The Rock House Grill

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Rock House Grill

Rock House Grill

Location: Cartlandia, SE 82nd and Harney
Hours: Daily and weekends, breakfast, lunch and dinner

The Story:

In a trailer that reminds one of the 50’s or maybe a boardwalk vendor, The Rock House Grill creates some great food to sate your needs- morning, noon or night.

At Cartlandia out in east Portland, James has opened his shop after years of working in restaurants and honing his skills at the grill. He’s worked in small bars, been a line cook and even catered for concerts. If you can manage a crowd of rowdy rockers, you’ve proven you can man the grill.

NY Steak Sandwich

NY Steak Sandwich

With an extensive menu of breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, burritos, pork chops and steaks, there is something for everyone. Instead of ordering what I would normally order, the burger, we asked James what his signature dish was. The NY Steak sandwich is what he prepared. Ordered medium rare, just before we went to sit down, he yelled out the window “leave the fat on or off?” I’ve never been asked that, so again, deferred to his discretion – fat on. The large steak came atop some melted cheese on a toasted bun with some grilled onions and peppers sliced tomato and a salad mix of finely chopped cilantro, spinach and leaf lettuce. At first bite, you could taste the amazing steak, cooked perfectly medium rare and juicy, the veggies and a hint of horseradish that was pleasantly spicy, but not overwhelming. Having the fat left on gave it a great little buttery flavor. An excellent sandwich and one of the best I’ve tried in awhile.

The Rock House Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and will feed you until you’re full. The portions are large and satisfying and James is a character who will bring your food to the table and make sure you’ve had a satisfying meal. Drop on by and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: by far not everything

  • The Big Badass American Outlaw Burrito: steak, chicken or pork with all the fixins – $8
  • NY Steak and Eggs w/hash browns or fried potatoes and toast – $10
  • Pancakes – $6
  • English muffin, ham, egg and cheese – $4
  • NY Steak Dinner served with salad, rice or fried potatoes or baked potato, beans and a dinner roll – $10
  • Double Double style burger-  double meat, double cheese – $8
  • Single Steak Burger – $5
  • NY Steak Sandwich  – $10
  • Patty Melt – $6
  • and more

Hours: Daily and weekends, morning to evening
Contact: unknown

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BrunchBox

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BrunchBox

BrunchBox

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: M-F, 8am-6pm; Sat, 11am-3pm

The Story:

Back in early 2009, Portland saw a surge of food cart openings and I distinctly remember when BrunchBox opened because A) they served burgers and B) they had breakfast sandwiches. In the two years that have transpired, BrunchBox has made a name for itself and become a fixture in Portland’s food cart community.

BrunchBox has recently gone through a sort of reboot of their menu, branding and ownership. The new owner Derek took the famous menu which still includes the YouCanHasCheeseburger and infamous Redonkadonk, but expanded to include build your own burger options and a large breakfast menu. I stopped by the first day the new menu debuted and enjoyed the new Thai Bacon Burger with grilled pineapple and jalapenos, bacon and peanut sauce. You can even choose mild, medium or hot for spiciness. That is just one of the many new choices being offered. You can also join them for breakfast at 8am weekdays and build your own with options of an omelet or breakfast sandwiches and even french toast. The possibilities are endless.

BrunchBox has been featured on The Cooking Channel, numerous print publications and even showcased on Health.com for the Redonkadonk sandwich. I’m happy to see them be as successful as they are and love the new menu. If you’re a regular, note that you now grab a menu and mark it up with your options and name and hand it off. That way you get exactly what you ordered. Hit up BrunchBox and check out the changes and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

The Redonkadonk from BrunchBox

The Redonkadonk from BrunchBox

New Menu can be found at BrunchBoxPDX.com

Hours: Mon-Fri – 8am-6pm; Saturday 11a-3pm
Phone:
503 477 3286
Website:
BrunchBoxpdx.com
Contact:
brunchboxpdx@gmail.com
Twitter: BrunchBox
Facebook: BrunchBox
Additional Info:
Credit/Debit accepted

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[Our original post about Brunchbox from March 2009 beyond the fold] [Read more…]

DogHouse PDX

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The Dog House PDX

Location: SE 50th and Division at The Lot at Scout
Hours: Check Facebook for updated hours

The Story:

I actually remember the first time I had tater tots. We were a meat and potatoes and pancakes for dinner family living in deep southeast Portland when my mom came home one evening with this bag of Ore-Ida Tater Tots. When the cookie sheet came out of the oven and those tots were up for grabs, my brother, sister and I dove in. It was the best food we had tasted in our entire lives (I actually remember us exclaiming that while running through the house, screaming.) Now, some 30 odd years later, Tots are making a serious comeback as both comfort food and treats at high end restaurants. When we wrote about a cart serving tots as a side for burgers last year, the Internets blew up with comments. Now, we have a cart that takes tots to the next level – The Dog House PDX.

Timber from The Dog House PDX

Timber from The Dog House PDX

Timber and Ali, who brought us Yogio last year, knew that their pod in North Portland needed a comfort food cart, so they acquired a stepvan and converted it to serve up dogs and tots and everything in between. When I first heard of the cart, I thought they were just doing a variation on a hot dog cart, but their approach is to put together unique bowls of happy food funtime. You can either have a dog or tots which are then covered with your choice of topping and usually melted cheese. The dog or tots are called the bottom and tops could include gravy, bacon, a fried egg, jalapenos, black beans, chili, pineapple or pretty much anything you can imagine. A great concept that includes what many of us grew up on as children with the tastes we’ve learned to love over the years.

