Year of the Fish

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fish food cart portland

Year of the Fish

Location: SE 52nd and Foster at Carts on Foster
Hours: Tues-Sat, 12-8

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: Now at SE 52nd and Foster]

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.

fish food cart portland

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

Phone: 971 258 6567
Twitter: @YearoftheFish1
Facebook: Year of the Fish

 

The Burger Guild

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burger food cart portland

The Burger Guild

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavillion
Hours: Daily, 11:30-8pm

The Story: At some point, Portland became a burger town. Just last year, Willamette Week detailed the 50 best burgers in town which included some food carts. 2010 also introduce Portland to stuffed burgers and now we have our second cart offer such goodies – The Burger Guild.

Burgers and travel trailers go hand in hand and with The Burger Guild, the blue trailer that houses the operation is exactly what I would want as the kitchen for my burger maker. The Burger Guild opened in early July and already has a spot in one of Portland’s newest pods – Green Castle. Even after the first visit, the cart has moved to a more prominent position in the pod, indicating it’s immediate success. What makes The Burger Guild unique is that they stuff the burgers with ingredients like blue cheese, red peppers and onions or garlic and feta. These are great burgers with broad flavors.

burger food cart portland

Kalamata Mama

The Kalamata Mama is a burger you would take home to mom. Using Cascade Natural beef, the burger is stuffed with red peppers, onions, garlic and feta cheese and then thrown on the grill. The whole shebang is put together well with a great bun, spinach, a mix named the Mata mix and some Burger Guild secret sauce. I gotta say – one of those burgers that is photo worthy. A stunning example of A) a unique way of creating a burger and B) an eye for presentation. That first chomp included the green flavors of the spinach with the juiciness of the burger and some overwhelming garlic tones mixed with the savory and warm flavors of the Mata mix. One juicy burger, don’t try to eat this on your lap. But if you do, its worth it!

The Burger Guild is now open at Green Castle on NE 20th and Everett with about ten other carts. There are tables there so you don’t have to sit in your cart with the burger on your lap. Drop on by, try one of their burgers and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Black and Blue: Cascade Natural ground beef stuffed with blue cheese, red peppers and onions and topped with lettuce, tomato and TBG secret sauce – $6.75
  • Kalamata Mama: burger stuffed with red peppers, onions, garlic and feta cheese, topped with spinach, “Mata” mix and TBG secret sauce – $6.75
  • Deep Fried Mushrooms – $5
  • Deep Fried Sliders – $4 or 2 for $7
  • Midwest Style Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – pork tenderloin breaded and fried and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mustard – $5.75

Hours: Tues-Sat, 12-9pm
Phone: 401-287-4373
Website: TheBurgerGuild.com
Facebook: The Burger Guild

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Timmy’s Fish Fry

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Timmy's

Timmy's Fish Fry

Location: SW Montgomery at 9th in the Park Blocks
Hours: M-F, 11am-5pm

The Story:

Portland has food carts of all different styles-  former hunting trailers, re-purposed U Haul trucks and purpose built carts that started from a flatbed. What we have few of are traditional old school push carts that were the forefront of streetfood in this city and also define streetfood elsewhere. Timmy’s Fish Fry, a newer cart at Portland State University is one of these carts born from the hot dog cart of yore.

Tim Bass literally dreamed up Timmy’s one night last summer and spent three to four months working out the details, getting inspections and setting up his cart at Portland State University. Tim’s cart is different than what we’re use to, a pushcart that is both open to the elements and arrives in the morning and leaves at the end of the day. In Portland, these types of carts are few and far between. When placing a cart on parks and rec land like the park blocks, you have to follow an extra set of regulations and roll up the sidewalks every day. Not a trivial task. I checked out Tim’s cart, both compact and functional, allowing him to deliver a simple menu of excellent quality items well prepared.

Fried Catfish Sandwich

Fried Catfish Sandwich

I first tried fried catfish in the south a few years ago and whenever I get a chance, I order it. Some people are drawn to salmon, I’m a catfish fan. Tim offers up a fried catfish sandwich with crispy fillet atop some cole slaw on a french roll. The batter for the fish is made up of Bob’s Red Mill flour and some good old Hamm’s beer. A crisp light coating creates an excellent flavor with the fish. The slaw has a malt vinegar touch to it, providing a balance and zing for the fish similar to when you get fish and chips at a British pub and douse it with the malt. Sometimes, fried fish fillets are overly greasy, but not at Timmy’s, not at all. An excellent sandwich.

