Bridgetown Bagel Company

Lizzy Caston

Bridgetown Bagels1

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy – Rose City Food Cart Pod
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-1pm; Sat & Sun, 8am – 2pm

The Story: I call it the collective “Portland Bagel Freakout”.  I’m not quite sure why, but out of all the cities I have lived, worked in, and visited (and there have been many), Portland rivals only NYC and Montreal for what can only be described as a love of good bagels that borders on crazy zealously. That is, Google “bagels Portland, Oregon” and you’ll see countless, passionate (and sometimes uncivil) discussions on who has the best bagels in PDX, lamentations that Portland “has no real bagels”, cries for “I wish we had authentic bagels here!”…you get the idea. Mike Russell, the food critic for the Oregonian, sure found out about the Portland Bagel Freakout when he dared write about “Portland’s Best Bagels”. Check out these reader comments from that article for a chuckle for a chuckle. The message is clear: DON’T MESS WITH PORTLAND’S BAGELS. Portlanders will cut a biche over a bad, or even a mediocre bagel. It’s a BAGEL WAR.

So when a great bagel does appear on our fair streets of Bridgetown, people get a whole bunch of excited. Enter Bridgetown Bagel Company. Created by owner/baker Jonathan Park, an alum from the much loved, now sadly gone Kettleman Bagels, Bridgetown does the bagel right.

I won’t make claims this is THE BEST bagel in Portland (I’m not up for that knife fight). For I’ve learned, them there’s fightin’ words among Portland’s bagel cabal (that’s a joke, people). However, if you are looking for a very quality, fresh bagel of the East Coast style made they way they should – yes they are boiled, yes they use malt, yes, they are golden on the outside and dense and chewy within, yes, they aren’t super sized like some Godzilla bastard bagel – then Bridgetown Bagels is for you.

Bridgetown Bagels 3

Along with the usual cream cheese spreads, Bridgetown bagel offers the classic bagel and lox combo (with tomato, sliced red onions, and capers if you wish), breakfast and other bagel sandwiches.

I do want to give one big caveat about Bridgetown Bagels. And it’s no dis on them. Bridgetown, like most food carts is a small (read TINY) operation run by one person. He’s the one up at 2 in the morning making and proofing dough, cooking them just the right way, preparing and serving and cleaning up. And because Portlanders are such Bagel Hoarders, it’s hard to gauge from day to day how many crowds will show up and when and if they will buy the cart out on the spot. If you really really have your heart set on a bagel from Bridgetown, as we recommend here at Food Carts Portland for any cart visit, CALL AHEAD. Although they are consistent with their hours, Bridgetown can’t snap their fingers and make new bagels in 15 minutes if they have a rush and run out, and I bet you they’d rather close down than serve a crappy frozen and defrosted bagel. And so, when Bridgetown runs out, they run out for the day.  They are often sold out by noon, especially on weekends.

Still, as the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. So, get out your cell phone, call ahead, get there early and enjoy a Bridgetown Bagel before a bonkers bagel band of Portlanders beats you to it.

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Sample Menu:

  • Bagels: Plain, Sesame, Poppy, Garlic, Onion, Salt, Everything. Each – $1,   ½ Dozen- $5.50    Baker’s Dozen- $10
  • Spreads: Cream Cheese (Plain, Scallion, Smoked Salmon) – $1,  Tofutti, Hummus, $1,  Butter, $0.50
  • Cheeses: Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Mozzarella – $1,
  • Veggies: Lettuce, Red Onions, Black Olives, Pickles, Capers- $0.25, Tomatoes – $0.50, Avocados: -$0.75
  • Meats - Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Salami, Pepperoni –  $1 Lox: $6, Whitefish: $4
  • Breakfast Sandwich –  Egg & Cheese Bagel: $3, add meat: $1
  • 3 Little Pigs Sandwich (Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Cheese, Egg) – $5
  • The Bridgetown Sandwich (Ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, provolone, black olives, pickles, tomato): $7
  • Pizza Bagel: 1 Topping: $5  add topping – $0.50/each

Website: Bridgetown Bagel

Phone: (503) 268-2522
Facebook: Bridgetown Bagel

Vivi’s Yummy Rolls

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IMG_8055Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun, 11am-4pm

The Story:

Orange is one of those colors that catch your eye. When was the last time you didn’t turn your head at the sight of an orange car? At Vivi’s Yummy Rolls, a Vietnamese vendor, a friend luckily suggested the orange paint job and it really draws one to the cart.

