RUA

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RUA

RUA

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11:30-6pm; Sun, 11:30-4pm

The Story: Jason Myers is back with some mouthwatering Vietnamese cuisine at his new food cart Rùa.

Jason Myers first arrived in the food cart scene a couple of years ago with his Sideshow cart serving up beignets, Belgian fries and poutine, sandwiches and his famous fancy burger. Yet, it wasn’t enough for him and one night, the idea of doing Vietnamese inspired cuisine came to him in a dream. He took a couple of weeks last fall and visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to explore and take culinary classes. Upon his return, he closed Sideshow, bought a new cart and in March, launched Rùa. Rùa means turtle.

Saigon Fried Chicken Banh Mi from Rua

Saigon Fried Chicken Banh Mi from Rua

At Rùa, you find Vietnamese and South East Asian inspired food with Jason’s approach.  I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying both the pork meatball and the Saigon Fried Chicken banh mi sandwiches. With a crisp and crunchy baguette from Pearl Bakery, they layer pickled carrots, jicama, cucumber, cilantro and sriracha mayo along with good sized chunks of the Saigon fried chicken which comes out crisp with a sweet and spicy tang. The detail for the sandwich was astounding – the carrots are hand shaved and each leaf of cilantro picked off the stem. The veggies along with the chicken melded together brilliantly with every bite. Oh, and that baguette? A work of art. You can also get the Saigon Fried Chicken as it’s own meal.

Rùa is one of the newest vendors on the block and brings us yet another new taste to the ever evolving street food landscape that is the Alder pod. I’m glad to see Jason’s new concept is gaining followers. Keep an eye out for specials as they tweak the menu and try new things. Drop on by, they’re open every day and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Banh Mi sandwiches – Pork Belly, $8; Saigon Fried Chicken, $7; Pork Meatball, $7; Tofu, $6
  • Saigon Fried Chicken – a la carte, $6; with spicy arugula and cucumber salad, $8
  • Green Papaya Salad – $6

Website: RuaPDX.com
Twitter: @RuaPDX
Facebook
Rua PDX

Maiale Di Volo

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Maiale Di Volo

Maiale Di Volo

Location: Roaming & Uptown Market in Beaverton on weeekends
Hours: Varies, Uptown Market, Thurs-Sat, 12-8pm

The Story: I’ve seen a wood fired oven inside a food cart before, yet not on the back of a 1937 Dodge Truck. Maiale Di Volo, otherwise known as “The Flying Pig” is one of the newest pizza slingers to bring us the goods.

Maiale Di Volo

Maiale Di Volo

Brett Tuft took a vintage flatbed truck and over the back axle built a wood fired oven to cook his pies. He’s the chef, the owner and the Pizzaiolo at the truck. Over the summer, he had taken the truck to different events throughout the city, but on the weekends you could find him set up at Uptown Market on Scholl’s Ferry, a bottle shop and taproom. What’s better than wood fired pizza and a cold beer? Brett looks to source locally first when he can which includes the freshest organic produce, small farm artisanal cheeses, and high quality multi-grain organic flours from Bob’s Red Mill. You can taste it in the end product. After 20 years working in the food service industry including attending Le Cordon Blue WCI, Brett has fulfilled his lifelong journey to bring healthy, great tasting pizza to the people.

Margarita Pizza from Maiale Di Volo

Margarita Pizza from Maiale Di Volo

Wood fired pizza is really a treat. Using different hardwoods including red and white oak, cherry and alder, the scent from the wood infuses into the pizza ever so slightly. Brett has even sourced some Russian red oak used for packing from a local shipyard. Each pie only takes about 5 minutes to make – 2 minutes to create from scratch, then 2 minutes in the oven. For me, the ever so flavorful Margarita was the pizza of the day. Tomato sauce, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella make up one of the simplest yet amazing pizzas one can order. The crust was charred just right and paired with a local IPA, we dove in and didn’t look back. A 10″ pie is enough for 1 or great to share.

