Carter’s Cart

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bbq food cart portland

Carter’s Cart on HWY 30

Location: 5885 NW St. Helen’s Road, Out off HWY 30
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm

The Story:

Smoke meats get me excited. BBQ. Pulled Pork. Ribs. Brisket. It takes a special talent and sometimes years in the smoke to master a good char and keep things juicy. Carter’s Cart out off Highway 30 is one of the few food carts in Portland serving up superb smoked meats.

Carter’s Cart is located in the parking lot of Anderson’s Roofing Company on HWY 30 between the industrial zone and St. Johns Bridge and offers up covered seating for you to enjoy your sandwich. The menu includes traditional smoked meat items like tri-tip, house rubbed pulled pork and brisket. Sides include salads, slaws and baked beans. On any given day, they offer up a rotating hot soup and even specials. Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi on a ciabatta was the special of the day I visited, but I opted for a more traditional sando, a Tri-Tip Cheesesteak. Carter’s cheesesteak arrives with smoke tri-tip chopped up and mixed with sautéed bell peppers and onions with melted Havarti atop. That glorious mix is then served on a toasted hoagie with chimichurri and Serrano aioli. Let the sandwich sit for a sec to let the Havarti pull everything together then dive in. The mix of the herb heavy chimichurri, spicy Serrano aioli AND smoked beef is divine. A great find.

bbq food cart portland

Tri-Tip Cheesesteak from Carter’s Cart

Carter’s Cart is open Tuesday-Friday from 10-6pm and offers covered seating so you don’t have to return to the office so quickly. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tri-Tip Cheesesteak – $8 or $10 with sides
  • Carter Cubano – smoked pork, pickles, mustard aioli, spicy capicola and Havarti grilled on a hoagie – $8 or $10 with sides.
  • Sides – $2 – Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Side Salad, Cucumber Salad
  • Full Menu on Website

Website: CartersCartPdx.com
Facebook: Carter’s Cart

Paper Bag Pizza

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pizza food cart portland

Paper Bag Pizza

Location: SE 28th Pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, lunch and dinner

The Story: A few years ago, I distinctly remember trying my first wood fired pizza from a food cart. John Eads’ handbuilt Pyro Pizza at Cartopia began slinging these amazing pies from an oven glowing at 900 degrees. Revolutionary to this kid who grew up on Pizza Hut and other corporate ‘za. Paper Bag Pizza took over one of John’s carts at Tidbit this past year, keeping tastebuds from resting.

Paper Bag Pizza is the work of Tom Daly and Emily Goodman and their family, Tom’s been there the times I’ve visited and is always welcoming even if he is simultaneously stoking the fire, making a fresh pie or pulling one out. I bet when it is busier on the weekends, having an extra hand helps. Everything is made to order, no pizza is sitting there waiting to be warmed, that is the glory of the wood fired oven. It only takes a few minutes to make and then bake the pie. As with any pizza joint, you can create your own with a mix of sausages, veggies and cheeses or pick one of their creations. I myself feel the pizza maker is smarter than me with flavor combinations, so I opted for the #1 with sausage, roasted garlic, Calabrian chili, fresh mozzarella atop a tomato sauce. Boom! Each slice, divine. Thin, charred crust, Neapolitan style. Acidic tomato sauce that complements the sausage and cheese so well. Nothing over the top, balanced just right. Trust me, there were no leftovers.

pizza food cart portland

Paper Bag Pizza

Paper Bag Pizza is the real deal and offers a wide range of toppings for you to make something special. This past week they had fresh asparagus and basil. Open Wednesday to Sunday at Tidbit, head on down, enjoy a pie and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

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Website: PaperBagPizza.com
Facebook: Paper Bag Pizza

O-Bros Osteria

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sandwich food cart portland

O-Bros’ Osteria

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Lunch, weekdays

The Story: A well made sandwich is my crutch. No matter where I am, I’m drawn to sandwiches in all forms. My g0-to is a tuna melt, yet every now and then, I treat myself to a good old fashioned sub. A new cart on SW 10th and Alder here in Portland has brought Italian subs to the eaters downtown. O-Bros’ Osteria is now open.

