Herb’s Mac & Cheese

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Herb's Mac & Cheese

Herb's Mac & Cheese

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont – Good Food Here
Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-8pm

The Story:

Pasta and cheese go hand in hand. There should be a bumper sticker about it. Herb’s Mac & Cheese opened to focus on that combination and add their own taste combinations.

I’m a child of mac & cheese. Seriously. I loved it and ate it whenever I could. I even remember making a batch for dinner but burning the butter before adding the cheese powder. My parents were so nice, they ate it anyways. As I grew older, the boxed goods I grew up on bored me. It was then a friend introduced me to home-made mac & cheese and I was hooked. Taking pasta and different types of cheese and layering it together with extra ingredients and then baking it is probably one of the best dishes out there. I was excited to see Herb’s Mac & Cheese open and offer up dishes that go beyond the standard macaroni and cheese.

Herb's Mac & Cheese

Herb's Mac & Cheese

At Herb’s you can get traditional mac & cheese made with penne macaroni and his signature Mornay sauce. Herb’s starts with white sauce at its base and then mixes in his own secret combination of no less than 4 different cheeses. You can get the traditional dish or create your own with ingredients that include chicken, pepperoni, bacon, garlic, jalapenos, tomatoes, and more. Add extra cheese with choices ranging from blue cheese crumbles to pepper jack to Asiago. If you don’t think you can create your own, Herb will always have a couple of specials for you to choose from. We opted for the Micro-Raptor, a daily special with bacon, tomatoes, garlic, blue cheese and topped with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I added in jalapenos to give it a little more kick. With two size options, the small was enough for two people to share, so if you opt for the large, be prepared. The pasta a large tube style penne captured all the creamyness of the sauce much better than old style macaroni does. The jalapenos and hot sauce gave the entire dish the spice we love with flavoring and not just heat. I had eaten throughout the day and didn’t think I was hungry, but it was so tasty I devoured it right there, event getting in a bit of trouble for eating more than my share.

Herb’s Mac & Cheese offers up a childhood favorite with some artistry in one of the most unique shaped carts seen to date. If you’re a pasta and cheese fan, you need to visit and enjoy what Herb has to offer. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Two Sizes: Small, $5; Large, $7. Choose to add from the following ingredients:

  • Meats: Bacon, Chicken, Pepperoni
  • Veggies: garlic, spinach, broccoli, jalapenos, diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes
  • Extra Cheese: blue cheese, feta cheese, pepper jack, cheddar, Parmesan, Asagio

Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-8pm
Phone: 503 928 7559
Website: HerbsMacandCheese.com
Twitter: @HerbsMacandCheese
Facebook: Herb’s Mac & Cheese

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DogHouse PDX

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The Dog House PDX

Location: SE 50th and Division at The Lot at Scout
Hours: Check Facebook for updated hours

The Story:

I actually remember the first time I had tater tots. We were a meat and potatoes and pancakes for dinner family living in deep southeast Portland when my mom came home one evening with this bag of Ore-Ida Tater Tots. When the cookie sheet came out of the oven and those tots were up for grabs, my brother, sister and I dove in. It was the best food we had tasted in our entire lives (I actually remember us exclaiming that while running through the house, screaming.) Now, some 30 odd years later, Tots are making a serious comeback as both comfort food and treats at high end restaurants. When we wrote about a cart serving tots as a side for burgers last year, the Internets blew up with comments. Now, we have a cart that takes tots to the next level – The Dog House PDX.

Timber from The Dog House PDX

Timber from The Dog House PDX

Timber and Ali, who brought us Yogio last year, knew that their pod in North Portland needed a comfort food cart, so they acquired a stepvan and converted it to serve up dogs and tots and everything in between. When I first heard of the cart, I thought they were just doing a variation on a hot dog cart, but their approach is to put together unique bowls of happy food funtime. You can either have a dog or tots which are then covered with your choice of topping and usually melted cheese. The dog or tots are called the bottom and tops could include gravy, bacon, a fried egg, jalapenos, black beans, chili, pineapple or pretty much anything you can imagine. A great concept that includes what many of us grew up on as children with the tastes we’ve learned to love over the years.

