Midwest Pizza Co.

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pizza food cart Portland

Midwest Pizza Co

Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi at Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Monday/Thursday – 11:30-3; Friday/Saturday, 11:30-8; Sunday, 11:30-7

The Story: I grew up eating pizza from Round Table and Abby’s and in college, the ubiquitous Domino’s. It was only the last couple of decades I was introduced to what really good pizza is and Portland has it. Midwest Pizza Co is a new food cart serving up Chicago and Detroit style pizza.

pizza food cart Portland

Detroit Style Pizza

I remember the first time ordering a Chicago style pizza in Chicago. We were accosted with menus. Told to order quickly as it takes an hour. And then we waited. It was great, yet coming from the west coast where pizza was quick and thin, it was a different experience all together. Here in Portland, at the food carts, the vendors offer the pizza by the slice, so there isn’t the hour long wait. You can still get a whole pie if you want, just call ahead. At Midwest Pizza Co, their goal was to bring to Portland the flavors so you don’t have to endure the 100 degree weather and 100% humidity.

pizza food cart Portland

Chicago style dog

The Chicago Deep Dish starts with the crust. A flaky, buttery bed with slabs of Mozzarella and then the homemade sauce and toppings. The first slice I enjoyed on opening weekend was almost 2″ thick and so much cheese. The Detroit Style originated from baking the pie in spare parts trays giving the pizza a distinct rectangular shape. Caramelization occurs on the edges of the crust and when topped with Mozzarella and Monterey Jack and a few slices of pepperoni, you just can’t go wrong. Lastly, the Classic Chicago Dog. Made with Red Hot Chicago dogs, I enjoyed it “dragged through the garden.” The dog was topped with yellow mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish which glowed green, pickle spears, tomato wedges, sport peppers and celery salt. Each bit was fulfilling with veggies and pickled goodness and, well, hot dog happiness.

Midwest Pizza Co. is a great addition to the food cart scene here in Portland. We now have a number of wood fired pizza vendors and a Chicago style cart in downtown, so I’m glad they located in my neighborhood. Open Thursday-Monday for both lunch and dinner, if you’re in the neighborhood, you should check them out. Also, if you’re from the midwest, they offer other tasty regional treats including Sprecher Root Beer and Faygo. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu (Full menu on MWPizza.com)

  • Chicago Dog – $4
  • Chicago Dog with all the fixin’s – $5.50
  • Chicago Deep Dish – slices are $5.50; whole pies are $15-20.
  • Detroit Style – $4-4.50/slice; whole pies are $10-15

Phone: 503 697 4992
Website: MWPizza.com
Twitter: @MidwestPizzaCo
Facebook: Midwest Pizza Company

Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen

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Miss Kate's Southern Kitchen

Miss Kate's Southern Kitchen

Location: N Mississippi and Skidmore, Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Weds/Thurs: 10am-5pm; Fri/Sat, 10am-8 pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm

The Story:

Miss Kate, Charles’ grandmother, was from Vicksburg, Mississippi and Charles, the owner of the newest cart in Mississippi Marketplace is bringing the tastes of Mississippi to the street.

When Kate passed, Charles’ took control of the hundreds of recipes that Miss Kate had collected over the years from her time with the ladies at bridge and garden clubs. They would sit around and simply write down their favorites on the bridge pads, so some of the recipes don’t have titles. Charles takes the recipe and puts the ingredients together without truly knowing what the outcome will be. These are true southern dishes made by a descendant of the founders of Vicksburg. Charles loves to cook and it was at the cajoling for friends that he opened the cart. He also loves to tell stories – did you know the first bottle of Coke was made in Vicksburg by the Biedenharn Candy Company in 1894?

At Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen, you can discover some amazing southern dishes like coleslaw, mac and cheese, succotash, chicken salad, meatloaf, turkey, pork roast, biscuits and gravy and their awesome pimento cheese. They also have southern fried chicken with biscuits which is what I enjoyed that opening week. I didn’t grow up with crispy homemade fried chicken, so as an adult, I’ve been seeking it out whenever I can. With just salt, pepper and flour, Charles creates an amazing crust that keeps the meat juicy and savory. The biscuits that come with the meal are something special. Sweet cream butter was a dominant taste in the biscuit, but the secret is actually a brown sugar/butter glaze that creates the sweetness I so loved. I’m excited to have Mississippi food now on Mississippi boulevard in my neighborhood.

