I Heart This Cart

Brett Burmeister
I Heart This Cart

I Heart This Cart

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 11-4; Fri, 11-4 and 9pm-2am; Sat, 11am-9pm

The Story:

Multicultural Comfort Food is the theme for I Heart This Cart, one of the newest to join the vendors at SW 3rd and Washington. Looking at the diverse items on the menu, I see what they mean.

On a cool windy January day, I read the entire menu trying to decide which amazing item I wanted. Cory, the chef, has an eclectic blend of sandwiches, soups and event homemade mac and cheese. Cory’s been cooking since his teens and was the head chef at the Lake Hotel at Yellowstone National Park for two years. Nice resume. Also, when neighboring food cart owners urge you to visit, you gotta know it’s going to be good.

At I Heart this Cart you can pick up small bites like Arancinis or full size sandwiches like a seasonal po’boy with pork belly or a classic Philly cheese steak. I chose the hearty Southwest Mac and Cheese with chipotle cream sauce, cavatappi pasta and tossed with black beans, sweet corn, scallions, roasted red pepper and sided with a few tortilla chips. At Cory’s recommendation, I added in pork belly. A hearty meal served in a GO Box, I loved that it wasn’t a traditional cheesy cheesy Mac and Cheese. The sauce had a spicy bite, but mild and smoky from the chipotle. Al dente pasta is the perfect choice. More like an al fredo sauce. Did I mention the pork belly added in a wonderful creamy fattiness also. More than I could finish in one sitting.

Southwest Mac and Cheese

Southwest Mac and Cheese

I Heart This Cart had a steady stream of patrons while I stood around chatting with other vendors. Cory has built a following in the three short months he’s been open and is here for the long term. Drop on by next time you’re looking for something new and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Arancini – 2 breaded risotto balls stuffed with Parmesan and fresh Mozzarella, deep fried and served with marinara – $4
  • Chicken and Dumplings – braised chicken thighs, brussell sprouts, root vegetables and potato dumplings – $7
  • Southwest Mac and Cheese – $8; add protein for $2
  • Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cheese with Vegan Tomato Soup – $7
  • Seasonal Po’Boy – braised and seared pork belly, apple fennel and radicchio slaw, served with a curried remoulade sauce on po’boy roll – $8
  • Classic Philly Cheesesteak – $4/half; $7/full

Phone: 707-299-7711
Facebook: I Heart This Cart

Taste of Korea

Lizzy Caston

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am – 4pm. Sat-Sun, 6PM – 3AM

The Story: Are Korean carts in Portland the new Thai carts? It seems like a few years ago it was almost all Thai all the time (I jest). But while I love a good Musaman Curry or Drunken Noodles, its Korean food above all else that fills my Asian soul food needs.

Thank goodness carts like Taste of Korea can now be found downtown. I was recently in Seoul on a long layover and it’s a street food loving city of the best of them. Stands specializing in just dumplings, some in mystery battered and fried things, grilled sea creatures with tentacles, and hot bubbling stews of all kinds. It was my friends, an adventurous food lovers paradise.

Taste of Korea sticks to the Korean standards Americans know and love: grilled soy sauce based Kalbi beef ribs, Fried Mandu meat and veggie dumplings, Spicy grilled chicken, and even a Ramyun variety or two (Ramyun is a Korean style of ramen). Most dishes are Bento types with your choice of two main or side items along with Jap-Chae clear noodles, plain rice, a simple iceburg lettuce salad, and kimchi on request. For a dollar or two less, you can get the “bowl” versions, which are simply the entree over rice. And yes, everyone’s favorite “all-mixed-up” rice bowl Bi-Bim-Bap is available with or without meat, and with a fried egg on top (or not) as you wish. It’s lunch for those who want big flavors and big portions but don’t want to spend a big wad of cash. The beef dishes especially would be easily $4-$6 more at a restaurant for the same quality and portions.

