EthelKays Grilled Cheese & Lemonade

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EthyKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade

EthelKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade

Location: N Williams Ave between Failing and Shaver
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm

The Story: A simple grilled cheese sandwich is a treat for anyone, young or old. Melty is the word I’m thinking of. EthelKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade is the newest food cart in town serving up delightful little morsels of cheese and bread.

Julie McBee opened the EthelKays food cart in 2013 in the Cully district in NE Portland after many years working in the service industry and restaurants. She always knew she wanted her own business and used the different positions to educate herself in cooking and managing a business. Before the cart was launched, Julie and her former partner had a stand at the Woodstock Farmers Market selling lemonade and grilled cheese – that business is still there named Urban Cheese. Julie moved on, opening the cart and then after a year in NE, moved to N Williams avenue, posting up next to Lodekka and the Hopworks Bike Bar. A prime location for any vendor.

The Tuscan from EthylKays

The Tuscan from EthelKays

EthelKay’s Grilled Cheese and Lemonade focuses on just that – cheese and lemons. Yet, with an extra bit of love. On the menu, you’ll find hot gooey grilled cheese sandwiches made with everything from cheddar to bacon to avocado to fruit and veggie chips. Think of it and she probably has it. Being a fan of tomatoes, basil and balsamic, I chose the Tuscan with buffalo Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, balsamic and olive oil grilled between two slices of a bolo roll. Toasted just right, the Mozzarella doesn’t get really melty, but the flavors all infuse creating what I refer to as a reverse Margherita pizza. Every chomp –  balsamic and oil blended with tomato juices dripped down my chin. I didn’t mind a bit. A great choice of bread made it even better than expected.

Julie has a great little cart with an amazing menu. Her lemonade is made fresh with wedges of lemon to make it extra tangy. I can’t wait till summer when I can sit on the curb, enjoy one and people watch. Drop on by next time you’re in the neighborhood and let Julie know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Ruthie – como bread, cheddar, sharp cheddar and havartti – $5
  • Pappy – como bread, chaddar, sharp cheddar, havartti, bacon and tomato – $7
  • French Connection – bolo roll, brie, pear, arugula, balsamic, olive oil – $6.50
  • Tuscan – $6
  • Monte Cristo – como bread, swiss, gruyere, black forest ham, dijon, blackberry jam, dipped in egg, grilled and dusted with powdered sugar – $7.50
  • Soups – $3
  • Spicy Peanut Noodles – noodles, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, peapods, peanuts, asian pepper sauce – $4
  • Lemonade – $3
  • Raspberry Lemonade – $3.50

Website: EthelKaysGrilledCheese.com
Facebook: EthelKays Grilled Cheese
Twitter: @EthelKaysCheese

Big-Ass Sandwiches – Mississippi Marketplace

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Big-Ass Sandwiches - Mississippi Marketplace

Big-Ass Sandwiches – Mississippi Marketplace

Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi , Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Tue-Sun, 11am-5pm

The Story: Lisa and Brian Wood will celebrate their 4th year making one of the craziest and tastiest sandwiches in town come December. To celebrate, they decided to expand and open a second cart in North Portland at Mississippi Marketplace. Their signature Big-Ass Sandwich is made on a Fleur De Les ciabatta roll with either house roast beef, roast turkey, or ham, covered with hand cut fries, and homemade Bechamel cheese sauce. Over the years, they have expanded their menu with some of their fan favorites and specials. Truly one of Portland’s food cart success stories.

Big-Ass Sandwiches has been featured on every network food show including the honor of winning the Best Sandwich of the NW on Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich In America show. Now you can find that sandwich at their new location at Mississippi Marketplace. Their original cart is open at SE 2nd and Oak.

Read our original article from 2009 here.

Website: Bigasssandwiches.com
Twitter: @BigAssSandwich
Facebook: Big-Ass Sandwiches

Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles

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Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles

Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles

Location: N Killingsworth and Maryland, Killingsworth Station
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7:30am-3:30pm; Saturday, 10am-2pm

The Story: North Portland continues to attract some great new vendors. With a new food cart lot – Killingsworth Station – now open just off the MAX line, vendors are discovering an underserved community. Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles opened earlier this fall to offer both breakfast and lunch options throughout the week.

Om Nom was born from a collective passion by both the owner and her friends to create something healthy, but also community driven. Michelle, the owner, doesn’t just want to own and run a food cart, so she engaged her friends who all have a come together to support each other in challenging times to design and launch the venture. I love this cart with its rustic cabin architecture, but emblazoned and sided with recycled materials. Michelle’s son flattened all the recycled metal cans in order to create the siding we see on the front. Such a cool way to finish off a project. Michelle hopes that her cart and her peers can create something for the community which may start with the waffles, but grow and blossom.

I spoke with Michelle about the gluten-free aspect of the waffles and her goal is to source locally and keep it healthy and stay away from corporate and GMO foods. There is also a health aspect behind the cuisine choice, so you’re getting the real deal. Om Nom offers gluten-free freshly made waffles with both savory and sweet options. I chose the Stegasaurus with hummus, feta, mozzarella fresca cheese, tomato, red onion, fresh spinach and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. How many great flavors can you pack in one dish? Many! The dry feta with the hot red onion and bitter spinach with each bite of a waffle – pretty darn delicious. I loved how the balsamic vinegar worked its way through into almost every bite.

