The 9 Food & Drink

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Indian food cart portland

The 9

Location: SE MLK and Stark, Central Eastside Food Cart Lot
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:30am-7:30pm; Saturday, noon-5

The Story: Portland has a number of Indian food carts – Taste of India, Real Taste of India, Indian Taste, Best Taste of India, yet when someone new comes along, with a catchy new name, they make the news. The 9, which serves a mix of Indian and Southeast Asian, has been making the rounds of everyone’s top food cart, so I decided to check it out.

Indian Food Cart Portland

Biryani from The 9

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Singapore. The farthest west (or east depending on how you perceive it) from home I’ve reached. Singapore boasts an culturally diverse food scene, which includes a large population of Indians. In Little India, I discovered cuisines, flavors and aromas I hadn’t seen before. Sitting at a Hawker market (their version of street food centers,) I spotted a young man devouring a pile of rice with chicken and veggies served atop a banana leaf with his hands. Biriyani. It became a go to dish for me when wandering the city. Fast forward to July in Portland and I’ve tried some of the biriyani offered at the carts, yet none have impressed me as what The 9 offered. The owners describe the cart as a mix of Indian and Asian, which bodes well for my first visit. The chicken biryani, a bed of moist stir fried rice topped with succulent chicken and fried scallions. On the side, a sweet chicken stock influenced by Thai and Burmese flavors. While offered a fork, I old-schooled it and ate freestyle, tearing off bits of chicken between my fingers and mixing them with the rice and filling my mouth. Simply the best. The broth. What can I say about the broth? I wish I could eat that every day – an elixir of spices and herbs. This is the biryani you’ve been waiting for in Portland.

The 9 is a gem. The Oregonian put them on their top 10 list for 2015 and I can’t agree more. Matthew Korfhage of the Willamette Week, one of my new favorite food writers in the city, jumped for joy after taking his first bite. I’m so glad to see them getting the press. As Matthew stated, go to this cart and spend money. Keep them here! Drop on by next time you’re in SE Portland and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
  • Vegetable Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
  • Roti and Curry – 2 pieces of wheat flour pan-fried bread with house made curry and choice of chicken or tofu – $7
  • Plain Roti – $1.50

Facebook: The 9

Kelvin’s Döner Kebab

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Turkish food cart Portland

Kelvin’s Doner Kebab

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Daily, lunch

The Story: Portland loves their kebab. Visit downtown any given night and numerous vendors are slinging pita filled with sliced meats, veggies and sauces and eaters are eager to indulge. Kelvin’s Döner Kebab is a new food cart featuring the traditional Turkish delight.

Döner is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie made from lamb with a mix of veal, beef or chicken. The purveyor slices off thin bits and fills a pita. At Kelvin’s Döner Kebab, the traditional sandwich is complimented by wraps, salads and even döner atop fries with cheese crumbles. The Döner Kebab I enjoyed started with fresh pita, a fistful of döner, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and then the sauces. Hot sauce, tzatziki sauce, yogurt sauce. I love big sandwiches and Kelvin’s didn’t disappoint. More than a few people on the sidewalk stopped me in astonishment asking where I secured such a huge amount of food. The döner, succulent and salty, mixed with the veggies and sauce melded together perfectly within the fresh pita. One of the best pitas I’ve enjoyed too. Love local sourcing. Turkish food cart Portland
Kelvin’s Döner Kebab is open daily for lunch and into the afternoon hours or until they sell out. Next time you’re up for something new, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Döner Kebab – $6.50
  • Durum – a Döner wrap – $6.50
  • Döner Box – Döner over fries – $7
  • Döner Plate – with fries and salad – $10
  • Döner Salad – $6-8

Phone: 971 563 2511

Oregon Made Grub

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Sandwich food cart portland

Oregon Made Grub

Location: NW 19th and Quimby at Q19
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm

The Story: Put together a thoughful, yet simple menu of both hot and cold sandwiches and you have Oregon Made Grub, a new addition to the Q19 food cart lot in Slabtown.

Oregon Made Grub launched earlier this year in another great creation by PDX Cart Builders. The cedar paneled carts are becoming de rigeur for new vendors who want something classy and unique. Since Oregon Made Grub works to keep it local, presenting their fare from what could be seen as modern log cabin nails it. I met owner Kyrsten Schenck back in November when she participated in one of our food cart tours. I immediately realized she was interested in learning as much as she could about the scene and lo and behold, a few months later, she launched her cart. Oregon Made Grub focuses on sandwiches and soups. Sourcing as many ingredients as possible locally, Kyrsten creates amazing creations in the little box that is the food cart. Hot sammis include roast beef, pork tenderloin and my favorite, the tuna melt. Cold sammis include bacon and brie, an herbed cream cheese wrap with shredded carrot and oven roasted tomatoes or a chicken and kale caesar wrap. The tuna melt on toasted Dave’s Killer Break, my favorite sandwich by far, crushed me. A bit of melted cheese oozed out to crisp up from the grill. The tuna was fresh and creamy. Dave’s batch that day was top notch. A wonderful meal.

sandwich food cart portland

Tuna Melt

Oregon Made Grub is now open for lunch weekdays at Q19 on NW 19th and Quimby. The lot offers seating along with the options of heading indoors to Quimby’s for a pint. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: [Menu on website]

