Fry Guy

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fries food cart Portland

Fry Guy

Location: SE 13th and Lexington in Sellwood
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12=6pm

The Story: Fries. I haven’t head the term French Fries for years. In the 21st century, we call them fries! One of Portland’s most famous cart does fries and now they have competition. Fry Guy in Sellwood does fries, poutine and more.

We all grew up on fries didn’t we? Heck, I worked at McDonald’s in the 80’s and got paid in fries. The only potato dish that may rival the ubiquitous fry is the tater tot, but we won’t go there today. Alex McGillivray, aka the Fry Guy, has worked for some of Portland’s favorite chefs doing gigs at Ping and Lardo West. At Lardo, he’s responsible for The Beet Generation sandwich. Nice! As with many culinary professionals, opening your own place is the goal and Alex chased the dream and opened his Fry Guy truck in Sellwood focusing not just on the Canadian classic poutine, but other treats as well.

fries food cart Portland

Portland Poutine from Fry Guy

Fry Guy offers everything from hand cut fries with sauces all the way to loaded fries with beef or mushroom gravy. They do have a reuben on the menu, but we’re here for hand cut fries right? Loaded fries come with traditional (meat) or vegetarian gravy and you can add items like cheese curds or pastrami. I opted for the Portland Poutine with house sausage gravy and an over easy fried egg. Put an egg on it! The sausage gravy covered the fries with plenty of fresh ground black pepper and bits of sausage throughout. Adding the fried egg? Genius! Letting the yolk waterfall through the fries and mix with the sausage made a mess, but a tasty, bold mess.

Fry Guy is now open down in Sellwood at the food cart lot smack dab in the middle of Antique Row. The lot offers covered seating, so you don’t have to wait until spring or summer to visit. Hop on down for a treat and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (full menu on website)

  • Hand Cut Russet Potatoes – half order, $2; full order $3.50
  • Sauces – Fry Sauce, Tomato Bacon Jam, Sriracha Mayo, Buttermilk Ranch, Bacon Scallion Sour Cream
  • Poutine – $6
  • Portland Poutine – $6
  • Tiger Style – $5
  • Pan Roasted Cauliflower tossed in chimichurri – $4.50

Website: FryGuyTruck.com
Twitter: @FryGuyOregon

Chop Chop

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chinese food cart portland

Chop Chop Portland

Location: SW 10th and Washington
Hours: Monday-Sunday, lunch and dinner

The Story: Growing up in Portland, there use to be a number of great Chinese restaurants in Old Town/Chinatown. Sadly, many have moved on. With the growth of food carts in the last ten years, one would assume Chinese would be a golden ticket, yet we only have a few. Chop Chop is the latest bringing brilliant Chinese dishes to the Alder pod.

Eating Chinese has always been an enigma for me. Having grown up on pre-packaged Chow Mein or visiting Chinese restaurants in the suburbs, it wasn’t until adulthood I discovered there was more to the menu than Kung Pao Chicken. Portland has seen a resurgence in appreciation for all things Asian cuisine. Szechuan seems to be the new darling for the food writer community. Yet, coming back to those dishes we all grew up on, what if they were just done better or more flavorful? At Chop Chop, the chef, Mr. Lee, is accomplishing that.

chinese food cart portland

General’s Chicken from Chop Chop

I got an email from a fellow cart lover extolling his love for the General’s Chicken at Chop Chop, so I beelined to the cart the other day. General’s Chicken, aka, General Tso’s Chicken, is found on every Chinese menu. Sweet, spicy and sticky deep fried chicken is mixed with chile peppers and served over rice. No veggies, no noodles – just simple, gluttonous deep fried chicken chunks over rice. Love it! At Chop Chop, they asked if I wanted it spicy or not. I did and was presented with one of the most beauteous spicy Chinese dishes I’ve seen to date. Not only was there a Sasquatch’s handful of ground chiles mixed into the sauce, no less than 30 whole chiles were added to the mix. My eyes watered even before taking that first bite. I dove in. Each bite was what I expected and appreciated about this dish – sweet and spicy. The batter on the chicken –  light and crisp. While it looked like it would burn my face off, it didn’t. The heat was there, yet tempered by the sauce and rice. A fine dish.

Chop Chop is located in the Alder pod on the corner of SW 10th and Alder. A repurposed short school bus with a vast menu. Reading through the 28 5-star reviews on Yelp has me convinced I’m not the only Portlander who has enjoyed Mr. Lee’s creations. Drop on by next time you’re craving Chinese and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu – (menu to large to list)

  • Family Bean Curd with Vegetables – $6
  • Ma Po’s Tofu – $6
  • Hot and Spicy Chicken – $6.50
  • Orange Chicken – $6.50
  • Cantonese Steak – $7
  • Special Lo Mein – $6.50
  • General’s Chicken – $6.50
  • House Special Fried Rice – $6.25

IGPAY

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pork food cart portland

IGPAY

Location: 4631 N Albina, Portland
Hours: Weekdays and weekends, 11-6

The Story: When a buddy mentioned the new cart just up the street from our favorite bar, it took me a second to catch the code. IGPAY is a new food cart in N Portland focusing, well, on pig.

