Thrive Pacific NW

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rice bowl food cart portland

Thrive Pacific NW

Location: check their website for current location

The Story:

Earlier this year, after returning from a trip to California where I had to seek out food trucks all over the city, I drove down Division and saw a food truck parked in front of APEX bar. We have food trucks here in Portland, but most of the mobile vendors are congregated in lots throughout the city, so seeing a truck on the street is something kinda new. Thrive Pacific NW has been roaming the streets of Portland all summer feeding hungry eaters.

Thrive is the work of Stephanie and Erika who only met a year or so ago but have years of experience in the kitchen and wanted to try something new. With a beautifully outfitted truck, they launched with the goal of hitting events and under served areas where there aren’t any food vendors. You may have seen them at Powell’s Street Fair or Sunday Parkways or even the Zoo Concerts.

rice bowl food cart portland

The Argentinean from Thrive

The menu is designed around Erika’s travels internationally, but the food is all local. Vegetables sourced from local farms and vendors like Kruger Farms and Draper Valley. They even have their own garden plot which they harvested vegetables from throughout the summer. As the seasons change, so will the menu, focusing on what’s fresh and available. Delicata squash was mentioned and my mouth watered. I am a fan of sauteed fresh veggies whether it be kale or broccoli or snap peas. Done well and they retain the fresh out of the garden flavor with a bit of sear on the edges. The Argentinian bowl I enjoyed had a good assortment of sauteed vegetables, seared and seasoned tempeh and a to die for garlicky chimichurri sauce. All served over brown rice. Every bite, whether it was kale or brocolli or carrot or squash had a burst of flavor from the chimichurri. Such a wonderful dish, it made me rethink dinner plans for the nights to come.

Thrive Pacific NW cruises around town to different venues and events. They are regulars outside APEX Bar on SE 12th and Division on Wednesday nights, but you can find their whole schedule on their website which they update regularly. This is a truck to seek out and try. You’ll be glad you did. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Thrive is a Mobile Food Truck in the city.

Sample Menu (see website for current menu and pricing):

Protein can be added to any bowl: organic tempeh, $1; free-range chicken, $2; grass-fed hanger steak,

  • Japanese Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, sesame seeds, cilantro, tamari-sesame sauce, sea weed
  • Thai Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, cilantro, mint, peanuts, Thai coconut sauce
  • Mexican Rice Bowl: brown rice, black beans, sauteed veg, tomatillo salsa, avocado, creamy lime sauce
  • Argentinean Rice Bowl:
  • Kashmir Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, basil, cashews, Indian curry sauce

Hours: check website
Website: ThrivePacificNW.com
Facebook: Thrive Pacific NW
Twitter: @ThrivePacificNW

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Chilango

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Chilango

Chilango

Location: SW 4th and Hall
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30am-7pm

The Story:

When one cart departs, someone is always there, ready to repaint and relaunch as something new. Chilango is one of the newest faces on SW 4th at the PSU pod.

When I visited the other day, it took me a few minutes of reviewing the menu to realize this cart served Mexican food. Normally, the first items on the menus are tacos and burritos. At Chilango, it is bowls. After ordering my lunch from Veronica, I asked what Chilango meant and she told me it was a boy from Mexico City and then pointed at Caesar who was making my lunch and said – him!

Chilango Bowl Taco

Chilango Bowl Taco

At Chilango, you can get soft tacos and burritos, vegetarian fare and other traditional Mexican food, but what caught my eye was the Chilango Bowl. Your choice of meat served with beans, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, cotija cheese and handmade masa tortillas. What I pictured in my mind paled in comparison to what they served. A large portion of beans and rice covered with chicken tinga (my meat choice), a few large spoonfuls of fresh guacamole and pico. Chicken tinga is shredded chicken breast stewed with tomatoes and onions. The tortillas were amazingly fresh and putting it all together into a small little taco was a treat. The guacamole, made fresh that morning, had a hint of lemon that when paired with a bit of chicken and black bean was amazing. A very large portion, more than enough for a hearty lunch.

The bright red cart that looks like a small cabin is welcoming – especially with Veronica and Caesar there with their big smiles and wonderful food. They have an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu using tempe. Head on down if you haven’t visited the pod in awhile and give it a try. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chilango Bowl – choice of grilled chicken, asada, ground beef, carnitas or chicken tinga with black or pinto beans, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, cotija cheese and corn tortillas – $6
  • Burrito – choice of meat with black or pinto beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, onions and cilantro – flour tortilla – $6
  • Soft Taco – corn tortilla with choice of meat with onion and cilantro – $2
  • Vegetarian Chilango Bowl – black or pinto beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, cotija cheese and 3 corn tortillas – $5.50
  • Tempe Chilango Bowl – black or pinto beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, corn tortillas and tempe – $6
  • Breakfast Burrito – eggs, potatoes, black or pinto beans, cheese, pico de gallo – $4.50

Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
Phone: 503 218 3352 (text to go orders)
Resources: Debit/Credit Carts accepted

Island Grill Hawaiian Barbeque

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Island Grill Hawaiian BBQ

Island Grill Hawaiian Barbeque

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime

The Story:

When one cart closes, someone is always there to re-open with something new. Shortly after Tofu House closed, Island Grill was open with a menu of Hawaiian treats.

We have a few Hawaiian carts in town now with 808 Grinds and Ninja Plate Lunch. With the addition of Island Grill, Portland cart lovers have yet another choice for Kalua Pork or a side of macaroni salad. Hawaii is also famous for loco moco and Island Grill has it if that is your desire – a plate of rice with a hamburger patty, brown gravy and fried egg atop.

