly they have similar menu items? I personally thing it comes down to the quality of what is served and a smile. A JuJu, a new food cart in the Alder Pod, they have both in abundance.

Ever since they opened a couple of months ago, every time I walk by, smiling faces are leaning out the window. Even on those wet spring days when the crowds were thin - smiles. Initially, the cart launched doing different styles of tacos, but as it has gained a following, they have expanded the menu to include quesadillas, hot dogs and salads. Yes, hot dogs. Just six months ago, one couldn’t find a simple hot dog downtown, but now, JuJu has you covered. Kids love ‘em. The tacos are where I’m at. 1 taco can sate me all day during the summer months. While I’m a fan of tradition, I’m open to new flavors and styles. JuJu offers chicken, beef and tofu, yet also ventures out with fish, chicken katsu and shrimp tempura. I’ve tried both the fish and shrimp tempura and both delighted my taste buds. The crunch of the shrimp tempura mixed with coolness of fresh chopped cabbage, onion, tomato and carrot all mixed with their special sauce – a tasty treat.

Shrimp Tempura Taco from JuJu

Shrimp Tempura Taco from JuJu

JuJu is the bright red cart located on Washington St just west of 10th. Drop on by next time you’re looking for something refreshing and new and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tacos – chicken, beef, tofu, $3; fish, chicken katsu or shrimp tempura – $3.50
  • JuJu 1/4 lb dog – $5.50
  • Quesadillas with your choice of fillings and protein – $6-7
  • Create your own salad – $5.50-7

Captain Dillie’s Starlite Coach

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Captain Dillie's Starlite Coach

Captain Dillie’s Starlite Coach

closed

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Mon-Tues, 11:30-6pm; Thurs, 11:30-6pm, Fri-Sat, 11:30am-7:30pm; Sun, 11:30-6pm

The Story: Find a vintage panel van, create a unique name and put together a great menu and you got a food truck. Captain Dillie’s Starlike Coach did just that and opened earlier this year at Rose City Food Park offering their version of comfort food.

Captain Dillie’s is the work of Kelsey Olsberg and Dylan Register – aka Captain Dillie, who wanted to get into the food cart scene and have some fun with it. The truck, a vintage, almost ‘Jeepers Creepers’ panel van named Gertrude was sourced, cleaned up and outfitted as a kitchen and then painted aquamarine, the perfect vintage color to go with the theme. They even had one of their friends pose with a captain’s hat for the logo. The goal of the truck is to offer items that remind one of home – comfort food – simple, yet flavorful and well prepared. Every day they offer up something new so regulars don’t get bored. Not a bad idea.

Chicken Salad Sandwich from Captain Dillie’s

The sunny day I visited, a few different sandwiches were offered – ham and swiss, pulled pork, chicken mango chutney and more. They even have a grilled mac ‘n’ cheese sammy. Hmmm. I opted for the chicken salad with arugula on a croissant. A well made chicken salad sandwich will bring me back to any establishment and Captain Dillie’s didn’t disappoint. The croissant –  light and fluffy; the chicken salad – full of herb flavor which paired well with the bitter arugula. I’ll be back for sure.

Captain Dillie’s is one of the newest vendors at Rose City which has moved things around and expanded their beer garden which is now open daily for lunch and dinner. Dillies is open every day for lunch and dinner except for Wednesdays. Everyone needs at least one day off. Drop on by for an enjoyable meal and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: (changes regularly)

  • Chicken Salad Sandwich – $5
  • Ham & Swiss hot or cold – $4
  • Grilled Mac ‘n’ Cheese  Sandwich – $4
  • Mac ‘n’ Cheese – $2
  • Banana Pudding – $2

Website: CaptainDilliesStarliteCoach.com
Facebook: Captain Dillies Starlite Coach

EthelKays Grilled Cheese & Lemonade

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EthyKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade

EthelKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade

CLOSED

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

Big-Ass Sandwiches – Mississippi Marketplace

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Big-Ass Sandwiches - Mississippi Marketplace

Big-Ass Sandwiches – Mississippi Marketplace

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Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi , Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Tue-Sun, 11am-5pm

The Story: Lisa and Brian Wood will celebrate their 4th year making one of the craziest and tastiest sandwiches in town come December. To celebrate, they decided to expand and open a second cart in North Portland at Mississippi Marketplace. Their signature Big-Ass Sandwich is made on a Fleur De Les ciabatta roll with either house roast beef, roast turkey, or ham, covered with hand cut fries, and homemade Bechamel cheese sauce. Over the years, they have expanded their menu with some of their fan favorites and specials. Truly one of Portland’s food cart success stories.

