Sivad’s House of Soul

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Sivad's House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul

Location: SW 4th and Ankeny
Hours: Daily, lunchtime; late night on weekends

The Story: Soul food warms your heart. That is the take from Sivad’s House of Soul, a new truck located on SW 4th and Ankeny.

Pronounced ‘So-vads’, the Portland theme wrapped truck opened earlier this year with the goal of offering down home cooking with roots in the rural south. Owners Tundra and Davis hail from the midwest, yet their parents are from the south, so they both grew up surrounded by the smells, flavors and traditions of the region. The truck sports images of Portland’s skyline along with a story about the origins of soul food. You’ll definitely recognize this truck when it drives past.

Sivad’s menu is extensive with items covering every meal of the day. As they find their niche in the Portland street food scene, they are choosing to offer different items each day like smoked BBQ ribs, chicken and waffles, fried chicken, and a favorite of mine, catfish. The pan fried catfish is served alone or in a sandwich with soul slaw and fries. The seasoning on the catfish brought back memories of Louisiana and time spent there. Slathering the fish with the slaw in the sandwich not only created a delightful mess, it brought all the diverse flavors together in every bite. Next time, ribs.

Catfish sandwich from Sivad's House of Soul

Catfish sandwich from Sivad’s House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul is a great addition to the downtown food scene and Tundra and Davis are a couple of great people. If you’re looking for a hearty meal, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Smoke BBQ Ribs  with fries and soul slaw – $14
  • Catfish dinner – $9
  • Chicken and Waffle – $9
  • Fried Chicken – $5-6.50
  • Chili Dog and Fries – $8

Phone: 503 569 5507

Pirate Fish and Chips

Brett Burmeister
Pirate Fish and Chips

Pirate Fish and Chips

Location: 1137 Tucker Rd, Hood River, OR
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10-4pm

The Story:

Every so often I get the itch to leave the city and see where the car will take me and hope that I’ll find something awesome to eat when I get to wherever I’m going. A few weeks ago, that itch and a Zipcar took me to Hood River where my friend and I enjoyed some of what Pirate Fish and Chips has to offer.

Hood River, a gem in the middle of the Columbia Gorge, is one of those cities I have visited more times than I can count. As a kid we would stop there for ice cream or Pizza at Pietro’s on our way to camp on the Washington side of the Columbia up by Goldendale. Since then, Hood River became the wind-surfing capital of the world and turned into one awesome little town. These days, while there are amazing outdoor activities available, I visit for the breweries and the food. Like many small towns, Hood River now has some food carts that are making inroads and Pirate Fish and Chips is one of them.

[Read more...]

Fishbox

Lizzy Caston

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

The Story: A friend and I were lamenting the lack of great seafood restaurants in Portland. No, sushi doesn’t count. Yes, we have Granddad places of varying quality such as Jake’s or Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, Fish n’ Chip shops, and a couple of young gastronomic upstarts (the fancy fish place in Fox Tower downtown for example). And yes, you can get great seafood in markets, a few other carts, and it’s always available on most restaurant menus. But, unlike other port cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston or New Orleans, Portland dining isn’t just very seafood focused. Perplexing.

When Dustin and Angie, the owners of the very new Fishbox cart started daydreaming, FISH is what they came up with, a plan that’s been hatching in Dustin’s head since at least 2003. “I was up on the Columbia River, and it was salmon season, and people were up at Mt. Hood fly fishing for trout, and I thought, man, we have all this seafood around and near Portland, we need a really great fish cart,” Dustin told me in an interview one sunny spring day. He comes from formal culinary school training, and years and years working in Portland’s restaurant industry. Dustin was burned out working for crazy restaurant owners and living the often hard livin’, hard partyin’ restaurant lifestyle. The man knows his way around a kitchen for sure though, and knows how to handle fish dishes. From the food I sampled, he’s a hell of a great cook.

Dustin and his partner Angie took their time opening and have put a lot of thought into the menu and kitchen of this simple white van. It’s a great lesson for other wanna be cart owners. “I wanted to build out my kitchen and truck from scratch so that I have it and the equipment EXACTLY the way I need it. I didn’t inherit bad equipment or a clunky layout, which will save me money and time in the long run, especially when I get ready to expand” Dustin explained. Dustin was also very picky about getting a van, rather than a trailer type cart to offer more mobile flexibility and because a van is easier to move for catering and other special events. Dustin continued, “it was more expensive upfront than a cart and the build out took longer, but I think it will be worth it.”

But how about that fish? It’s not purely focused on wild seafood or local seafood, but it’s super fresh, very high quality and prepared with a light touch. The day I visited, the menu featured items such as a very chunky, very creamy clam chowder as good as anything you’d find at the coast, a wild salmon satay with Asian style pesto served with rice, a textbook Caesar Salad (with option Ahi tuna or wild salmon), an Ahi Tuna melt sandwich, a dark roux non-seafood gumbo, and Wild Salmon or Ahi Tuna seared tacos. “It’s funny because before I opened I was always telling people, I’m NOT going to be a taco truck,” Dustin laughed, “but tacos have turned out to be my biggest seller and most popular item.”

There’s a reason why. These aren’t your regular petite fistful Mexican tacos in corn tortillas, but large gourmet tacos in soft big flour wraps. Bursting with perfectly cooked and seasoned seafood, and a generous amount of lightly dressed slaw, three to an order is worth the $9. I was plenty full after just two.

