The Cheese Plate PDX

Lizzy Caston

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 12pm-3pm, Sunday: 11am-3pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 5pm-10pm, Friday, Saturday: 5pm-11pm, Sunday: 5pm-9pm
NE 23rd and Alberta (2231 NE Alberta St)

The Story: “Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality” – Clifton Paul Fadiman. Many of us love cheese more than any other food. It’s pure poetry in all its oozy, sometimes crumbly, often stinky glory. Indeed, some cheese lovers border on the fanatical.

For me, there’s nothing more civilized than a beautiful cheese plate made with care. Little tidbits spread out like jewels to be nibbled and savored, accompanied by friends and conversation. Even the most humble meal can become a memorable experience with the inclusion of some bread or crackers, a bit of fruit and/or pickles, perhaps some charcuterie, and a well-chosen quality cheese or two.

The Cheese Plate PDX’s Cheese Plate

The Cheese Plate PDX, a new addition to Portland’s cart scene, gives cheese the respect it deserves. No cold rubbery Brie or neon orange Cheddar here. This is not a cart for those seeking a quick, cheap, shove-it-in-your mouth sandwich. How uncivilized! No, the Cheese Cart is for the gourmandes and gourmands among us – either dining al fresco on the gravel lot The Cheese Plate is located on, or as a boxed to-go picnic or take-home treat.

The Cheese Plate is the brainchild of Nick and Carina, two well seasoned food professionals who met at San Francisco’s well lauded Lulu restaurant. Here’s the story of how the cheese plate came be as written on The Cheese Plate’s Website. (Spoiler, Nick and Carina fell in love on their first date sharing a very nice blue cheese, and the rest is history).

Cheese at the Cheese Plate does indeed come in the form of a cheese plate, with a selection based on the finest the chef can find, rounded out to include a trio of goat cheeses, and that well-loved  French peasant “cheese spread” known as Fromage Fort. The day I sampled the cheese plate at the CP, it was a nice focus on Oregon Artisan cheeses of all types soft, hard, aged and not, perfect for the cool summer day. Well done!

The Cheese Plate PDX’s Picnic Plate

To go along with my cheese I ordered the Picnic Plate. This pretty little board was a revelation – as fantastic as anything you’ll find in Portland’s high-end restaurants. It features a “make your own” plate from items such as Wild Mushroom and Kale Pâté, Blue and Green Stuffed Olives with Goat and Blue Cheeses, Melon with Ginger Sea Salt, and Soft Boiled Eggs with Truffle and Seaweed Caviar, and other sophisticated playful dishes. The Seaweed Caviar that showed up in a few dishes on the Picnic Plate was  something I’ve read about, but had not tried before. I’m happy I did. It’s the perfect addition to cheese and accompanying dishes, with the same pop and salty/briny bite as regular caviar, as well as its own unique vegetal taste. As a bonus it’s also a sustainable food source. I’m smitten!

Other offerings at The Cheese Plate include Garden Vegetable and Cheese Sandwich (the types of cheese/veggies depends on what’s fresh and in season), Fried Cheese Sticks (no, these aren’t the dive bar menu kind), and specials such as a Scotch Rarebit, and open-faced sandwich with egg, tomato, onion and melted Cheddar on toast.  Vegans have some wonderful choices here as well, including a Vegan Cheese Fromage Fort and side bites such as kale chips, pickles, and other Vegan treats. This is an equal opportunity cart. As they just opened this July, expect The Cheese Plate’s menu to evolve during the next few months. We look forward to returning to see what else they have in store.

Congratulations to The Cheese Plate, for bringing more cheese food of the gods to Portland!

Sample Menu:

  • Cheese Plate (rotating offerings) and crackers/bread – $8
  • Picnic Plate (make your own) – 4 choices for $8 or order a la carte.
    • -Wild Mushroom and Kale Pate with Seaweed Caviar – $3
    • Corn and Potato Salad with White Truffle Oil Aioli – $3
    • – Melon with Ginger Sea Salt  – $2
    • Today’s House Made Pickles – $2
    • Hazelnut and Popcorn Party Mix – $2
    • Garden Vegetable and Cheese Sandwich – $6
    • Pacific NW Kale Chips – $3
    • Green and Black Stuffed Olives with Goat and Blue Cheeses – $3

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 12pm-3pm, Sunday: 11am-3pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 5pm-10pm, Friday, Saturday: 5pm-11pm, Sunday: 5pm-9pm
Phone: 503-422-8707
Facebook: TheCheesePlatePDX
Twitter: @PDXCheesePlate