El Pilon Colombian Food

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El Pilon Columbian Food

El Pilon Colombian Food

Location: SW 2nd and Oak
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime

The Story: As an eater and street food fan, I’ve eaten at more than 500 different carts throughout the city. There are few who truly surprise me, force me to stop and find a place to sit down, maybe a curb or park bench. El Pilon Colombian Food did just that. They served a dish that gave me pause, a pause to enjoy every bite.

El Pilon Colombian Food has been around for a couple of years. The owner, Fernando Montagut, came to America with years of experience in architectural design, yet was unable to find employment in the field. Knowing he needed to provide for his family, he pursued his passion – cooking -and launched his business as a food stand at a local farmers market. Fernando knew he wanted to grow beyond the stand, so secured a food cart on SW 2nd and Oak and with the help of Kiva.Org who provided a micro-loan, was able to upgrade equipment and produce his menus and marketing materials. The menu is unique telling the eater about each dish and its place in Colombian culture. The descriptions alone will make your mouth water.

Patacones from El Pilon Columbian Food

Patacones from El Pilon Colombian Food

El Pilon offers traditional Colombian street food in the form of empanadas, arepas, pan de yuca and their signature dish, patacones (pa-ta-con.) Patacones are traditional side dishes served in South America and Colombia. Fernando uses plantains to create a bowl that is fried twice before the goodies are added. Imagine a flower with cheese at the bottom topped with shredded beef and a thin slice of red pepper. For one, a beautiful presentation and two, it tastes sublime. The plantain is semi-sweet, so with the savory meat and cheese, he creates a memorable combination. Truly one of the most unique dishes I have found in awhile.

El Pilon brings Colombian food to Portland, a city with only a few South American street food options. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the empanadas and patacones and look forward to the arepas and salpicon, a fruit cocktail. If you’re a food cart fan, this is the cart you need to put on your bucket list. A special find. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Arepas – meat, chicken, cheese, egg, vegetables – $3.99-$4.60 depending on ingredient
  • Empanadas – chicken, cheese or meat – $2
  • Patacones – chicken, cheese, meat or hogao, a tomato and onion sauce – $4.60
  • Salpicon – fruit cocktail – $2.50
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Sivad’s House of Soul

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Sivad's House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul

Location: SW 4th and Ankeny
Hours: Daily, lunchtime; late night on weekends

The Story: Soul food warms your heart. That is the take from Sivad’s House of Soul, a new truck located on SW 4th and Ankeny.

Pronounced ‘So-vads’, the Portland theme wrapped truck opened earlier this year with the goal of offering down home cooking with roots in the rural south. Owners Tundra and Davis hail from the midwest, yet their parents are from the south, so they both grew up surrounded by the smells, flavors and traditions of the region. The truck sports images of Portland’s skyline along with a story about the origins of soul food. You’ll definitely recognize this truck when it drives past.

Sivad’s menu is extensive with items covering every meal of the day. As they find their niche in the Portland street food scene, they are choosing to offer different items each day like smoked BBQ ribs, chicken and waffles, fried chicken, and a favorite of mine, catfish. The pan fried catfish is served alone or in a sandwich with soul slaw and fries. The seasoning on the catfish brought back memories of Louisiana and time spent there. Slathering the fish with the slaw in the sandwich not only created a delightful mess, it brought all the diverse flavors together in every bite. Next time, ribs.

Catfish sandwich from Sivad's House of Soul

Catfish sandwich from Sivad’s House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul is a great addition to the downtown food scene and Tundra and Davis are a couple of great people. If you’re looking for a hearty meal, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Smoke BBQ Ribs  with fries and soul slaw – $14
  • Catfish dinner – $9
  • Chicken and Waffle – $9
  • Fried Chicken – $5-6.50
  • Chili Dog and Fries – $8

Phone: 503 569 5507

Comfortably Yum

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Get Stuffed

Comfortably Yum

Location: SW 4th and Hall
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11:15-5pm

The Story: We have great burgers in this city, so how does one differentiate itself from the others? Comfortably Yum, a food cart down by PSU, has chosen to create a well made burger with a rustic bun and high quality ingredients – just what the doctor ordered.

Comfortably Yum opened this past summer, but had to close for a period of time after a kitchen fire. Now they have re-opened and the father, son and friend team are slinging away. Bob, the father, runs the window. Andy and Michael run the grill and prep the goods. Bob was great to chat with, a retiree helping out where he can with the right attitude a cart owner needs. Trust me, he’ll make you laugh. The goal is a simple, high quality product. “Dazzle them with quality.” Take a rustic bun from Grand Central and use an 80/20 chuck for the burger and you sold me. While I appreciate add-ons, they sometimes mask the quality of the burger as a whole which is why I’m there. At Comfortably Yum, they put everything together just right for this burger fiend. Red leaf lettuce, tomato, ketcup and mayo. That first bite, with a bit of burger juice dripping down my chin, was magical. The bun impressed me, different than many burger buns I’ve enjoyed and I would highly recommend it. For burger fans, you need to visit, not only for a hamburger made with passion and care, but also for the witty repartee from Bob.

