Ingrid’s Scandinavian Food

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scandinavian food cart portland

Ingrid’s Scandinavian

Location: SE 28th pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-9pm

The Story: Lefse. A Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes. I’ve probably eaten more than my weight in lefse over the years, a traditional item on the holiday table in my family. Ingrid’s Scandinavian Food is a new food cart making lefse wraps for us Portlanders.

scandinavian food cart portland

Wrap

A few years ago, Portland was introduced to lefse from a cart with the opening of Viking Soul Food. This summer, with the launch of the new Tidbit food cart lot on SE Division, Ingrid’s opened, offering up the traditional thin lefse with a range of options. If you’ve never enjoyed lefse, it is large and thin, almost crepe like, yet rolled out instead of a batter. I call it a Scandinavian tortilla much to the chagrin of my mother. I grew up enjoying it with butter and sugar, yet as with any type of bread or wrap, you can do anything with it. At Ingrid’s, they have lefse wraps with meatballs, house smoked salmon, roasted blueberries, or arugula, egg and pear. Something for everyone.

I picked up the Pølse Wrap with smoked sausage and a Norwegian coleslaw with dill mustard. Thin lefse enveloped the two small brats lathered with mustard. Pared with the red cabbage coleslaw’s vinegar whisper, each bite was a smoky and lightly tangy joy. I almost walked overe for a second or to try one of the sweeter wraps. Using lefse with these ingredients is a great choice.

Ingrid’s Scandinavian is now open Wednesday through Sunday at Tidbit which offers covered seating, a firepit and an on site beer cart. Drop on by for a taste of Scandinavia and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Norwegian Meatball Wrap – meatballs with surkal and Gjetost cheese sauce wrapped in lefse – $6.25
  • Salmon Wrap – house smoked salmon, egg, cucumber, arugula, chèvre and dill sauce wrapped in lefse – $7.25
  • Pølse Wrap – $6.25
  • Veggie Pear Wrap – arugula, egg, peer, fete, walnuts, creamy cranberry sauce wrapped in lefse – $5.75
  • Roasted Blueberry Wrap – $4
  • Deep Fried Meatballs – $4.50

Facebook: Ingrid’s Scandinavian

Midwest Pizza Co.

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pizza food cart Portland

Midwest Pizza Co

Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi at Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Monday/Thursday – 11:30-3; Friday/Saturday, 11:30-8; Sunday, 11:30-7

The Story: I grew up eating pizza from Round Table and Abby’s and in college, the ubiquitous Domino’s. It was only the last couple of decades I was introduced to what really good pizza is and Portland has it. Midwest Pizza Co is a new food cart serving up Chicago and Detroit style pizza.

pizza food cart Portland

Detroit Style Pizza

I remember the first time ordering a Chicago style pizza in Chicago. We were accosted with menus. Told to order quickly as it takes an hour. And then we waited. It was great, yet coming from the west coast where pizza was quick and thin, it was a different experience all together. Here in Portland, at the food carts, the vendors offer the pizza by the slice, so there isn’t the hour long wait. You can still get a whole pie if you want, just call ahead. At Midwest Pizza Co, their goal was to bring to Portland the flavors so you don’t have to endure the 100 degree weather and 100% humidity.

pizza food cart Portland

Chicago style dog

The Chicago Deep Dish starts with the crust. A flaky, buttery bed with slabs of Mozzarella and then the homemade sauce and toppings. The first slice I enjoyed on opening weekend was almost 2″ thick and so much cheese. The Detroit Style originated from baking the pie in spare parts trays giving the pizza a distinct rectangular shape. Caramelization occurs on the edges of the crust and when topped with Mozzarella and Monterey Jack and a few slices of pepperoni, you just can’t go wrong. Lastly, the Classic Chicago Dog. Made with Red Hot Chicago dogs, I enjoyed it “dragged through the garden.” The dog was topped with yellow mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish which glowed green, pickle spears, tomato wedges, sport peppers and celery salt. Each bit was fulfilling with veggies and pickled goodness and, well, hot dog happiness.