Hot Sammis

  • Pork tenderloin with garlic sage aioli and greens on ciabatta $9
  • Roast Beef with sharp white cheddar, caramelized onions, horseradish on a rosemary bun – $9
  • Tuna Melt – $8

Cold Sammis

  • Bacon& Brie with sliced apple and greens on focaccia – $9
  • Herbed Cream Cheese Wrap – $7
  • Chicken and kale caesar wrap – $8

Website: OMGPDX.com
Twitter: @OMGPDX
Facebook: Oregon Made Grub

Anything’s Pastable

dieselboi
pasta food cart portland

Anything’s Pastable

Location: Cartlandia – SE 82nd and Harney
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 11-2pm; Fri-Sat, 11-9pm; Sunday – 3-9pm

The Story: Portland’s street food scene is lacking in the area of pasta. I get asked regularly why Italian cuisine isn’t well represented and I don’t really have an answer. Anything’s Pastable, a new food cart at Cartlandia, is here to fill that void.

Anything’s Pastable grew out of the long time dream for Laury and Ed to own their own place. After raising kids and Ed’s years as a chef and line cook, the business dream became a reality. Add a love of pasta and anything becomes pastable. The cart offers classic Italian sauces and pasta dishes, yet with a bit of the northwest thrown in. Mushroom Alfredo or Primavera with seasonal veggies are just a couple of options. Pomodoro with rotini pasta with sautéed onions, bell pepper and fire roasted tomato sauce looked intriguing. I opted to add sausage and Ed garnished the dish with a four cheese blend to give it creaminess. I call it spiral pasta, one of my favorites, due to fact that the sauce and cheese get into the curls. The smokiness of the fire roasted tomato sauce came through perfectly and the sausage was a great addtition. A great meal.

pasta food cart portland

Pomodoro from Anything’s Pastable

Anything’s Pastable is open at Cartlandia for lunch and dinner on the weekends. Check out their deep fried ravioli, something I only saw after I had ordered. Sounds crazy good. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Mushroom Alfredo – mixed mushrooms and Gemelli pasta tossed with a basil alfredo sauce – $10
  • Pomodoro – $9
  • Northwest PrimaVera – Cavatappi and seasonal vegetables in a white wine and butter sauce garnished with a four cheese blend – $8
  • Twisted Curry – Gemelli, onions and pepper tossed with creamy curry sauce – $10
  • Deep Fried Ravioli – fresh ravioli deep fried served on a bed of greens with a special dipping sauce.
  • Add sausage, chicken or shrimp – $2.50-$3.50

Facebook: Anything’s Pastable
Twitter: @ourpastabiz

Juniper

dieselboi
vegan food cart portland

Juniper

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday, 11-3; Friday and Saturday, 12-9. (check Facebook for latest hours)

The Story: Need something fresh, vibrant, natural, locally sourced and made with care? Juniper, a new food cart in downtown Portland opened earlier this year to focus on just that.

Kashi, Lizz, Elena, Francesca and Summer are the five amazing women who make up the team behind Juniper. Four of them came together at Portland State University while working together at Food for Thought, a student-run collective cafe. The focus of their collective dream is to create their own cafe and wellness space and center on the love of food and the passion for full body health. The cart is just the first step in realizing that goal. With a menu of gluten free and vegan eats, you can’t get much healthier than that. Also, these women have the chops to pull it off. In a recent Portland Monthly Magazine article, Molly Woodstock detailed their collective resumes. Francesca once ran a vegan fudge company. Yumm!

vegan food cart portland
The menu at Juniper speaks volumes about their passion for food and flavor and diversity. Handhelds include a portobello melt with grilled marinated portobello, smoked cashew provolone, sweet onion jam and arugula served on toasted house gluten free bread. Or try one of Mains – the Country Plate with ‘chicken’-fried breaded tofu, daily mashed vegetables, daily greens, seasonal veggies, and mushroom white wine herb gravy. I chose the Five Spice Noodles. Having just returned from SE Asia, I wanted to continue my culinary exploration and broaden my palate. Bulgogi-style grilled soy curls are served atop vegetable and vermicelli noodles with sake-marinated king oyster mushroom ‘scallops.’ All of this is ensconced in a five-spice broth with greens, cilantro, lime and a house made chili oil. The soy curls, bulgogi style, along with the shrooms added the savory and umami flavors while the veggies, thin sliced carrots and cucumber added crunch and sweetness. The broth, that five-spice infused magic offered hints of cinnamon and anise. Every little taste had me questioning – “What’s that new flavor?” There are some great bowls out there at the carts and this one from Juniper ranks among the best for me.

Juniper is located on the Washington side of the 3rd and Washington food cart lot downtown. Open for lunch and on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner also, they regularly have daily specials and rotating daily greens selections. Beyond food, they offer hot or cold tonics and other beverages. Like I sad, a diverse and dynamic menu. Drop on by next time you’re in the neighborhood and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: full menu on website

  • Harvest Bowl – daily mashed root vegetables, daily greens, dahl – $5
  • Five-Spice Noodles – $8
  • Country Plate – $9
  • Portobello Melt – $7
  • Southern Italian Sammy – herbed breaded tofu, cashew basil ricotta, red pepper orange relish, caramelized fennel and onion – $7
  • Tonics-  $3
  • Sides – Smoky Mac, Daily Greens, Seasonal Vegetables – $3-5

Website: JuniperPDX.com
Facebook: JuniperPDX
Twitter: @Junipercart

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