Burger from Get Stuffed

Burger from Comfortably Yum

Comfortably Yum is situated in the middle of the lot on SW 4th and Hall. They are planning on renaming themselves this winter, so we’ll update the post when that occurs. While I didn’t try them, I understand the hand cut fries in rice oil are the bomb. Drop on by, say hi and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Grilled Cheese  – $2.75
  • Grilled Cheese Club – $4.75
  • Burger – $5; add cheese, $1
  • Toppings – $1.50 – bacon, guacamole, mushrooms
  • Hand cut fries – $1.50

Facebook: Comfortably Yum

Steak Your Claim

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Steak Your Claim

Steak Your Claim

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm

The Story: A specific type of food can define a city or a region. When we think of sourdough, my minds eye pictures the fog of San Francisco. Breakfast tacos? Austin. Cheesesteak? Philadelphia. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get those wonderful dishes elsewhere and that is the glory of Portland’s food carts. Steak Your Claim is the most recent vendor to bring their city’s prized cuisine to Portland.

Matt and Sam, the founders and chefs behind this new cart have a combined 31 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Matt from Philadelphia has a passion for the cheesesteak, whereas Sam is from all over, but spent more than a few years in New York and fell in love with the pastrami. Put two friends in a cart with those two specialties and magic happens.

Pastrami on Rye

Pastrami on Rye

I saw the bright orange cart arrive at the end of August and open Labor day weekend. That Labor Day, when many vendors were closed, Steak Your Claim took advantage of the day to introduce themselves to fellow sandwich fans. I wasn’t looking for a cheesesteak that day, so when I saw they had cart made thick cut pastrami, I pounced. I picked up the The Purist, pastrami stacked high with mustard on rye. A simple sandwich, no bells and whistles, which allows one to enjoy the flavorful and well made pastrami. There is other pastrami in the city, but I gotta say, Sam and Matt’s ranks pretty high. On my second visit, I had to go with the cheesesteak. While I picked up the Broad Street Bully, a well built rib-eye steak, cheese and onion sandwich, maybe you would be interested in the Mexican Standoff with pepper jack and guacamole or the Fat Greek with olive spread and assorted vegetables. These guys have an imagination and it is showcased in their menu. The Bully, with cheese whiz, on a chewy bun from Pearl Bakery beat out some of the sandwiches I enjoyed back east. Well done guys.

Broad Street Bully from Steak Your Claim

Broad Street Bully from Steak Your Claim

Steak Your Claim is open daily and on Saturdays for lunch and dinner. Beyond sandwiches, they offer an assortment of fries, curly or straight with cheese or other toppings. Stop on by for a sandwich, welcome Matt and Sam to the neighborhood and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Broad Street Bully Cheesesteak – rib eye, onions, cheese whiz or sharp provolone – $9.50
  • Mexican Standoff – seasoned rib eye, pepper-jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato with corn chips – $9.50
  • The Fat Greek – rib eye, olive spread, feta, provolone, red onion, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki – $9.50
  • The Purist – pastrami stacked high with mustard on rye – $8.50
  • Reuben – pastrami, local sauerkraut, provolone with Thousand Island on Rye – $8.50
  • Orient Express – Asian marinated pastrami with carrot, bean sprouts and daikon salad, pickled shiitakes, soy chili on paesano bread – $8.50
  • Fries – $2.50-4 depending on toppings and style.

Website: Steakyourclaim.com
Facebook: Steak Your Claim
Twitter: @M1Schiffman

Cheesesteak Factory

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Cheesesteak Factory

Cheesesteak Factory

Location: SW 3rd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-7pm

The Story: The Cheesesteak! An phenom of a sandwiche out of Philadelphia. Think meat, cheese, onions, peppers, cheese, meat and more all on a soft squishy bun. People argue and event fight over who makes the best cheesesteak. All I know is that you can find a good one that will make you smile at Cheesesteak Factory.

Cheesesteak Factory

Cheesesteak Factory

Rick, the owner of Cheesesteak Factory and an avid Arizona Wildcats fan, opened the cart early this year offering up cheesesteaks for $1 an inch. Yep, by the inch. Granted, there is a minimum of 3 inches, but if you want 5 or 9 or even a footlong, Rick will hook you up. So many diehards of any city’s favorite food claim it can’t be replicated outside that city.  I disagree. If someone takes care to put together the right ingredients, they can make magic. I picked up a 6″ with steak, onions, peppers and mushrooms and added in provolone and Whizz to make it extra cheesy. If you’ve ever had a cheesesteak, you’ll know you need extra napkins no matter where you get it. The juices from the steak mixed with the cheese and veggies drips down the back of your hand with every bite. So good. For my sandwich, Rick used a traditional Amoroso roll to keep it authentic. Rick has even expanded the menu to include prime rib and roast beef.

Cheesesteak Factory sits up on Alder between SW 10th and 11th. He has a variety of sandwiches to choose from and can mix and match if needed. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All steaks are serve for $1 an inch with a 3 inch minimum.

  • PHL – seared ribeye, sautéed onions, mushrooms and peppers with your choice of cheese – served on Amoroso roll
  • PDX – prime rib, lightly grilled sweet onions, sweet peppers and crimini mushrooms with blue cheese – served on Franz Pioneer roll
  • CDG – aus jus soaked roast beef, caramelized onions, melted Gruyere, provolone and Parmesan on French Roll
  • BFS – scrambled or fried egg, steak, Philly toppings and choice of cheese on sourdough roll

Facebook: Cheesesteak Factory

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