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.
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.
- 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