Margarita’s Recipes

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Margarita's Recipes

Margarita’s Recipes

Location: NE 15th and Alberta
Hours: Mon-Sun, 12pm-12am

The Story: Alberta street really has changed since I first moved to N Portland last century. With all the new restaurants, boutiques and buildings, I’m glad spots for food carts have continued to thrive. East of NE 15th is a new lot with a few food carts including Margarita’s Recipes who focuses on Colombian and Italian cuisine.

Ceviche de Cameron

Ceviche de Cameron

I’m a fan of pictures when I order. A photo of a dish will draw me to it more than the description. Trust me, I’ve had some strange dishes due to picking a photo instead of a name. But, street food is an adventure. Margarita’s Recipes offers up a fusion of Colombian and Italian-American items. Camilo, the owner works long days to create some excellent dishes at affordable prices. You can enjoy spaghetti with Alfredo sauce or empanadas. Based on the photo, I picked up Ceviche de Camarón, a shrimp cocktail mixed with fresh green onions, cilantro and house made sauce. A 16oz cup chock full of spicy shrimp and a super fragrant sauce thanks to the fresh herbs. I also picked up some empanadas – light and fluffy. Only $11 for everything. A great value for great food.

Margarita’s Recipes may not be in the most beautiful food lot on Alberta, yet Camilo has a beautiful cart and soul. Open daily for lunch through dinner and into the night, drop on by, enjoy what he has to offer and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Empanadas – chicken, beef or vegetarian – 3 for $2,  5 for $3
  • Ravioli – beef or chicken with Alfredo sauce – $5
  • Ceviche de Cameron – $9
  • Spaghetti – $3; add meatballs, $5
  • Bunuelo – fried cheese balls – 2 for $1.50

Phone: (503) 754-9817

Gabagool – Italian Street Food

Lizzy Caston

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Location: 836 N Beech Street
Hours: Tues – Sun 11am – 3pm and 6pm – 9pm

The Story: Let’s face it, some food trucks are a bit more elevated, a bit more refined and just have a little more some-some than others. Sure, who doesn’t love a good old down and dirty street meat sandwich from a generic cart at 2am after a night of drinking, or a $4 brick sized burrito from a humble traditional taco truck now and again? Yet, there’s some street food in Portland that is as good, if not better, than the stuff coming out of the city’s finest restaurant kitchens. Gabagool is one such endeavor. Serving Italian dishes, Gabagool hits it with their Piadine flatbread sandwiches, homemade pasta dishes, and other delights. Almost everything from the flatbread, to the pastas, to the sausages, to the cheeses, and even the pickles are made from scratch by Gabagool, using as many locally sourced, naturally raised and farmed ingredients as possible. That’s some serious passion and commitment.

Let’s get the name out of the way though, Gabagool! You may have heard this term on the Sopranos. It’s slang, often heard in the Italian American community on the East Coast of the good old U.S. of A. Officially it refers to the slightly spicy traditional Italian cured sausage known as Capicola as in, “Hey Tony, let’s go grab a Gabagool and pepper sandwich after we send this goombah off to go swimming with the sharks.” Unofficially, there’s another meaning but I’ll let you folks Google that…warning it’s not appropriate to say in polite company and it’s NSFW, but it is kinda spicy! Capiche?

Joking aside, Owner and Chef Ryan Sherman is a total pro.  An East Coast transplant from the Philadelphia area, but a long term Portlander. Ryan has cooked in and been head chef at some of our city’s finer restaurants, and he knows his craft and business well. Gabagool also gets the East Coast Italian food and Italian food culture vibe. You know, the corner stores, little casual Italian delis and trattorias that are part community center –  part take out -part come as you are restaurant with just a table or two. It’s the kind of place that Portland seems to be lacking. He gets it!  You almost expect to see a group of Italian guys sitting around playing Pinochle as they sip on espresso and chow down on antipasti and cannoli. Gabagool has created a nice little welcoming space on their gravel lot, and is a nice addition to the N. Mississippi community, with plenty of picnic table seating and a soon to be covered area (along with other amenities).

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Piadine sandwiches are a specialty here. A traditional flatbread hailing from Northern Italy, Piadine can best be described as a more flaky version of a big flour tortilla. Gabagool makes them fresh from scratch. Traditionally made with lard (to add the flakiness), they can also be ordered made with olive oil for vegetarian and vegan diners.  Stuffed with all manner of incredibly high-quality and fresh ingredients such as capicola, salami, sausage with fennel, cured or fresh peppers, fresh mozzarella or ricotta, caponata – and more. These are light, fresh and highly addictive sandwiches.

Pastas are all made in house along with the sauces that go on top of them. Ricotta stuffed tortellini, traditional papardelle with sausage ragu, and specials such as fettucine bolognese. Really, you just can’t go wrong here.

