Mahi Taco

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fish taco food cart portland

Mahi Taco in Portland

Location: NE 7th and Killingsworth at Piedmont Station
Hours: Mon-Wed, 12-3; Fri-Sun, 12-8:30pm

The Story: Piedmont Station continues to impress with their selection of street food vendors. With the addition of Mahi Taco, Portland can now enjoy Hawaiian style fish tacos from a food cart.

Mahi Taco plates up Hawaiian comfort food with a nod to Baja with grilled fish tacos and a few Hawaiian favorites. Upon arrival, the ubiquitous crossed surfboard logo sold me. A grilled flour tortilla is the base with cabbage, pico de gallo, lime sauce and Colby cheese as toppings. Mahi Taco offers grilled Mahi, chicken, kalua pork or fried avocado. With a nod to Hawaii, I picked the plate lunch with two Mahi tacos, a side of cilantro lime rice and mac salad. For $8, a generous plate of food. The tacos didn’t disappoint with charitable pieces of grilled Mahi superbly enveloped with cabbage, pico and sauce, I feasted. I’m excited to return one day to devour the kalua pork sliders.

fish taco food cart portland

Mahi Tacos from Mahi Taco

Mahi Taco is located at Piedmont Station on NE Killingsworth. The lot offers covered and heated seating, a kid’s play area and Le Tap, pouring beer, cider and wine. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Menu: 
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Facebook: Mahi Taco
Twitter: @MahiTacoPDX

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Pastrami Zombie

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sandwich food cart potland

Pastrami Zombie Food Truck

Location: 5427 NE 42nd and Killingsworth
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-7, Sunday, 11-4

The Story: To execute an iconic sandwich in this town, you need attitude. Pastrami Zombie crafts one of the best pastrami sandwiches in Portland and they do it in a food truck.

Pastrami Zombie was born in Ashland by Melissa McMillan who garnered national attention for her restaurant Sammish. Opened in 2016, the food truck found a home at NE 42nd and Killingsworth in the lot next to Pollo Norte restaurant. Melissa, a die hard Chicago sports fan, wears the colors proudly and will engage on the subject with anyone listening. I had the joy of watching the Cubs win a World Series game with Melissa and it was exciting to see her passion. That passion is shown in the sandwiches she creates.

sandwich food cart portland

Pastrami Sandwich from Pastrami Zombie Food Truck

Pastrami Zombie, by namesake alone, knows their beef. The pastrami is Montreal style with beef brined for a few days, smoked with oak, then thick cut. The sandwich – two slices of Grand Central rye with thick cut pastrami, Swiss, slaw, dressing and for mine, mustard – is a beast and delight. Melissa crushed it. Each bite, a mess of beef, slaw, dressing dripping down your chin. A sandwich you’ll dream about returning for.

Pastrami Zombie is legit. The menu isn’t only pastrami. The Zombie also dishes up tuna, a burger and grilled cheese along with daily specials. Enjoy a beer from Pollo Norte while you dive in. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Moved to Mississippi Marketplace in 2017

Menu on Website

Website: PastramiZombie.com
Facebook: Pastrami Zombie

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

Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish

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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

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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

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