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.

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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.

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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

The Dancing Bear Coffee Company

dieselboi

Location: SE 82nd and Harney, Cartlandia
Hours: daily, morning to lunch

Coffee, espresso, smoothies

Moberi

dieselboi
Moberi

Moberi

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30-7pm

The Story: I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s when it seemed everyone I knew was introduced to juicing through home shopping and infomercials. These days, juicing and smoothies are a way of life for many as a great way to combine numerous items and drink it down quick. There are international franchise restaurants who focus solely on juices and smoothies. Moberi, a cart that focuses on healthy smoothies and fresh juices does it a bit different than you local juice mart – he blends with a bike.

Ryan Carpenter opened Moberi this past summer with a location at Green Castle and roaming around to different events and street fairs. I first tried his wares at Last Thursday on Alberta when the sun was still out. He has a vintage Schwinn stationary exercise bike setup with a bike blender which uses the wheel to blend the smoothies. No electric Cuisinart here. And, when you meet Ryan, you’ll see he gets a good workout from making smoothies. Riding a bike and making smoothies all day isn’t a bad gig.

Powered by Bike!

Powered by Bike!

On the menu at Moberi are fruit smoothies, protein shakes and vegetable and fruit juices. How does raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, Greek yogurt and agave sound? Or maybe carrot, apple and ginger to boost your immune system? Ryan’s got you covered. On the cold rainy day I visited, I needed some fruit, so he made me the DeLorean with strawberry, banana and mango. With strawberries from this summer’s local harvest you could taste that Oregon sweetness and remember a warmer time. Such a simple drink with so much flavor. And healthy!

Moberi is at Rose City Food Park now, but still has his mobile gear ready to go to bring his smoothies to your next event. Drop on by for a bike powered smoothie or juice and let Ryan know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Smoothies – 16oz, $5.75

  • Moberi – raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, agave
  • Turtle Power – kale, spinach, green apple, mango, banana, ginger
  • Uncle Jesse – strawberry, mint, avocado, dates, coconut milk

Protein Shakes – 16oz, $6

  • Peanut Butter Cup – whey protein, peanut butter, organic chocolate, banana
  • One Night in Bangkok – whey protein, peanut butter, banana, coconut milk, sesame oil, sriracha

Juice – 10oz, $4; 16oz $6.50

  • Affordable Healthcare – carrot, apple, ginger
  • Trampled by Turtles – kale, cucumber, celery, green apple, lime ginger
  • Eat to the Beet – carrot, beet, apple, lemon, ginger

Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30-7pm
Website: Moberi.com
Facebook: Moberi
Twitter: @MoberiSmoothies

The Cultured Caveman

Lizzy Caston

Location: NE 15th and Alberta (Alberta15 “mini pod”)
Hours:
Mon – Sun, 11am-8pm

The Story: Meet my new friend, The Cultured Caveman.  I almost wrote this write-up in the voice of my new cavemen friend: “Me caveman, me eat like my ancient ancestors from the Stone Age. Me eat meat, but only organic, grass fed meat. Me like vegetables and fruits. Me eat Paleo Diet rich in fiber, antioxidants, protein. Me healthy”.  But, I figured you all would smack me upside the head if I did a whole write up like that, so I’ll cut it out and get to the heart of this cart instead.

The Cultured Caveman focuses on foods found in the popular Paleo Diet. In case you aren’t up on the info, Wikipedia describes the Paleolithic Diet as:

The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. In common usage, such terms as the “Paleolithic diet” also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.

Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

The health benefits of the Paleo Diet are debated amongst nutritionists and health nuts alike, but those who love eating this way really love it, and a whole cuisine has developed around “Caveman Cuisine”. Yes, it’s more than just a handful of wild berries, and some road kill cooked over a fire, as this spiffy cart on Alberta St. can attest.

Food at the Cultured Caveman is indeed elevated: Grass Fed All Meat Chili; Paleo Chicken “Tenders” breaded in coconut flour; hearty salads; and perfectly crisp French Fries fried in beef tallow are just some of the treats found here.

All Meat Chili

All Meat Chili

I dined on a very thick, very satisfying cup of beef chili (no beans in this chili for the Paleos!), as well as a kale salad bursting with ginger and carrots. It was a hearty meal that left me feeling full but not heavy. I’ll be back.

The food here is made with care and the owners Heather and Joe are working hard to make this a truly professional cart with excellent quality and customer service to match. Sometimes it feels like there are a billion food carts nowadays, and sometimes it’s hard to stand out from the pack. The Cultured Caveman has a niche in the Paleo Diet crowd, for sure. Although it is a beef focused cart (all fried foods are fried in beef tallow), they do have vegan offerings. Some are even gluten free and/or raw for those on those diets as well.  But, the quality of their food shows this is a cuisine for more than just Cavemen and Cavewomen. This is food for folks who simply like good eats.

 Sample Menu:

  • All Meat Grass Fed Chili – $5
  • Paleo Chicken Tenders – local chicken breast, breaded with coconut flour and fried in 100% grass fed beef tallow – 2 for $4
  • Ginger Carrot Kale Salad – $3
  • Rainbow Fries – shoestring russet, purple and sweet potatoes fried in 100% grass fed beef tallow – $4
Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am-8pm
Phone:
Unknown
Website:
CulturedCavemanPDX.com
Facebook:
CulturedCavemanPDX
Twitter:
@cavemancart

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Cornucopia Joe’s

dieselboi
Cornucopia Joe's

Cornucopia Joe's

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont – Good Food Here
Hours: daily and weekend, lunch into dinner hours

The Story:

Need some pizza? How about some farm fresh veggies? Cornucopia Joe’s has both.

Located at one of Portland’s premier food cart pods, Cornucopia Joe’s offers up fresh hand made pizza along with having a small market selling fresh local vegetables from his farm. Referred to as farmer Joe, he is truly a presence at the pod when he is there. Many a time, Joe has magnanimously rushed over to shake my hand and welcome me to the lot and even bring me one of his fresh smoothies when we’ve been there shooting an episode of one food show or another. Such a kind and generous individual.

Margerita from Cornucopia Joe's

Margerita from Cornucopia Joe's

At Cornucopia Joe’s, they have fresh hand made pizzas along with calzones, smoothies and juices. I could eat pizza daily of someone made it fresh for me; I’m that kinda of eater. The pizza at Joe’s isn’t perfectly round which tells me some love went into it. Add on a great sauce, fresh tomatoes, some Mozzarella and basil and you have the Margarita – a favorite in summer and a gem if found year around. We devoured it and put it on our list of go to pizza carts for the future.

Cornucopia Joe’s has made Good Food Here its home and I’m happy they continue to succeed. Come spring, keep an eye out for the fresh veggie and fruit stand. Drop on by, grab a pie and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Pizzas come in three different sizes ranging from $7-$16 depending on size and style

  • Cheese – tomato sauce, cheese, Italian spices
  • Meat – tomato sauce, choice of pepperoni, Canadian bacon, meatball, sausage or chicken
  • Muffuletta – fresh roasted peppers, artichoke, minced olives, garlic, feta, Mozzarella
  • Vegan – tomato sauce, vegan sausage, vegan Mozzarella, pesto sauce

Hours: daily and weekend, lunch into dinner hours
Phone:
503 840 5282

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