The Parmacy

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Italian food cart Portland

The Parmacy – Italian

Location: SE 34th and Hawthorn at Growler’s
Hours: Wed/Thurs, 12-9; Fri/Sat, 12-10:30; Sunday 12-9

The Story: PARM – Huge lighted letters greet you upon the arrival to The Parmacy, a food cart on SE Hawthorne serving up New York style Italian favorites.

I sometimes feel we have a dearth of Italian options in the street food scene until I sit down and ruminate all we see at the different food cart pods. The Hoagie. Wood fired pizza. Piadinas. Pasta. Artigiano and Burrasca (now a restaurant) put Portland’s food cart pasta scene on the map with handcrafted noodles and regional flavors from the boot shaped land. Now, The Parmacy makes their mark. With a menu and namesake featuring chicken and eggplant parmesan sandwiches, they also offer additinal New York style Italian dishes while sourcing locally and making it all from scratch, including the pasta, breadcrumbs and tomato paste.

italian food cart portland

Olio Pasta from The Parmacy

Chicken parm, an iconic sandwich. I don’t believe I’ve had a bad chicken or eggplant parm sammie, so on that cold winter day I visited The Parmacy, I needed a change, a creamy dish, and on the lighter side. For pasta, three options – pesto basil, marinara or olio. A wide tagliatelle noodle is the base for Olio which comes with garlic olive oil, chili flakes, breadcrumbs and hand grated parmesan. A delightful dish of creamy pasta with just enough garlic and chili to balance out the parmesan. As a treat, I also devoured a plate of fried olives with marinara. So much for the light lunch.

italian food cart portland

Fried olives from The Parmacy

The Parmacy is a great addition to the street food options on SE Hawthorne, a street that offers up a diverse set of cuisines both at food carts and restaurants. Sandwiches, pasta dishes, sides, salads. They have it all. Next time you’re craving Italian, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[The Parmacy moved to SE Hawthorne in 2017]

Menu:

italian food cart portland

Menu at The Parmacy

Facebook: The Parmacy

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Anything’s Pastable

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pasta food cart portland

Anything’s Pastable

Location: Milwaukie Station Food Carts – 11301 se 21st
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 11-2pm; Fri-Sat, 11-9pm; Sunday – 3-9pm

The Story: Portland’s street food scene is lacking in the area of pasta. I get asked regularly why Italian cuisine isn’t well represented and I don’t really have an answer. Anything’s Pastable, a new food cart at Cartlandia, is here to fill that void.

Anything’s Pastable grew out of the long time dream for Laury and Ed to own their own place. After raising kids and Ed’s years as a chef and line cook, the business dream became a reality. Add a love of pasta and anything becomes pastable. The cart offers classic Italian sauces and pasta dishes, yet with a bit of the northwest thrown in. Mushroom Alfredo or Primavera with seasonal veggies are just a couple of options. Pomodoro with rotini pasta with sautéed onions, bell pepper and fire roasted tomato sauce looked intriguing. I opted to add sausage and Ed garnished the dish with a four cheese blend to give it creaminess. I call it spiral pasta, one of my favorites, due to fact that the sauce and cheese get into the curls. The smokiness of the fire roasted tomato sauce came through perfectly and the sausage was a great addtition. A great meal.

pasta food cart portland

Pomodoro from Anything’s Pastable

Anything’s Pastable is open at Cartlandia for lunch and dinner on the weekends. Check out their deep fried ravioli, something I only saw after I had ordered. Sounds crazy good. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Mushroom Alfredo – mixed mushrooms and Gemelli pasta tossed with a basil alfredo sauce – $10
  • Pomodoro – $9
  • Northwest PrimaVera – Cavatappi and seasonal vegetables in a white wine and butter sauce garnished with a four cheese blend – $8
  • Twisted Curry – Gemelli, onions and pepper tossed with creamy curry sauce – $10
  • Deep Fried Ravioli – fresh ravioli deep fried served on a bed of greens with a special dipping sauce.
  • Add sausage, chicken or shrimp – $2.50-$3.50

Facebook: Anything’s Pastable
Twitter: @ourpastabiz

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

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

Artigiano

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Artigiano

Artigiano

Location: SE 33rd and Division
Hours: Tues-Sat, 5-9pm

The Story:

I have enjoyed some amazing dishes at Portland’s Italian restaurants over the years. I learned that a good pasta dish wasn’t just spaghetti and a tomato sauce with sliced sausage and bell peppers, a dish I ate my weight of after college because it was cheap. Italian fare is broad and flavorful and the chef at Artigiano knows how to make it well.

In a 16′ cart in the parking lot of a local handmade furniture designer, Artigiano has made its home, serving the community and broader Portland some of the finest meals you can get from a cart. The chef, Rachael Grossman, began her culinary career as a child in her grandmother’s kitchen. She took that passion and graduated Le Cordon Bleu and spent some time in Casperia, a village outside of Rome where she fell in love with local ingredients and the simplicity of Italian county cuisine. After her return and some work at prestigious restaurants, she decided mobile kitchens are where its at and opened Artigiano in the Woodstock neighborhood of Portland. After enjoying one of her dishes, I’m envious of those neighbors.

Fettuccine and Garlic Scapes

Fettuccine and Garlic Scapes

At Artigiano, they pride themselves in fresh local ingredients and handmade pasta. While the regular menu offers salads and pasta dishes featuring fettuccine, ravioli, gnocchi and rigatoni, there is always a daily special. At a cart like this, that is the first thing I go for. If the chef has taken the time and effort to go “off menu,” you know it is going to be worth it. The day I visited the special was fettuccine with garlic scapes, red pepper flakes and shaved Parmesan served with a mixed green salad and sliced baguette on the side. Yes, please! The scapes were so fresh, they had just finished prepping them for lunch. The dish was brilliant with that light garlic flavor, a buttery texture and a hint of heat from the red pepper flakes. One of the finest pasta dishes I have enjoyed.

Artigiano knocked it out of the park and with that kind of skill in the kitchen, I know Chef Rachael has a home here in Portland’s culinary scene. They serve lunch and dinner and have seating if you prefer to eat at the cart. They even offer a tasting menu if that interests you. Just ask. It excites me to see carts like Artigiano with the level of cuisine one would normally expect at a multi-star restaurant on the streets of Portland. It tells me we still have area for growth. Check out Artigiano when you’re down in Woodstock and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: (see website for up to date menu)

  • Bread & Oil Ciabatta, Extra Virgin, Balsamic – $2
  • Garlic Bread Toasted Ciabatta with Garlic Butter – $4
  • Caesar Salad* Romaine Hearts, Grana Padano, House-made Dressing & Herb Croutons – $4
  • Hand-cut Fettuccine with your Choice of Tomato or Cream Sauce – $10
    • Add Pork or Chicken – $2; Add Meatballs – $3
  • Seasonal Ravioli Stuffed with Locally Grown Garlic Scape & Parmigiano in a Cream Sauce – $11
    • Add Chicken – $2
  • Handmade Yukon Gold Gnocchi with Sauteed Zucchini & Browned Butter – $10
    • Add Bacon – $2
  • Rigatoni Budget conscious diner’s dream! (not handmade) With Tomato Sauce – $6; With Cream Sauce – $7
    • Add Pork or Chicken – $2
    • Add Meatballs – $3

Phone: 503.860.3419
Website: Artigiano.com
Twitter: @Pastawagon        Facebook: Artigiano

 

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