Umai

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Ramen Food Cart

Umai Ramen Food Cart Portland

Location: SE 33rd and Hawthorne behind the Hazel Room
Hours: Wed-Sat, 12-8pm, Sun, 12-3pm

The Story: Good Food, Good Music and Community. That comes from Umai’s Facebook page and in my opinion defines food carts here in Portland. Umai is one of the latest vendors to open offering up ramen and more.

Umai is the work of Austin Moore and Forest Carter, a couple of bluegrass musicians who decided to explore the wide world of Japanese ramen and open a cart. Located in an alleyway just off 33rd north of Hawthorne, the pod sports four different vendors, seating and the day I visited, live World Cup action. The guys offer up ramen along with sandwiches and sides. For ramen, they focus on three styles – shio which is sea-salt broth; shoyu which is soy sauce based; and miso. Everything is made in the cart, even the house noodles.

Ramen Food Cart

Shio Ramen from Umai

Being a fan of shio, that was my first choice. The bowl, full of noodles with the thick broth comes topped with steamed greens, pork shoulder, marinated egg, pickled shiitake and scallions. The broth is steaming hot, so I picked at it for awhile to allow it to cool. Delicate tongue here. That picking allowed me to taste the different items individually. The shiitakes are amazing offering a cloying sweetness that when mixed with the broth or a piece of pork just took my breath away. Crisp edges of pork shoulder and the egg’s still runny yolk and the greens, cooked, but still crunchy. All these items made up a superb bowl of ramen.

Umai is open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Lunch only on Sundays. Due to limited space, they do have a sign stating they can only do so much, so my recommendation is to get there early. I’m so looking forward to returning for some other great flavors. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: (Full menu available on their website.)

  • Ramen – $10
  • Vegetarian Ramen – $10
  • Brothless Ramen: warm house noodles tossed in miso tare and topped with ginger, fried chicken or eggplant, pickled veggies, steamed greens and marinated egg – $9
  • Chicken Karaage sandwich with bacon chutney – $8
  • Eggplant Karaage sandwich with yuzu kosho aioli – $7

Website: UmaiPDX.com
Facebook: Umai PDX

Creperie du Lys

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Creperie du Lys

Creperie du Lys

Location: SE 50th an Division – A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11-2:30 and 5-close; Sunday, 12-close

The Story: “Mediterranean Influenced, Northwest Inspired.” Creperie du Lys wants to introduce you to a new fusion of tastes and their food cart is now in Portland at A la Carts Food Pavilion.

Creperie du Lys launched in Corvallis in 2009 as a farmers market booth. After a couple of good years, Michele and Francois decided to build a cart so they could do events in the region. They’ve been crafting crepes ever since. The crepes come from Francois’ French family influence, and while they are traditional French style, Michele and Francois wanted to incorporate a bit of the NW into each dish. Also, Francois is from the south of France, so Mediterranean cuisine was a large part of that fusion. After 3 years of working with Corvallis to try and build a food cart pod, Michele and Francois decided to move the cart to Portland and this winter set up at A la Carts Food Pavilion on SE 50th and Division.

Genoa Crepe from Creperie du Lys

Genoa Crepe from Creperie du Lys

At first sight, the crepes are different than what I’ve come to expect. The dark brown color comes from buckwheat flour. Known as a galette, it is a traditional recipe from Brittany, France. I picked up a Genoa savory crepe with pesto, spinach, tomato and cheese. Michele spread the batter out on the crepe griddle, let it set and then quickly flipped it and started adding the goodies. Pesto, with that touch of garlic paired well with the bitter spinach and buckwheat crepe. Basil and fresh chopped tomato balanced the dish with cool and refreshing flavors. A great little morsel for any time of the day.

