Roll Plus

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Roll Plus

Roll Plus

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours:
Daily for lunch

The Story:

Sushi is one of those dishes you usually do not find served from carts. Portland has a vegetarian sushi cart and a Hawaiian cart that does great rolls and now Roll Plus becomes the fourth.

We always say that when one cart closes, someone is always there to take its place and sometimes offer something new or unique. Roll Plus is in the former Pho Sam cart. I’m going to miss those Banh mi sandwiches and Pho, but am excited to have sushi options available for lunch. Upon first visit, I was a bit overwhelmed by the options. Usually, a cart will focus on just a few simple items that can be mixed and matched. Here you can get everything from fresh spicy tuna rolls with cucumber and imitation crab to edamame, seaweed salad and even Miso soup.

Spicy Tuna Shrimp Tempura Roll

Spicy Tuna Shrimp Tempura Roll

I never know how much sushi to order. I’m a fan of the sushi train so I can regulate my intake and try different items made fresh. At Roll Plus you order whole rolls with either 4 or 6 pieces. I’ve had 4 pieces at restaurants that have filled me up but have also had a roll with 6 pieces that left me wanting, so at Roll Plus, I ordered two rolls – a Spicy Tuna Roll and the Spicy Tuna Shrimp Tempura Roll. For $10 I had enough to easily feed two if not three. Each roll was well prepared and put in the to-go container creating a great presentation. The spicy tuna roll came with imitation crab and avocado rolled with the rice on the outside, sprinkled with sesame seeds and topped with spicy tuna and sauce. The spicy tuna shrimp tempura roll was even larger with the tempura shrimp, imitation crab and avocado inside and the spicy tuna on the outside. I love the crunch of the tempura and the creaminess of the avocado all mixed together. On a warm sunny day sitting in the park, I sat there with a smile on my face while enjoying some amazing rolls and plenty of wasabi and ginger.

I have eaten at many of Portland’s sushi places and I have to say Roll Plus will offer some stiff competition – especially downtown with the lack of inexpensive sushi options. The food is prepared made to order and the price is unbeatable for what you get. Now open at SW 9th and Alder, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • California Roll – 8pcs – $3.50
  • Spicy Tuna  – 8pcs – $4
  • Unagi Roll – 8pcs – $4.50
  • Super California Roll – 6pcs – imitation crab, avocado, cucumber – deep fried – $5
  • Shrimp Tempura Roll – 8pcs – imitation crab, avocado, deep fried shrimp – $5
  • Spicy Tuna Shrimp Tempura Roll – 5pcs – $6
  • Chicken Katsu – $4.50
  • Fried Rice w/stir fried chicken – $5
  • Edamame – $2
  • Seaweed Salad – $3
  • Yakisoba – $3
  • Miso soup – $1

Hours: Daily for lunch
Contact: unknown
Twitter: @Roll_Plus_PDX

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Island Grill Hawaiian Barbeque

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Island Grill Hawaiian BBQ

Island Grill Hawaiian Barbeque

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime

The Story:

When one cart closes, someone is always there to re-open with something new. Shortly after Tofu House closed, Island Grill was open with a menu of Hawaiian treats.

We have a few Hawaiian carts in town now with 808 Grinds and Ninja Plate Lunch. With the addition of Island Grill, Portland cart lovers have yet another choice for Kalua Pork or a side of macaroni salad. Hawaii is also famous for loco moco and Island Grill has it if that is your desire – a plate of rice with a hamburger patty, brown gravy and fried egg atop.

Teriyaki Chicken Plate

Teriyaki Chicken Plate

The plate lunches are pretty a la carte – rice and macaroni salad with your choice of meat – and two different sizes if you’re looking to eat less. The meat options aren’t surprising – kalua pork, beef shortribs, chicken katsu, hamburger steak – just to name a few. I decided to try the Teriyaki chicken and got a full plate with two scoops or rice and the salad. The grilled chicken had a char to it that when paired with the sweetness you get from teriyaki sauce, created a great mix of flavors. The macaroni salad was a treat, one of my favorite types of salad. I even added a spam musubi – rice, spam and sauce wrapped in seaweed. I love spam musubi.

Island Grill is open right there on cart row on SW Alder between 9th and 10th. Check them out if you’re looking for a change – they usually have daily specials that are different from the menu. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Plate lunches are either mini for $5 or regular for $6.50
Mini: 1 scoop of rice and 1 scoop of macaroni salad with choice of meat
Regular: add a scoop or rice

Meat choices:  BBQ beef; Teriyaki beef; Hamburger steak; Beef short ribs; Kalua pork; BBQ spicy pork; Pork katsu; Fried shrimp; Fried mahi mahi; BBQ chicken; Teriyaki chicken; Shoyu chicken; Chicken katsu

  • Add Musubi for $2
  • Burgers – $5 with choice of meat
  • Yakisoba noodles – $6
  • Loco moco – $7
  • Island Bibimbap – $6

Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
Contact: unknown

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The Dump Truck

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Location: SW Alder, between 10th and 11th
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-4pm

The Story:

Over the past month or so we have been able to follow the opening story of The Dump Truck on Twitter, learning about building the cart, sourcing equipment and getting inspections. The challenge was, with the name dumptruckpdx on Twitter, we just couldn’t figure out what they were planning to serve. I thought it would be some crazy eclectic mashup cart serving something like a bacon-wrapped deep fried avocado …. Well, after visiting yesterday, I learned what the dump meant in Dump Truck – dumplings.