Midwest Pizza Co. is a great addition to the food cart scene here in Portland. We now have a number of wood fired pizza vendors and a Chicago style cart in downtown, so I’m glad they located in my neighborhood. Open Thursday-Monday for both lunch and dinner, if you’re in the neighborhood, you should check them out. Also, if you’re from the midwest, they offer other tasty regional treats including Sprecher Root Beer and Faygo. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (Full menu on MWPizza.com)

  • Chicago Dog – $4
  • Chicago Dog with all the fixin’s – $5.50
  • Chicago Deep Dish – slices are $5.50; whole pies are $15-20.
  • Detroit Style – $4-4.50/slice; whole pies are $10-15

Phone: 503 697 4992
Website: MWPizza.com
Twitter: @MidwestPizzaCo
Facebook: Midwest Pizza Company

Luang Prabang

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Laotian food cart

Luang Prabang

Location: SE 13th and Lexington in Sellwood
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-7pm; Saturday, 11-8, Sunday, noon-5:30

The Story: Laotian cuisine is foreign to me. I’ve enjoyed Thai, Cambodian, Malaysian, Singaporean and Vietnamese, yet Laotian hasn’t been on the radar. So, when I read a review of Luang Prabang, a food cart on Sellwood’s antique row, I made a beeline to the cart.

Laos is one of those countries who’s cuisine has jumped borders. Matthew Korfhage of the Willamette Week nailed it in their article about the cart. Dishes we know as standard fare at Thai restaurants originated in Laos. In perusing the menu at the bright yellow cart, I recognized dishes that I’ve seen on menus throughout town like Tam Tam Lao, the papaya salad I enjoy. So, if I’ve actually tried some of these dishes, albeit prepared from a different culture’s perspective, how does one choose? Let the owners tell you what they recommend.

Laotian food cart

Larb fro Luang Prabang

After more than a few tasty recommendations from the menu on the side of the cart along with a few from the book of “expanded menu,” I landed on the Larb salad. My lunch mate picked up the Cozy Noodle which is “for feeling good tummy day!” The salad, prepared with beef was insane. A large plate of mixed beef, scallions, mint, cilantro and chopped green onions with a few spicy red and yellow peppers thrown in layered over lettuce leaves. When asked for spice level, I chose medium. Note to self. Lao medium is like Thai hot. I dove in, scooping the salad with a bit of sticky rice onto a lettuce leaf and chowing down. The herbs, especially the cilantro came through exquisitely. The spice was there, melt my face spice, yet flavorful. It didn’t diminish the overall enjoyment of the meal. My buddy’s Cozy Noodle soup was also a treat with thick noodles and one of those broths you know is immediately boosting your immune system.

Luang Prabang is a great addition to the food cart scene here. I just wish it were in my neighborhood. If you visit, chat up the chefs and ask them what they recommend and then return for more. Sellwood is a great place to spend a day exploring and the lot offers covered seating should you need to get out of the weather. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (just a small sample)

  • Lucky Chicken – Mook Kai – chicken on coconut milk mixed with smushed to a pulp veggies wrapped on banana leaves to steam – $9.00
  • Dream Salmon – Mook pha – same as lucky chicken but with salmon – $9.50
  • Larb – $9
  • Xin Beef – Xin savane – caramelized marinated beef jerky with side of pickled carrots – $9
  • Little Town – Lao salad – lettuce, cucumber, hard egg, carrots, cilantro, scallion, jicama, slow cooked chicken, grilled onion and peanut salsa – $8
  • Cozy Noodle – Seenht piark – thick noodles cooked with ginger, green onion, cilanntro, dried fried onion, dried garlic, chicken – $7.50

Small Pharoah’s

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Egyptian food cart Portland

Small Pharoah’s

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: Daily for lunch and dinner

The Story: Portland has seen a significant growth in Middle Eastern cuisine in food carts in the last 18 months with vendors popping up every week. Small Pharoah’s was one of the first of this new generation of vendors to bring Egyptian and New Yorker food to the eaters.