Creperie du Lys is now open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. A la Carts Food Pavilion has tented seating and cocktails on the weekends. In summer, they bring in live music. Glad to have Michele and Francois in Portland. Head on down and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Ham and Cheese savory crepe – $5
  • Genoa – pesto, basil, spinach and cheese – $6
  • Moroccan Saute – onion, garlic, peppers, carrot, garbonzo, preserved lemon, spices – $6.50
  • Nutella sweet crepe – $5
  • Marionberry preserve – $4

Website: Creperiedulys.com
Facebook: Creperie du Lys
Twitter: @CreperieduLys

PDX Sliders

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PDX Sliders

PDX Sliders

Location: 8064 SE 17th, north of Tacoma
Hours: Tus-Thurs, 11am-7pm; Fri/Sat, 11am-close; Sun, 12pm-close

The Story: College introduced me to peers from around the country. I remember a friend asking if I wanted to grab a slider. I honestly had no idea what a slider was and no where in McMinnville offered them, so Safeway sold us ground beef and rolls and we set out to make sliders in the dormitory kitchen. Burned and not that flavorful, a new memory was born. Nowadays, sliders are everywhere and in all shapes and styles. A new food cart – PDX Sliders – is bringing their take on the little burger to southeast Portland.

Ryan Rollins, like many who have dove into the food cart scene in the last few years, had another career in another industry before taking the leap into food service. Granted, his tenure at Dairy Queen as a teen may have stoked the entreprenurial spirit. Ryan’s family, including his wife, have worked or owned businesses in the food industry, creating a support structure for Ryan. The slider concept came about after some time seeing restaurants creating bigger and bigger burgers. Further, there are few businesses who solely focus on the mini-burger. Ryan wanted to do the opposite. Ryan’s wife’s culinary education came into play when crafting the menu and weekly specials come about with the help of friends who both work in the cart and at local restaurants. Truly a collaborative effort between friends and family.

Sellwood Slider from PDX Sliders

Sellwood Slider from PDX Sliders

At PDX Sliders, Ryan and team craft everything from scratch daily. Ryan proudly proclaims they don’t have a freezer. Fries are fresh cut every morning. You can taste the freshness in the burger. On the menu, you find traditional sliders along with cart crafted gems. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the Broadway with braised pork, Mamma Lil’s peppers, baby arugula and house maid spicy aioli on a ciabatta bun. Not traditional, yet amazing. On a recent visit, I picked up the Sellwood, a burger with bacon, Beechers Flagship Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce and aioli served on a brioche bun. A juicy, messy treat on a cool winter day. At the prices they charge, why not pick out a couple. There is something for everyone on this menu. The St. Johns is a marinated portabella. The Ross Island, a house-made black bean chipotle patty. Burgers are cooked to medium doneness and you can swap out bread for butter lettuce if you want to make it gluten free.

PDX Sliders is a great addition to the street food scene here in Portland. Located in the Sellwood neighborhood, this is one vendor I hope will expand north. Open every day except Monday for both lunch and beyond, there is plenty of opportunity to pick up some nosh. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Sliders are $3.50; Fries, $2

  • Sellwood – burger, bacon, Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce on brioche bun
  • Hawthorne – burger, bacon, goat cheese, strawberry preserves on brioche bun
  • Steel – two burgers, bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, aioli on brioche bun
  • Burnside – house made meatballs, roasted romas, Mozzarella on ciabatta bun
  • Ross Island – house made black bean chipotle patty, pepper jack, butter lettuce on brioche bun

Phone: 971 717 5271
Website
: PDXSliders.com
Facebook: PDX Sliders
Twitter: @PDXSliders

Sabrosa Barbosa

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Sabrosa Barbosa

Sabrosa Barbosa

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Monday-Saturday, lunchtime

The Story: To make a truly excellent green chile dish, roasting the chiles is paramount. At Sabrosa Barbosa, owner Cyl hand-roasts pounds of chiles in a cast iron skillet every night. That attention to detail is what garners this new food cart a gold star.

Sabrosa Barbosa opened late last year with a bright red paintjob and bold signs at the ever popular Alder food cart pod. Cyl, chef and owner is originally from LA where she, like many of us in the street food biz, worked 20 years in a different career. It wasn’t until the last few years that she began dabbling and experimenting in the kitchen when her friends and family recognized she had a hidden talent. No formal training, just late nights and attention to the right ingredients and experimentation has led Cyl to open her cart for us Portlanders to enjoy. Most of her dishes are prepared a full 24hrs in advance so flavors can mature and infuse. A celebration of Mexican cuisine made with love.

