Tastebud Bagels

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Tastebud Bagels

Tastebud Bagels

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Daily, including weekends, 7am-2pm

The Story: If you’ve been to a farmers market in Portland, you’ve seen Tastebud and maybe enjoyed their wood fired pizza. Tastebud defined itself by being there for patrons rain or shine with a hot oven and wicked delicious fresh to order ‘za. Now, for the culinary enjoyment of downtowners, Tastebud Bagels brings the goods to SW 10th and Alder.

Everything Bagel with lox from Tastebud

Everything Bagel with lox from Tastebud

Tastebud started as a small farm and CSA many years ago, so has deep roots in the community at large. In a partnership with the Portland Farmers Market, they built the wood fired oven and started feeding market goers pizza. They eventually sold the farm and have been focusing on catering and events ever since. In the past few years,  some have commented about Portland’s bagel wars. I chuckle at that, since for us eaters, we continue to be offered new and exciting options no matter who bakes. Tastebud is known for the Montreal style bagel – rustic, hand formed and wood fired. Boiling them in malt water adds to the flavor. One can enjoy a Tastebud bagel on its own they are that good. Or, try one of their sandwiches. An everything bagel lightly toasted with dill cream cheese, capers, thinly sliced onion, lox and topped with pickle slices. I’ve enjoyed lox and cream cheese before, yet the pickles were an added bonus and provided another layer of salty briny goodness. Served open-faced, the portions were spot on so with each bite, I didn’t have something squirting out the side or spilling. A well made bagel and superb toppings made for a memorable breakfast.

Tastebud bagels offers a number of different flavors including everything, salt, plain, poppyseed and a couple of new ones for me – black pepper or leak. I’m truly excited to try those some day soon. Tastebud bagels can be bought in bulk and saved for a few days, but they recommend eating them fresh. At the cart, they ask you to “put the bagel in mouth for safekeeping.” Love it! Open early every day of the week, so grab some before going to work. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Bagels – $1.25 each or $13.75 a dozen
  • Bagel with cream cheese – $3
  • Bagel with hummus and radish  -$4
  • Bagel with goat cheese and autumn slaw – $6
  • Bagel with bacon, jam, cream cheese and arugula – $5.50
  • Bagel with lox etc – $8

Website: Tastebudfarm.com
Facebook: TastebudPDX

Delicios

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Delicios

Delicios

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Mon-Sat, breakfast, lunch, dinner

The Story: A true mother and son culinary story is what you find at Delicios, a new vendor serving up Romanian cuisine, a taste of Transylvania.

Covridog

Covridog

I have eaten at Delicios twice now and to paint a picture of their generosity, both times I was offered a bite of something freshly made in the cart. These samples aren’t small either. Lumi and Sergiu and family are who have brought this endeavor to life. Lumi, Sergiu’s mother, has been cooking for a care home they own for the last 16-17 years and even has a Romanian cookbook ready for publishing. They saw that Romanian wasn’t represented in Portland’s food scene, so launched the cart. I love how they play on the taste of Transylvania theme. No Dracula here though.

One of the first items that caught my eye at Delicios was the Covridog, a Cabanos sausage with provolone cheese wrapped in dough and baked. They are at least a foot long if not longer and served with house made sauce. The Covridog, a special treat, reminded me of childhood visits to the state fair, yet tastier. Upon second visit, I picked up the Mici (pronounced Meechee). Sausage made with 80% beef and 20% pork and their own signature spices, they hand form and then grill it and serve over fries. Impressive flavors, just watch out, it comes hot off the grill. I’ll definitely return for the schnitzel.

Mici from Dolicios

Mici from Delicios

The best part of my job is meeting owners like Lumi and Sergiu, individuals who have a passion for the food they create and are truly engaged with their customers. Before I left, Lumi handed me a Chimney cake which are made fresh daily in the cart. Dough is wrapped around a thick rolling pin with a handle and then baked in a special oven in the cart. In Romania, the tradition was to bake them over a fire, continuously turning them in order to caramelize the sugar on the outside. An afternoon treat for this eater. Check out Delicios next time you’re looking for something different or something sweet. Let Lumi and Sergiu know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

 

Sample Menu:

  • Mici  - $8
  • CovriDog – $4
  • Chicken Schnitzel Meal – $7
  • Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich – $7
  • Chimney Cake – $5

Caspian Kabob

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Caspian Kabob

Caspian Kabob

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-3

The Story: Meat on a stick. Throughout the world, a mainstay of their food culture. You can do vegetables also and at Caspian Kabob, they offer all different sorts of combinations and flavors.

Caspian Kabob is the work of Victor who moved to Portland with his wife after spending many years in New York in a different career. While there, whenever friends were over, Victor was asked to cook. It wasn’t a burden, he loved it. It opened his eyes to his own skills. Victor focuses on the rich flavors he remembers from the streets of his hometown in Bnndar-Anzli, Iran, located on the Caspian Sea. In New York, trying to secure a food cart or truck was next to impossible, so Portland is where he opened. After two months, he smiles broadly knowing he’s serving his customers wonderful dishes.

Victor focuses on authentic Persian flavors and dishes. His namesake dish, the Caspian Kabob comes with marinated top sirloin steak and veggies atop seasoned basmati rice, a cucumber and tomato salad and maste khiar – yogurt with garlic, cucumbers and dill. The basmati rice has its own special texture and flavor, perfect for this dish. Scoop up a bit with some of the grilled sirloin or a green pepper and mushroom and take a bite. Excellent flavors. Everything was cooked just right. I could tell Victor used saffron which sometimes other skimp on. Well done sir.

