Steak Frites PDX

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Steak Frites PDX

Steak Frites PDX

Location: SE 28th and Ankeny
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-7 pm , Sunday, noon-5 pm

The Story: I may have found the best dish ever created. New food cart Steak Frites PDX, just the name, defines what this cart does and that makes me a happy eater.

Steak Frites PDX is the latest addition to Pod 28 with some other stellar vendors like The Grilled Cheese Grill, Burrasca, Guero, Wolf and Bear’s and The Captured by Porches Beer Bus. Wow! Owner Sean wanted to do a food cart and was surprised no one had done the Belgian classic steak and fries. He sources prime cuts of beef and hand cuts the fries daily. Pair with one of the beers from Captured and you’re in bliss.

The day I visited, Sean was offering flank, top sirloin and hanger steak. On other days, he has offered teres major, a cut taken from the shoulder muscle. I opted for flank steak with fries and creamy horseradish sauce. Each bite, greasy and for sure against my doctor’s orders, was sublime. Sean sprinkles sea salt on the fries and the steak had a hint of fresh rosemary. Thin slices of flank steak dipped in horseradish paired with an IPA on a cool spring day and all I wanted to do was order a second plate. You can substitute the fries for sweet potato fries and Sean does offer a variety of veggies like asparagus, brussels sprouts and more.

Flank Steak and Fries from Steak Frites PDX

Flank Steak and Fries from Steak Frites PDX

Steak Frites PDX is one of those carts that just launched and yet is selling out daily. Bring something no one else is doing to the scene and do it well and you’ll be the king of the pod. Next time you’re down off SE 28th and Ankeny, drop on by Steak Frites PDX and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: 

  • Choice of steak and fries with aioli – $8.50
  • Substitute sweet potato fries for extra $.50
  • Add plants – $.50

Facebook: Steak Frites PDX

RUA

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RUA

RUA

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11:30-6pm; Sun, 11:30-4pm

The Story: Jason Myers is back with some mouthwatering Vietnamese cuisine at his new food cart Rùa.

Jason Myers first arrived in the food cart scene a couple of years ago with his Sideshow cart serving up beignets, Belgian fries and poutine, sandwiches and his famous fancy burger. Yet, it wasn’t enough for him and one night, the idea of doing Vietnamese inspired cuisine came to him in a dream. He took a couple of weeks last fall and visited Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to explore and take culinary classes. Upon his return, he closed Sideshow, bought a new cart and in March, launched Rùa. Rùa means turtle.

Saigon Fried Chicken Banh Mi from Rua

Saigon Fried Chicken Banh Mi from Rua

At Rùa, you find Vietnamese and South East Asian inspired food with Jason’s approach.  I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying both the pork meatball and the Saigon Fried Chicken banh mi sandwiches. With a crisp and crunchy baguette from Pearl Bakery, they layer pickled carrots, jicama, cucumber, cilantro and sriracha mayo along with good sized chunks of the Saigon fried chicken which comes out crisp with a sweet and spicy tang. The detail for the sandwich was astounding – the carrots are hand shaved and each leaf of cilantro picked off the stem. The veggies along with the chicken melded together brilliantly with every bite. Oh, and that baguette? A work of art. You can also get the Saigon Fried Chicken as it’s own meal.

Rùa is one of the newest vendors on the block and brings us yet another new taste to the ever evolving street food landscape that is the Alder pod. I’m glad to see Jason’s new concept is gaining followers. Keep an eye out for specials as they tweak the menu and try new things. Drop on by, they’re open every day and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Banh Mi sandwiches – Pork Belly, $8; Saigon Fried Chicken, $7; Pork Meatball, $7; Tofu, $6
  • Saigon Fried Chicken – a la carte, $6; with spicy arugula and cucumber salad, $8
  • Green Papaya Salad – $6

Website: RuaPDX.com
Twitter: @RuaPDX
Facebook
Rua PDX

Mama Chow’s Kitchen

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Mama Chow's Kitchen

Mama Chow’s Kitchen

Location: SW 2nd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm

The Story: Great food comes from mom. That’s my takeaway from Mama Chow’s Kitchen, a new food cart serving up Mama’s wonton soup and more on SW 2nd and Oak.

Mama Chow’s opened earlier this year in a cedar festooned food cart built locally by PDX Cart Builders. Probably one of the more beautiful carts I’ve seen in the many years I’ve been tracking the scene. Mama Chow’s is the work of Jeff Chow with a little help from his mama Lalie. Jeff is a trained chef having worked in restaurants in Oakland, yet became a bit burned out and came to Portland to try something new. It was when he sat down to enjoy has mother’s wontons that he hatched the idea of opening a wonton cart. Portland doesn’t have one, so Jeff is the first. His mother’s wontons are the toast of the neighborhood, so he worked with her to figure out how to translate her signature recipe into a dish he could replicate daily. A pinch of this and dash of that was transformed into an amazing dish and has garnered Mama Chow’s a solid following.

Wonton Soup from Mama Chow's Kitchen

Wonton Soup from Mama Chow’s Kitchen

At Mama Chow’s Kitchen, Jeff offers up wonton soup with house made broth, baby bok choi and your choice of either chicken or pork and shrimp wontons. I found the wontons to be flavorful and paired nicely with the par-cooked bok choi and broth. Jeff offered up some of his personal spicy sauce which amped up the soup superbly. Beyond wontons, Jeff also throws down lollipop chicken, chicken legs prepared like lollipops. Having never had them, I was intrigued to discover a new delight. Jeff pushes the meat down the bone of the leg and then fries and marinates it. The bone acts as a handle. Oh, and with the marinade and sauce and a dash of sesame seeds and chives, I may have found a new favorite go-to cart.