IGPAY is the work of Regina and Shaffer who put together the idea of focusing solely on pork for their sandwiches. An ingenious idea and the menu at first glance shows they aren’t just doing pork belly and bacon. I for one am a bit bored of bacon, so was excited to see the offerings at IGPAY. Iowa Bob, Naked Bob or Bastard Bob. Who’s Bob? I had to ask since those are the names of the three sandwiches on the menu. Bob is an old friend who’s name isn’t really Bob, but I digress. An Iowa Bob is a breaded pork tenderloin, the Naked Bob is a griddled pork loin (is griddled a word? It is now.) and Bastard Bob is all about how you want it. A tossup for sure. Being a fan of yellow mustard and pretty much any mustard, Iowa Bob it was. A huge breaded pork tenderloin with yellow mustard, onions and house made pickles. The star of the show was the saltine cracker breading Shaffer used. The bun, light and fluffy, so it didn’t interfere with the mix of great flavors. Just look at that tantalizing sammy.

pork food cart portland

Iowa Bob from IGPAY

IGPAY is open Thursday-Sunday from 11-6. Beyond the pork sandwiches, they also offer breakfast sandwiches and soup. Located in the parking lot next to Albina Press on N. Albina, this cart is a must try for pork tenderloin fans. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Iowa Bob – $8
  • Naked Bob – $8
  • Bastard Bob – starts at $7
  • Egg A’ Muffin – English muffin w/bacon, egg and cheddar – $5
  • Daily Soup – $5

Phone: 970 556 3280
Facebook: IGPAY
pork food cart portland

Lower East Side Deli

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sandwich food cart portland

Lower East Side Deli

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Daily for breakfast and lunch and late night on weekends

The Story: Have you enjoyed New York style deli? A sandwich overflowing with thin sliced meats or pressed to perfection? I have, and now can find such treats at a food cart in downtown – Lower East Side Deli.

Lower East Side Deli opened this past summer with a vast menu of sandwich options. The owner, Abdellah, lived in NYC and worked at delis there, so knows how to put together something brilliant. The sign says it all – Italian Sandwiches, Reubens, Big Chicken Wraps. And Abdullah took a page out of a Chinese menu and posted photos of the monstrosities. I truly believe, a picture sells a dish more than a description. Heck, each visit I pick a different sandwich based on the photo. How does the Chicago Beef sound? Thin sliced Angus beef straight off the grill, horseradish dijon, lettuce and tomato on a garlic baguette. Or the Mad Sicilian with tuna, provolone, hot peppers, lettuce, tomato and a little olive oil on an Italian sub. Abdellah crafts both of those and about 20 more.

sandwich food cart portland

The Bostonian

Craving a big sandwich after some holiday shopping I decided on Lower East Side Deli. The first sandwich that caught my eye was the Bostonian. First question was whether I wanted it hot or cold. Hot please. A thick layer of beef, then ham, hot capicola, provolone, mayo, a bit of the veggies and then thrown on the flattop to heat up. A beauty. Maybe 3 inches of sandwich joy. Normally served with turkey, they were out, so I subbed in the capicola – a great choice. Gorgeable. Great quality meats, a quality bun (a must!) and fresh veggies. I can’t wait to return for more.

Lower East Side Deli is located on SW 3rd and Washington on the Washington side of the lot. Abdellah opens for breakfast and lunch and then later into the evening on the weekends. If you have a hankering for a New York style deli sandwich, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (There are over 20 sandwich options):

  • Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wrap – $6
  • Tex Mex BLT Rancher Wrap – $6
  • Honey Dripper ‘Q Chicken Wrap – $6
  • Bostonian – $6
  • Chicago Beef – $6
  • Big Reuben Dog – with pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss and russian dressing on a dog – $6
  • Fenway Melt – hot Capicolla, baked Virginia ham, provolone, pressed on sourdough – $6
  • Spicy Italian – salami, hot Capicolla, ham and provolone, hots, lettuice and condiments on Italian sub -$6

Buki

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japanese food cart portland

Buki Food Cart

Location: SE 28th pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Wed-Fri, 11-8, Saturday, 11-9 (check Facebook for updated hours)

The Story: Japanese street food is making a play in Portland. We’ve all enjoyed the Ramen craze the last few years, but now, with the help from a few food cart owners, we’re being introduced small bite street food from across the pond.  Buki at Tidbit nails it.

Buki is the work of Jack and William, college roommates and friends ever since. Taiwanese born, both experienced Japanese street food while living there and fell in love. William is the number 1 grill man according to Jack, but chatting with them, I can only assume both do the food justice. The Takoyaki, the cart’s signature dish, is what businessmen eat after imbibing a bit to much. Jack shared a story about late night wandering in Japan and seeing men in suits just mowing through plates of Takoyaki with the Japanese mayo and takoyaki sauce all over.

japanese food cart portland

Takoyaki from Buki

So, what is Takoyaki? Well, I would describe it as a small ball of yummy. Honestly, there isn’t anything like it I’ve tried. On the menu, you can get Takoyaki with sausage and cheese which is more of an American style dish or do a spicy version with kimchi and spicy mayo. I opted more traditional and chose the octopus. Yep, octopus balls. Chewy octopus is battered in wheat flower and served in a boat with a bamboo skewer. Then topped with Japanese mayo and Takoyaki sauce, a thick sweet sauce, along with a generous helping of bonito flakes. I couldn’t wait to dive in and even burned my tounge on the first bite. Each little ball – a chewy, savory experience. Paired with a cold beer from Scout Beer Garden onsite and I imagined myself on a bench at midnight in Tokyo with all the neon I could take in.

Buki also offers up Taiyaki, another staple of Japanese street food – fish shaped cookies filled with chocolate, Nutella or bean paste. In summer months they offer Bubble Tea. In winter, Jack mentioned he was putting in soup warmers to offer homestyle Taiwanese beef stew noodle soup, a dish they grew up eating and a recipe from Mom. Buki is an excellent edition to the street food scene here and they are “Armed with Deliciousness.” Check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Takoyaki – numerous flavors, 8 balls for $7
  • Taiyaki – $3.50-3.75

Facebook: Buki
Twitter: @BukiPDX

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