O-Bros’ Osteria opened in March in the corner cart right on 10th and Alder which has seen vendors over the years sell frozen yogurt, bagels and Asian cuisine. While some may think the cart or location is cursed, I think it needed the right vendor to wow us and O-Bros’ has done that. Having visited now three different times, I gotta say they offer up one of my favorite Italian style subs in town. The Classic Spicy, a sandwich I would put in my desert island package, starts with a toasted hoagie roll, mayo and mustard then layered with ham, salami, pepperoni and parm and topped with chopped lettuce, tomato, and onion. To finish off this masterpiece of Italian culinary genius, they throw in a handful of spicy chopped peppers. Each bite, an explosion of wondrous, gluttonous, delight. Layers of thinly sliced meats melded with the spicy pepper and a bit of mustard on each bite – delightful. I have returned for other sandwiches and each has a special place in my taste memory.

sandwich food cart portland

Classic Spicy from O-Bros’ Osteria

O-Bros’ Osteria is open daily for lunch and offers a broad menu of Italian sub sandwiches along with soups, salads and pasta. If you’re craving a solid old school sub, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

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Straits Kitchen

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Malaysian food cart portland

Straits Kitchen

Location: SE 11th and Tacoma – Piknik Park
Hours: Tuesday, 11am-2pm; Thursday-Monday, 11am-7pm

The Story: Malaysian street food in Portland. Until this past month, when asked, I would have to tell people we don’t have the region well represented. Straits Kitchen hit the street running with a new food cart at a new pod down in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood and we’re excited.

Straits Kitchen gets its name from the western coast of Malaysia, specifically the port cities of Malacca and Penang. The cuisine is influenced by the Baba-Nyonya, also known as Straits Chinese. Centuries ago, native Chinese arrived in the region, marrying Malay women and creating an entire new heritage of flavor and color. A blend of Malay and Chinese. Chef Angie, born and raised in Malaysia, brings traditional dishes to Portland, along with creating some fusion of her own. I’ve personally been seeking out dishes from my travels in SE Asia and found them at this cart.

malaysian food cart portland

Left – Inche Kabin Wings; Right – Roti Babi Sandwich

The menu offers a number of dishes for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Small bites include Roti Babi – shredded braised pork, soy sauce, cinnamon and star anise served on a mini baguette with chili sauce and pickled cucumbers. A tasty little sandwich with bright flavors. Perfect for sharing. The Inche Kabin, Nyonya fried chicken wings, are marvelous. Spicy marinated chicken wings fried and served with a soy-lime-jalapeno dipping sauce. If you’re wanting to try multiple flavors, go for more dishes at lower prices. Bowls inlude a spicy pickled salad with pickled vegetables, chili, spices and served with tovu, bean sprouts and more. Straits Kitchen even has Laksa Lemak, a spicy coconut curry and one of my favorite dishes.

Straits Kitchen crushed it on my first visit and I plan to return. A cart I will recommend to colleagues, not just for great dishes, but for the breadth of flavors. Open every day but Wednesday, plan a visit. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample menu (full menu on website):

  • Loh Bak – five spice pork roll – $5
  • Roti Babi – $6
  • Inche Kabin – $6
  • Acar Salad – $4 or $7
  • Laksa Lemak – $10

Website: StraitsKitchen.com
Facebook: Straits Kitchen
Twitter: @StraitsKitchPDX

MF Tasty

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southwest food cart portland

MF Tasty

Location: 3927 N Williams Ave
Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-8pm

The Story: The Mississippi Historical District offers up more than a few amazing culinary gems, both in brick and mortar and street food. You think you’ve enjoyed it all when a new maverick arrives and shakes things up. The other night, at the Beech Pod, we dove in to MF Tasty, a new food cart offering up southwest inspired dishes.

southwest food cart portland

Garbanzo and Greens

MF Tasty started as a secret supper club in Phoenix by owners Nicole and Eric. A menu would be posted and only those who reserved spots were given the secret location and, viola, dinner. After garnering a following, Nicole and Eric decided they wanted to invest in themselves and Portland beckoned. While the menu is southwest inspired, Eric sources local and blends the two, creating amazing offerings from the small kitchen.

Eric put together a great menu of sandwiches, salads and specials. The evening we visited, Shrimp Ceviche took up the mantel. Shrimp tossed in chipotle-tomato broth with onions, apple, herbs and lime. Served with cabbage slaw and tortilla chips, the ceviche was devoured by all at the table. A bit spicy from the chipotle, yet the citrus balanced it all out. The Garbanzo and Greens salad spoke to me for a healthy Friday night nosh. Sautéed spinach, kale and smashed garlic mixed with garbanzo beans and a special spice blend. Add in marinated mushrooms for an extra bit of umph. This is the greens I try and make at home on a regular basis, so it was wonderful to have someone with more skill on the grill provide me with some new options. Everything we tried we enjoyed. I can’t wait to return for the Cemita Sandwich.

MF Tasty raised the bar for street food on Mississippi, yet the Beech Pod has always offered up dishes and cuisine to rival many of the restaurants on the street. Next time you’re up that way, drop on by and try some of Eric’s magic and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Cemita Sandwich – Achiote glazed pork for $9 or KBBQ marinated mushroom for $8
  • Garbanzo and Greens – $6
  • Tortilla Espanol – Spanish frittata of potato, smoked poblanos, caramelized onion and egg – $6

Website: MFTasty.com
Facebook: MF Tasty

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