Bones & Bits

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Bones & Bits

Bones & Bits

Location: NW 19th and Quimby, Q19
Hours: Weekdays, 11-3pm

The Story: More often then not, when talking with a food cart owner about the origins of their culinary adventure, grandma comes into the conversation. Something about grandma’s recipe for a certain dish or how Sunday brunches were magical stuck with the individual and shaped their menu. For me, it was Fruit Loops. I remember my grandma always had Fruit Loops. For Bones & Bits, grandma’s Sunday meal was always something everyone in the family looked forward to.

Bones & Bits, located in NW Portland at the Q19 pod is the work of Paul and his longtime friend Michael. They have been friends since before first grade at St. A’s in New Jersey in the 60′s. Two great guys who decided it was time to try something new and launched the food cart. Michael is the chef and where the inspiration for the name and primary dishes comes from. His Sicilian grandmothers would slow cook pork and lamb bones and chicken thighs with tomatoes to create a signature gravy. He and his siblings would fight over the bits of pork meat left on the bones at the end of the meal. There you have it, Bones & Bits.

Lamb with Polenta Cake

Lamb with Polenta Cake

The menu is broken out between Bones and Bits. Under bones are the meat dishes and bits lists salads. Paul and Michael put together a mixture for me – shoulder chop lamb atop a polenta cake with steamed spinach and tomato gravy. He then topped it with ricotta and some fresh herbs. Secondly, he made me a generous arugula and watermelon salad. The lamb was fall off the bone, toss it in your mouth and let it melt goodness. The tomato gravy, mixed with the polenta cake and the herbs reminded me of some of the best restaurant meals I have had. The different layers and flavors all jumped off the plate to create a truly amazing dish. The salad, another excellent flavor explosion came with a generous amount of wild organic arugula, feta, chopped kalamata olives and watermelon with a dressing made from lemon, honey and thyme. Wow! I love arugula, yet paired with the fruit and the herb vinaigrette, that love just became an obsession. Two great dishes from some great guys.

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

Watermelon and Arugula Salad

The goal of the guys is to showcase some dishes not readily found at the carts. The menu here are their staples, but they hope to offer specials now and again to show us what we’re missing. I get the impression Michael has a memory warehouse of unique recipes. Drop on by Bones & Bits and enjoy some southern Italian flavor and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Bones: served with tomato gravy, wilted spinach, Ricotta, and choice of polenta cake or ziti

  • Pork – shoulder chop – $8.50
  • Chicken – 1 thigh – $7.50
  • No Bones – two fried eggs, tomato sauce – $5
  • Lamb – shoulder chop – $9.50

Bits:

  • Polenta Cake – $4
  • Arugula Salad – $6
  • Watermelon Salad – $6
  • Kale Salad – $6
  • Sicilian Tuna Salad-  $8

Phone: (503) 847-9492

Korean BBQ Box

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Korean BBQ Box

Korean BBQ Box

Location: NW 19th and Quimby, Q19
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11-7; Sat, 11-3pm

The Story: For many years, I would visit different vendors throughout downtown for something new – bento. These vendors were grilling marinated chicken and placing it sliced over rice – truly groundbreaking for a kid from a farm. Some even added steamed vegetables. Around 2008, when the collective food cart eater began experiencing a sea-change in what was offered at the carts, I was introduced to bi bim bop from a Korean vendor. Ever since, this delightfully colorful dish has been a staple in my diet. Korean BBQ Box at Q19 does it up right.

Bi Bim Bop

Bi Bim Bop

Bi bim bop is considered the most representative of Korean cuisine. A low calorie dish, it combines numerous ingredients into the same bowl and can be done with or without meat. The word even translates to ‘mixed meal.’ With a base of rice, the dish is then topped with sauteed and seasoned vegetables, just a small bit of each, and then topped with meat and a fried egg. The idea is to add go chu jang, a Korean chili paste, and mix it all together. I chose a different route, dipping each of the savor vegetables into the paste in order to A) eat slower and B) enjoy the broad flavors. I’ll admit, the chopsticks were eventually replaced by a fork when my hand cramped. What I love about this dish is the diversity of flavors from zucchini to radish to shittake mushrooms to sprouts. Each has its own distinct flavor and when mixed with others or just simply the fried egg, it all tastes great. Such a fun and colorful meal.

Korean BBQ Box also offers Korean BBQ, noodle dishes like udon and yakisoba, stir fries and daily specials. Located at Q19, you can take your order inside Quimby’s and stay warm. Next time you’re in the mood for something different, drop on by Korean BBQ Box and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken and Beef with vegetables over white rice – $7.99
  • Chicken and Pork with vegetables over rice-  $7.99
  • Chicken and Gyoza with vegetables over rice – $7.99
  • Korean Spicy Pork BBQ with vegetables over rice – $7.99
  • Bulgogi Beef BBQ with vegetables over rice – $7.99
  • Yaki Udon – stir fried vegetables and thick noodles in special sauce – $5.99
  • Yakisoba – $5.99
  • Fish Cutlet deep fried with rice and sides – $7.99
  • Bi Bim Bop – $7.99

Phone: 503 490 1662

Aybla Grill NW

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Location: NW 4th and Couch
Hours: Friday/Saturday Late Night

Aybla Grill, Portland’s well known Mediterranean vendor has a truck in Old Town on the weekends.

Falafel King

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Location: NW 4th and Couch
Hours: Friday/Saturday late night

Mediterranean cuisine. More details coming soon.

Gamila Cafe

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Location: NW 4th and Couch
Hours: Friday/Saturday late night

Moroccan American Cuisine. More details coming soon.

Facebook: Gamila Cafe

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