Sample Menu:

  • Bulgogi Beef or Kalbi beef ribs bento – $8.00
  • Spicy Chicken Bento – $6.00
  • Korean BBQ Tofu Bento – $6.00
  • Mandu Dumplings – 10 for $5.00, 6 for $5.00
  • Ramyun Noodles – $4.00

Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am – 4pm. Sat-Sun, 6PM – 3AM
Phone: 2132844108

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Salmon Fusion

dieselboi
Salmon Fusion

Salmon Fusion

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: weekdays, lunchtime

The Story:

Earlier in the month, a new sign appeared on a cart that has been a few different vendors in the past year. Salmon Fusion. I wasn’t sure what to expect until I read the posted menu – Smoked Salmon all day long. It felt like Christmas waiting for them to open.

Roger Mumm launched the cart this month bringing his salmon to the eaters of Portland. The salmon in all of his dishes were caught by him this past summer while he was working for Deep Sea Fisheries in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The sockeye is then smoked weekly for us to enjoy. I’m not sure if I would share my salmon with the world. Visit the cart and Roger has photos of his fishing boat and daily catch.

As stated, the cart focuses on smoked salmon dishes like chowder, pot pie, a few sandwiches and tacos. If you’re shy about salmon, Roger will give you a taste of his chowder which is served hot in a toasted cheese bread bowl. Every time I have walked by, customers are raving about the chowder sample they are enjoying. I decided on the smoked salmon sliders served on Alessio bread with a mild pineapple teriyaki sauce, baby spinach and a side of Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice. For $7.50, the sliders were a great value and came with so much tasty smoked salmon, some even fell out for later nibbling. I’m a fan of all smoked salmon and Roger’s is some of the best with a briny flavor that doesn’t come across as too salty nor too fishy. The sauce that comes atop the salmon is more of a slaw with the sweetness of apples coming through to juxtapose the saltiness of the fish. A great meal.

Smoked Salmon Sliders from Salmon Fusion

Smoked Salmon Sliders from Salmon Fusion

Salmon Fusion is now open on SW 3rd between Stark and Washington in the former GIN Thai cart. Roger mans the window daily and may even lean out to draw you in with a sample. Check this new cart out, enjoy some smoked salmon goodness and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Smoked Salmon Chowder w/toasted cheese bread bowl: white whole cream chowder w/roasted corn and Yukon gold potatoes served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • Smoked Salmon Pot Pie: pot pie served in a mild jambalaya with puff pastry cooked golden brown served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • Smoked Salmon Pita Wrap: shredded lettuce, mango pieces, shaved red onion, shaved cucumber and topped with tzatziki or mango chutney and served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • 2 Smoked Salmon Sliders: on Alessio bread with a mild pineapple teriyaki sauce and baby spinach served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • Teriyaki Smoked Salmon Sandwich: teriyaki pineapple glazed salmon served with Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50
  • 2 Smoked Salmon Tacos: served with sweet and spicy salsa and Hawaiian slaw and saffron rice – $7.50

Hours: weekdays, lunchtime
Phone: 503 719 9018

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Batavia

aaron_jd
Batavia

Batavia

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-3:30pm; Sat, 9am-5pm

Please welcome guest author Aaron Wakamatsu

The Story:

While downtown Portland has a stunning array of cuisines to choose from, there aren’t too many places offering Indonesian food. Thus, Rizky and Nella opened Batavia, a family-run food cart near SW 3rd and Washington. Here, you’ll be treated to this family’s take on Indonesian flare.

Since I love spicy food, the spicy beef satay (sate padang) caught my eye. Usually, the meat is boiled first to soften it, then gets seasoned, skewered, and grilled. Four or five skewers of cubed juicy grilled beef is set atop an alluring yellow sauce containing rice flour, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin, etc. At the base of the dish lies several sliced pieces of rice cake that possess a smooth texture…think a whitish-colored polenta without the grainy, mealy feeling. You’ll even get a small bag of crispy shrimp chips with the satay. The dish is prepared to order, so you’ll get a steaming, hearty container of yummy goodness in this chilly weather.