Timmy’s sets up his cart in the park blocks of SW Montgomery at Portland State University. Since he is fully mobile, you may see him elsewhere in the city, keep your eyes open. I enjoyed chatting with Tim and hearing his story and enjoying the sandwich he made me. Drop on by for a visit and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Bay Shrimp Roll: french roll with bay shrimp and sauce – $6
  • Crispy Catfish Roll: battered catfish, cole slaw, aioli on French roll – $6
  • Fried Calimari – $5
  • Fish Fry: fried pieces of cod, house made potato chips and slaw – $7

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm
Email: tdbass1@yahoo.com
Facebook: Timmy’s Fish Fry

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The Frying Scotsman Fish and Chips

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The Frying Scotsman Fish and Chips

The Frying Scotsman Fish and Chips

Location: SW 9th and Alder

Description:

Another field trip yielded yet another great cart find – The Frying Scotsman. This new fish and chips cart is located in NW Portland, away from the regular pods we normally see every day downtown. Yet, after a 10 minute bus ride and a block or two walk, I found the cart and discovered two more within walking distance. Who knew NW 22nd was a cart magnet? The day I visited, autumn had arrived and was threatening rain. Being an Oregonian, I was out just in a sweater with no jacket nor umbrella, secretly hoping to not be caught uncovered. When I arrived at The Frying Scotsman, I was glad to discover his cart is in a garage, fully covered and protected from the elements.

The Frying Scotsman focuses on traditional British style fish and chips. The owner and head chef James was born and raised outside of Glasgow and only recently moved to Portland with his family. While eating my lunch, (during the downpour, protected by the garage) I was able to chat with James. Such a friendly gentleman who has traveled the world working in different countries and experiencing life. A lifelong chef, opening a “British chippy” after not being able to find work in this town was a natural conclusion.

Fish and Chips from The Frying Scotsman

Fish and Chips from The Frying Scotsman

I ordered and thoroughly enjoyed the haddock fish and chips. James serves up large portions of fish, lightly breaded with a handful of thick cut fried potatoes. Everything was perfectly cooked and seasoned to perfection. I’m one of those eaters who love his condiments and the tarter sauce complemented the fish just right. What’s great was that it wasn’t needed that much as the fish was tasty in and of itself. Sitting there at a small fold up table decorated with an embroidered table cloth while watching it rain and rain was a perfect way to spend my lunch.

The Frying Scotsman is a find. I’m glad James decided to open this cart. Welcome to Portland sir and we wish you all well. Take a field trip up to NW 22nd and say hi to James. He’s a great conversationalist and has some great stories. I know I’ll be back. Tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Battered Cod fish and chips – $6.25
  • Battered Red Snapper fish and chips – $6.25
  • Battered Haddock fish and chips – $6.50
  • Battered Halibut fish and chips – $7.50
  • Small order of chips – $2.25

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11am-5pm
Website: The Frying Scotsman
Phone: 503 706 3841

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Potato Champion

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Potato Champion

Potato Champion

Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne
Hours: Tues-Fri, 4pm-3am; Sat/Sun, 12pm-3am

Description: Ahh, 2am and you’ve had a couple of beers. Now what? You could stop on by any one of the late night 24hr fast food joints for “4th meal” and pay for it in the morning, or you could head on down to SE 12th and Hawthorne and get some Belgian style fries. Potato Champion has been slingin’ them with poutine since 2008 and is going strong.

Potato Champion is Portland’s only late night fry cart and from my experience, the only cart in town specializing in Belgian style frites. Belgian style frites are peeled, cut, washed, then blanched with a first fry before frying again. This creates a crispy outside while staying fluffy inside. I don’t know about all that techno mumbo jumbo, I just know that they are what the doctor ordered at 2am.

Palak Paneer Fries from Potato Champion

Palak Paneer Fries from Potato Champion

Mike McKinnon opened Potato Champion back in 2008 on the corner of SE 12th and Hawthorne. Every night, he would sit there and wait for customers. There were quiet, rainy, cold nights, but Mike stuck it out and defined his cart as one of Portland’s premier late night food carts. The lot blossomed with vendors and is known beyond the city as a place to nosh after 2am. Mike has tinkered with expansion, opening a second cart a few years ago, yet for now, the cart at Cartopia is his focus. The menu has changed to with the addition of such treats as Chili Cheese Fries, PB and J Fries, Pulled Pork and Fries and a new favorite of mine, Palak Paneer Fries with curried spinach and paneer cheese served over fries and toped with a cilantro chutney. Wow! Brilliant.

Mike was a pioneer when the street food scene was changing and is still plugging away. Open now for evening and late night along with lunch on the weekends, you don’t have a reason to not visit and check out some of Portland’s best fries. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[This article was originally published in October of 2008. Updated May, 2014]

Sample Menu:

  • Fries – Small: $3; Large: $7.00
  • Choice of sauces: Horseradish Ketchup; Rosemary Truffle Ketchup; Mayonnaise; Pesto Mayo; Tarragon Anchovy Mayo; Remoulade; Dijon Mustard; “Harder” Hot Mustard, etc.
  • Poutine: Small: $5; Large: $10 (Vegan and Vegetarian available)
  • PB and J Fries – fries topped with satay sauce and smokey chipotle raspberry jam – sm, $5; lg, $10
  • Pulled Pork Fries – sm, $6; lg, $12.50

Website: PotatoChampion.com
Twitter: @PotatoChampion
Facebook: Potato Champion

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