Steak Your Claim

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Steak Your Claim

Steak Your Claim

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm

The Story: A specific type of food can define a city or a region. When we think of sourdough, my minds eye pictures the fog of San Francisco. Breakfast tacos? Austin. Cheesesteak? Philadelphia. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get those wonderful dishes elsewhere and that is the glory of Portland’s food carts. Steak Your Claim is the most recent vendor to bring their city’s prized cuisine to Portland.

Matt and Sam, the founders and chefs behind this new cart have a combined 31 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Matt from Philadelphia has a passion for the cheesesteak, whereas Sam is from all over, but spent more than a few years in New York and fell in love with the pastrami. Put two friends in a cart with those two specialties and magic happens.

Pastrami on Rye

Pastrami on Rye

I saw the bright orange cart arrive at the end of August and open Labor day weekend. That Labor Day, when many vendors were closed, Steak Your Claim took advantage of the day to introduce themselves to fellow sandwich fans. I wasn’t looking for a cheesesteak that day, so when I saw they had cart made thick cut pastrami, I pounced. I picked up the The Purist, pastrami stacked high with mustard on rye. A simple sandwich, no bells and whistles, which allows one to enjoy the flavorful and well made pastrami. There is other pastrami in the city, but I gotta say, Sam and Matt’s ranks pretty high. On my second visit, I had to go with the cheesesteak. While I picked up the Broad Street Bully, a well built rib-eye steak, cheese and onion sandwich, maybe you would be interested in the Mexican Standoff with pepper jack and guacamole or the Fat Greek with olive spread and assorted vegetables. These guys have an imagination and it is showcased in their menu. The Bully, with cheese whiz, on a chewy bun from Pearl Bakery beat out some of the sandwiches I enjoyed back east. Well done guys.

Broad Street Bully from Steak Your Claim

Broad Street Bully from Steak Your Claim

Steak Your Claim is open daily and on Saturdays for lunch and dinner. Beyond sandwiches, they offer an assortment of fries, curly or straight with cheese or other toppings. Stop on by for a sandwich, welcome Matt and Sam to the neighborhood and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Broad Street Bully Cheesesteak – rib eye, onions, cheese whiz or sharp provolone – $9.50
  • Mexican Standoff – seasoned rib eye, pepper-jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato with corn chips – $9.50
  • The Fat Greek – rib eye, olive spread, feta, provolone, red onion, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki – $9.50
  • The Purist – pastrami stacked high with mustard on rye – $8.50
  • Reuben – pastrami, local sauerkraut, provolone with Thousand Island on Rye – $8.50
  • Orient Express – Asian marinated pastrami with carrot, bean sprouts and daikon salad, pickled shiitakes, soy chili on paesano bread – $8.50
  • Fries – $2.50-4 depending on toppings and style.

Website: Steakyourclaim.com
Facebook: Steak Your Claim
Twitter: @M1Schiffman

Noodle House

Food Carts Portland

Noodle House 1

Location: SW Washington and 9th
Hours: Weekdays lunchtime to 6pm, Saturdays lunchtime to 3pm

Description: When sitting down to write about the Noodle House, I tried listing all the different types of Asian noodles and noodle dishes out there.  Then after five minutes I started to feel dizzy and had heart palpitations. Between the thousands of different shapes and sizes of wheat, rice, mung bean, sweet potato, tapioca;  the fresh vs dried varieties; the many many dishes from stir fries to soups, to steamed to fried, then the specifics and differences between difference countries and regional Asian cuisines –  MY BRAIN HURTS. It’s OVERWHELMING. I mean look, look at the different types of Chinese noodles there are alone.  One thing everyone can agree on however is that fresh Asian noodles in the right hands are a beautiful, and tasty, fine craft. They just have a freshness and certain satisfying texture and “chew” to them lacking in the packaged refrigerated kinds.

Noodle House downtown on SW Washington between 9th and 10th takes its noodles seriously. They are hand made, and hand pulled, something Asian noodle connoisseurs consider the gauge between a great and a “just ok” noodle establishment. Think fresh made pastas and raviolis as opposed to packaged or frozen at a fine Italian restaurant and you’ll get the idea.  Noodles at Noodle House are Chinese in style and most of the dishes revolve around their signature wheat Mein noodle – similar to a dense, fresh Udon noodle. Excuse my Yankee ignorance if there’s a Chinese name for this type – I couldn’t find it and the owners simply said, “Chinese Noodle” when I asked.

The menu is made up of stir fried noodles, soups, and a few other items such as Shrimp Fried Rice, Curries, and Pot Stickers. They even have the seemingly incongruous “Fried Egg” (a piece of toast with, you guessed it, fried egg). The Fried Egg gave me a chuckle. For anyone who has traveled the “backpackers routes” through Asia knows this type of dish is pretty “authentic” and found everywhere, eaten by Westerners and Asians alike.

