Casablanca Express

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Casablanca Express

Casablanca Express

Location: SE MLK and Stark at Central Eastside Food Carts
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-5pm

The Story: Portland has plenty of options for Mediterranean cuisine, but at Casablanca Express, it comes with a taste of Morocco. From shawarma on the spit to lamb to Mezza salad plates, this vendor has it all. Open for lunch daily in SE Portland.

Facebook: Casablanca Express
Website: CasablancaExpressPDX.com

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The Gyros Spot

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Location: SE 82nd and Harney, Cartlandia
Hours: Weekdays/weekends, lunch

Gyros, Falafel and other gourmet Greek specialties.

Ramy’s Lamb Shack

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Ramy's Lamb Shack

Ramy’s Lamb Shack

Cart Closed – find them mobile

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Roce City Food Park
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-7pm

The Story:

Ramy of the Lamb Shack is a character. When I met him, he corrected the pronunciation of how I pronounced his name – “say it like raw meat.” All I could do is chuckle. This is the kind of cart owner I enjoy chatting with.

Ramy’s Lamb Shack focuses on Mediterranean gyro and kabob dishes. Having grown up in Egypt with Egyptian and Italian parents, Ramy has a lot going for him in the kitchen. After working as a butcher, he wanted to try something new and the cart came to be. I chatted with him about the ingredients he uses and loved that he included fresh cucumbers from his personal garden in my gyro. How cool is that?

Falafel from Ramy's Lamb Shack

Falafel from Ramy’s Lamb Shack

The menu offers up lamb, chicken, kafta and falafel gyros along with kabob plates. In my quest to expand my falafel palate, I decided to check them out. Made with fava beans, some parsley and onion, these falafel were some of the best I’ve found. I was surprised by the green, but when I learned it was from fava beans, it made sense. The wrap is grilled before everything is added to create a crunchy warm vessel for the falafel, cucumber, tomato, tzatziki, tahini and fresh cut onion. So many amazing flavors and so fresh. I’ll be back.

Cartlandia continues to add great new carts like Ramy’s and now has a beer garden. Check it out, enjoy some of Ramy’s lamb or falafel and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Ramy moved his cart to the Hillsdale Food Park in November of 2012]

Ramy move his cart to Rose City in November 2013

Sample Menu (see website for current menu and pricing):

  • Lamb Gyro
  • Chicken Gyro
  • Kafta Gyro
  • Falafel
  • Baklava
  • Lamb Kabob plate

Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-7pm
Phone: 503.381.7783
Facebook: Ramy’s Lamb Shack

A Taste of Greek

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A Taste of Greek

A Taste of Greek

Location: SW 2nd and Oak
Hours: M-F 10:30-close

The Story:

On a sunny day in Portland, the last thing you want is a hot scalding meal for lunch. I usually choose to go with a cool salad or sandwich to fill me up without making me sweat more than I already am. On a hot day in August, I decided to get some Greek food. I thought – Greece is in a hotter part of the world, so their food must taste great in the heat. A Taste of Greek didn’t let me down.

There is plenty of Mediterranean influenced food available in the city whether it be Greek or Turkish or Lebanese or Israeli. Dishes like hummus, tabouli, kafta, gyros, falafel – they all come from a special place in the world where the food is made with love and family in mind. Whenever I have eaten food from the region, it is always been served family style so everyone can participate. It brings people together. I know some may disagree and argue that Greek is different than Turkish which is different from Lebanese which…., but I love food and love that the people of the Mediterranean and the middle east have created some amazing flavors from such simple ingredients. [Read more…]

Aybla Grill – Mediterranean

Food Carts Portland
mediterranean food cart portland

Aybla Grill

Location: Three Locations – SW 10th and Alder; SW 5th and Oak; SE 43rd and Belmont

Description: Quality Mediterranean and Greek Food including lots of vegetarian and some vegan options. The Gyros especially, are highly recommended.

Aybla is open later than most carts (5:30 PM) making it doable for an early dinner before a movie or to grab dinner to go on your way home after work. Aybla is also open on Saturdays from 12-4 PM, yet another rarity in the Portland food cart realm.

I’ve heard lots of feedback that Aybla’s gyros are just about the best in town and I’m happy to report that they are quite tasty, fresh, and the meat is tender and well portioned. Overall I’d say the gyros here are a very good value for the money (regular gyros $4.50, giant “enough for 2 meals” super gyros are $6.00). Gyros come in either the grilled lamb variety or with seasoned chicken served in a billowy thick and soft Greek style pita and include tzatziki sauce, and chopped onion, tomato, and parsley. Feta cheese can be added for $0.50. Another delicious pita sandwich is the traditional grilled skewers of ground seasoned lamb known as kafta kebobs.

Salads include a standard Greek salad ($4.00 large, $2.00 small), or traditional Tabouli ($3.00).

The Mezzas here are also quite fresh and much better than average. In the $3.00 – 6.00 range, most of them can be ordered as sandwiches or full plates and include things such falafel, hummous, baba ghanouj, the Greek spinach phyllo triangles known as Tyropita, and vegetarian Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice). Plates come with a delicious Syrian seasoned rice made with rice and roasted wheat berries.

Vegetarians will be quite happy with Aybla’s variety, and many dishes can be made vegan by simply requesting them without feta or tzatziki sauce.

I also adore the owner and cook Saied Samaiel. Born in Syria, Saied learned to cook professionally on the Greek Island of Crete where he lived and worked for over a decade. This experience, coupled with his professionalism in the kitchen and friendliness with his customers (not to mention his killer food) are outstanding features that keep me returning to Aybla time and time again.

[Updated Jan 2011: Aybla opened a 3rd cart at Good Food Here at SE 43rd and Belmont in Fall of 2010]

Sample Menu: See the Aybla Website

Hours: Mon-Fri 11-5:30 , Sat 12-4

Phone: 503-490-3387

Website: http://www.ayblagrill.com

E-mail: ayblagrill@hotmail.com

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