The Stegasaurus from Om Nom Waffles

The Stegasaurus from Om Nom Waffles

Om Nom Gluten-Free Waffles is open daily during the week for breakfast and lunch and on Saturday for lunch. Killingsworth Station is right off N Killingsworth at Maryland and offers covered seating to get out of the weather. Drop on by, welcome Michelle to the fold and let Om Nom know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Butter and Cinnamon and Sugar waffle – $2
  • Cream Cheese and Jam – $3
  • Nut Butter and Jam – $3
  • Cinnamonodon – cream cheese frosting and cinnamon sugar – $3
  • Valdosaurus – Ricotta, bacon, berry, maple syrup sweetened whipped cream waffle – $5
  • Godzilla – steaming marinara sauce, mozzarella and asiago cheese, pepperoni and tempeh waffle – $5
  • Stegasaurus – $5

Website: OmNomPdx.com
FacebookOm Nom Gluten-Free Waffles
Twitter: 
@OmNomPDXCart

The Döner Haus

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Döner Haus

Döner Haus

Location: N Mississippi and Beech
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11an-8p

The Story: North Mississippi continues to evolve with new street food vendors opening monthly. At a small lot at the intersection of Beech, The Döner Haus has opened, bringing a new type of sandwich Mississippi hasn’t yet seen.

Döner is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical spit, usually lamb or a mixture of lamb and beef. I first enjoyed döner travelling in Germany which has a large population of Turkish immigrants and has integrated the dish into their own collective menu. The meat is usually ground and seasoned then stacked on the spit which rotates on a vertical rotisserie to sear it. It is then shaved off in thin slices and put into either a sandwich or a wrap.

Döner from Döner Haus

Döner from Döner Haus

At The Döner Haus, they offer the döner, a sandwich, the dürüm, a wrap, or the döner box, with döner and veggies atop a bed of fries. You can get any of these dishes with döner, grilled chicken or vegetable. I picked the döner with a fresh ciabatta bun, meat, lettuce, tomato, red onions, cabbage,  feta and their house made sauce. I started walking down the street thinking I would just enjoy it on the walk home, but after the first bite, I stopped and found a place to sit so I could enjoy it fully and not spill to much on my coat. Each bite included the coolness of the veggies mixed with the salty meat and dry feta. The ciabatta was fresh and a perfect platform for this sandwich. All in all, a tasty sandwich which I definitely will return for.

The Döner Haus opened in September at the corner of N Mississippi and Beech across from Amnesia Brewing. There is covered seating in the lot and they are open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch through the dinner hour. Drop on by next time you’re in the mood for a new lunch. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Döner – sandwich made with meat, vegetables and cheese on ciabatta roll – $7
  • Dürüm – choice of meat and sauce, vegetables wrapped in lavash – $7
  • Döner Box – choice of meat and sauce, vegetables atop a bed of fries – $7

Phone: (360) 607-8017
Facebook: The Döner Haus

Pizza Contadino

Lizzy Caston

Pizza1

Location: N Lombard and N Richmond – Next to the Fixin’ To bar and restaurant
Hours: Tues – Sat 2pm – 11pm, Sun 1pm – 8pm 

The Story: I love the St. Johns neighborhood. It sometimes feels like a completely different city in Portland – a little separate village, a small town almost. It feels like an island with Lombard and Willamette Blvd along with the majestic St Johns Bridge the only real main roads in and out to connect it with other neighborhoods in Portland. St Johns is still one of the most blue collar feeling neighborhoods, in my opinion, with industrial and dock workers from the nearby Columbia Blvd and Willamette River industrial areas mingling with long term residents, and a newer influx of young families, artists and others. Mixed in between the old man dive bars, and the quaint where your grandma might buy cookies Tulip Bakery, there’s some cool, funky newish businesses emerging, and sometimes they blur together.

Pizza Contadino is one such business and can seem a bit of an enigma at times. Is it a cart or is it a pizza restaurant? Where is it? Is it at the Crystal Gardens food cart pod on Lombard or did it move? No wait, now it’s a pop-up restaurant in the Fixin’ To bar, no wait, it’s a cart again. That’s the beauty of mobile vending, it’s FLEXIBLE and MOBILE, man. Keeps you on your toes and keeps things interesting if you ask me, and it’s nice a local bar that has it’s own kitchen was able to take on and support a cart as well. Bravo for the help your neighbor in need is a good deed indeed motto. Whew, location out of the way, if you can’t find Pizza Contadino, just call them – they’ll give you directions, no problem.

The pizza here is crave worthy. I’m not going to get into the whole thick crust vs. thin vs. NYC style vs. Neopolotin vs. New Haven Style vs whateverstyleyouthinkitis style discussion. Head on over to Serious Eats Slice for the cult of the pizza discussion. I will say this: The pizza at Pizza Contadino is GOOD. Here’s how Pizza Contadino describes their pizza (and business):

… We serve fresh handcrafted pizza with a sourdough crust that is made with a starter from the Alaskan gold rush.  It is baked in a 650 degree oven that creates a crisp exterior with a chewy interior.  Our menu is ever changing with mostly organic produce and ingredients that we source locally.

Some of those toppings include a perfectly cheesy cheese pie and a pepperoni for you pizza purists. Then things get interesting…between the roasted garlic, sausage, onions, you might find fresh Ricotta, Swiss Chard, Roasted Sliced Potatoes, Summer Squash. Meat options are available, but this pizza joint loves it’s veggies equally. Vegetarian pies are available, vegan pies – yeah, they can probably do those too. Just ask at Pizza Contadino and they are happy to accommodate if they can.

Pizza Contadino

photo from pizza contadino’s website

Slices or whole pies are always available. Cash only! And do call ahead, they will have your pizza hot n’ ready for you, and it’s a good way to confirm that Pizza Contadino is indeed right where they say they are and are open when they say they are and can help you fill your hungry pie hole.

Sample Menu:

  • Whole Pies $14 and up for a cheese, add on more depending on ingredients, Ingredients vary depending on what’s in season and chef’s inspirations.
  • Slices: $3 range

Phone: 503 935-4375 
Website: Pizza Contadino

Facebook: Pizza Contadino

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