Maiale Di Volo is a passion. You can tell by the choice of truck Brett used to the quality of the pie he produces. Find him on the weekends at Uptown Market or during the week at different events. You can have him at your event also. Drop on by for a pie and let “The Flying Pig” know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

10″ Pies made fresh to order

  • Margarita – $9
  • Quatro Fromaggi – olive oil, garlic, oregano, fontina, provolone, parmesan, FCC mozzarella – $10
  • Spicy Hungarian Sausage – tomato sauce, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella – $11
  • Amore di Maiale – tomato sauce, guanciale, capicola, pancetta, prosciutto, mozzarella – $13
  • Caesar Salad – $5

Website: MaialedivoloPizza.com
Facebook
: Maiale Di Volo
Twitter: 
@Maialedivolo

Sea Verdes

Lizzy Caston

Seaverdes1

Location: N Vancouver and Fremont
Hours: Tue, Thu-Fri 11:30 am – 9:00 pm, Wed 11:30 am – 7 pm, Sat 1 pm – 9 pm, Sun 1 pm – 7 pm

The Story: For seafood lovers, there’s a saying, “If it’s from the sea, then it’s for me!”  Mussels, Tilapia, Catfish, Shrimp and Oysters make up the foundation for Sea Verdes’ menu, with a healthy dose of entree type salads, smoothies, and specials such as grilled cheese sandwiches, pastas and other delights.

Sea Verdes reminds me of those little beach side food shacks found in coastal communities such as New England, Florida, or Hawaii. They serve locals as much as visitors, and are usually a come-as-you-are affair for those picking up a nutritious dinner for their families, or hungry beachcombers who need some substance between hitting the waves (or the beach blanket).

Crispy seafood (choice of  comes dredged in cornmeal and unbleached flour and is flash fried – crispy, not at all greasy and the fresh seafood shines through. We tried the Oysters on our first visit: Plump and fresh, they were magically crispy on the outside and tender within – it’s all the richness and mineral brininess oyster fans crave.  For those looking for something not fried, there’s mussels and shrimp in a white wine broth,  an Italianate inspired shrimp pasta, and a Tilapia with vegetables and rice.  They’ve also recently added gumbo (in this case crab, shrimp, beef sausage, chicken and mussels to the menu specials mix, something  that might not be a traditional gumbo recipe, but has what my New Orleans friends call, “Da Flavor!”. Yeah, you rite, Sea Verdes.

Salads can make for a whole meal in generous portions – a textbook classic Caesar, or a Thai Beef blow anything from the local salad bar out of the water (pun intended). Yet for those in a salad bar kind of mood, there’s a mix and match choice of toppers such as Shrimp, salmon.

Seaverdes2

Sea Verdes in N. Portland. Photo from www.seaverdes.blogspot.com

Smoothies round out the offerings. Located on the popular N Williams/Vancouver bike corridor – a smoothie would be a perfect pick-me-up on the way home from when you’ve just spent 1000 calories battling traffic and hills from work. I felt downright healthy AND decadent at the same time after finishing Sea Verdes’ Mixed Berry Smoothie – made with almond milk, dark cherries, bananas and mixed berries.

Owned and operated by lifetime Portlander Elsya Watkins, this talented chef, Portland State Alumni (Go Vikings!), and mother’s positive energy and commitment to nutrition is infectious. In Ms. Watkin’s own words:

I opened Sea Verdes because of North and North-East Portland’s food dessert. The lack of healthy and affordable places to go eat-out is a prevailing inconvenience for Portlanders. I serve fresh seafood, crisp salad greens an I make healthy and tasty protein green smoothies. My food serves vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians and offers selections for the paleo diet.

Oh, yes.  A little bit of soul, a bunch of health, and a whole lotta love: Sea Verdes. Another great addition to Portland’s mighty food cart sea.