Other items to round out Gabagool’s offerings include a hearty mixed tritata salad or some crunchy, spicy homemade giardiniera pickles. This ain’t the limp cheap vinegar stuff from the jars and deli cases in the supermarket, people. There’s often specials too – for example a perfect summer honeydew melon wrapped in paper thin Prosciutto di Parma one week, and a hearty potato gnocchi with fresh tomatoes and arugula pesto the next.

Supporting local farms and natural sustainable foods is a big driver at Gabagool, and they source their produce, eggs, and meat from folks such as Latitude 45, Dehart Farms, Sweet Briar Farms, Uncle Paul’s Produce, Wild Side Mushrooms, and Olympic Provisions. Gabagool is food you can feel good about.

There’s an old Italian proverb that states, La cucina piccola fal la casa grande. Translation: A small kitchen makes the house grand. Gabagool’s little blue truck proves that great food can come in small guises. Gabagool, Italian street food made with care.

 

Sample Menu:

Piadine (Flatbread Sandwiches – made with lard or olive oil on request. Vegan and gluten free options are available on request)

  • Gabagool – capicola, salami, romaine lettuce, roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, hot cured peppers – $7
  • Salsicce – pork fennel sausage, sauteed bell peppers, pomodoro, granna padano – $7
  • Caponata – eggplant caponata, seasonal mushrooms, fresh ricotta

Egg Pasta Dishes

  • Pappardelle – pork fennel sausage ragu, grana padano
  • Tagliatelle – pomodoro, basil, grana padano OR extra virgin olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, grana padano – $6
  • Tortellini – stuffed with fresh ricotta, seasonal mushrooms and thyme, in pomodoro – $8

Insalata

  • Tritata -romaine lettuce, salami, prosciutto di parma, fresh mozzarella, basil, roasted tomatoes, castelvetrano olives, chick peas, hot peppers, balsamico (can be made vegan) – $6
  • Giardiniera – side of spicy pickled vegetables – $3

Website: Coming Soon

Phone: 503-753-5859

Facebook: GabagoolFood
Twitter: @Gabagoolfood

The Italian Market

dieselboi
The Italian Market

The Italian Market

Location: SE 45th and Stark at Belmont Station
Hours: Mon-Sun, 12-9pm

The Story: Yo, cheesesteaks are for tourists! Those are the first words I remember hearing from the owners of The Italian Market almost a year ago. Hailing from the city of brotherly love, the owners Erin and Andrew bring south Philly street food to Portland.

I first met Erin and Andrew over a year ago and learned of their plans to relocate to Portland and jump into our ever evolving street food scene. Coming from Philadelphia, a food city in its own right, they wanted to bring those flavors without the schtick we all associate with the cheesesteak. I’ve been to Philly and yeah, you can find a cheesesteak on every corner, but there is so much more to eat and The Italian Market will show you. It has been a long year for the two from the move and building a food cart and securing a location. But now, in April, they are open and slingin’ sandwiches at Belmont Station, a venerable bottle shop known by many who took out their old kitchen in order to welcome a mobile vendor. A new welcoming patio was also constructed so you can enjoy your sandwich inside out of the rain with a beer.

Italian Beef Brisket Sandwich

Italian Beef Brisket Sandwich

Erin and Andrew have done their time in kitchens and know enough about their craft to know the bread for a sandwich is key. Last summer, they flew out here with a suitcase of different types of bread from Philadelphia and visited all the best bakers in town to see who they could partner with to re-create some of those signature loafs. Dean from Allesio bakery took the samples and made magic in the Rose City, creating the different types of buns The Italian Market required. Speaking of sandwiches, they offer four different ones including an Italian pork, an Italian beef, a meatball sub and a baked eggplant sammy for the vegetarians in the crowd. After tasting samples of both the pork and beef, I choose the Italian beef brisket with roasted tomatoes, sharp provolone and horseradish on a seeded roll. Andrew threw some pepperoncinis in there for good measure. The roll held the ingredients together well and even soaked up a bit of the juices without becoming too soggy and falling apart. The horseradish and brisket mixed perfectly with the acidity of the tomato. Top it all off with sharp provolone and you have one excellent sandwich.

The Italian Market also offers salad and pretzels and can do Gluten Free buns, just ask. They source all their ingredients locally including their “east coast kale” – broccoli rabe. I tried a sample of the greens which melted in my mouth. I’m loving this new model of pairing mobile vendors with bottle shops and bars. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a bar and all they have to eat are warmed over hot dogs. An Italian pork sandwich sounds so much better with a local IPA. Find The Italian Market at Belmont Station daily from noon-9pm. Welcome them to our fine town and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Federal Sandwich: Italian Pork w/ sharp provolone and broccoli rabe – $8
  • Ellsworth: Italian beef – $8.50
  • Uncle Mike’s Meatball Sub – ground beef and pork simmered in red gravy w/ sharp provolone – $8
  • Passyunk: baked eggplant w/ roasted peppers and fennel, homemade mozzarella and pesto – $8
  • Tasker Salad: panzanella salad w/ crusty bread, cucumber, tomato, homemade mozzarella, onion and fresh basil with olive oil and balsamic – $5.50

