Sea Verdes

Lizzy Caston


Location: N Vancouver and Fremont
Hours: Tue, Thu-Fri 11:30 am – 9:00 pm, Wed 11:30 am – 7 pm, Sat 1 pm – 9 pm, Sun 1 pm – 7 pm

The Story: For seafood lovers, there’s a saying, “If it’s from the sea, then it’s for me!”  Mussels, Tilapia, Catfish, Shrimp and Oysters make up the foundation for Sea Verdes’ menu, with a healthy dose of entree type salads, smoothies, and specials such as grilled cheese sandwiches, pastas and other delights.

Sea Verdes reminds me of those little beach side food shacks found in coastal communities such as New England, Florida, or Hawaii. They serve locals as much as visitors, and are usually a come-as-you-are affair for those picking up a nutritious dinner for their families, or hungry beachcombers who need some substance between hitting the waves (or the beach blanket).

Crispy seafood (choice of  comes dredged in cornmeal and unbleached flour and is flash fried – crispy, not at all greasy and the fresh seafood shines through. We tried the Oysters on our first visit: Plump and fresh, they were magically crispy on the outside and tender within – it’s all the richness and mineral brininess oyster fans crave.  For those looking for something not fried, there’s mussels and shrimp in a white wine broth,  an Italianate inspired shrimp pasta, and a Tilapia with vegetables and rice.  They’ve also recently added gumbo (in this case crab, shrimp, beef sausage, chicken and mussels to the menu specials mix, something  that might not be a traditional gumbo recipe, but has what my New Orleans friends call, “Da Flavor!”. Yeah, you rite, Sea Verdes.

Salads can make for a whole meal in generous portions – a textbook classic Caesar, or a Thai Beef blow anything from the local salad bar out of the water (pun intended). Yet for those in a salad bar kind of mood, there’s a mix and match choice of toppers such as Shrimp, salmon.


Sea Verdes in N. Portland. Photo from

Smoothies round out the offerings. Located on the popular N Williams/Vancouver bike corridor – a smoothie would be a perfect pick-me-up on the way home from when you’ve just spent 1000 calories battling traffic and hills from work. I felt downright healthy AND decadent at the same time after finishing Sea Verdes’ Mixed Berry Smoothie – made with almond milk, dark cherries, bananas and mixed berries.

Owned and operated by lifetime Portlander Elsya Watkins, this talented chef, Portland State Alumni (Go Vikings!), and mother’s positive energy and commitment to nutrition is infectious. In Ms. Watkin’s own words:

I opened Sea Verdes because of North and North-East Portland’s food dessert. The lack of healthy and affordable places to go eat-out is a prevailing inconvenience for Portlanders. I serve fresh seafood, crisp salad greens an I make healthy and tasty protein green smoothies. My food serves vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians and offers selections for the paleo diet.

Oh, yes.  A little bit of soul, a bunch of health, and a whole lotta love: Sea Verdes. Another great addition to Portland’s mighty food cart sea.


Sample Menu:

  • Fried seafood (served with rice). Choice of Oysters, Tilapia, Catfish in small or large platters  - $5.50 – $13.00
  • Talapia (broiled -2 pieces), served with rice and made with basil, tomatoes, garlic and lemon- $9.50
  • Thai Beef Salad with lettuce and kale, tomato, red onion, yellow onion, cucumber, basil  -  $8.50
  • Salad Plain or with Salad  toppers (shrimp, salmon, Tilapia) or  choice of dressing  - $2.50 – $6.50
  • Tropical Sunrise Smoothie – Almond milk, pineapple, banana, oranges, grapefruit juice – $4.75
  • Kya’s House Cherry Lemonade – $2.50

Facebook: Sea Verdes
Twitter: @SeaVerdesPDX

Phone: 503-933-5251


Home Plate Sliders

Brett Burmeister
Home Plate Sliders

Home Plate Sliders

Location: varies, check Twitter for current location
Hours: varies, check Twitter for current hours

The Story:

Scene: Los Angeles streets, 2009 – Throngs of fans of the Kogi BBQ truck are ignoring their dates and watching Twitter to find out when and where the truck would show.

Scene: Kogi BBQ Truck Tweets they will show at the Golden Gopher and a mob of 200 beat them there.

This is how it played out early in the food truck revolution and still occurs in cities outside of Portland. We have the luxury of knowing where our favorite carts are on a daily basis. There are some trucks who roam and use social media to announce their location and Home Plate Sliders just joined the troop.

