Mole Prehispanic Cuisine

mole food cart portland

Mole Prehistoric Cuisine

Location: 5885 NW St Helens Rd in the parking lot of Anderson Roofing
Hours: Weekdays, lunch

The Story: Our food scene here in Portland continues to mature. Every day, I’m overjoyed by the layers of flavor offered by street food vendors throughout the city. Mole Prehispanic Cuisine, a new food truck out off HWY 30, brings us mole from Oaxaca and they are the real deal.

Chef Luis Ochoa, veteran of Isabel in the Pearl, works out of a truck parked of a highway, creating dynamic and exciting mole daily. Originating in the southern most regions of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca, Chef Luis crafts an rhapsody of dried chiles, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices to pair with locally grown meats to create the moles. After a few visits to Sauvie Island on the weekends and seeing the closed truck, I decided to pop in for lunch on a Monday. Four Mole dishes are on the menu – beef, pork, lamb and chicken. Yet, each is defined by the complexity of the mole. Chef Luis offered up a sample taste of each and dutifully explained the differences. I almost ordered them all. Not one to accept samples, these tiny tastes assisted me in choosing lunch.

Mole food cart portland

Mole Verde from Mole Prehistoric Cuisine

The Mole Verde – Carlton Farms pork slow roasted and paired with a light herbaceous, yet zesty Oaxacan mole of tomatillos, pablanos and pepitas. I chose the verde for the spiciness. A forkful of pork, stirred in the rich green mole and a bit of brown rice and quinoa and my taste buds united in joy. Each dish is served with the rice and quinoa blend along with fresh greens topped with a pineapple salsa and pickled onions. Mix a bit of the pineapple with the mole – Boom!

Beyond the main dishes, Mole Prehistoric Cuisine also serves up fresh made empanadas and daily specials. Exploring the depths of regional cuisine ignites a passion in me about all foods. I’m excited to see Chef Luis bring his dishes to Portland’s streets. Find the truck parked at the Anderson Roofing Materials lot out off HWY 30 south of the St. Johns Bridge. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Mole Negro – primitive Oaxacan mole with braised St. Helen’s beef brisket – $8
  • Mole Verde – $8
  • Mole Colaradito – Anderson Ranches lamb, braised with guajillo chilies, mild spices, cinnamon and clove – $8
  • Mole De Castilla – organic chicken pan poached and matched with earthy mole of dark chocolate, spice and fruit – $8
  • Empanadas – $3

Facebook: Mole PDX
Twitter: @MolePDX
Phone: 503 875 9134

Oregon Made Grub

Sandwich food cart portland

Oregon Made Grub

Location: NW 19th and Quimby at Q19
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm

The Story: Put together a thoughful, yet simple menu of both hot and cold sandwiches and you have Oregon Made Grub, a new addition to the Q19 food cart lot in Slabtown.

Oregon Made Grub launched earlier this year in another great creation by PDX Cart Builders. The cedar paneled carts are becoming de rigeur for new vendors who want something classy and unique. Since Oregon Made Grub works to keep it local, presenting their fare from what could be seen as modern log cabin nails it. I met owner Kyrsten Schenck back in November when she participated in one of our food cart tours. I immediately realized she was interested in learning as much as she could about the scene and lo and behold, a few months later, she launched her cart. Oregon Made Grub focuses on sandwiches and soups. Sourcing as many ingredients as possible locally, Kyrsten creates amazing creations in the little box that is the food cart. Hot sammis include roast beef, pork tenderloin and my favorite, the tuna melt. Cold sammis include bacon and brie, an herbed cream cheese wrap with shredded carrot and oven roasted tomatoes or a chicken and kale caesar wrap. The tuna melt on toasted Dave’s Killer Break, my favorite sandwich by far, crushed me. A bit of melted cheese oozed out to crisp up from the grill. The tuna was fresh and creamy. Dave’s batch that day was top notch. A wonderful meal.

sandwich food cart portland

Tuna Melt

Oregon Made Grub is now open for lunch weekdays at Q19 on NW 19th and Quimby. The lot offers seating along with the options of heading indoors to Quimby’s for a pint. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu: [Menu on website]