Vivi’s is the work of Christina and Vinh, who are originally from Vietnam but have lived here in Portland for many years. Having worked in the restaurant industry for many years, Christina had a love for food and wanted to give it a try. Since opening a restaurant is usually cost prohibitive, the cart was born. Both Christina and Vinh are the cooks behind the scenes. When I asked who the head chef was, they pointed at each other and laughed. Christina has a goal to not only present Vietnamese cuisine like banh mi or noodle soup or salad rolls, but also to highlight cuisines and street food from different regions of Vietnam. Most recently, they had Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup from Vinh’s home town.

Roasted Pork Banh Mi

Roasted Pork Banh Mi

In Vietnam, they have a tradition to make your own rolls right at the table. A hot grill for marinated meats and all the fixin’s so you do it yourself. Christina wanted to make it simpler for her eaters, so they have the Nem (Pork) and lemon grass beef rolls made fresh in the cart. An item you may not find at other vendors in town. The grilled pork with noodles, lettuce and fresh herbs comes warm with a light peanut sauce. Each bite brought through the salty pork with the cool wet of the lettuce and bitter of the greens. Mouthwatering. The grilled pork banh mi was exactly what I expected. Crunchy flaky bun with pork, sliced carrots, jalapeno peppers and cilantro. So good, I’ll remember this sandwich in my dreams.

While I was eating, Christina joined me and brought out some of the fresh herbs and greens they use. So kind,  generous and friendly. I’m really looking forward to watching their Facebook page to keep up to date on regional specials. If you’re looking for something new and fresh, drop on by Vivi’s and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Nem Roll  - $4
  • Lemon Grass beef rolls – $4
  • Salad Rols – $4
  • Chicken Baguette – $4.50
  • Grilled Pork Baguette – $4.50
  • Vegetarian Baguette – $4.50
  • Grilled Pork with Rice – $6.50
  • Sauteed Shrimp with Rice – $7
  • Chicken Noodle Soup – $6
  • Tofu Vegetable Noodle Sopu – $6

Phone: 503 810 7051
Facebook: Vivi’s Yummy Rolls

Rockin’ Robyn’s Sassy Burger

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Rockin' Robyn's Sassy Burger

Rockin’ Robyn’s Sassy Burger

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Wed-Sun, 11:30am-8pm, open later Friday/Saturday till 9pm

The Story: I’m a burger fiend. I admit it, I ate a burger this week and kept it secret. It even had bacon on it. For awhile, friends of mine and I would text photos of burger finds both in Portland and beyond. The burger for me is true American cuisine and there are some wonderful specimens right here in the Rose City. Rockin’ Robyn’s at Rose City Food Park may just be one of those you put on your go-to list.

My doctor told me I needed to lay off the burgers a couple of years ago, so I did, opting for sandwiches and ethnic cuisine, but every so often, due to the rigors of my work, I have to enjoy a tasty burger. I had heard good reports about Robyn’s burgers, so ventured out to NE Portland to check it out. Right as I stepped out of the car, the sky opened, dumping about nine gallons of rain on me. Luckily, a parka and Robyn’s awning protected me while I ordered. Robyn has history in the burger making business and jokingly has burgers in her blood. Her father owned The Igloo in Vancouver, so Robyn learned from family. She sources her beef down the street from where I grew up – The Original Steer Market on SE Division.

The Sassonator from Rockin' Robyn's

The Sassonator from Rockin’ Robyn’s

The menu at the cart is what you would expect – burgers of all types and sizes. You can get a traditional one or go crazy and get mushrooms or BBQ sauce or even a second patty. Robyn will hook you up. For me, I chose the Sassonator, a cajun spiced 1/2lb burger with Tillamook Pepper Jack cheese. I even added a fried egg to make it extra special. With one of the best in town pub buns from Portland French Bakery, fresh lettuce, tomato, thick sliced onion and the burger, I knew I was in for a treat. You know how when you first pick up a burger and stare at it longingly and maybe talk to it, telling it that soon, it will be in your belly? Yep, that was me. Once you pick it up, with the melted cheese running down your hand and juices on your chin, you don’t put it down until you’re finished. The cajun spices came through, but not overwhelming and the pepper jack with the egg were divine. An excellent burger for $7.50.

