The Local Grind

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The Local Grind

The Local Grind

Location: Ira Keller Fountain Park – SW 4th and Clay
Hours: weekdays, lunchtime

Description:

Whenever I think of the first food carts I ate at, I harken back to the early 90’s and the carts that were available in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I forget about the love that we discovered when working down by PSU of the Hawaiian cart at the Ira Keller Fountain. Over the years, I can’t tell you how many rice bowls I ate there because early on, we were there every day – even in the rain. There is nothing like grabbing an excellent mix of marinated grilled chicken over rice and sitting at the edge of the fountain and enjoying the quiet while you eat. Over the years, the cart has come and gone and changed names and ownership. I’m happy to tell you that The Local Grind offers up what I remember and it is pretty darn tasty.

Some call it bento, others call it rice bowls, I call it chicken over rice. The Local Grind offers up three different types of marinated grilled chicken over rice – as simple as that. I’m glad it is simple as it doesn’t force me to choose from a large menu and it allows them to focus their energy on what they do well. The three types are garlic/honey, teriyaki and “da shred.” All are chicken marinated over night and then grilled and fresh for lunch every day. I usually choose two different types of chicken – garlic and honey and da shred. “Da Shred” is shredded chicken simmered in fresh ginger and garlic sauce and I’ll tell you, it is some of the best chicken I have tasted.

Da Shred and Garlic Honey over brown rice

Da Shred and Garlic Honey over brown rice

Sitting there with the slightly overcast sky, listening to the fountain was a great day to enjoy this lunch. I got a large, which is more than I really should be eating, but I finished it. The rice was a generous portion (I chose brown rice) and the chicken was moist and fully flavored throughout. No dry chicken here.

The Local Grind can be found at the top of the fountain across from Keller Auditorium. I would suggest them for before the opera, but I don’t think they do anything but lunch. While the weather is still nice, head on down to enjoy some local flavor and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • All meals are a bed of rice covered with a small or large portion of chicken. Brown or white rice available. Small -$5; large – $6
  • Teriyaki – marinated overnight in homemade teriyaki sauce
  • Da shred – tasty morsels of chicken simmered in fresh ginger and garlic
  • Garlic honey – a blend of honey, sesame and fresh ginger and garlic
  • Sides – Island style mac salad; fresh sauteed veggies – $1

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11am-2pm
Website: LocalGrindpdx.com
Facebook: Local Grind
Email:
thelocalgrind@gmail.com

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Sonny Bowl

dieselboi
Sonny Bowl

Sonny Bowl

Location: SW 3rd and Washington

Description:

I was in a discussion with some cartivores the other day and we arrived on the topic of uniqueness for carts. There are some carts that offer a menu that while focused maybe on a type of cuisine, the offerings are so broad, it is difficult to choose one item. Like when you go to the local restaurant which as a 4 page menu. We all agreed that if you do one thing very very well, just do that and you will succeed. We see this type of focus with food carts daily. Sonny Bowl is such a cart. They focus their energy and skill on creating a bowl that is vegan, yet fills you up with everything a growing boy needs.

Sonny Bowl specializes in what these days are called rice bowls. Anywhere you see bento advertised, it is usually a chicken skewer over a bowl of rice with a few veggies. Not here. Sonny Bowl takes it beyond veggies and rice by adding in black beans or chickpeas, salsa, soy curls, green beans, and robust sauces. I don’t know why I haven’t discovered this gem all these years. I chose the One, and for $5, I got a pretty large bowl with brown rice covered with black beans, mixed veggies, cilantro-lemon sauce, green chile and salsa. I added in Soy Curls for the extra $1 since they are my newest soy favorite.

Sonny Bowl

Sonny Bowl

I almost couldn’t get the top on. Further, I didn’t want to put the top on and crush that beautiful presentation. When I see green chile listed as part of the dish, I think more of a sauce, but the green chili here was a chunky thick salsa that didn’t disappoint. The beans and rice were cooked just right, not mushy, but not al dente. As far as mixed veggies go, I wonder if they shift with the season. My dish had thinly sliced steamed yellow and green zucchini. The soy curls were great. If you haven’t tried soy curls, either BBQ’ed or in a dish like this, you have to. They have the best flavor and texture; a great addition to the meal.

Sonny Bowl offers three different vegan bowls with simple names like one, two and three. All are $5. Like I stated, I love it when someone specializes in one food type and does it right. Sonny Bowl does it right. If you are down off SW 3rd looking for a filling and healthy lunch, give Sonny Bowl a try and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • One – black beans, mixed veggies, brown rice, cilantro-lemon sauce, green chili and salsa – $5
  • Two – chickpeas, mixed veggies, brown rice, sweet-pineapple curry sauce – $5
  • Three – BBQ soy curls, brown rice, green beans in ginger-citrus sauce – $5
  • add soy curls to any bowl for $1
  • drinks, $2; water $1

Phone/Contact:
Hours: Monday through Friday 11:30am-3:30pm
Website/Twitter: unknown

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