I highly suggest eating whatever you order at the lot instead of getting it to go. Why? Because they serve whatever you order in a great little dog dish and that is just cool. Picture a pile of tots covered with melted pepper jack cheese, onions, jalapenos and topped with a fried egg. Oh and don’t forget the kicker sauce which adds a little spice to the entire dish. Every bit of the dish captures the essences of childhood with the crispiness of the tots and the gooeyness of the melted cheese. While I don’t remember mom ever putting a fried egg on my tots, it worked. I felt like a kid again.

I wasn’t able to visit The Dog House when they first opened at North Station in north Portland. They moved last month to NE Alberta with Yogio to their own pod named Holy Trinity partnering with another cart that sells vintage clothing. I’m so happy to have finally enjoyed some of Timber’s tots and her excellent creations. I can only imagine they sell a boat load of tots once the sun goes down and the bars open up. Drop on by The Dog House, enjoy some tots, relive a childhood memory and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Cart moved to the Lot at Scout in 2018]

Website: The Dog House PDX
Twitter: @TheDogHousePDX
Facebook: The Dog House PDX

Rip City over Tots

Rip City over Tots

We Be Weiners

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We Be Weiners

Location: SW 5th and Harrison
Hours: Daily for lunch

The Story:

Every pod needs a good hot dog vendor and for A la Carts on SE 50th, just south of Division, We Be Weiners fits that bill.

Chili Dog from We Be Weiners

Chili Dog from We Be Weiners

Ron “Shortz” Cunningham is the man behind the dog at We Be Weiners. A guy’s guy, Ron greets you with a hearty hello and takes your order while engaging in comfortable chit chat, genuinely interested in the customer. Using Hebrew National, considered by many as the gold standard for dogs, Ron puts together a solid frank on a bun. You can always opt for a simple dog, but why be vanilla? Live a little and order one with chili, some chopped onions and grated jack cheese, then top it with yellow mustard, ketchup and relish and you have yourself a meal! I know that sounds like a gut bomb, yet for American hot dogs, you have to amp it up.

We Be Weiners opened this past summer and seems to be doing well in the neighborhood. Most of the carts on the lots stay open into the evening and are open on the weekends. Beyond hot dogs, you can also get sandwiches if that is your bailiwick. Ron will hook you up. Let him know that Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Regular Hot Dog – $2
  • Chili Dog – $3
  • Polish dog – $3
  • Polish with chili and cheese – $4
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwich – $3
  • Meatball Sandwich – $3
  • Chili Cheese Nachos – $3

Hours: Daily for lunch and weekends beyond lunch
Phone: (503) 260-0586
Email: webeweiners@comcast.net

Kim Jong Grillin’

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korean bbq portland

Kim Jong Grillin’

Location: SE 46th and Division
Hours: Mon- Sat, 12am-8pm or sold out

The Story: Kim Jong Grillin’ has returned. Han has opened a food truck in SE Portland featuring his signature Korean BBQ. Korean BBQ has been making its inroads into Portland’s culinary scene over the last few years and I’m pretty sure we love the new choices. Kim Jong Grillin’ with its catchy name joins the ranks and brings their version of the cuisine to SE Portland.

In a food truck on the ever evolving Division Street in SE Portland, Han, with chef’s knife in hand, creates the tasty Korean dishes we have fallen in love with. Korean BBQ isn’t new, with the fusion carts in the city like Koi Fusion and Korean Twist. While Han is doing bulgogi, he isn’t another fusion taco cart. He decided to offer full dishes includin Bulgogi (marinated beef,) Galbi (Korean short ribs,) Spicy pork, or Spicy Chicken. He also has the lettuce wrap and a signature KJG Hot Dog.

korean bbq portland

Bibim Box

The Bibim Box is a favorite of mine mixing a number of ingredients together and topping it with your choice of meat and a fried egg. Han recommended the bulgogi and I’m happy to tell ya it was stellar. A large portion of sticky rice covered with chopped, right off the grill bulgogi and the egg create a mess of a dish you need a large spoon to devour. In between the rice and the beef is jhapchae, a Korean potato starch noodle which ads unique texture to every bite. Spicy and savory, yet not hot as to drive people away. The box is served with kim chee, sesame sprouts and daikon kim chee. A great meal for lunch or dinner and per the menu, an amazing hangover cure.

Asked why Portland’s food cart scene is so special, I respond, “because the owners keep raising the bar or providing something new.” That is the case here at Kim Jong Grillin’. Han knows his game and plays it well with some flavorful and well prepared food. So cruise on down and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Kim Jong Grillin’ originally opened in 2010, but was forced to close due to a cart fire. The truck has reopened in 2014 in SE Portland.]

Sample Menu:

  • Bulgogi – marinated strips of beef with kim chee, sesame sprouts, daikon kim chee and rice – $10
  • Galbi – Korean short ribs with kim chee, sesame sprouts, daikon kim chee and rice – $12
  • Spicy Chicken – spicy marinated chicken with kim chee, sesame sprouts, daikon kim chee and rice – $10
  • Bibim Box – $10
  • Lettuce Wrap – choice of meat with rice and one side wrapped in lettuce – $4
  • KJG Hot Dog – Sabrett hot dog served on a Banh Mi Baguette with kim chee mayo, sesame sprouts, daikon kim chee and pickled mango – $6

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 12am-8pm
Phone:  (503) 929-0522
Facebook: Kim Jong Grillin’

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