Juniper

dieselboi
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

I Heart This Cart

Brett Burmeister
comfort food cart portland

I Heart This Cart

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-4

The Story:

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

On a cool winter day, I revisited the cart to chat with the new owner Heather and check out the latest menu offerings. Heather trained at Western Culinary and has worked in every restaurant and catering spot she could. She even worked a kitchen at a fly fishing camp in Alaska and at the Playboy mansion. How ’bout them apples? Heather worked with the previous owner and took over the cart earlier this year and has made it her own. The goal is to make people happy. Heather can pretty much cook anything, but prefers to create dishes where she can “stand over a pot and stir.” Comfort food.

At I Heart this Cart you can pick up everything from pulled pork sliders to a chicken sub or jalapeno mac & cheese. If you’re truly into the ultimate comfort food, check out the different tater tot dishes including cajun tots, loaded tots with cheese, bacon, green onion and chipotle ranch or go crazy and enjoy a plate of carne asada tots with everything you can imagine plus seared carne asada. If you’re looking for a healthy dish, I heart this Cart offers up a fresh cobb salad also.

I Heart This Cart has a steady stream of patrons while I stood around chatting with other vendors. Heather has built a following of regulars, but also attracts newcomers who are looking for good home cooked food. Drop on by next time you’re looking for something new and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tater Tot dishes range from $2-$8 depending on toppings and size
  • Cobb Salad – $7
  • Chicken Caesar Wrap – $7
  • Pulled Pork or Roasted Chicken and Grits – $8
  • Pulled Pork Sliders – $8
  •  Cheesesteak – $5 or 8 depending on size

Phone: 971 407 9930
Facebook: I Heart This Cart
Twitter: @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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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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