Website: TheItalianMarketPDX.com
Facebook: The Italian Market
Twitter: @YoItalianMarket

Kitchenette

AngelaD
Kitchenette

Kitchenette

Location: SW 10th & Alder

Hours: 11am-6pm, Mon-Fri

The Story: Kitchenette, a cozy cart located on 10th and Alder with a white interior clean and bright, beckons on a gray Portland day. Owner Nelly Ozgur moved here three years ago, but originally lived in Turkey and Italy. Her dishes are lovingly prepared, and one feels like you are hanging out in the kitchen of your big sister, waiting for a home cooked meal.

Nelly is very friendly and polite, and we spoke for awhile about her extensive menu. I finally ordered the Linguine with chicken while learning her husband Mustafar built the cart she now spends her days in. Another customer received his sandwich while I was waiting, and I couldn’t help but notice the large portions.

With the rain falling in earnest, I bid Nelly goodbye and returned to my office. The smell of my linguine wafted across the nearby desks, and everyone was asking what smelled so good. The linguine was cooked perfectly, with a delicate balance of flavors. I enjoyed the way the cheese, herbs and garlic clung to the pasta, with an occasional bit of sun-dried tomato to add a nice tang. The portion was huge and piping hot, exactly what one needs on a drizzly day.

Linguine with Chicken from Kitchenette

Linguine with Chicken from Kitchenette

I look forward to returning and trying one of Kitchenette’s authentic Italian sandwiches. Kitchenette is cash only, so be prepared the next time you crave a homemade Italian meal. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent you.

Sample Menu:
Cash Only

Salad

  • Italian Caprese Salad $5.50
  • Italian Salad $6.00

Sandwiches

  • Mufullatta—olive tapenade, dry salami, ham & mozzarella $6.50
  • Italian Club—greens, tomato, Italian salami, chicken breast, cheese, olives & ham $6.50
  • Italian Pita—tomato, greens, cucumber, cheese, chicken breast & balsamic $6.00

Pasta

  • Penne alla vodka $6.50
  • Linguine with meatball $6.50
  • Linguine with chicken $6.50
  • Penne with basil & pesto $6.00

Hours: 11am-6pm, Mon-Fri
Phone: 503.975.4421
Website: www.pdxkitchenette.com

J Mo’s Sandwich Shack

Brett Burmeister
J Mo's Sandwich Shack

J Mo’s Sandwich Shack

Location: SE 52nd and Foster
Hours: daily, 11-7 – call ahead to check

The Story:

Home of the ‘Dirty Mo’ is the phrase on the business card. How can’t you not wonder what a Dirty Mo is and seek it out. Jason “J Mo” Moreno is the man behind Cartlandia’s newest cart and brings his tasty sandwiches to the lot.

Jason has been accused of being too much of a dreamer, but what’s wrong with that? We should all chase some sort of dream and opening a restaurant what Jason’s. After some work, he realized that a cart would be the best way to start off on this journey and used Craigslist to source the cart and all the innards. Jason offers sandwiches, soups and salads with a smile and a hearty hello.

The Italian

The Italian

The day we visited, the menu offered a couple of sandwiches and a chopped green salad. Having just enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich the day before, I decided on The Italian. Full disclosure time – I was first introduced to the Italian style sub at Subway in the early 80’s in Gresham. Whenever I get a chance, I try everyone else’s to try and wash the Subway taste from my memory. With salami, Mortadella, provolone, pickles and yellow mustard on a fresh roll, this is the style of Italian I crave. J Mo gets his bread from An Xuyen Bakery down off Foster and the only way I can describe it is fluffy and crunchy. When eying the sandwich cut in half, there is bun, meat and bun. As a kid, I wouldn’t appreciate the value of the bread in a sandwich like this, assuming I had been jipped on meat. Now, I realize it is about balance and with the right bread, you can have even less innards and still create a work of art. J Mo has managed this with The Italian. Every bite had crunchy soft bread, salty salami, a bit of pickle and the tang of mustard. So good.

You’re probably wondering about the Dirty Mo. While not on the menu the day we visited, J Mo described it as fried spaghetti on garlic cheese bread with homemade marinara sauce. You can add meatballs or sausage to amp it up a bit. Sounds enticing. J Mo’s Sandwich Shack is now open at Cartlandia which also sports a beer garden, so head on down for one of his excellent creations and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

J Mo’s moved to SE 52nd and Foster in August 2013

Sample Menu:

  • The Dirty Mo – $8
  • Flying Barracuda Pulled Pork – $8
  • The Italian – salami, Mortadella, Provolone – $8
  • Chopped Green Salad – $5

Hours: daily, 11-7, but still working out the details
Website: JMosSandwichShack.com
Facebook: JMosSandwichShack

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