Beef Satay from Batavia

Beef Satay from Batavia

Was the dish spicy? Well, it depends on your tolerance for heat. As a person who has eaten “ghost peppers” before (not a smart idea), I could easily handle a spicier dish, but my taste buds were at least prodded out of their slumber.

Batavia offers Indonesian coffee that comes from Rizky’s father, so of course, I had to try that. The aftertaste on the coffee commands an exotic presence that domestic coffees lack. It’s a full-bodied, rich coffee experience. Batavia also has two types of Indonesian teas (from SariWangi): Melati Flower and Jasmine. (a Jasmine tea) and a cold bottled tea. Batavia has got some seriously good eats. Check them out today!

Sample Menu:

  • Fried Noodle – $4.99
  • Chicken Curry – $6.99
  • Fried Rice – $5.99
  • Beef Rendang – $6.99
  • Chicken Satay – $6.99
  • Spicy Fried Chicken – $6.99
  • Spicy Beef Satay – $8
  • Noodle Soup – $6.99

Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-3:30pm; Sat, 9am-5pm
Phone: 503 954 7529
Twitter: @bataviapdx
Facebook: Batavia PDX

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Sonny Bowl

dieselboi
Sonny Bowl

Sonny Bowl

Location: SW 3rd and Washington

Description:

I was in a discussion with some cartivores the other day and we arrived on the topic of uniqueness for carts. There are some carts that offer a menu that while focused maybe on a type of cuisine, the offerings are so broad, it is difficult to choose one item. Like when you go to the local restaurant which as a 4 page menu. We all agreed that if you do one thing very very well, just do that and you will succeed. We see this type of focus with food carts daily. Sonny Bowl is such a cart. They focus their energy and skill on creating a bowl that is vegan, yet fills you up with everything a growing boy needs.

Sonny Bowl specializes in what these days are called rice bowls. Anywhere you see bento advertised, it is usually a chicken skewer over a bowl of rice with a few veggies. Not here. Sonny Bowl takes it beyond veggies and rice by adding in black beans or chickpeas, salsa, soy curls, green beans, and robust sauces. I don’t know why I haven’t discovered this gem all these years. I chose the One, and for $5, I got a pretty large bowl with brown rice covered with black beans, mixed veggies, cilantro-lemon sauce, green chile and salsa. I added in Soy Curls for the extra $1 since they are my newest soy favorite.

Sonny Bowl

Sonny Bowl

I almost couldn’t get the top on. Further, I didn’t want to put the top on and crush that beautiful presentation. When I see green chile listed as part of the dish, I think more of a sauce, but the green chili here was a chunky thick salsa that didn’t disappoint. The beans and rice were cooked just right, not mushy, but not al dente. As far as mixed veggies go, I wonder if they shift with the season. My dish had thinly sliced steamed yellow and green zucchini. The soy curls were great. If you haven’t tried soy curls, either BBQ’ed or in a dish like this, you have to. They have the best flavor and texture; a great addition to the meal.

Sonny Bowl offers three different vegan bowls with simple names like one, two and three. All are $5. Like I stated, I love it when someone specializes in one food type and does it right. Sonny Bowl does it right. If you are down off SW 3rd looking for a filling and healthy lunch, give Sonny Bowl a try and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • One – black beans, mixed veggies, brown rice, cilantro-lemon sauce, green chili and salsa – $5
  • Two – chickpeas, mixed veggies, brown rice, sweet-pineapple curry sauce – $5
  • Three – BBQ soy curls, brown rice, green beans in ginger-citrus sauce – $5
  • add soy curls to any bowl for $1
  • drinks, $2; water $1

Phone/Contact:
Hours: Monday through Friday 11:30am-3:30pm
Website/Twitter: unknown

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