Stuartt Fox always wanted his own food truck and one day, while in St. Johns selling his beloved Harley, he came across a working food truck for sale. With cash in hand, it was one of those now or never moments, so he bought it on the spot and drove it home for his winter project. Stuartt has both a new school and old school approach to what he’s offering. With sliders for $3 and a baseball themed brand, it evokes memories of childhood for only a few bills. The rig though reminds me of those I have seen cruising down the freeways of LA or San Francisco. A bright red truck with a caricature baseball player logo on one side and a large home plate on the other. That home plate serves as the door to the serving window held up by two Louisville slugger bats when open. I see carts and trucks with great signage, but to take the branding to this level, Stuartt hit a home run.

Slider from Home Plate Sliders

Slider from Home Plate Sliders

Sliders! I hadn’t really enjoyed sliders until the last decade. It seems like chicken wings, a treat from a different region of the states, yet after that first bite, how could you go wrong with mini burgers. Stuartt makes his own patties by hand and grills them up fresh in the cart with a mini little toasted bun. Along the lines of the baseball theme, you can get the Ranger with BBQ cheddar and fried onions, the Philly with peppers, onions and provolone, the Giant with baby portobello mushroom and provolone or the Cub with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. I picked up the Yankee to honor my favorite club. A little bun with a great little beef slider, grilled pastrami and provolone. So much love at that first bite. The burger was cooked just right and the cheese melted all over everything.

He also plans to visit other types of industrial parks throughout the city and maybe even show up outside your favorite bar. He’s mobile and bright red. Follow them on Twitter @Homepl8Sliders or check out their schedule page on their website for current location and times. Find them, enjoy some sliders and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All sliders $3; 3 items $8

  • Ranger: BBQ cheddar and fried onions
  • Philly: peppers, onions and provolone
  • Volcano: teriyaki, pineapple, lettuce
  • Yankee: pastami, provolone
  • Cub: lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion
  • Brewer: grilled cheese on Texas toast
  • Griant: baby portobello mushroom, provolone (v)
  • Dodger: large all beef hotdog
  • Louisville Slugger: spiral cut spud on a stick

Hours: varies, check Twitter or website
Phone: 503 96SLIDE
Twitter: @Homepl8sliders

Sin Wagon

Sin Wagon

Sin Wagon

Location: SW 5th and Oak
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime

The Story:

When you first see the sign and think about the name, you know you want to try it. We’re drawn to items that sound naughty. Sin Wagon is now open and ready to feed your guilty pleasure.

Sin Wagon is the work of Tracy and Chad. Tracy runs the window and owns the cart while chad works the grill and deep fryer to create what makes Sin Wagon work. The name? Well, Tracy and some buddies were playing Rock Band and came across one of their favorite songs and it stuck. I like it! Weren’t the original food carts the covered wagons on the Oregon Trail? If they had deep fryers back then, the chuck wagon may have had a nickname.

The menu at the cart offers wraps, dogs, and plenty of items from the fryer like chicken fingers, corn dogs, onions rings and tater tots. I opted for the burger with tots. After the holidays, I just couldn’t do a full meal of fried goods. On a standard burger bun, they stack the patty, leaf lettuce, a thick cut tomato slice, white onion and pickles. A simple but tasty burger that will satisfy your sandwich needs. The freshness of the veggies was an added bonus – I love the crunch of sliced pickles and onions with the saltiness of the burger and cheese. The tots, crispy as ever, are an excellent side dish to anything. Need I say more?

Burger and Tots from Sin Wagon

Burger and Tots from Sin Wagon

If you’re looking for something beyond the burger, check out their deep fried Mac & Cheese balls. You can even get baby elephant ears. Sin Wagon is now open on SW Oak between 4th and 5th, around the corner from the main strip of carts on 5th. They are looking to expand hours into the evening or late night, so keep an eye out for that. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All baskets come with fries, tots or slaw.

  • Simply Fingers: crispy or grilled chicken or steak fingers regular or spicy – $7
  • Finger Sandwich: crispy or grilled chicken or steak fingers on a hoagie roll – $7
  • The Perfect Burger: beef burger with all the fixin’s – $7
  • West Coast Wrap: crispy or grilled chicken or steak fingers rolled in a tortilla with lettuce,cheese, tomato and sauce – $7
  • Whuttup Dog: steamed beef hot dog on a bun – $5
  • Batter Up!: hand dipped honey corn dog – $6
  • Mac & Cheese: $3
  • Mac & Cheese Balls: deep fried – $4
  • Baby Elephant Ear: $3

Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
Phone: 503 567 2SIN (27456)
Facebook: Sin Wagon


Year of the Fish

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


Philly’s Best


Location: 3503 N Mississippi
Hours: weekdays: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Cheesesteaks, Pulled pork sandwiches, breakfast items. More information coming soon.

Phone: 5034773164