Location: SE 28th and Ankeny
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30-7pm; Sunday, 11:30-3pm

The Story: Every so often we come across one of those gems that simply put, blow us away. I had heard positive rumblings about Burrasca and their Florentine influences, so decided to check it out myself.

Over the years, I have visited some wonderful vendors who have named their carts after themselves, the food or just something whimsical. At Burrasca, they decided to name the cart after a character in a classic Tuscan children’s book, Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca, written in 1907-1908 by Luigi Bertelli. Burrasca was the troublemaker in the book and Paolo Calamai, the chef of the cart has always felt he was a bit rambunctious. Hailing from Tuscany, Paolo’s career as a formally trained chef spans a couple of decades and across a few continents. His current endeavor with the cart is to bring the dishes of his childhood in native Florence to Portland.

Pappardelle with Wild Boar Sauce

Pappardelle with Wild Boar Sauce

At Burrasca, Paolo’s menu is an expression of his many years as a trained chef. The day we visited one could enjoy a hearty black cabbage, cannelini bean and bread soup or squid and spinach simmered in tomato, red wine and herbs. Just imagining either of those dishes brings on binge worthy emotions. We picked out the pappardelle al cinghiale – handmade pasta with wild boar sauce. Sometime, long ago, I was introduced to pappardelle and it was love at first bite. What a dish! Thick, al dente noodles soaked in the wild boar sauce with fresh parm and a slice of cart made bread. Perfection on a plate. It renewed a desire inside me to explore the diversity of Italian cuisine more. Maybe Paolo will be my mentor.

Burrasca is one of those carts that is changing the game. An experienced chef who’s passion is to serve awe-inspiring dishes for us to enjoy. The cart is located at Pod28 at SE 28th and Ankeny. There is plenty of covered seating and Captured by Porches serves beer on the weekends. Next time you’re stumped trying to decide what to eat for lunch or dinner, head on over to Burrasca and let Paolo know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Menu may change daily

  • Hearty Black Cabbage, Cannellini bean and break soup – $5
  • Pappardelle Al Cinghiale – handmade pasta with wild boar sauce – $8
  • Squid and Spinach simmered in tomato, red wine and herbs – $7
  • Arista Panino – sandwich of roast pork loin topped with salsa verde and watercress on homemade roll – $7

Website: Burrsacapdx.com
Facebook: Burraca PDX

Ooh, Pasta

Ooh, Pasta

Ooh, Pasta

Location: SE 82nd and Harney – Cartlandia
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-8pm

The Story: Out east, at the Ala Carts food pod on SE 102nd and Stark (This vendor moved to Cartlandia in 2014), some vendors who have called the place home since 2010. This summer, new vendors arrived and one in particular is staking their claim. Ooh, Pasta offers up not just traditional pasta dishes, they put a twist into it.

As you walk up to the cart, you’re presented by a large placard with photos of the amazing dishes this vendor sells. Photos sell food, trust me. King and Tony welcomed me with bright smiles on one of those last days of summer a week ago. Tony, the chef behind the tasty array of dishes, had been cooking mostly Thai during his career. Yet his love of food and cooking brought him to combine his experience with different cultures’ cuisines and blend them together. A pasta fusion, one could say. One example is Noodles Gone Nuts with Italian noodles and a Thai Peanut sauce. East meets west.

Wooing Asparagus Carbonara

Wooing Asparagus Carbonara

There are specific meats and vegetables that will draw me to a dish and blind me to others. In summer, it is asparagus. I simply love it and want to enjoy it with nearly every meal. At Ooh, Pasta, Wooing Asparagus Carbonara popped out. All I really saw was asparagus and a picture of a pasta dish. Penne in a heavy cream with chopped asparagus, parsley, black pepper, bacon and chicken made to order came out piping hot mouth watering smells. I stabbed at the pasta, picked up a bit of asparagus and parsley and never looked back. Cheezy, creamy, savory and fresh. A rather large portion, I was able to enjoy it later in the day with a glass of wine and some football.

I’m excited to see the vendors out there succeed even with the harsh winters they get. Unlike closer in eastside or downtown, that location gets the stronger east wind that just batters eaters and vendors alike. Good on ya all for your efforts. Ooh, Pasta is a great addition to the lot. If you’re looking for a great pasta dish, look no further. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Flirting Clam Linguini – fresh tomatoes, white onion, parsley, white wine, baby clams, garlic sauce – $7
  • Noodles Gone Nuts – broccoli, carrots, white onion, red and green pepper, linguini in Thai Peanut Sauce – $7
  • Wooing Asparagus Carbonara – $7
  • Bashful Basil Primavera – red and green bell peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, basil, in Thai creamy sauce w/ chicken – $7

Phone: 503 919 1449
Ooh, Pasta

Gabagool – Italian Street Food

Lizzy Caston


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).


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


  • 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




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


  • Italian Caprese Salad $5.50
  • Italian Salad $6.00


  • 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


  • 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

Herb’s Mac & Cheese

Herb's Mac & Cheese

Herb's Mac & Cheese

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont – Good Food Here
Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-8pm

The Story:

Pasta and cheese go hand in hand. There should be a bumper sticker about it. Herb’s Mac & Cheese opened to focus on that combination and add their own taste combinations.

I’m a child of mac & cheese. Seriously. I loved it and ate it whenever I could. I even remember making a batch for dinner but burning the butter before adding the cheese powder. My parents were so nice, they ate it anyways. As I grew older, the boxed goods I grew up on bored me. It was then a friend introduced me to home-made mac & cheese and I was hooked. Taking pasta and different types of cheese and layering it together with extra ingredients and then baking it is probably one of the best dishes out there. I was excited to see Herb’s Mac & Cheese open and offer up dishes that go beyond the standard macaroni and cheese.

Herb's Mac & Cheese

Herb's Mac & Cheese

At Herb’s you can get traditional mac & cheese made with penne macaroni and his signature Mornay sauce. Herb’s starts with white sauce at its base and then mixes in his own secret combination of no less than 4 different cheeses. You can get the traditional dish or create your own with ingredients that include chicken, pepperoni, bacon, garlic, jalapenos, tomatoes, and more. Add extra cheese with choices ranging from blue cheese crumbles to pepper jack to Asiago. If you don’t think you can create your own, Herb will always have a couple of specials for you to choose from. We opted for the Micro-Raptor, a daily special with bacon, tomatoes, garlic, blue cheese and topped with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I added in jalapenos to give it a little more kick. With two size options, the small was enough for two people to share, so if you opt for the large, be prepared. The pasta a large tube style penne captured all the creamyness of the sauce much better than old style macaroni does. The jalapenos and hot sauce gave the entire dish the spice we love with flavoring and not just heat. I had eaten throughout the day and didn’t think I was hungry, but it was so tasty I devoured it right there, event getting in a bit of trouble for eating more than my share.

Herb’s Mac & Cheese offers up a childhood favorite with some artistry in one of the most unique shaped carts seen to date. If you’re a pasta and cheese fan, you need to visit and enjoy what Herb has to offer. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Two Sizes: Small, $5; Large, $7. Choose to add from the following ingredients:

  • Meats: Bacon, Chicken, Pepperoni
  • Veggies: garlic, spinach, broccoli, jalapenos, diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes
  • Extra Cheese: blue cheese, feta cheese, pepper jack, cheddar, Parmesan, Asagio

Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-8pm
Phone: 503 928 7559
Website: HerbsMacandCheese.com
Twitter: @HerbsMacandCheese
Facebook: Herb’s Mac & Cheese