Fried Chicken from Miss Kate's

Fried Chicken from Miss Kate's

Charles and his cart Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen are open Tuesday through Saturday for the morning hours through the afternoon. You can enjoy some biscuits and gravy or grab a full meal. Charles has an extensive menu, so you can try all that he has to offer. I’m looking forward to some southern succotash. Drop on by this brand new cart and welcome them to the neighborhood and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Biloxi Biscits (Savory Biscuit)

  • Biscuit and Bacon Gravy – $3
  • Biscuits with Pimiento Cheese – $2.50
  • Biscuit with Maple Syrup and Butter – $1.50
  • Breakfast Biscuit with ham, bacon, or sausage – $3
  • Biscuit Sandwich with choice of meat and egg and cheese with port beer cheese sauce – $4
  • Vicksburg Beignet – 2 for $1.50, 6 for $4; Baker’s Dozen – $7.50

Sandwiches:

  • Papaw’s Turkey Sandwich – turkey grilled in gravy, whole cranberry jam, onion cream cheese, greens, tomato, on grilled Italian white bread – $7.50
  • Aunt Pat’s Ham Sandwich – country baked ham, pimento cheese, dill mayo, greens, tomato on grilled swirled white and rye – $7.50
  • Mamaw’s Chicken Salad – rosemary chicken, cranberries, pecans, greens, tomato, Creole mayo, on grilled Italian white – $7.50

Other:

  • Vicksburg Southern Fried Chicken – crispy fried chicken with a little kick – 2 pieces and served with cornbread or biscuit – $6
  • Creole Beans and Rice with Cornbread – $5

Hours: Weds/Thurs: 10am-5pm; Fri/Sat, 10am-8 pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm
Phone: 503 724 7878
Facebook: Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen

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Minizo

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Minizo

Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi at Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11-3

The Story:

Ramen is the new pork in Portland with carts and restaurants alike revisiting this wonderful Japanese dish. Minizo, Noodleburger, opened this month to offer both ramen and burgers along with other Japanese delights

Minizo is the work of Tamio Nojima and Yasuharu Nojiri who are with Shigezo, a Japanese Izakaya downtown by the south park blocks. Shigezo is part of a larger company with over 100 restaurants in Japan. Portland is their first stop stateside and Minizo is their first cart. Oh, and Minizo translates as small Shigezo. How cool is that? When you visit, you may also run into Toku, a manager or Ken, an executive chef, both from Shigezo.

Minizo Abu-Ramen

Minizo Abu-Ramen

Minizo offers up Japanese style noodle soups, Japanese style curry and their version of burgers. The Abu-Ramen, one of the many styles of ramen out of Japan, is made with fresh wheat flour noodles, green onion, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, seasoned soy sauce – kaeshi, chili oil and chashu pork. What you’ll notice about this dish – there isn’t a clear broth like we might expects with ramen. The noodles are tossed in a seasoned kaeshi sauce that sticks to the noodles. While you can slurp, you’re not spooning broth. The ramen was exceptional, with a breadth of flavors, both spicy and salty and you could taste the care in the thick handmade noodles. I’m definitely heading back for more.

Minizo isn’t just ramen. They do have their own styles of burgers – a chicken katsu burger or a shrimp burger. Something new to try. I’m happy to see another Japanese cart open. Such great food and so few places to enjoy it. Drop on by Minizo and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Abu-Ramen: green onions, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, seasoned soy sauce, handmade noodles, chashu pork, chili oil – $6
  • Veggie Abu-Ramen: noodles tossed in original shiodare sea salt sauce and mixed with green onions, bean sprouts, seasoned burdock root and carrots, fried tofu and chili oil – $6
  • Okinawa Noodle Soup: homemade pork and bonito broth with green onion, shredded omelet, chashu pork, and a side of red ginger – $6.50
  • Brown Curry: curry sauce made from slow simmered onions, fresh carrots, ginger, potatoes, garlic and Japanese spice blend – stewed together with chicken broth and served with steaming rice and pickled radish – $5
  • Chicken Katsu Curry: curry served with deep fried chicken katsu – $6.50
  • Veggie Curry: curry with vegetable and seaweed stock. served with fried eggplant, zucchini, carrot, potatoes and onion -$6.50
  • Chicken Katsu Burger: deep fried chicken breast dressed with sweet amazu vinegar soy sauce and served with cabbage and lettuce – $6
  • Shrimp Burger: fresh shrimp, eggs and white onion dressed in white bechamel sauce, breaded in Panko and deep fried – $6