Rockin’ Robyn’s isn’t just burgers. She offers fries and sandwiches and vegetarian and gluten free options. Every lot needs a good burger and Rose City has theirs in this cart. Drop on by and let Robyn know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Cheap Sassy Basket – 1/4lb burger with American cheese and 1/2 order fries – $5
  • Sassy Burger – 1/2 lb burger – $5.50
  • Sassy Cheddar Burger – 1/2 lb burger with cheese – $6.25
  • Sassonator – $7
  • Psycho Sassy – 1/2lb burger with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss – $7.25
  • Rockin’ Vegan Protabella Burger – Portabella mushroom on whole grain bun – $7

Phone: 503 449 7144
Website: RockinRobynsSassyBurger.com
Twitter: @RockinRobynsPDX
Facebook: Rockin’ Robyn’s

 

Chen’s Express

Lizzy Caston

Location: NE Sandy Blvd and 52nd. Rose City Food Park 
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-8pm

The Story: A Chinese food cart. Ah, I could wax poetic about my love of “New York Take Out” Chinese Food. Aka “Old School” or “Chinatown” Chinese.  It’s pure comfort food and as American as well, Kung Pao Chicken. Which is to say Chinese-American food is pretty darn American. You know the kind of food I’m talking about, it’s available all over our great country, but especially featured on many an episode of Seinfield, Friends, Sex & the City, and pretty much any show that take place in the Big Apple. When in NYC (and other big East Coast cities), you’ll see menu flyers piled up in apartment lobbies, and hoards of bicycle delivery folk speeding through traffic to get bags of Potstickers, Hot & Sour Soup, and other well known “Chinese American Classics” to their customers. Who hasn’t had a craving at one time or another for this type of saucy, salty, stir-fried, deep fried, steamed cuisine? I know I have.

Chen’s Express reminds me so much of those little storefronts found in New York – in cart form. It’s simple, it’s straight to the point, it’s freshly prepared fast, and it offers all your favorite Chinatown Chinese Food classics at affordable prices: Don’t expect anything CRAZY here, just decent generous portions of fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, chow mein, and a few Szechuan dishes, such as spicy tofu. They even have crab puffs and spring rolls alongside egg drop and hot and sour soup. At entrees that also include a side of your choosing for $6, you really can’t go wrong. No MSG, and plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available.

Chen's Express

Chen’s Express

Sample Menu:

  • Entrees plus one side – $6.00 or Two Entrees and a side – $8.00. Choices include, but are not limited to Sauteed string beans, lemon tofu, lemon chicken, Kung Pao tofu, Kung Pao chicken, Mongolian Beef, Tofu and vegetables, General Tsao’s tofu, General Tsao’s chicken,
  • Sides – $1.00 – $6.00 depending on dish and size: Crispy spring rolls, crab puffs, steamed buns, fried rice, chow mein
  • Soups – Small $1.00, Large $3.00 – Hot and Sour Soup, Eggdrop Soup

Phone: (503) 334-7040
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChensExpress

Moberi

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Moberi

Moberi

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30-7pm

The Story: I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s when it seemed everyone I knew was introduced to juicing through home shopping and infomercials. These days, juicing and smoothies are a way of life for many as a great way to combine numerous items and drink it down quick. There are international franchise restaurants who focus solely on juices and smoothies. Moberi, a cart that focuses on healthy smoothies and fresh juices does it a bit different than you local juice mart – he blends with a bike.

Ryan Carpenter opened Moberi this past summer with a location at Green Castle and roaming around to different events and street fairs. I first tried his wares at Last Thursday on Alberta when the sun was still out. He has a vintage Schwinn stationary exercise bike setup with a bike blender which uses the wheel to blend the smoothies. No electric Cuisinart here. And, when you meet Ryan, you’ll see he gets a good workout from making smoothies. Riding a bike and making smoothies all day isn’t a bad gig.

Powered by Bike!

Powered by Bike!

On the menu at Moberi are fruit smoothies, protein shakes and vegetable and fruit juices. How does raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, Greek yogurt and agave sound? Or maybe carrot, apple and ginger to boost your immune system? Ryan’s got you covered. On the cold rainy day I visited, I needed some fruit, so he made me the DeLorean with strawberry, banana and mango. With strawberries from this summer’s local harvest you could taste that Oregon sweetness and remember a warmer time. Such a simple drink with so much flavor. And healthy!

Moberi is at Rose City Food Park now, but still has his mobile gear ready to go to bring his smoothies to your next event. Drop on by for a bike powered smoothie or juice and let Ryan know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Smoothies – 16oz, $5.75

  • Moberi – raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, agave
  • Turtle Power – kale, spinach, green apple, mango, banana, ginger
  • Uncle Jesse – strawberry, mint, avocado, dates, coconut milk

Protein Shakes – 16oz, $6

  • Peanut Butter Cup – whey protein, peanut butter, organic chocolate, banana
  • One Night in Bangkok – whey protein, peanut butter, banana, coconut milk, sesame oil, sriracha

Juice – 10oz, $4; 16oz $6.50

  • Affordable Healthcare – carrot, apple, ginger
  • Trampled by Turtles – kale, cucumber, celery, green apple, lime ginger
  • Eat to the Beet – carrot, beet, apple, lemon, ginger

Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30-7pm
Website: Moberi.com
Facebook: Moberi
Twitter: @MoberiSmoothies

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