Small Pharoah’s is the work if Islam Elmasry who came to Portland after some years working and vending in New York. Working at a sidewalk hot dog stand by Macy’s, Islam learned the business and decided to come to Portland to try his hand at opening his own food cart. His first cart was at 9th and Alder and he quickly expanded to SW 5th and Stark, SW 4th and Hall by PSU, SE 48th and Woodstock and this summer opening at Mississippi Marketplace. Four carts in two years and at prime locations throughout the city. Islam is a businessman and Portland welcomed him. In speaking with him, he stated it was much easier to open a food cart in Portland than in NYC. His goal is to offer good food and empower his employees. He couldn’t have done this without them.

Egyptian food cart Portland

Falafel Gyro

At Small Pharoah’s, you’ll find a mix of Egyptian, Greek and American cuisine. Islam wanted the menu to be broad so as to attract most every eater. Gyros with either lamb, falafel, kafta or chicken are their signature items. I picked up the falafel gyro at the cart at Mississippi Marketplace for lunch and was a bit overwhelmed by the size. Large freshly made falafel with pickled carrots and cauliflower and tahini all wrapped up in a toasted pita. I’m a stickler for falafel – I prefer it to be softer and not so deep fried – Small Pharoah’s did it right. Great flavors without the hard crust you sometimes get from other vendors. The entire qyro was enough for two people or two meals. A great value.

Small Pharoah’s is an example of success in the street food business in Portland. Islam is thankful not just for his customers, but also for those who helped him along the way including Al, Robin, Paula, Adianet, Elita and Khalid. Find Small Pharoah’s food carts throughout the city and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken and Rice – $7
  • Lamb Gyro – $5
  • Chicken Gyro – $6
  • Falafel Gyro – $8
  • Greek Salad – $6
  • Kofta over Rice – $10

Phone: 917 500 9181

Uncle Tsang’s Kitchen

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Chinese food cart

Uncle Tsang’s Kitchen

Location: NE 23rd and Alberta
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11-2 and 5-9; Sat/Sun, 12-9pm

The Story: A few months back, I visited a Szechuan restaurant in LA and was shocked at the spice factor in every dish. Yet, it didn’t burn for hours, it simply drifted away after awhile. Ever since that fateful meal, I’ve been craving noshable spicy Chinese and found it at a new food cart named Uncle Tsang’s Kitchen.

Chinese food cart

Szechuan Tofu from Uncle Tsang’s

Uncle Tsang’s Kitchen is at the 23rd and Alberta Food Cart Lot having taken over the cart that use to house Fijian Indian Curry. They’ve been open now for a couple of months, so have worked out any kinks. At first glance, the menu serves up what one expects from most Chinese restaurants except it offers more variety for vegetarian and gluten free options. They have beef and broccoli, eggplant chicken, ma po tofu, and potstickers. Yet, what caught my eye was chicken gizzards. Where in Portland do you get chicken gizzards? Along with Szechuan Tofu, I had a meal picked out. The gizzards, deep fried, yet with a light coating and then tossed with more than enough spicy peppers were divine. When delivered, I teared up, knowing the spice could wreck me, but I dove in and surprisingly enough, it didn’t melt my face off. It was that quick burn and then it tapered off. Each little morsel, a present from the Chinese gods of deep frying. The tofu dish with sliced celery, chopped peppers, succulent mushrooms and plenty of red chili flake was a treat. Not so spicy I needed milk afterward, but complex flavors that kept me eating.

Uncle Tsang’s is one of those gems you stumble upon and immediately want to return to. Finding a dish so unique like gizzards is the reason I keep going back to the food carts – they keep surprising me. Head on over to Alberta and give it a try. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Broccoli in garlic sauce – $6
  • Gizzards – $5
  • Curry Chicken – $9
  • Szechuan Tofu – $9.50
  • Lemon Chicken – $8
  • General Chicken – $8
Chinese food cart

Gizzards from Uncle Tsang’s

Facebook: Uncle Tsang’s Kitchen

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