Gonzo

Brett Burmeister
Gonzo

Gonzo

Location: SE 9th and Oak at Base Camp Brewing
Hours: Mon-Wed, 11:30-9; Thurs-Sat, 11:30-12am; Sun, 11:30-9

The Story:

Gonzo the Garbanzo. That was the inspiration for the name of this truly unique Israeli street food cart.

Portland is blessed with some excellent Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants and food carts, but not much Israeli. Wolf and Bear’s introduced us all to the Sabih sandwich and now Gonzo owner Tal intends to take it to a new level. Having spent part of his childhood and some adult life living in Israel, Tal has a grasp on their approach to street food. The Sabih actually wasn’t a sandwich until Iraqi Jews migrated to Israel bringing a dish which included fried eggplant, a boiled egg, parsley, tsug, tomato, cucumber, onion, hummus, tahini and other treats and a cafe owner put it in a pita for people to take with them. You may know Tal from his 100 Miles cart last summer. With the same cart, Tal is creating everything from scratch using age old methods to get the dishes right including soaking the garbanzo beans overnight or using salt on the eggplant to remove the moisture before frying.

Sabih from Gonzo

Sabih from Gonzo

Gonzo has a small menu at this time – the Sabih, a falafel sandwich and a hummus plate, but each item was better than the first. The handmade falafel in a pita with hummus, tahini, chopped tomato and cucumber, amba, tsug, pickles and topped with fries is a work of art. The amba, a tangy mango pickle condiment and the tsug, a spicy Israeli hot sauce, are both made in the cart and add a flavor profile I haven’t had with falafel before. After ordering both the Sabih and the falafel sandwich, it was a fight over who got what. I wanted it all, but had to share. Everything tasted fresh and crisp and I came away with a new appreciation for Israeli cuisine.

Falafel from Gonzo

Falafel from Gonzo

Tal hopes to expand the menu a bit and offer items that one wouldn’t normally find here in Portland. Plans for publishing all the recipes for his dishes on his website is in the works, so keep a digital eye out for that. I’m excited to make some tsug this fall once our hot peppers come into season. Gonzo is an example of how Portland’s street food vendors bring cuisine we don’t normally find in this city to our table. Gonzo is located at D-Street Noshery in SE Portland and they have plenty seating and a covered area in case it rains. Drop on by for some excellent Israeli street food and let Tal know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Gonzo moved to Base Camp Brewing in October 2012]

Sample Menu:

  • Falafel sandwich: hummus, tahini, tomato, cucumber, amba tsug, pickels, falafel in a pita topped with fries – $8 or half for $5
  • Sabih sandwich: hummus, tahini, tomato, cucumber, onion, cilantro, parsley, amba, tsug, pickels, fried eggplant, boiled egg in a pita – $8 or half for $5
  • Hummus Plate: hummus, garbanzo beans, cilantro, cumin, lemon, sweet onion, olive oil w/2 pita – $6

Hours: Mon-Wed, 11:30-9; Thurs-Sat, 11:30-12am; Sun, 11:30-9
Phone: 503 97-Gonzo
Facebook: Gonzo

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