Pig ‘N A Pen

sandwich food cart portland

Pig ‘N A Pen

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy – Rose City Food Park
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11-9; Sat, 12-9; Sun, 12-7

The Story: The Midwest. Having grown up on the west coast with parents from the midwest, I’m tangentially aware of the cuisine of Minnesota – ham, potatoes, dishes influenced by Germans and Norwegians – yet that’s about it. Other than KC BBQ or Chicago Pizza, the midwest is a bit of a black hole. Yet, with Pig ‘N A Pen, new cart at Rose City Food Park, we get their take on a midwestern delight – the breaded pork tenderloin.

sandwich food cart Portland

Hoosier Style

Pig ‘N A Pen opened late summer at the NE Portland pod offering up a broad menu of midwestern sandwiches. Focusing primarily on pork tenderloin, the traditional is breaded in crackermeal and cornmeal or try it seasoned and seared on the flattop. Jerry’s Way offers up the tenderloin with pickles and yellow mustard. The Hoosier Style, which I enjoyed, is Iowa simple with traditional tenderloin topped with American cheese, shredded cabbage and served on a Franz bun. The sandwich was huge with the breaded tenderloin overflowing the bun – flavorful and filling. The side of seasonal broccoli salad added depth to the entire meal.

Pig ‘N A Pen is now open daily for lunch and dinner at Rose City Food Park. Get your midwestern fix and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu can be found on their website.

Facebook: Pig ‘N A Pen
Website: Pignapen.squarespace.com

Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish

fried fish food cart portland

Grandpa Jimmy’s

Location: NE 76th and Glisan
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11-2:30 and 4:30-8, Sat, 12-8pm

The Story: Been to the south lately? Enjoyed some fried catfish maybe? I haven’t and needless to say, I crave it. Lucky for me, I stumbled upon Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish, a new food cart over on NE Glisan serving up such delights.

Grandpa Jimmy’s opened only a month ago and according to the owner of the neighboring taproom, had been selling out daily. Yes, Grandpa Jimmy’s sits next door to Hillbilly’s Growler Fill Station, so you can pair your fried fish dish with a nice quaffable brew. Andre, the owner and chef of Grandpa Jimmy’s, has put together a great menu for the neighborhood. Baskets or dinner plates with either fried tilapia, halibut or catfish. A sampler is also available so one can enjoy all three. As for sides, try the deep fried okra or southern greens with smoked turkey. True taste pleasers.

On the cool, damp day I visited, fried catfish with fresh cut fries, tangy coleslaw and a dinner roll sounded just about the perfect lunch. With an IPA by my side, I dove in to the lightly breaded and boldly seasoned catfish which fell apart on the fork. Mix in a fry here and there and trail with the coleslaw. The perfect lunch for a Wednesday. I’ll definitely return for the sampler or maybe even the greens on the weekend.

fried fish food cart portland

Fried Catfish from Grandpa Jimmy’s

On Grandpa Jimmy’s Facebook, Andre has posted some weekly specials and a photo of him and Grandpa Jimmy, so beyond the printed menu, there will be other treats. NE Glisan is coming alive with new establishments every week, so next time you’re over that way, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Deep Fried Catfish – basket, $8; dinner, $12
  • Tilapia – $7/9
  • Halibut – $15/20
  • “Jimmy” Sampler – a piece of each fish – $13
  • The Jimmy Sandwich – choice of shrimp, tilapia, catfish or chicken – $6 or $9
  • Grilled Jumbo Prawns – $8
  • Sides range from $3-6

Facebook: Grandpa Jimmy’s

Straits Kitchen

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

southwest food cart portland

MF Tasty

Location: N Mississippi and Beech
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

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