PDX Dönerländ

german food cart portland

PDX Dönerländ

Location: NE 7th and Killingsworth at Piedmont Station
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11:30-2:30 and 5-930pm; Sat/Sun, 12-9:30

The Story: Piedmont Station, one of Portland’s newest food cart pods, brings tasty treats to northeast Portland just off MLK Blvd and Killingsworth. Of the new food carts, PDX Dönerländ offers up a dish rarely found on the east side – döner kebab.

Owners Ron and Franziska are the team behind PDX Dönerländ. Franziska hails from Karlsruhe in Germany and Ron from San Francisco, yet they began their love over meat sandwiches while traveling in Germany. Franziska grew up with döner, a dish originating in Turkey and brought to Germany in the 50’s by guest workers, so opening a food cart and sharing the love came to pass. Franziska also has more than a few years as a professional chef under her belt, so that helps. Their mission is to serve the highest quality ingredients and use organic when possible and 100% GMO free. Everything served is made from scratch in the cart and you can tell by the freshness of every bite.

I’ve enjoyed a myriad of döner kebab over the years. Some served atop rice or with salad, others in a pita or other type of pocket bread. While traditional döner was usually mutton, most everyone now serves a mix of chicken and turkey, with some offering beef or lamb. At PDX Dönerländ, the kebab flatbread sandwich is stuffed with sliced chicken and turkey döner meat, lettuce, tomatoes, red cabbage, onions, pepperoncini and your choice of a yogurt-dill or red sauce. I was expecting thin slices of meat, but here, they were chunks, adding a texture and breadth of flavor I hadn’t expected. The sauce dripped throughout the meat and veggies, adding a cool sweetness to the entire meal. Lastly, the flatbread. Everything comes down to the bread right? Franziska nailed it, creating the best possible vessel for the cacophony of meat, veggies and sauce.

german food cart portland

Doner Kebab

I’m excited to see vendors bringing traditional street foods from Europe to Portland. There are excellent dishes under represented in the vast array of vendors throughout this fine town. Welcome to Portland PDX Dönerländ. Next time you’re up in the neighborhood, drop on by the pod, enjoy a döner kebab, maybe a beer and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Döner kebab sandwich – $9
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Doner – $9
  • Mediterranean Salads  – $7-9 depending on toppings

Website: PDX-Donerland.com
Facebook: PDX Donerland
Twitter: @PDXDonerland

Sam’s Saj Mediterranean Sandwiches

mediterranean food cart portland

Sam’s Saj

Location: SW 10th and Washington
Hours: breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays

The Story: Portland continues to attract some unique dishes from different parts of the world. Sam’s Saj, a food cart at the 10th and Washington pod focuses on a unique Mediterranean sandwich called the Khubz.

Mediterranean food cart portland

Kafta Saj from Sam’s Saj

Sam and Diala took over a former Thai cart last fall and did a total remodel. Sam wanted to offer up a handmade dish different than the other Mediterranean options in the lot. The Khubz is a sandwich, but seems like a mix of a burrito and maybe a crepe. The Saj griddle is the key to making this flatbread. Growing up, Sam remembers the circular convex griddle being heated by coals. In Portland, that wasn’t possible, so Sam had a griddle handmade in order to utilize propane. I always say, Portland’s DIY culture leads to some tasty creations. The flatbread is grilled and then topped with cheese or Zaatar or labne, a yoghurt cheese. Once cooked up, they roll it all up to enjoy. Breakfast options can include Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh mint or maybe Nutella, banana and toasted hazelnuts. For lunch, I picked up the kafta with seasoned lamb and beef along with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. The flatbread is thin and flavorful, creating a great envelope for the savory kafta and fresh veggies.

Sam’s Saj opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so no matter when you arrive, Sam and Diala are there to make you a treat. I have visited twice and the second item I enjoyed came with Zaatar, a blend of herbs and spices that will blow your mind. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Zaatar – $4
  • Cheese and Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers and mint – $4.75
  • Labne and Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers, mint and green olives – $5
  • Turkey and Cheese – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, mayo, mustard – $5
  • Kafta – $7.75
  • Lamb Shawarma – $9
  • French Fries – $3.50
  • Cauliflower Saj – crisped cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cumin vinaigrette – $6

Facebook: Sam’s Saj

Gastro Mania

Gastro Mania

Gastro Mania

Location: NW 19th and Quimby
Hours: M-Sun, 11am-3pm

The Story: Looking for some grilled porchetta or a foie gras burger? Look no further than Gastro Mania, a new food truck posted up at Q19 in NW Portland.

Gastro Mania opened this past spring promoting “The Best of Mediterranean Cuisine,” yet except for the top item of a Gyro, the menu is chalk full of treats that we don’t think of as from that part of the world. Salmon Sliders, Swordfish Steak, a Porchetta sandwich and what has caught the most attention – the foie gras burger. While getting foie gras is a treat for many, I opted for the Porchetta, a monster of a sandwich with more than enough grilled pork belly and charred fat. I tend to describe porchetta as bacon wrapped pork, so use your imagination. Alex, the chef, believes he has the best porchetta in town, so I had to give it a shot. A thick layer of porchetta between a crunchy seared roll with plenty of dripping fat and butter. Crazy delicious and oh so wrong. I couldn’t put it down. Each bite, a palatable bliss. This sandwich is not for those who cut off the fat when eating steaks. You have to dive right in and clean up later. The Porchetta is served with a side greek salad with feta so you can at least claim you ate your veggies that day.

Porchetta from Gastro Mania

Porchetta from Gastro Mania

Gastro Mania is at Q19, the lot adjacent to Quimby’s where you can sit indoors and enjoy a libation while chowing down. Open daily for lunch. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Gyros – chicken or lamb – $7
  • Porchetta sandwich – $8
  • Foie Gras burger – $8
  • Salmon Sliders – $8
  • Tuna Steak served over salad – $8
  • Chicken Breast Scallopini – $8

Phone: 5036893794
Facebook: Gastro Mania

Casablanca Express

Casablanca Express

Casablanca Express

Location: SE MLK and Stark at Central Eastside Food Carts
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-5pm

The Story: Portland has plenty of options for Mediterranean cuisine, but at Casablanca Express, it comes with a taste of Morocco. From shawarma on the spit to lamb to Mezza salad plates, this vendor has it all. Open for lunch daily in SE Portland.

Facebook: Casablanca Express
Website: CasablancaExpressPDX.com

Kargi Gogo

Lizzy Caston
Georgian food cart portland

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.

Georgian food cart portland

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- see website for menu changes as of September 2015

  • Khachapuri – Georgian Cheese Stuffed Bread – $6


Phone: 503- 489-8432

Website: kargigogo.com

Facebook: Kargi Gogo PDX

Twitter: @kargigogopdx