Hours: weekdays, lunchtime

 

Koi Fusion Mississippi Marketplace

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Koi Fusion Mississippi Marketplace

Koi Fusion Mississippi Marketplace

Location: N Skidmore and Mississippi, Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Daily and weekends, 12-8pm

The Story:

Koi Fusion opened a second permanent cart at Mississippi Marketplace. Serving up their signature Korean tacos, burritos and other items.

Website: KoiFusionPDX.com
Twitter:
@KoiFusion
Facebook: Koi Fusion

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Native Bowl

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Native Bowl

Native Bowl

Location: N Mississippi at Skidmore in Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-3pm

The Story: 

Changing of the guard happens every so often at the carts. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m happy to report that Native Bowl has new owners and will continue to serve the quality and flavorful bowls we have come to expect. Mmm, BBQ Soy curls for the win! Suzzette and Ted Easton who live in the neighborhood and own and operate the Akemi Salon on Williams took over the cart in November of 2013 after working with Jay and Julie to master the menu. The bowls are the same, but expect some new items to hit the menu in the future. Welcome to the food cart world Suzzette and Ted!

Our original article about Native Bowl:

When we were over at Mississippi Marketplace showing an out of town guest the carts, we decided to grab one of the dishes from Native Bowl, another vegan cart in the pod. The dish had what they called “crack gravy” a gravy so good, you’ll get addicted to it like crack. I only got a couple of bites, but it was enough for me to return the following day and meet the owners and try one of their bowls.

Native Bowl is another brand new cart in the pod. The owners Jay and Julie have been open for about 4 weeks and are fully vegan. Jay relayed a story that one day their 8yr old son came home and asked if they could try vegan and it went from there. The Native Bowl specializes in what we would traditionally call rice bowls. A layer of rice (in this case, jasmine rice), then some sauce, some protein like marinated tofu topped with veggies. Pretty simple concept, but if you prepare each item very well, you come out with an amazing dish.

Couch Bowl from Native Bowl

Couch Bowl from Native Bowl

I chose the Couch Bowl (pronounced cooch) per the owner’s recommendation. I’ll be the first to take someone’s advice, keeps me from hand wringing over all the choices. While they prepared it, I walked over to PROST!, the German pub in the lot, grabbed a table and ordered a beer. Before I knew it, Julie was actually bringing me my bowl. I don’t think this is standard, but what a great gesture. Upon opening the bowl, I was overwhelmed with the bright colors and savory aromas. The top of the bowl was a mixture of freshly chopped green onions topped with a savory sauce and sesame seeds. Just below the onions were bean sprouts, some mixed greens, chopped carrots and then marinated tofu and the rice. I’m the eater who prefers to mix everything together so you don’t end up with one single item at the end of the meal, yet this bowl was a mix of amazing flavors from top to bottom. The sauce had some spice to it also, something I didn’t expect but was glad was there.

The Native Bowl is another great addition to the Mississippi Marketplace pod. Jay and Julie are kind and welcoming to everyone who walks by. If you’re up in North Portland and need a great dish, check out Native Bowl and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Bowls are all vegan, $6.50
  • Mississippi Bowl – peppercorn ranch sauce, BBQ soy curls, house coleslaw, scallions, and jasmine rice
  • Couch Bowl – seasoned tofu, sesame bean sprouts, Kochujang sweet and sour sauce, jasmine rice, lettuce, carrots, scallions and sesame seeds
  • Alberta Bowl – seasoned tofu, house-made fire-breathing dragon sauce, jasmine rice, shredded cabbage, carrots and scallions

Website: TheNativeBowl.com
Twitter: NativeBowl
Facebook: Native Bowl

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