Teriyaki Chicken Plate

Teriyaki Chicken Plate

The plate lunches are pretty a la carte – rice and macaroni salad with your choice of meat – and two different sizes if you’re looking to eat less. The meat options aren’t surprising – kalua pork, beef shortribs, chicken katsu, hamburger steak – just to name a few. I decided to try the Teriyaki chicken and got a full plate with two scoops or rice and the salad. The grilled chicken had a char to it that when paired with the sweetness you get from teriyaki sauce, created a great mix of flavors. The macaroni salad was a treat, one of my favorite types of salad. I even added a spam musubi – rice, spam and sauce wrapped in seaweed. I love spam musubi.

Island Grill is open right there on cart row on SW Alder between 9th and 10th. Check them out if you’re looking for a change – they usually have daily specials that are different from the menu. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Plate lunches are either mini for $5 or regular for $6.50
Mini: 1 scoop of rice and 1 scoop of macaroni salad with choice of meat
Regular: add a scoop or rice

Meat choices:  BBQ beef; Teriyaki beef; Hamburger steak; Beef short ribs; Kalua pork; BBQ spicy pork; Pork katsu; Fried shrimp; Fried mahi mahi; BBQ chicken; Teriyaki chicken; Shoyu chicken; Chicken katsu

  • Add Musubi for $2
  • Burgers – $5 with choice of meat
  • Yakisoba noodles – $6
  • Loco moco – $7
  • Island Bibimbap – $6

Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
Contact: unknown

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Native Bowl

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vegan food cart portland

Native Bowl

Location: N Mississippi at Skidmore in Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-3pm

The Story: 

Changing of the guard happens every so often at the carts. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m happy to report that Native Bowl has new owners and will continue to serve the quality and flavorful bowls we have come to expect. Mmm, BBQ Soy curls for the win! Suzzette and Ted Easton who live in the neighborhood and own and operate the Akemi Salon on Williams took over the cart in November of 2013 after working with Jay and Julie to master the menu. The bowls are the same, but expect some new items to hit the menu in the future. Welcome to the food cart world Suzzette and Ted!

Our original article about Native Bowl:

When we were over at Mississippi Marketplace showing an out of town guest the carts, we decided to grab one of the dishes from Native Bowl, another vegan cart in the pod. The dish had what they called “crack gravy” a gravy so good, you’ll get addicted to it like crack. I only got a couple of bites, but it was enough for me to return the following day and meet the owners and try one of their bowls.

Native Bowl is another brand new cart in the pod. The owners Jay and Julie have been open for about 4 weeks and are fully vegan. Jay relayed a story that one day their 8yr old son came home and asked if they could try vegan and it went from there. The Native Bowl specializes in what we would traditionally call rice bowls. A layer of rice (in this case, jasmine rice), then some sauce, some protein like marinated tofu topped with veggies. Pretty simple concept, but if you prepare each item very well, you come out with an amazing dish.

vegan food cart portland

Couch Bowl from Native Bowl

I chose the Couch Bowl (pronounced cooch) per the owner’s recommendation. I’ll be the first to take someone’s advice, keeps me from hand wringing over all the choices. While they prepared it, I walked over to PROST!, the German pub in the lot, grabbed a table and ordered a beer. Before I knew it, Julie was actually bringing me my bowl. I don’t think this is standard, but what a great gesture. Upon opening the bowl, I was overwhelmed with the bright colors and savory aromas. The top of the bowl was a mixture of freshly chopped green onions topped with a savory sauce and sesame seeds. Just below the onions were bean sprouts, some mixed greens, chopped carrots and then marinated tofu and the rice. I’m the eater who prefers to mix everything together so you don’t end up with one single item at the end of the meal, yet this bowl was a mix of amazing flavors from top to bottom. The sauce had some spice to it also, something I didn’t expect but was glad was there.

The Native Bowl is another great addition to the Mississippi Marketplace pod. Jay and Julie are kind and welcoming to everyone who walks by. If you’re up in North Portland and need a great dish, check out Native Bowl and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Bowls are all vegan, $6.50
  • Mississippi Bowl – peppercorn ranch sauce, BBQ soy curls, house coleslaw, scallions, and jasmine rice
  • Couch Bowl – seasoned tofu, sesame bean sprouts, Kochujang sweet and sour sauce, jasmine rice, lettuce, carrots, scallions and sesame seeds
  • Alberta Bowl – seasoned tofu, house-made fire-breathing dragon sauce, jasmine rice, shredded cabbage, carrots and scallions

Website: TheNativeBowl.com
Twitter: NativeBowl
Facebook: Native Bowl

dosirak

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dosirak lunch cart

dosirak lunch cart

Location: SW 4th and College

Description:

A coworker and I needed something hearty for lunch and wanted to try something new. We saw the shiny yellow cart named dosirak and decided to give it a try. Talk about simple ordering. This cart offers up one dish and one dish only – marinated chicken over rice with a salad and some dumplings called mandoos. That’s it. The cart is aptly named – dosirak translates to lunchbox.

dosirak lunchbox

dosirak lunchbox

The “lunchbox” comes with a generous portion of sticky white rice covered with amazing marinated charbroiled chicken and a couple of mandoo (little dumplings.) The salad has a unique miso flavored dressing that is perfectly matched with the chicken. The lunch was great. A perfect portion with great tastes and wonderfully simple. I especially like the mandoo as they had a texture and flavor that melted in your mouth.

If you’re out looking for a new take on marinated chicken and rice, visit dosirak and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu:

  • The Lunchbox: marinated chicken charbroiled to perfection; fresh green salad with miso dressing and mandoo (little dumplings – $6
  • Mandoo (dumplings) – small order 6 pieces – $3; large order 10 pieces – $4

Contact: unknown
Website: unknown

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