The Dump Truck is the partnership of Julia, Reid and John. While living and working in Beijing a few years ago, Julia and Reid met and became huge fans of dumplings, a staple there. As with every food craving, one is drawn to the location where you find comfort and consistency. For Julia, that was a dumpling restaurant close to her home run by Mr. Ma and his wife. After eating every meal daily at Mr. Ma’s restaurant, Julia became close with them, enough so that a menu item is named after Mr.Ma. I guess that’s where she learned the love and craft of dumplings. Since then, Julia and Reid moved back to Portland. Julia began making dumplings for Voicebox Karaoke in NW, saw how well they were selling and decided to open the cart with Reid and John. [Read more…]

Sawasdee Thai

Food Carts Portland

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Location: SW 9th and Alder

Description: Sawasdee is one of the oldest, and one of the most popular Thai carts on the scene, simply because they are so good. Fresh ingredients, big portions and a deft touch give them balanced and satisfying offerings. Where some Thai carts go a bit overboard with the soy and grease, Sawasdee has a lighter touch.

Sawasdee makes standards like red, yellow and green curries, fried rice, noodle dishes and stir fries. They also are one of the few Thai carts to offer both white or brown rice. I’m particularly fond of their fried rice with pineapple and cashew.

sawasdee-fried-rice

Oh, and they are often open on Saturdays!

Catering available. Please call Sunny at 503-330-2037

Kwap Koon Khah Sawasdee! (Thank you very much).

Sample Menu:

Soups – Tom Yum or Tom Kha (with coconut milk) – $6.00

Salad Rolls – $3.00

Curries –  House curry (red curry with peanut sauce), red curry, green curry, or yellow curry

Stir Fried – chicken ($6.00), shrimp ($7.00), or tofu ($6.00). garlic lover (mushroom, onion, broccoli, carrot), spicy basil (bamboo shoot, bell pepper, mushroom, onion, basil), emerald (cabbage, mushroom, carrot, broccoli and peanut sauce).

Noodles – chicken ($6.00), shrimp ($7.00), or tofu ($6.00). Pad Thai, pad kee mao (onion, basil, bellpepper, mushroom, or eggs), pad se ew (cabbage, broccoli, carrot and eggs).

Fried Rice – chicken ($6.00), shrimp ($7.00), or tofu ($6.00). Spicy, pineapple with cashews, curry or regular.

Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00 to 5:00, Saturday 11:00-4:00

Phone: 503-330-2037

Website: none

Email: none

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The Whole Bowl

Food Carts Portland

Location: Several Locations – SW 9th and Alder, 4409 SE Hawthorne, 1100 NW Glisan, and the Mo-Bowl (mobile) van.

Description: Sometimes simple things are the best things. Although I love food cart food as much as anyone else, let’s be honest, cart food can sometimes be a little bit on the heavy and greasy side. Sometimes all I want for lunch is something lighter and the Whole Bowl is my answer.

The Whole Bowl’s menu is genius – a paper bowl filled with tender brown rice and perfectly cooked red and black beans, topped with fresh sliced avocado, tangy red salsa, sliced mild black olives, a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar and cilantro. The beans and rice are mixed together with their signature “Tali Sauce” to add needed zing and flavor. What’s Tali Sauce? The Whole Bowl describes it this way,

Referred to by many as “crack sauce”, this lemony-garlicky blend has been building local addictions in the Pearl, and now at the new Downtown location, for over 4 years. Sauce devotees have been known to experience a prolonged sense of well-being and tremendous relaxation upon consumption.

What it tastes like is a perfect light curry-  lemony and garlicky – and it keeps the rice and beans in the “Bowl” from falling into bland, boring granola hippie food territory. It’s healthy, fresh, fast and filling. This is cart food at its best, and is pure unique Portland in a bowl.

Sample Menu: Deciding what to eat here is easy as The Whole Bowl menu only offers three things: the Bambino Bowl (a filling 12oz bowl for $5.00) , the Whole Bowl (16oz for $5.50) and tortilla chips with salsa for (not sure, think they are $1.00?). A large variety of hot and other sauces can be added to your heart’s delight at the self serve condiment bar. Drinks include Hansen’s sodas by the can.

Hours: Most locations are open Mon-Fri 11 Am to mid-afternoon. Please call the Whole Bowl for details of each location.

Phone: 503-757-BOWL

Website: www.thewholebowl.com

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