Pig ‘N A Pen

sandwich food cart portland

Pig ‘N A Pen

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy – Rose City Food Park
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11-9; Sat, 12-9; Sun, 12-7

The Story: The Midwest. Having grown up on the west coast with parents from the midwest, I’m tangentially aware of the cuisine of Minnesota – ham, potatoes, dishes influenced by Germans and Norwegians – yet that’s about it. Other than KC BBQ or Chicago Pizza, the midwest is a bit of a black hole. Yet, with Pig ‘N A Pen, new cart at Rose City Food Park, we get their take on a midwestern delight – the breaded pork tenderloin.

sandwich food cart Portland

Hoosier Style

Pig ‘N A Pen opened late summer at the NE Portland pod offering up a broad menu of midwestern sandwiches. Focusing primarily on pork tenderloin, the traditional is breaded in crackermeal and cornmeal or try it seasoned and seared on the flattop. Jerry’s Way offers up the tenderloin with pickles and yellow mustard. The Hoosier Style, which I enjoyed, is Iowa simple with traditional tenderloin topped with American cheese, shredded cabbage and served on a Franz bun. The sandwich was huge with the breaded tenderloin overflowing the bun – flavorful and filling. The side of seasonal broccoli salad added depth to the entire meal.

Pig ‘N A Pen is now open daily for lunch and dinner at Rose City Food Park. Get your midwestern fix and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu can be found on their website.

Facebook: Pig ‘N A Pen
Website: Pignapen.squarespace.com

Rajah’s Hawaiian Grill

Hawaiian food cart portland

Rajah’s Hawaiian Grill

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Weekdays, 10-4

The Story: It was sad to see Salmon Fusion close this summer. Roger Mumm’s delightfully briny smoke salmon was a regular treat. Yet, change happens and Roger wanted to revisit his youth, so re-branded and launched Rajah’s Hawaiian Grill.

Owner and chef Roger Mumm was born in Hawaii and lives the Aloha style of life. Over the past five years, with his previous cart Salmon Fusion, Roger became a mainstay in the street food scene at the 3rd avenue lot. Owner, chef, mentor, friend – Roger does it all. Yet, the island life was calling one day, so he decided to move along from smoked salmon and get back to the flavors of his childhood – traditional Hawaiian lunches. The type of food the everyman eats.

Hawaiian Food Cart portland

Shoyu Chicken from Rajah’s

The menu offers up a wide range of dishes from Kalua Pig to Ono Fish & Chips to the famous Hawaiian lunch – Loco Moco. I picked up a good size plate of Shoyu Chicken over rice with mac salad and seaweed salad. When have you seen seaweed salad on a menu? I hadn’t since visiting the Big Island, so was excited to revisit those salty flavors with the unique texture. The chicken, shoyu marinated with plenty of umami is not an ordinary chicken dish. Packed with flavor, it paired well with the two salads.

Rajah’s Hawaiian Grill is now open daily for lunch on SW 3rd and Washington. Next time you have a craving for Hawaiian dishes, give them a try, and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (full menu on website):

  • Huli Huli Chicken – $8.50
  • Kalua Pig – $8.50
  • Ono Fish & Chips – $8.50
  • Loco Moco – $8.50

Facebook: Rajah’s Hawaiian Grill


Mole Prehispanic Cuisine

mole food cart portland

Mole Prehistoric Cuisine

Location: 5885 NW St Helens Rd in the parking lot of Anderson Roofing
Hours: Weekdays, lunch

The Story: Our food scene here in Portland continues to mature. Every day, I’m overjoyed by the layers of flavor offered by street food vendors throughout the city. Mole Prehispanic Cuisine, a new food truck out off HWY 30, brings us mole from Oaxaca and they are the real deal.

Chef Luis Ochoa, veteran of Isabel in the Pearl, works out of a truck parked of a highway, creating dynamic and exciting mole daily. Originating in the southern most regions of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca, Chef Luis crafts an rhapsody of dried chiles, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices to pair with locally grown meats to create the moles. After a few visits to Sauvie Island on the weekends and seeing the closed truck, I decided to pop in for lunch on a Monday. Four Mole dishes are on the menu – beef, pork, lamb and chicken. Yet, each is defined by the complexity of the mole. Chef Luis offered up a sample taste of each and dutifully explained the differences. I almost ordered them all. Not one to accept samples, these tiny tastes assisted me in choosing lunch.

Mole food cart portland

Mole Verde from Mole Prehistoric Cuisine

The Mole Verde – Carlton Farms pork slow roasted and paired with a light herbaceous, yet zesty Oaxacan mole of tomatillos, pablanos and pepitas. I chose the verde for the spiciness. A forkful of pork, stirred in the rich green mole and a bit of brown rice and quinoa and my taste buds united in joy. Each dish is served with the rice and quinoa blend along with fresh greens topped with a pineapple salsa and pickled onions. Mix a bit of the pineapple with the mole – Boom!

