Donut Byte Labs

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donut food cart portland

Donut Byte Labs

Location: SW 4th and Burnside
Hours: Thursday, 8am-1pm; Friday, 8am-1am; Saturday, 10am-1am; Sunday, 11am-6pm

The Story: Portland loves donuts right? Voodoo. Blue Star. Pips. To name a few. A food cart has decided to enter the fray – Donut Byte Labs is now open at the corner of SW 4th and Burnside for your mini donut cravings.

Donut Byte Labs opened earlier this year with one seriously outfitted food cart. Each donut is fresh daily right in the cart with their donut robot. And, you can watch. When was the last time you were able to watch your food created right on the spot? They choose to go for cold mini bytes instead of hot (like other vendors) in order to showcase the flavor. The menu covers everything from basic glazed and powered sugar to advanced flavors like salted caramel or bacon maple. The Burnside cream is a twist on the Boston Cream with a mini donut dipped in warm chocolate glaze then dolloped with pastry cream and a drizzle of Ghiradelli chocolate sauce. Being so little, you can enjoy more than one. One late night during a set break at Dante’s, I wandered over for an assortment. While eating donuts in Portland at midnight isn’t that unusual, for me it was and I devoured them.

donut food cart portland

Donut Byte Labs

Donut Byte Labs is one of only a few sweets vendors in the downtown core. Centrally located, next time you want to surprise the boss or get a treat for the team, drop on by. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: (Full menu on website)

  • Plain – $1.25 for 6 or $2.50 for 12
  • Powdered  Sugar – $2.50 for 6 or $4 for 12
  • Chocolate Sprinkle – $1 for 1 or $2.50 for 3
  • Salted Caramel – or Burnside Cream  – $1 for 1 or $2.50 for 3
  • Creme Brulee – $1 for 1 or $2.50 for 3

Website: Donutbytelabs.com
Facebook: Donut Byte Labs
Twitter: @Donutbytelabs
Instagram: @Donutbytelabs

SoMa Parklet at PSU Food Cart Pod Now Open

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food cart pod portland

SoMa Parket at the PSU Food Cart Pod

Remember PARKing day? When groups of people would gather early in the morning and stake out parking spots throughout cities and turn them into makeshift parks for the day? Such a cool concept. Yet, these days, in Portland, you find the parking areas throughout the city re-purposed for bike racks or restaurant seating. PSU, though, went all out and created a parklet at the food cart pod on SW 4th between Hall and College. Now you can sit and enjoy your Khao Man Gai while enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city.

food cart pod portland

SoMa Parklet at the PSU Pod

The area around the PSU Pod is ever changing with a mix of residential, city services and office space. The pod attracts both students, contractors who are awaiting permitting meetings across the street and office workers from neighboring businesses. Any given day, the sidewalk in front of the carts is crowded with eager and hungry eaters, yet historically, there wasn’t anywhere to sit. The parklet came about from a partnership between the SoMa (South of Market) EcoDistrict, Portland State University’s School of Architecture, Sustainability Neighborhoods Initiative and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. Other partners included Oregon Pacific Investment and Development, CH2M/Hill, Sustainable Northwest Wood and Green Hammer. The community was also integral in making this happen, helping the group raise $15,000 to pay for materials and other expenses.

food cart pod portland

SoMa Parklet at the PSU Food Cart Pod in Portland

The parklet was born out of a design studio course in the School of Architecture in fall 2013, taught by Assistant Professor B.d. Wortham-Galvin. A team of students and partners then presented their design to the city and the project moved forward with completion in spring of 2015. While many will bemoan the loss of a few parking spaces, I find these parklets to be welcoming and a fresh approach to streetscaping.

The SoMa Parklet took over parking at the corner of SW 4th and College right in front of the food carts. Benches and varied height tables offer a respite from the concrete curb often used by eaters. So cool. Now we just need a few at 10th and Alder.

Congrats to the SoMa Ecodistrict and the students and faculty at Portland State University for bringing this to fruition.

More details about the parklet can be found here.

