La Camel

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Moroccan food cart Portland

La Camel

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11am-4:30pm

The Story: Ever eaten at a Moroccan restaurant? Sitting on pillows on the floor with friends and a huge spread of deliciousness. Now Portlanders can experience that from a food cart – La Camel.

La Camel opened last year in a cart that had seen many vendors over the years. Karim Baziou grew up in Morocco working in the family catering business and coffee shop. He continued to call the culinary industry his home when he came to the U.S. with roles ranging from chef to manager to caterer. His memories of the diverse North African influence that makes Moroccan cuisine so famous and delicious drove him to launch the cart.

La Camel offers an impressive menu and if you don’t necessarily know what a dish is, Karim has photos. Moroccan Couscous –  vegetarian or with marinated chicken. A Moroccan lamb sandwich with roasted peppers on a french roll. Seafood Paella and even a Casablanca Cheese Steak Sandwich with lamb. So many options, how does one chose. I lucked out. While trying to decide, a fellow eater definitively ordered the Moroccan Kefta Tajine. Sold! When someone else is laser focused on a dish, it must be good. Moroccan seasoned kefta (seasoned beef meatballs) in a rich tomato sauce with fresh chopped white onion, olives and topped with two fried eggs, cheese crumbles and chopped parsley. The dish is served with a fresh baked garlic french roll. Each bite blew me away. I don’t have the words to describe the breadth of flavors – salty, crisp, garlicky, creamy. Mixing in the egg with a bit of garlic bread and sauce sent me over the edge. One of the best meals from a food cart I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.

Moroccan food cart Portland

Moroccan Kefta Tagine

When I look over the menu, I begin to crave each dish and can’t wait for the opportunity to return and try each and every one. La Camel is located on SW 9th between Alder and Washington and Karim opens daily for lunch. Next time you’re in a rut and want to experience some great new dishes, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (full menu on website)

  • Vegetarian Spanish Paella – saffron rice, smoked paprika, green beans, white beans and peas in a white wine sauce – $8
  • Chicken Spanish Paella – $9
  • Moroccan Couscous Beet Salad – $7.75
  • Moroccan Kefta Tajine – $8.75
  • Moroccan Lamb Sandwich – $8.75
  • Warm Chicken Salad – $8.75

Website: LaCamel.com

Maine Street Lobster Company

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Maine Street Lobster Company Portland

Maine Street Lobster Company Portland

Location: SE 82nd and Harney, Cartlandia
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30-7:30; Sun, 12-5

The Story: The Pacific Northwest has some amazing seafood – salmon, fresh lake trout, dungeness crab, oysters, geoduck – you name it, we got it and we love it. What we don’t have is lobster, one of the most famous seafood dishes in the nation. When people spy it on a menu, they pounce. Others ship it in from afar for special dinners. Now, from the glory of a food cart, you can get Maine lobster prepared a few different ways. I give you Maine Street Lobster Company.

Maine Street Lobster Company is located at Cartlandia in SE Portland along with a number of other vendors and a beer garden. Owners Cathy and David came to Portland this summer from Georgia which explains the po’ boys on the menu. They knew they wanted to open a food cart in Portland, so packed up their gear and headed west. It was along the route they brainstormed and came up with the lobster concept and menu. Trained chefs who know their way around a kitchen, they wanted to do something no one else was doing. Seafood isn’t that well represented throughout the city, especially the storied lobster, so here we are. Maine Street Lobster Company was born and brings in lobster overnight on a regular basis. David joked, “UPS is pretty awesome for that.”

Lobster Roll from Maine Street Lobster

Lobster Roll from Maine Street Lobster

At the cart, you can enjoy lobster bisque or clam chowder to warm you up or go right for the lobster in the form of hot or chilled roll or po’ boy style. I chose traditional – Maine Lobster Roll – hot and buttery with lobster sauteed in butter, lemon and herbs atop a buttery toasted New England style split top bun. Buttah! Such a beautiful presentation and lousy with flavor. Lobster is one of those seafoods you feel guilty enjoying. The bacon of the seas. I wanted to save part of the sandwich to share, but couldn’t put it down. It is best enjoyed hot.

Maine Street Lobster joins a small group of vendors in town serving an item no one else has. If you’re a lobster fan, you need to visit Cathy and David and drench yourself in butter. Open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Maine Street Lobster Roll – $14
  • Down East Lobster Roll – lobster chilled in light mayo and herb dressing served on New England split top bun – $14
  • Lobster Slider – hot or chilled – $5
  • Po’ Boy – with our without lobster – $10-14
  • New England Clam Chowder – $5-7
  • Lobster Bisque – $6-8

Website: MaineStreetLobsterCompany.com
Facebook: Maine Street Lobster Company
Twitter: @MaineStLobster

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