Noodle House 2

But, back to the noodles…Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss a certain cart from the surface – “oh, this is just junky Chinese food cart food”, or “Shrimp Chow Mein how boring, whatever, I can get that at Panda Xpress”. Stop, look a little closer, pay attention to what’s coming out of the cart, ask questions, see what others are getting and who’s getting it – this is the way to scope out a good food cart because decor and menus can often be quite deceiving. Noodle House is one of those carts – it might not seem like an exciting choice on the surface, but the noodles here are quite popular for a reason, they are quite good. Everything is fresh, balanced, and generous in ingredients and portions. The stir fried noodles rule the roost with offerings including chicken, seafood, vegetarian or a hot (spicy) soy specialty dish. Noodle soups are their other specialty – beef, chicken, tofu, or Seafood. It’s the seafood that draws a following, and I now understand why. Chock full of squid, shrimp, scallops, veggies and generous serving of noodles in a hot, clean chicken or veggie based broth and some fried wontons on the side. I’ll be back for this alone. Noodle House is a nice addition to the diverse cuisines and quality of the SW Alder and 9th cart pod.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken, Seafood, Tofu stir fried noodles – $6.50 – $7
  • Hot Soy Bean Noodles – $6.50
  • Beef Noodle Soup – $7.50
  • Chicken, Tofu, or Seafood Noodle Soup – $6.50 – $7
  • Chicken or Shrimp Fried Rice – $6 – $6.50

Phone: 503-998-1019

Rolling Gourmet

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Rolling Gourmet

Rolling Gourmet

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: daily, lunch

Asian Fusion cuisine including Sushi. More details coming soon.

Taste of India

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New Taste of India

New Taste of India

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: weekdays, lunch

Indian food. Multiple locations.

Emame’s Ethiopian Cuisine

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Emame's Ethiopian Cuisine

Emame's Ethiopian Cuisine

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

The Story:

Portland has a thriving and robust Ethiopian community with numerous restaurants and markets. We’ve been fans for years since we moved to north Portland and am now even more excited to see that Emame’s has opened a Ethiopian food cart.

There are a few out there who make the snide jokes about Ethiopian food or lack thereof based on the last 30 years of news. Well, let them be ignorant, that’s more amazing food for the rest of us. The first experience with Ethiopian food is something everyone who loves to eat should experience. The individual dishes are served either atop or with injera, a spongy flatbread made from teff, a fine grain from the region. Traditionally, no flatware is supplied – you eat the meal with your hands and part of the experience is to tear off a piece of injera and use it to grasp the salads or stews before you. While feeding yourself, you also feed your partner, by hand, creating a sensual eating experience.

Emame’s menu has the traditional dishes I have come to expect – stewed meats in berbere sauce; lentils simmered in berbere sauced and onions; salads. Berbere s a spice mixture whose ingredients usually include chili peppers, ginger, cloves, coriander, allspice, and rue berries and is a key ingredient in Ethiopian and Eritrean food. While it can be spicy if paired with other hot peppers, in and of itself, berbere is more flavorful than spicy. The dish I enjoyed was the miser alecha, split lentils sauteed with onions, garlic, ginger and spices. The meal was served with plenty of injera, a side salad with mixed greens and a chopped cabbage salad. The injera, soft and spongy was the best wrap for the lentil dish. I could taste hints of the garlic and ginger mixed with a bit of earthiness from the lentils. While Emame’s did provide me with utensils, I used the injera throughout the meal, scooping up every little bit and shoving it in my mouth to enjoy. Be sure to have plenty of napkins.

Trust me, eating with your fingers is a wonderful experience and allows you to get closer to the food and maybe enjoy it on a different level. Reason 1 why I love Ethiopian food. The lot at SW 9th and 10th and Alder which use to house Escape from New York Pizza back in the day has become the international food court for food carts and now we have our second cart from Africa. Let’s welcome Emame’s to the food cart community and enjoy some great food. When you visit, and I know you will, let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All dishes are $6 and are served with injera, a side and a sauce

  • Dora Watt: Ethiopian National Dish; spicy chicken slowly simmered in Berbere sauce and other spices.
  • Siga Watt: beef stewed with berbere sauce then flavored with onions, garlic and ginger root.
  • Tibs: beef cubed and sauteed in Kibe (Ethiopian clarified butter) and seasoned with onions, tomatoes, and spices.
  • Miser Kay Wat: red split lentils simmered in berbere sauce, onions, garlic and ginger.
  • Miser Alecha: split lentils sauteed with onions garlic, ginger and spices.

Hours: Monday-Friday, lunchtime
Contact: unknown

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