Juniper

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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

Kingsland Kitchen

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sandwich food cart portlandLocation: SW 5th and Oak
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11-3pm

The Story: I love crowns. Something regal about them that reminds me of childhood games. When I spied the new food cart Kingsland Kitchen with both a crown in the logo and a vintage EAT lighted sign, I knew a sandwich was in my future.

Kingsland Kitchen opened earlier this year at the SW 5th and Oak pod with a menu of sandwiches inspired by the owner’s British heritage. Christopher and Holli are the team behind Kingsland Kitchen having met more then a few years ago in Hollywood and spent the last nine in England. Both were always inspired by food and drink and with travels in England and Europe were able to experience what the world had to offer street side. They had the dream to return to Holli’s home town Portland and open a cart and voila, they succeeded. The cart ended up being a full remodel, which is good, so now Christopher knows how to fix things in a pinch.

sandwich food cart portland

Mumbai Spice Chicken Sandwich from Kingsland Kitchen

The ubiquitous Sandwich. We all love them. The cart focuses on meat-centric sandwiches all cooked from scratch. They also run daily specials and cart made desserts, something found less and less often at the downtown food carts. The menu is chalk full of ingredients that make up each tantalizing creation – Guinness braised beef;  pork meatballs; crackling; spicy pineapple salsa; chutney. I picked up the Mumbai Spiced Chicken with papadum, pickled cucumber and tomato salsa and raita all on a French roll. Papadum is a thin crisp food from India or Pakistan and raita is yogurt seasoned with a mixture of coriander, cumin, mint, cayenne pepper, and other herbs and spices. Put those two together with the spicy chicken and salsa and you have one hell of sandwich. The French roll held up to its calling with flaky goodness. Everything about this sandwich is a score. I can’t wait to return for the other offerings.

Christopher and Holli have added another gem to the street food options for Portland. Open Monday through Friday for lunch, you have no reason not to visit. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Guinness Braised Beef, slaw, house pickles, smoky salsa roja, French Roll – $8
  • Mumbai Spice Chicken – $8
  • Cart made organic beef and pork meatballs, marinara, Mozzarella, French roll – $8
  • Traditional British Banner or bacon, fried egg, roasted tomato and mushrooms, brown sauce, French roll – $8
  • Full English Breakfast  – $10

Facebook: Kingsland Kitchen

Website: KingslandKitchen.com

Sam’s Saj Mediterranean Sandwiches

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mediterranean food cart portland

Sam’s Saj

Location: SW 10th and Washington
Hours: breakfast, lunch and dinner weekdays

The Story: Portland continues to attract some unique dishes from different parts of the world. Sam’s Saj, a food cart at the 10th and Washington pod focuses on a unique Mediterranean sandwich called the Khubz.

Mediterranean food cart portland

Kafta Saj from Sam’s Saj

Sam and Diala took over a former Thai cart last fall and did a total remodel. Sam wanted to offer up a handmade dish different than the other Mediterranean options in the lot. The Khubz is a sandwich, but seems like a mix of a burrito and maybe a crepe. The Saj griddle is the key to making this flatbread. Growing up, Sam remembers the circular convex griddle being heated by coals. In Portland, that wasn’t possible, so Sam had a griddle handmade in order to utilize propane. I always say, Portland’s DIY culture leads to some tasty creations. The flatbread is grilled and then topped with cheese or Zaatar or labne, a yoghurt cheese. Once cooked up, they roll it all up to enjoy. Breakfast options can include Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh mint or maybe Nutella, banana and toasted hazelnuts. For lunch, I picked up the kafta with seasoned lamb and beef along with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. The flatbread is thin and flavorful, creating a great envelope for the savory kafta and fresh veggies.

Sam’s Saj opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so no matter when you arrive, Sam and Diala are there to make you a treat. I have visited twice and the second item I enjoyed came with Zaatar, a blend of herbs and spices that will blow your mind. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Zaatar – $4
  • Cheese and Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers and mint – $4.75
  • Labne and Zaatar with tomatoes, cucumbers, mint and green olives – $5
  • Turkey and Cheese – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, mayo, mustard – $5
  • Kafta – $7.75
  • Lamb Shawarma – $9
  • French Fries – $3.50
  • Cauliflower Saj – crisped cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cumin vinaigrette – $6

Facebook: Sam’s Saj

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