Beyond the main dishes, Mole Prehistoric Cuisine also serves up fresh made empanadas and daily specials. Exploring the depths of regional cuisine ignites a passion in me about all foods. I’m excited to see Chef Luis bring his dishes to Portland’s streets. Find the truck parked at the Anderson Roofing Materials lot out off HWY 30 south of the St. Johns Bridge. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Mole Negro – primitive Oaxacan mole with braised St. Helen’s beef brisket – $8
  • Mole Verde – $8
  • Mole Colaradito – Anderson Ranches lamb, braised with guajillo chilies, mild spices, cinnamon and clove – $8
  • Mole De Castilla – organic chicken pan poached and matched with earthy mole of dark chocolate, spice and fruit – $8
  • Empanadas – $3

Facebook: Mole PDX
Twitter: @MolePDX
Phone: 503 875 9134

Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish

fried fish food cart portland

Grandpa Jimmy’s

Location: NE 76th and Glisan
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11-2:30 and 4:30-8, Sat, 12-8pm

The Story: Been to the south lately? Enjoyed some fried catfish maybe? I haven’t and needless to say, I crave it. Lucky for me, I stumbled upon Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish, a new food cart over on NE Glisan serving up such delights.

Grandpa Jimmy’s opened only a month ago and according to the owner of the neighboring taproom, had been selling out daily. Yes, Grandpa Jimmy’s sits next door to Hillbilly’s Growler Fill Station, so you can pair your fried fish dish with a nice quaffable brew. Andre, the owner and chef of Grandpa Jimmy’s, has put together a great menu for the neighborhood. Baskets or dinner plates with either fried tilapia, halibut or catfish. A sampler is also available so one can enjoy all three. As for sides, try the deep fried okra or southern greens with smoked turkey. True taste pleasers.

On the cool, damp day I visited, fried catfish with fresh cut fries, tangy coleslaw and a dinner roll sounded just about the perfect lunch. With an IPA by my side, I dove in to the lightly breaded and boldly seasoned catfish which fell apart on the fork. Mix in a fry here and there and trail with the coleslaw. The perfect lunch for a Wednesday. I’ll definitely return for the sampler or maybe even the greens on the weekend.

fried fish food cart portland

Fried Catfish from Grandpa Jimmy’s

On Grandpa Jimmy’s Facebook, Andre has posted some weekly specials and a photo of him and Grandpa Jimmy, so beyond the printed menu, there will be other treats. NE Glisan is coming alive with new establishments every week, so next time you’re over that way, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Deep Fried Catfish – basket, $8; dinner, $12
  • Tilapia – $7/9
  • Halibut – $15/20
  • “Jimmy” Sampler – a piece of each fish – $13
  • The Jimmy Sandwich – choice of shrimp, tilapia, catfish or chicken – $6 or $9
  • Grilled Jumbo Prawns – $8
  • Sides range from $3-6

Facebook: Grandpa Jimmy’s

Steve’s Dawg House

hot dog food cart portland

Steve’s Dawg Hosue

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 11am-3 and 5-7; Fri, 11-3 and 5-8, Sat/Sun, 11-7

The Story: Portland is on a hot dog kick. Ten years ago, one could find hot dogs at a few carts in downtown, but they went the way of sausage sandwiches and reindeer sausage. Now, restaurants have jumped into the game with Hop Dog, Clutch, Stray Dogs and more. Steve’s Dawg House at Rose City Food Park joins the scene with their version of a Michigan Sauce hot dog.

Steve’s Dawg House opened summer 2015 with an ambitious goal – bring hot dogs back to Portland’s street food scene. Granted, you can find dogs if you seek them out, yet they aren’t like the Chicago or New York style dogs you find on the streets of those cities. It takes gumption and a great product to take on the ubiquitous American delight. Steve’s Dawg House is a dream come true after many years. The famous “Frank’s Michigan Sauce” arrives courtesy of the owner’s father who created the first dog business in the 50’s in upstate New York. Now, Portland gets a taste of it.

hot dog food cart portland

Michigan Dog from Steve’s Dawg House

Menu offerings start with a Sabrett Hot Dog, New York’s original push cart style frankfurter. Then add toppings. Go Classic with mustard, relish and onions. Travel to New York with mustard, onions and sauerkraut. Or try their special, the Michigan dog with house made Michigan sauce, spicy mustard and diced onions. Pair with a side of garlic rosemary fry’s and you’re set. The Michigan dog overflowed the bun offering up a bite with just mustard and dog. Snap! Love that Sabrett style. Michigan sauce is a meat sauce accented with a bit of chili and sweetness and works well with the dog and a smattering of fresh chopped red onion.

Steve’s Dawg House is the real thing if you’re looking for a frankfurter from a food cart. In a city with so many meat in tube options, go simple and enjoy the journey. Open every day except Tuesday for lunch and dinner. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (full menu on website):

  • Michigan Dog – $5
  • Classic Dog – $4.50
  • New York Dog – $5
  • House Fry’s – $3.75
  • Garlic rosemary Fry’s – $4

Website: StevesDawgHouse.com
Facebook: Steve’s Dawg House