Pork Chile Bowl from Sabrosa Barbosa

Pork Chile Bowl from Sabrosa Barbosa

The menu at Sabrosa Barbosa offers up dinner plates, bowls, quesadillas and even nachos. The mole is made with molasses and honey, no refined sugars here. Cyl uses Peruvian beans with their mild sweetness and thin skins – the longer you cook, the more buttery they become. The Pork Green Chile Bowl is a treat for anyone looking for a spicy dish. And not just for heat sake, Cyl utilizes both jalapeño and serrano peppers to yield a fruity, smoky and spicy effect. Served over spanish rice, this bowl may compete with the others available on the lot for flavor and excitement.

Sabrosa Barbosa is the newest player on the lot. While some may see their cuisine as similar to other vendors, that is the magic of street food. Everyone does it different and Cyl is no slouch when it comes to flavor. The food cart is just one step in her journey to bring passion for cooking to the masses. Keep an eye out for this one. Drop on by next time you’re up that way and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken Mole Dinner – Peruvian beans, Spanish Rice and tortillas – $8.75
  • Green Chile Dinner – pork or chicken – $8.75
  • Quesadilla Dinner – tortillas, sliced avocado, tomato and cilantro, spicy house crema, peruvian beans, spanish rice – $7.50
  • Chicken Mole Bowl – served over Peruvian beans and Spanish rice- $5.75
  • Fresh Peruvian Bean Bowl – Peruvian beans topped with fresh onion, tomato, cilantro, diced avocado, fresh feta cheese – $4.50

Facebook: Sabrosa Barbosa
Phone: (503) 278-5606

Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles

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Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles

Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles

Location: N Killingsworth and Maryland, Killingsworth Station
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7:30am-3:30pm; Saturday, 10am-2pm

The Story: North Portland continues to attract some great new vendors. With a new food cart lot – Killingsworth Station – now open just off the MAX line, vendors are discovering an underserved community. Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles opened earlier this fall to offer both breakfast and lunch options throughout the week.

Om Nom was born from a collective passion by both the owner and her friends to create something healthy, but also community driven. Michelle, the owner, doesn’t just want to own and run a food cart, so she engaged her friends who all have a come together to support each other in challenging times to design and launch the venture. I love this cart with its rustic cabin architecture, but emblazoned and sided with recycled materials. Michelle’s son flattened all the recycled metal cans in order to create the siding we see on the front. Such a cool way to finish off a project. Michelle hopes that her cart and her peers can create something for the community which may start with the waffles, but grow and blossom.

I spoke with Michelle about the gluten-free aspect of the waffles and her goal is to source locally and keep it healthy and stay away from corporate and GMO foods. There is also a health aspect behind the cuisine choice, so you’re getting the real deal. Om Nom offers gluten-free freshly made waffles with both savory and sweet options. I chose the Stegasaurus with hummus, feta, mozzarella fresca cheese, tomato, red onion, fresh spinach and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. How many great flavors can you pack in one dish? Many! The dry feta with the hot red onion and bitter spinach with each bite of a waffle – pretty darn delicious. I loved how the balsamic vinegar worked its way through into almost every bite.

The Stegasaurus from Om Nom Waffles

The Stegasaurus from Om Nom Waffles

Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles is open daily during the week for breakfast and lunch and on Saturday for lunch. Killingsworth Station is right off N Killingsworth at Maryland and offers covered seating to get out of the weather. Drop on by, welcome Michelle to the fold and let Om Nom know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Butter and Cinnamon and Sugar waffle – $2
  • Cream Cheese and Jam – $3
  • Nut Butter and Jam – $3
  • Cinnamonodon – cream cheese frosting and cinnamon sugar – $3
  • Valdosaurus – Ricotta, bacon, berry, maple syrup sweetened whipped cream waffle – $5
  • Godzilla – steaming marinara sauce, mozzarella and asiago cheese, pepperoni and tempeh waffle – $5
  • Stegasaurus – $5

Website: OmNomPdx.com
FacebookOm Nom Gluten-Free Waffles
Twitter: 
@OmNomPDXCart

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