Caspian Kabob

Caspian Kabob

Caspian Kabob’s catch phrase is “Cultural Understanding through Culinary Taste.” Well said. Eating at the different food carts from around the world does provide an insight into different cultures and traditions. Victor makes some wonderful dishes and loves what he does. Drop on by and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Meat options include lamb, steak, chicken or vegetables; meal options include rice, salad or pita

  • Veggie Kabob – portobello, peppers, onions, tomatoes – $5.95
  • Kofte Kabob – seasoned chopped beef and lamb – $5.95
  • Lamb Kabob – marinated leg of lamb – $8.95
  • Barg Kabob – sirloin steak marinated in saffron – $8.95

Phone: (503) 318-7803
Website: KabobPDX.com
Facebook: Caspian Kabob
Twitter: @Caspian_Kabob

Number 1 Bento

Lizzy Caston

Bento-xOriginally written about: Sept., 2008

Updated: May, 2013

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime

Description: Way back in ’08 Food Carts Portland was super excited to stumble across #1 Bento. At that time, there were no other Korean carts downtown. (Cue scratching sound on a turntable…SAY WHAT?). Yep, that’s right, in 2008, there was only one Korean food cart in downtown Portland.

I was and remain smitten with excellent home cooking “mom” style by the nice women in the cart, and the generous portions, as were our readers as noted in the comments below. It seems there were two camps back then as excited about this cart as Food Carts Portland was. There were the avid Korean food lovers who just about jumped for joy when they realized they wouldn’t have to schlep out to Beaverton or 82nd Ave for a casual, quick and inexpensive Korean fix. Then there were the curious. Back then Korean food was just entering the mainstream in the American street food lexicon, probably due in large part to the “Korean taco craze” that started in Los Angeles and is now found just about everywhere in our great nation.  I was  so EXCITED about Number 1 Bento back when they opened, I wrote,

Wait, is it what I think I see? Could it really be a CART THAT SERVES KOREAN FOOD? In downtown Portland? Hell yes. This makes Number 1 Bento the only Korean food cart in Portland.

Ah how things change! Now there’s a Korean, Korean Tacos, or Korean “fusion” cart at just about every downtown food cart pod and even  a truck or five roaming our great city to serve hungry Korean food lovers near and far.

bento-2xNumber 1 Bento continues to sell things like generic “teriyaki,” “fried dumplings” and “grilled chicken” served with short grain rice and a miso ginger dressed salad. But hold on there, because Number 1 Bento continues to serve their wonderful Kimchee, Kalbi Korean beef ribs  and my absolute all time favorite of rice, beef, egg and vegetables: Bi Bim Bop. Praise the food cart gods and pass the hot sauce. Number 1 Bento is here to stay!

Prices, in the $6.50 to $8.00 range, continue to be very reasonable, and portions are HUGE.

Sample Menu:

(Kimchee served upon request, Japchae “clear” noodles served on the side for many items)

  • Bi-Bim-Bop, seasoned vegetables, beef, and fried egg on rice – $6.50
  • Kalbi grilled beef ribs, served with rice and salad -$9.00
  • Chicken or Beef Teriyaki with rice and salad – $6.50
  • Chicken potstickers with rice and salad – $5.50
  • Ramyun Noodle – $4.50

Hours: Mon-Sat, lunchtime til about 6pm.

Phone: 971-570-6040

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El Taco Yucateco

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El Taco Yucateco

El Taco Yucateco

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunch

The Story: Elloy Martin makes an amazing panucho. Simple, satisfying and oh, so flavorful. Elloy Martin has been making Mexican street food magic in his cart El Taco Yucateco for a couple of years and now comes to serve the downtown eaters.

I first met Elloy a year or so ago when he was at Green Castle. I made the mistake of assuming his cart was the same as a similar named vendor out east. Lucky for me, it wasn’t a huge error as it was his brother’s cart I had visited. After some ups and downs at Green Castle, Elloy moved the cart downtown this year and opened up on SW Alder between 9th and 10th. The menu at the cart is what you would expect from most Mexican vendors – tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas. All fresh, made to order with pride. What stands out here are the panuchos, a special type of taco. Elloy has to go as far as Sandy to source his special masa paste for the tortillas. A panucho is different than a taco and served open face like a tostada. He makes a tortilla then quickly fries it, puffing it up. Elloy then pulls it out, slices it open and stuffs it with black bean paste. Back in the pan to finish up, he then tops it with lettuce, cabbage, shredded and seasoned chicken, pickled red onion, tomato and avocado. A panucho, done right, is one of those dishes you don’t want to eat – so beautiful. If I could, I would take it somewhere so they could preserve it for all time. Each bite is a treat from the avocado mixing with the marinated onion and the creamy beans. The tortilla isn’t hard, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking up in your hand. A couple of panuchos and a Jarochita on a sunny day is all this boy needs to make him smile.

Panuchos from El Taco Yucatecos

Panuchos from El Taco Yucatecos

While waiting for my order, a few other patrons came along for burritos. One woman came up proclaiming that the cart “had the best taco salad in town.” I’ll have to try that next. Elloy is one of those vendors who smiles and engages his customers whether he’s busy or not and I enjoyed chatting with him about Mexican street food. Makes me want to take a trip. Drop on by El Taco Yucateco next time you have a craving for something new. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Panuchos – $2
  • Tacos – beef, chicken, cactus – $1.50
  • Quesadilla-  $3, add beef or chicken for $1
  • Tamale – $3
  • Taco Salad – beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, your choice of meat – $7
  • Burritos – $5
  • Tortas – $5

Phone: (503) 901-0768
Facebook: El Taco Yucateco

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