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 2

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Ramy's Lamb Shack 2

Ramy’s Lamb Shack 2

Location: SE 32nd and Hawthorne
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-7pm

The Story:

Ramy has expanded! I distincly remember the day I visited Ramy’s Lamb Shack at Cartlandia in SE Portland and enjoyed my first Egyptian style falafel. Ever since, I have been trying falafel from mobile vendors throughout the city and beyond to see which one measures up. Ramy still holds the trophy. Ramy opened a second location in October at the Rose City Food Park on NE 52nd and Sandy. A bright blue food truck you can’t miss. Same menu and same great service. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Original Ramy’s writeup on Food Carts Portland.

[Read more...]

Trinidad Doubles

Brett Burmeister
Cleopatra's Kitchen

Cleopatra’s Kitchen

Location: SE 13th and Lexington in Sellwood
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11:30-7:30, Sun, 12-8pm

The Story:

Sellwood has long been a hub for street food vendors. While many upstarts head to the larger lots where they get traffic from the collective sum of eaters, Sellwood is known for having single carts who do really well over the years. The success of those early carts helped make the lot at SW 13th and Lexington a hug of street for for the neighborhood. Cleopatra’s Kitchen Trinidad Doubles, the newest cart on the lot offers up Mediterranean cuisine.

Cleopatra’s Kitchen has been open for a few months now, with Sarah, the owner, having  taken the cart and menu over from the previous owner. The chef stayed and does his magic behind the grill. While the cart offers true Mediterranean cuisine like beef kafta and falafel and dolmas, Sarah is introducing something new items never seen before in Portland – Trinidad Doubles. Doubles are two fried breads with curry chickpea filling and a sweet and spicy green mango sauce. A Caribbean-Indian fusion street food. Having just heard about it and it being on my mind, I mentioned it to a cab driver in New Orleans and he almost crashed so surprised someone knew about this amazing street food from his country. Small world. The Trinidad Doubles hit the cart this week, so I haven’t tried them, but am eager to visit the cart again.

Falafel from Cleopatra's Kitchen

Falafel from Cleopatra’s Kitchen

I’m an eater and return to the same foods over and over again to figure out the nuances. I tell myself it is research to discover who’s doing what that differentiates them from the others. I did it for burgers awhile back and now I’m finding myself eating a lot of falafel where there is a ton of variety. Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi or Syrian. Each cart has their own recipe and I’m hard pressed to discover one I don’t like. Cleopatra’s Kitchen falafel was made fresh as I waited and you could tell by that first soft bite. Still warm from frying, the outer fried shell was not hardened by the cooking process. While browned, I loved that it just mixed in with the fresh vegetables and tahini sauce to create a mix of everything. I found myself reaching in and pulling out the falafel to eat by itself instead of in the sandwich it was so good. Soft and flavorful and oh so delicious.

Cleopatra’s Kitchen Trinidad Doubles is open daily for lunch through dinner right on the corner of SE 13th and Lexington in the Sellwood neighborhood. There are covered picnic tables behind the cart for anyone to sit at and get out of the elements. It was great to talk with Sarah about her new menu item. She is so excited to introduce Portland to the Trinidad Doubles. Drop on by soon, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Cleopatra's Kitchen was renamed to Trinidad Doubles in 2012]

Sample Menu:

  • Falafel Sandwich – $6
  • Dolma – 75c each
  • Chicken Schawarma Sandwich – $7.50
  • Lamp Gyro – $6.50
  • Beef Kafta – $6.50
  • Lamb Plate – $7
  • Trinidad Doubles – 2 for $1.25

Hours: Mon-Sat, 11:30-7:30, Sun, 12-8pm
Phone: 503 388 1809
Website: CleopatrasKitchen.com

Ramy’s Lamb Shack

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Ramy's Lamb Shack

Ramy’s Lamb Shack

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:

  • Lamb Gyro – $8.99
  • Chicken Gyro – $6.99
  • Kafta Gyro – $7.99
  • Falafel – $5.99
  • Baklava – $2.50 or 5 for $10
  • Lamb Kabob plate – $9.99

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

Sheish Kabob

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Sheish Kabob

Sheish Kabob

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: M-F, 10-6pm; Sat, 10am-5pm

The Story:

In a month when SW 10th and Alder added a few new Thai carts and a burger cart, they also added a new Mediterranean cart – Sheish Kabob.

Sheish Kabob opened in April in an area where there are already a couple competitors serving up similar food. That scenario hasn’t seemed to halt the growth of Thai carts, so I think Sheish Kabob will find its customers. A menu of Mediterranean dishes including salads, sandwiches and the ubiquitous grilled sheish kabob in either lamb, chicken, beef or kafta offers up something for everyone.

Chicken Gyro

Chicken Gyro

The shawarma sandwich, otherwise known as the Gyro is the like the fast food of the region. Everyone sells them and they become a barometer for me of how good a cart is. The chicken shawarma sandwich from Sheish Kabob is flatbread stuffed with marinated and grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and drizzled with tahini sauce. The menu states “traditional seasoning” used. I sometimes ask what those are so I can learn more about how the complex flavors are created, yet the chefs rarely divulge. In this sandwich, the seasonings for the chicken had a hint of cumin, but also that ghost flavor of cayenne or another spicy pepper that just tickled the back of the mouth. A wonderful sandwich. Just remember, with the tahini sauce, it can get messy at the end.

Sheish Kabob is now open on SW 10th and Alder for lunch and dinner. They are open on Saturday till 5pm for you weekenders. Drop on by, check it out and maybe sample some kabob. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Kabob Plates: meat grilled and served with Basmati rice and grilled tomatoes: lamb, $7; beef, $6; chicken, $7; kafta, $6
  • Shawarma Sandwiches: bread stuffed with meat, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and tahini sauce; chicken, lamb, beef or kafta – $6-$6.50
  • Falafel Sandwich: bread stuffed with falafel, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and tahini sauce: $6
  • Mediterranean Salad: cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mint, mixed with lemon juice and olive oil – $5
  • Tabouli Salad: parsley, onions, tomatoes, bulgur wheat, mint – $6

Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat, 10am-5pm
Phone: 971 998 9435

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