Small Pharoh on 5th

dieselboi
Small Pharoh

Small Pharoh

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: lunch, daily

Egyptian and New York Cuisine. Halal, hot dogs, falafel and gyros.

Kargi Gogo

Lizzy Caston
Kargi Gogo

Kargi Gogo

Location: SW Washington and 10th
Hours: Weekdays and Saturdays, lunch- late afternoon.

The Story: Grab your passports and your geography books, Kargi Gogo serves a cuisine we rarely see in Portland and they do an outstanding job of it too: The foods of the Georgian Republic. No, this is not fried chicken, grits, okra and peach pie found in the Southern United State of Georgia. This is food from the COUNTRY of Georgia. Located on the Black Sea, nestled under Russia, and surrounded by Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, Georgia is a culturally and geographically diverse country with a diverse cuisine to match it.  In Kargi Gogo’s own words:

Georgians make food that combines elements of Eastern European and Middle Eastern cuisines, resulting in fresh, flavorful dishes.

You’ll find Khachapuri – melted blend of cheeses in a flaky light crust. Then there’s Badrijani – cooked eggplant strips stuffed with ground walnuts, garlic and Georgian spices. Light but satisfying, and vegan and gluten free to boot. Yet, it’s the Georgian dumplings named Khinkali that really win us over. Think of generous fistfull sized tender and boiled wontons stuffed with a mixture of meats, garlic, herbs and broth. They are a Georgian obsession and highly addictive, and pro-tip provided by the owners of Kargi Gogo and the way the Georgians eat them – grab the dumpling by the top, turn them upside down, then bite in. This keeps the hot broth inside the dumplings from exploding all over your nice clean shirt.

Kargi Gogo,  literally translates  to Good Girl in the Georgian language and their cute little white cart with the quirky cartoon girl logo (the good girl) is a nice introduction to Georgian food.  Kargi Gogo has put a lot of thought into their design and menu, including descriptions and photos of their food as well as making sure there are offerings for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. They even have some gluten free foods. This commitment to education about their food is really helpful in choosing what mouth-watering treats to try.

Kargi 2

Kargi Gogo’s Supra Feast sampler plate

A great introduction to sampling  Kargi Gogo’s menu is their “Supra Feast”, describe as:

A Georgian supra is an epic feast with an abundance of delicious food. Indulge with a slice of Khachapuri, a slice of Lobiani, two Khinkali, two Badrijani and Peasant’s Salad.

Sean and McKinzie are the two affable young Americans who own Kargi Gogo. They were both stationed in Georgia for two years in the Peace Corps, met there, and decided to introduce Portlanders to this fantastic cuisine. Food Carts Portland salutes Kargi Gogo for their efforts and excellence. Or, as the robust and friendly Georgian people might say, Gemrielad Miirthvith! (Enjoy your meal!)

 

Sample Menu:

 

  • Khachapuri – Georgian Cheese Stuffed Bread – $6
  • Lobani – stuffed Bean and Onion Bread – $6
  • Khinkali – meat stuffed boiled dumplings – $6
  • Badrijani – eggplant, garlic and walnut rolls – $6
  • Peasant Salad – tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions in a walnut-garlic dressing – $6
  • Supra Feast – a large sampler of all menu items – $8

 

Phone: 503- 489-8432

Website: kargigogo.com

Facebook: Kargi Gogo PDX

Twitter: @kargigogopdx

 

 

 

Ramy’s Lamb Shack 2

dieselboi
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...]

Egyptian Food

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Egyptian Food

Egyptian Food

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: daily, 11-4

The Story:

When you sit down to name your business, you want the name to mean something and tell the consumer what you do. Egyptian Food is the name of the cart and that is what they do.

Falafel from Egyptian Food

Falafel from Egyptian Food

Mohammed, the owner and chef took one of the oldest carts on the block and converted it to his own style of kitchen so he could create and serve fresh Egyptian cuisine. Speaking with him, he stressed that his food is made to order and that the best tastes come from freshly made items. An example is the fava bean falafel he dropped in the fryer. He stood there, watched them, poked them and waited until the precise moment to pull them out. When I saw the golden brown nugget, I almost asked to skip the sandwich and just give me the falafel. The sandwich, falafel on a bed of lettuce, with tomatoes, tzatziki, some hummus and cucumbers was wrapped in a lightly grilled pita. Some of the best falafel I have had in town. I even offered some up to another food cart owner who simply stood there and chewed, amazed at how fresh and delicious it was. I’m excited to try other items on the menu now.

Egyptian Food is now open and you can’t miss them right on the corner of SW 9th and Alder. The cart they are in has some rich history going back 20 years having hosted an Indian purveyor, Italian espresso and most recently, gourmet pork sandwiches. Stop on by for some Egyptian food and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Fish, chicken, lamb, falafel over rice platter: $7
  • Kafta over rice platter: $8
  • Lamb, chicken gyro: $5
  • Falafel sandwich: $5
  • Kafta sandwich: $6

Hours: daily, lunchtime

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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

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