I highly suggest eating whatever you order at the lot instead of getting it to go. Why? Because they serve whatever you order in a great little dog dish and that is just cool. Picture a pile of tots covered with melted pepper jack cheese, onions, jalapenos and topped with a fried egg. Oh and don’t forget the kicker sauce which adds a little spice to the entire dish. Every bit of the dish captures the essences of childhood with the crispiness of the tots and the gooeyness of the melted cheese. While I don’t remember mom ever putting a fried egg on my tots, it worked. I felt like a kid again.

I wasn’t able to visit The Dog House when they first opened at North Station in north Portland. They moved last month to NE Alberta with Yogio to their own pod named Holy Trinity partnering with another cart that sells vintage clothing. I’m so happy to have finally enjoyed some of Timber’s tots and her excellent creations. I can only imagine they sell a boat load of tots once the sun goes down and the bars open up. Drop on by The Dog House, enjoy some tots, relive a childhood memory and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Cart moved to the Lot at Scout in 2018]

Website: The Dog House PDX
Twitter: @TheDogHousePDX
Facebook: The Dog House PDX

Rip City over Tots

Rip City over Tots

PieLab

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Pie Lab PDX

Pie Lab PDX

{Update Dec 2010 – PieLab is closed until spring]

Location: NW 12th and Davis
Hours: Fridays, noon-3pm

The Story:

Everyone loves pie right? How about fresh handmade pie served up with a smile and a game. Pie Lab is there to sate your Friday afternoon craving in the Pearl.

Crystal Beasley, a southern girl with bright red lipstick and a cute yellow vintage apron, knows how to bake and had a great idea earlier this year to mix her love of pie with her love of social interaction and games. While working for Cheezburger Networks, the group that brings you I can has Cheezeburger and Failblog among other Internet treats, Crystal hatched the brilliant idea to use a food cart to study society and play games with her customers. Using the social fundraiser site KickStarter, Crystal raised $1650 from 56 backers to finish the build out of her cart and launch. One day, you may spin the wheel to determine how much you pay. Another day, the wheel may decide which pie you will enjoy. Either way, you get a great slice of pie with which you can add fresh whip cream or ice cream if you so wish. For those who aren’t into the game, you can purchase your pie out right also.

Forest Berry Pie from Pie Lab

Forest Berry Pie from Pie Lab

Crystal has been busy with the lab, dusting off some family recipes and even venturing beyond our national borders for influences. The day we visited, she was offering a mixed forest berry pie with a crushed almond and ginger crust, a buttermilk whiskey pie, a mango cobbler and finally, a cherry pie. When I heard there was a pie made with whiskey, I couldn’t help but ask – “what’s your poison?” Wild Turkey! I’ve cooked with wine and sherry, but never whiskey. While I didn’t get drunk of my single slice of scrumptious pie, I could taste the sweet bourbon influences. The mixed berry pie my colleague enjoyed with both ice cream and whip cream was so life-changing for him that he followed up the dish with emails to all his friends, a Facebook posting and some preaching to coworkers. What I liked about both was the depth of flavor and freshness. Oh, and we both spun the wheel for price and landed on $1. Such a deal.

Pie Lab PDX is one of the most ingenious ideas I have seen here in Portland. A fun and tasty experience with a wonderful host in Crystal. Pie is wonderful and she makes some of the best I have had, so go visit her before she hunkers down for winter break and enjoy. Play a game and have some fun. Let her know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Slice of pie: flavors vary – $4
  • Whip Cream – $1
  • Ice Cream – $1

Hours: Fridays, 12-3pm or till they run out of pie
Twitter: @PieLabPDX Facebook: PieLabPDX

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