Lollipop Chicken from Mama Chow's Kitchen

Lollipop Chicken from Mama Chow’s Kitchen

Jeff is keeping it simple with only a few items. He doesn’t want you, the eater, to have to wait to enjoy your dish. Located down off SW 2nd and Stark, Mama Chow’s Kitchen is open Monday through Friday, 11-3. He’s even working on some specials, so visit often for a treat. For wontons and lollipop chicken, this is the cart to visit. Drop on by and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Wonton Soup with baby bok choi and choice of chicken wonton or pork and shrimp wonton – $7
  • Wonton Soup with noodles – $7
  • Lollipop chicken with baby bok choi on a bed of rice – $6

Facebook: Mama Chow’s Kitchen
Twitter:
@MamaCsKitchen

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

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Thick Deep Dish Pizza

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday

The Story: I’m a child of pizza. I can’t tell you how pizza was so integral in the enjoyment of my childhood and teenage years. Portland had the thin crust pizza covered, but when I visited Chicago, I was introduced to the deep dish style. Thick, a new food cart on SW 3rd and Washington, brings Chicago style pizza to the streets of our fine town.

Thick opened a few months ago and was selling out daily immediately. First time I visited, just after 1pm – totally sold out of slices and making a couple of suit-clad businessmen their own personal pie. Michael Cline is the man behind the pizza. A Chicagoan by birth, Michael saw Portland was lacking in his favorite cuisine, so decided to open the cart. He crafts everything from scratch including the house made Italian sausage, and pies are fresh made daily.

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

A Chicago deep dish pie is exactly that – deep dish with thick crust. A standard pie takes almost an hour to bake, so Michael makes a specific number of pies each day and when the slices sell out, that’s it. You can pre-order a pie though, so don’t fret.  I picked up a slice of handmade Italian sausage – Michael heated it up and handed me a small box which weighed a couple of pounds. While stalwarts may pick it up, I used a fork and knife to enjoy every last bite. Buttery crust acted well as the base layer topped first with Mozzarella then the sausage, and crushed tomatoes. The sausage was spot on and cheese in every bite made for a great lunch.

Thick Deep Dish Pizza is also open for breakfast, so if you’re coming into town early, feel free to stop by for local ham, melted onions, and Comte cheese encased in a classic buttery pastry crust. Sounds good to me. If you do want your own pie, be sure to call ahead and give Michael some time. All good things take time and patience. Drop on by for a thick slice of ‘za and let Michael know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Homemade Italian Sausage-  $5/slice
  • Spinach – $4/slice
  • Whole pies available

Phone: 630-697-6581
Facebook: Thick Pizza

Sabrosa Barbosa

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Sabrosa Barbosa

Sabrosa Barbosa

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Monday-Saturday, lunchtime

The Story: To make a truly excellent green chile dish, roasting the chiles is paramount. At Sabrosa Barbosa, owner Cyl hand-roasts pounds of chiles in a cast iron skillet every night. That attention to detail is what garners this new food cart a gold star.

Sabrosa Barbosa opened late last year with a bright red paintjob and bold signs at the ever popular Alder food cart pod. Cyl, chef and owner is originally from LA where she, like many of us in the street food biz, worked 20 years in a different career. It wasn’t until the last few years that she began dabbling and experimenting in the kitchen when her friends and family recognized she had a hidden talent. No formal training, just late nights and attention to the right ingredients and experimentation has led Cyl to open her cart for us Portlanders to enjoy. Most of her dishes are prepared a full 24hrs in advance so flavors can mature and infuse. A celebration of Mexican cuisine made with love.

Pork Chile Bowl from Sabrosa Barbosa

Pork Chile Bowl from Sabrosa Barbosa

The menu at Sabrosa Barbosa offers up dinner plates, bowls, quesadillas and even nachos. The mole is made with molasses and honey, no refined sugars here. Cyl uses Peruvian beans with their mild sweetness and thin skins – the longer you cook, the more buttery they become. The Pork Green Chile Bowl is a treat for anyone looking for a spicy dish. And not just for heat sake, Cyl utilizes both jalapeño and serrano peppers to yield a fruity, smoky and spicy effect. Served over spanish rice, this bowl may compete with the others available on the lot for flavor and excitement.

Sabrosa Barbosa is the newest player on the lot. While some may see their cuisine as similar to other vendors, that is the magic of street food. Everyone does it different and Cyl is no slouch when it comes to flavor. The food cart is just one step in her journey to bring passion for cooking to the masses. Keep an eye out for this one. Drop on by next time you’re up that way and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken Mole Dinner – Peruvian beans, Spanish Rice and tortillas – $8.75
  • Green Chile Dinner – pork or chicken – $8.75
  • Quesadilla Dinner – tortillas, sliced avocado, tomato and cilantro, spicy house crema, peruvian beans, spanish rice – $7.50
  • Chicken Mole Bowl – served over Peruvian beans and Spanish rice- $5.75
  • Fresh Peruvian Bean Bowl – Peruvian beans topped with fresh onion, tomato, cilantro, diced avocado, fresh feta cheese – $4.50

Facebook: Sabrosa Barbosa
Phone: (503) 278-5606

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