Big-Ass Sandwiches has been featured on every network food show including the honor of winning the Best Sandwich of the NW on Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich In America show. Now you can find that sandwich at their new location at Mississippi Marketplace. Their original cart is open at SE 2nd and Oak.

Read our original article from 2009 here.

Website: Bigasssandwiches.com
Twitter: @BigAssSandwich
Facebook: Big-Ass Sandwiches

Sea Verdes

Lizzy Caston

Seaverdes1

CLOSED

Location: N Vancouver and Fremont
Hours: Tue, Thu-Fri 11:30 am – 9:00 pm, Wed 11:30 am – 7 pm, Sat 1 pm – 9 pm, Sun 1 pm – 7 pm

The Story: For seafood lovers, there’s a saying, “If it’s from the sea, then it’s for me!”  Mussels, Tilapia, Catfish, Shrimp and Oysters make up the foundation for Sea Verdes’ menu, with a healthy dose of entree type salads, smoothies, and specials such as grilled cheese sandwiches, pastas and other delights.

Sea Verdes reminds me of those little beach side food shacks found in coastal communities such as New England, Florida, or Hawaii. They serve locals as much as visitors, and are usually a come-as-you-are affair for those picking up a nutritious dinner for their families, or hungry beachcombers who need some substance between hitting the waves (or the beach blanket).

Crispy seafood (choice of  comes dredged in cornmeal and unbleached flour and is flash fried – crispy, not at all greasy and the fresh seafood shines through. We tried the Oysters on our first visit: Plump and fresh, they were magically crispy on the outside and tender within – it’s all the richness and mineral brininess oyster fans crave.  For those looking for something not fried, there’s mussels and shrimp in a white wine broth,  an Italianate inspired shrimp pasta, and a Tilapia with vegetables and rice.  They’ve also recently added gumbo (in this case crab, shrimp, beef sausage, chicken and mussels to the menu specials mix, something  that might not be a traditional gumbo recipe, but has what my New Orleans friends call, “Da Flavor!”. Yeah, you rite, Sea Verdes.

Salads can make for a whole meal in generous portions – a textbook classic Caesar, or a Thai Beef blow anything from the local salad bar out of the water (pun intended). Yet for those in a salad bar kind of mood, there’s a mix and match choice of toppers such as Shrimp, salmon.

Seaverdes2

Sea Verdes in N. Portland. Photo from www.seaverdes.blogspot.com

Smoothies round out the offerings. Located on the popular N Williams/Vancouver bike corridor – a smoothie would be a perfect pick-me-up on the way home from when you’ve just spent 1000 calories battling traffic and hills from work. I felt downright healthy AND decadent at the same time after finishing Sea Verdes’ Mixed Berry Smoothie – made with almond milk, dark cherries, bananas and mixed berries.

Owned and operated by lifetime Portlander Elsya Watkins, this talented chef, Portland State Alumni (Go Vikings!), and mother’s positive energy and commitment to nutrition is infectious. In Ms. Watkin’s own words:

I opened Sea Verdes because of North and North-East Portland’s food dessert. The lack of healthy and affordable places to go eat-out is a prevailing inconvenience for Portlanders. I serve fresh seafood, crisp salad greens an I make healthy and tasty protein green smoothies. My food serves vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians and offers selections for the paleo diet.

Oh, yes.  A little bit of soul, a bunch of health, and a whole lotta love: Sea Verdes. Another great addition to Portland’s mighty food cart sea.

Seaverdes3

Sample Menu:

  • Fried seafood (served with rice). Choice of Oysters, Tilapia, Catfish in small or large platters  - $5.50 – $13.00
  • Talapia (broiled -2 pieces), served with rice and made with basil, tomatoes, garlic and lemon- $9.50
  • Thai Beef Salad with lettuce and kale, tomato, red onion, yellow onion, cucumber, basil  -  $8.50
  • Salad Plain or with Salad  toppers (shrimp, salmon, Tilapia) or  choice of dressing  - $2.50 – $6.50
  • Tropical Sunrise Smoothie – Almond milk, pineapple, banana, oranges, grapefruit juice – $4.75
  • Kya’s House Cherry Lemonade – $2.50

Website: Seaverdes.blogspot.com
Facebook: Sea Verdes
Twitter: @SeaVerdesPDX

Phone: 503-933-5251

Email: seaverdesllc@yahoo.com

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