Seaverdes3

Sample Menu:

  • Fried seafood (served with rice). Choice of Oysters, Tilapia, Catfish in small or large platters  - $5.50 – $13.00
  • Talapia (broiled -2 pieces), served with rice and made with basil, tomatoes, garlic and lemon- $9.50
  • Thai Beef Salad with lettuce and kale, tomato, red onion, yellow onion, cucumber, basil  -  $8.50
  • Salad Plain or with Salad  toppers (shrimp, salmon, Tilapia) or  choice of dressing  - $2.50 – $6.50
  • Tropical Sunrise Smoothie – Almond milk, pineapple, banana, oranges, grapefruit juice – $4.75
  • Kya’s House Cherry Lemonade – $2.50

Website: Seaverdes.blogspot.com
Facebook: Sea Verdes
Twitter: @SeaVerdesPDX

Phone: 503-933-5251

Email: seaverdesllc@yahoo.com

ChickPeaDX

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ChickPeaDX

ChickPeaDX

Location: 6550 N Interstate Ave
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 11am-7pm; weekends, 11am-4pm

The Story: I love telling people about the diversity of cuisine here in Portland’s street food scene. At the food carts throughout town, you can enjoy falafel from every country in the Middle East and beyond. Everyone does it different. Now we have a local falafel maker – let’s call it a NW falafel. ChickPeaDX is now open in North Portland.

Yair Maidan opened ChickPeaDX this summer in the parking lot of Home Brew Exchange on N Interstate, just north of Rosa Parks blvd. The neighborhood has few options for falafel, so I know I’m excited to have him. Yair, originally from Florida, was lured to Portland to participate in our ever evolving food scene. He worked behind the scenes in some of the city’s best restaurants before launching his food cart this year. The goal is to highlight the chickpea, the primary ingredient in falafel. Yair informed me that a majority of the country’s chickpeas come from just north of us in Washington, so why not leverage the locality of them.

Falafel Sandwich from ChickPeaDX

Falafel Sandwich from ChickPeaDX

ChickPeaDX’s menu starts and ends with falafel. He blends the chickpeas with fresh herbs and his own secret spice mix. It is up to you to decide how you want to enjoy it, whether on a pita, a salad or sandwich. When I learned he sourced his sandwich buns from An Xuyen Bakery, the decision was made. The falafel sandwich comes with fried eggplant, carrot ribbons, tomato cucumber salad, shredded cabbage and the falafel. Yair also has his own sauces – Amba, a spicy pickled mango sauce, Tahini – a rich sesame seed sauce and Zhuq, a fiery Yemeni herbal condiment. I dove in, the flakey bread was a great way to enjoy the soft and flavorful falafel with all the freshness of the vegetables. Each bite enjoyable. The Zhug sauce in small amounts added a kick you sometimes crave. Yair had made a great falafel.

ChickPeaDX is open Wednesday- unday. You can get lunch or dinner during the week. There is seating on the lot, so you don’t have to leave. Sit and enjoy your meal. Next time you have a craving for falafel, check them out and let Yair know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All dishes come with handmade falafel, tomato cucumber salad, carrot ribbons, fried eggplant and shredded cabbage.

  • Pita – $6
  • Salad – $7
  • Sandwich – $8.50

Website: ChickPeaDX.com
Facebook: ChickPeaDX
Twitter: @ChickPeaDX

Garden Monsters

Lizzy Caston
Garden Monsters

Garden Monsters

Location: NE 15th and Alberta, West side
Hours: Tues-Sat 11am -8pm, Sun 11:30am – 7pm, Closed Mondays

The Story: Maybe it’s this spring weather tease, but I’ve found myself craving fresh, full meal salads lately. Not some lettuce thrown on a plate with some ranch dressing many restaurants pass off as “salads”. No, we’re talking the kind of salads that will fill you up for the afternoon, but unlike say, eating a Double Royale with Cheese burger, don’t make you feel too heavy afterwards.