Food is always the best part about visiting Portland’s intense food cart scene, and the Fishbox keeps its side of the bargain up quite nicely on that end. But the stories behind the carts really make me smile. Everyone is unique, and has a terrific story to tell. We think it’s the people that contribute as much to our vibrant cart community as much as the food does. The Fishbox is yet another wonderful, friendly, and tasty addition to our always cool food cart scene.

Sample Menu (contact vendor for current menu and pricing):

  • Seared Ahi Tuna or Wild Salmon Tacos – $9
  • New England Style Clam Chowder – small $4, large $6
  • Veggie Fried Rice Bowl – $5. With tuna or salmon, $9
  • Wild Salmon Satay with Asian pesto and veggie fried rice – $9

Hours: Tues-Sun, 12 – 8pm
Phone:
503-348-5244

Salmon Fusion

dieselboi
Salmon Fusion

Salmon Fusion

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: weekdays, lunchtime

The Story:

Earlier in the month, a new sign appeared on a cart that has been a few different vendors in the past year. Salmon Fusion. I wasn’t sure what to expect until I read the posted menu – Smoked Salmon all day long. It felt like Christmas waiting for them to open.

Roger Mumm launched the cart this month bringing his salmon to the eaters of Portland. The salmon in all of his dishes were caught by him this past summer while he was working for Deep Sea Fisheries in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The sockeye is then smoked weekly for us to enjoy. I’m not sure if I would share my salmon with the world. Visit the cart and Roger has photos of his fishing boat and daily catch.

As stated, the cart focuses on smoked salmon dishes like chowder, pot pie, a few sandwiches and tacos. If you’re shy about salmon, Roger will give you a taste of his chowder which is served hot in a toasted cheese bread bowl. Every time I have walked by, customers are raving about the chowder sample they are enjoying. I decided on the smoked salmon sliders served on Alessio bread with a mild pineapple teriyaki sauce, baby spinach and a side of Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice. For $7.50, the sliders were a great value and came with so much tasty smoked salmon, some even fell out for later nibbling. I’m a fan of all smoked salmon and Roger’s is some of the best with a briny flavor that doesn’t come across as too salty nor too fishy. The sauce that comes atop the salmon is more of a slaw with the sweetness of apples coming through to juxtapose the saltiness of the fish. A great meal.

Smoked Salmon Sliders from Salmon Fusion

Smoked Salmon Sliders from Salmon Fusion

Salmon Fusion is now open on SW 3rd between Stark and Washington in the former GIN Thai cart. Roger mans the window daily and may even lean out to draw you in with a sample. Check this new cart out, enjoy some smoked salmon goodness and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Smoked Salmon Chowder w/toasted cheese bread bowl: white whole cream chowder w/roasted corn and Yukon gold potatoes served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • Smoked Salmon Pot Pie: pot pie served in a mild jambalaya with puff pastry cooked golden brown served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • Smoked Salmon Pita Wrap: shredded lettuce, mango pieces, shaved red onion, shaved cucumber and topped with tzatziki or mango chutney and served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • 2 Smoked Salmon Sliders: on Alessio bread with a mild pineapple teriyaki sauce and baby spinach served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • Teriyaki Smoked Salmon Sandwich: teriyaki pineapple glazed salmon served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • 2 Smoked Salmon Tacos: served with sweet and spicy salsa and Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50

Hours: weekdays, lunchtime
Phone: 503 719 9018

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Year of the Fish

dieselboi
Year of the Fish

Year of the Fish

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Tues-Thur, 11:30-9; Fri, 11:30-12am; Sat, 12:30-12am, Sun, 12:30-8pm

The Story:

Out off Hawthorne in what many refer to as Stumbletown due to the number of bars, there is a new cart that is open late to sate those munchies you get after a few drinks – Year of the Fish. [Update 11/2011: Year of the Fish moved to SE 50th and Ivon]

Edward MacGregor opened Year of the Fish in September after being out of the restaurant game for a few years. Having grown up working in restaurants and subsequently owning them as a family business, he had taken a break from the grind, hoping to do something else. Well, the call of the deep fryer was too strong, but Edward didn’t want to do another restaurant, so decided on the cart. Locating at 47th and Hawthorne was also a strategic decision – an attempt to attract some of the crowds that line up to the few restaurant options in the area late night.

Tiger Prawns from Year of the Fish

Tiger Prawns from Year of the Fish

Year of the Fish is a fish and chips cart. With options including cod, red snapper and halibut, if you love fish, you’ll like love this cart. Edward offers traditional or gluten-free batter depending on your needs. What surprised me was the offer of tiger prawns. I love a good fish and chips, but to get batter fried tiger prawns raises the bar. Lightly breaded and crunchy, the prawns are delightful. You can get different sauces, but these are so flavorful, you don’t need it. Sided with a handful of steak fries, you have a great little snack.

Year of the Fish is now open for lunch and dinner weekdays and late night on the weekends. Drop on by for some well made fish and chips and other treats and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Cod and Chips – $7
  • Red Snapper and Chips – $7
  • Halibut and Chips – $market rate
  • Tiger Prawns and Chips – $8
  • Clam Chowder – New England style – cup, $3; bowl $5
  • Just Slaw – $3
  • Just Chips – $3

Hours: Tues-Thur, 11:30-9; Fri, 11:30-12am; Sat, 12:30-12am, Sun, 12:30-8pm
Phone: 971 258 6567
Twitter: @YearoftheFish1
Facebook: Year of the Fish

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