The concept of Garden Monsters is simple, fun, and makes for an interesting menu. You can pick from one of their signature salads such as the Paul Bunyon with grilled chicken or steak, lettuces, a ton of veggies, garlic croutons and choice of dressing. Or, the Loc Ness Monster - Grilled Salmon or Grilled Shrimp,  Lettuces, Water Chestnuts, Dried Cranberries, Red Onion, Grape Tomatoes, Lemon Wedge,  Garlic Black Pepper Almonds. WOWZA!

There’s also their “Build Your Own Monster”:  pick a base salad, add on toppings, and one of their many housemade dressings. Salads can be made vegetarian, vegan, almost all are Gluten Free.  You can choose a bowl salad, or if you’d like turn it into a giant wrap sandwich. Offerings are wide and varied and made to order. Genius! Garden Monsters tells their story so well in their own words on their website, I’ll just let them do the talking:

My name is Kyle Hulings, Founder of Garden Monsters. For years I have been turning salad into a meal, loading my bowl with a vast array of meats, veggies, cheeses and dressings.  All to often I felt that the only way to really get my money’s worth was to make it at home, as time and time again I found myself overpaying for a tiny, bland, three-day-old and all-around weak salad.

I am also often faced with the challenge of coordinating meals and eating out with several of my close friends and family members, as many if not most have dietary needs. Some are sensitive to gluten, others dairy, countless varieties of low carb and low calorie diets, vegetarians, vegans, Celiacs and the list goes on. I dreamt of a place where anyone could eat at, without sacrificing taste, and with the body’s needs kept in mind. These experiences helped me develop Garden Monsters’ core values.

We wish to inspire healthier eating in the fast service food industry, to prove that taste doesn’t have to come deep fried, to grow and strengthen ties with the local community, and to epitomize the eco-friendly revolution. You wont find a deep fryer, microwave or freezer in our carts. We use organic and 100% natural ingredients from local resources whenever possible. All of our to go containers are completely recyclable and we compost nearly all of our waste setting a new standard for quick service food destinations. Guilt free never tasted so good.

Right on, Garden Monsters! Crunch-Crunch. Munch-Munch!

(Note, Garden Monsters will be moving to NE 15th Alberta in the Alberta Food Coop’s parking lot on April 9th)

Sample Menu:
  • The Colossal Cobb - Roasted Turkey, Roasted Ham, Bacon Chunks, Romaine & Iceberg Lettuce, Bleu Crumbles, Cage-Free Hard Boiled Eggs, Black Olives, Grape Tomatoes, Garlic Croutons and your choice of dressing. We recommend our Signature Avocado Ranch – $8. No Meat- $5.50
  • The Sumo – Grilled Chicken, Romaine Lettuce & Green Cabbage, Mandarin Wedges, Shaved Carrots, our Signature Garlic Black Pepper Almonds, Asian Noodles, Sliced Water Chestnuts, Green Onion, and your choice of dressing. We recommend our Signature Sesame Ginger – $7.25 . No Meat- $5.25
  • Build Your Own Monster (prices vary): Bowl or all-flour white or spinach “wrap” – Choice of Lettuces and greens, 4 free toppings from a variety of: veggies, fruits, “crunches” (croutons, Asian Noodles, Sunflower seeds, and more), cheeses, meats, and other additions such as black beans, water chestnuts. chopped egg, avocado, roasted baby red potatoes, and more. Vegan toppings: vegan chicken, vegan steak, vegan cheeses, tofu.
  • Homemade Dressings:  Blue Cheese, Buttermilk Ranch, Avocado Ranch, Creamy Italian, Light Italian (v,df), Sante Fe Ranch, 10,000 Island, Sesame Ginger (v,df), Honey Mustard, Caesar,  Creamy Balsamic, Balsamic Vinaigrette (v,df), Oil and Vinegar (v,df), Sweet’n’Spicy Sesame Ginger Balsamic (v,df). – v= vegan, df = dairy free.

Website: www.gardenmonsters.net

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