Hot Sammis

  • Pork tenderloin with garlic sage aioli and greens on ciabatta $9
  • Roast Beef with sharp white cheddar, caramelized onions, horseradish on a rosemary bun – $9
  • Tuna Melt – $8

Cold Sammis

  • Bacon& Brie with sliced apple and greens on focaccia – $9
  • Herbed Cream Cheese Wrap – $7
  • Chicken and kale caesar wrap – $8

Twitter: @OMGPDX
Facebook: Oregon Made Grub

The Lunch Box

lunch box food cart portland

The Lunch Box

Location: NW 19th and Quimby – Q19
Hours: lunch, weekdays

The Story: There are food trucks and food trailers. Large and small. There are vendors on bikes. But, The Lunch Box is probably the cutest, coziest little food cart I’ve seen in awhile. Creating wraps both hot and cold, the cart sated my lunchtime needs for a cool and crisp Friday.

Wraps for me are either awesome of not. I’m not sure what it is, yet I tend to shy away from them. Maybe because every corporate box lunch ever made had a poorly made wrap in it – all cold and soggy. Yet, I know wraps can be done well and Portland’s food carts have proved that. At The Lunch Box, they offer up both cold and hot pressed wraps with a variety of ingredients. Being a cool fall day, I chose the Tuna Melt hot pressed wrap. A layer of cheese on the tortilla, topped with fresh tuna salad and tomato, the wrap is then pressed similar to a panini until hot with all that tasty cheese melted throughout. Inside Quimby’s, the onsite bar, everyone asked what I had. No one had seen such a glorious sandwich from a cart I guess. Being a sucker for anything with the words tuna and melt in it, I dove in and enjoyed every bite. A great mix of tuna with seasonings and mayo. The wrap was crisp and toasty. Overall, I would trade this over some of the traditional melts I’ve had in town.

lunch box food cart portland

Tuna Melt Hot Pressed Wrap from The Lunch Box

The Lunch Box is located at Q19 Food Cart Pod in NW Portland. There is outdoor seating or you can take you food inside and warm up in the bar. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Hot Pressed Wraps:

  • Philly Steak – $8
  • Chipotle Chicken – $7
  • Tuna Melt – $7
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu – $7
  • Grilled Cheese w/bacon and tomato – $7

Cold Wraps:

  • Italian – ham, salami, basil – $7
  • Chicken Bacon Club – $7
  • Tuna – $7
  • Veggie – $7
  • Roast Beef – $7

Gastro Mania

Gastro Mania

Gastro Mania

Location: NW 19th and Quimby
Hours: M-Sun, 11am-3pm

The Story: Looking for some grilled porchetta or a foie gras burger? Look no further than Gastro Mania, a new food truck posted up at Q19 in NW Portland.

Gastro Mania opened this past spring promoting “The Best of Mediterranean Cuisine,” yet except for the top item of a Gyro, the menu is chalk full of treats that we don’t think of as from that part of the world. Salmon Sliders, Swordfish Steak, a Porchetta sandwich and what has caught the most attention – the foie gras burger. While getting foie gras is a treat for many, I opted for the Porchetta, a monster of a sandwich with more than enough grilled pork belly and charred fat. I tend to describe porchetta as bacon wrapped pork, so use your imagination. Alex, the chef, believes he has the best porchetta in town, so I had to give it a shot. A thick layer of porchetta between a crunchy seared roll with plenty of dripping fat and butter. Crazy delicious and oh so wrong. I couldn’t put it down. Each bite, a palatable bliss. This sandwich is not for those who cut off the fat when eating steaks. You have to dive right in and clean up later. The Porchetta is served with a side greek salad with feta so you can at least claim you ate your veggies that day.

Porchetta from Gastro Mania

Porchetta from Gastro Mania

Gastro Mania is at Q19, the lot adjacent to Quimby’s where you can sit indoors and enjoy a libation while chowing down. Open daily for lunch. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Gyros – chicken or lamb – $7
  • Porchetta sandwich – $8
  • Foie Gras burger – $8
  • Salmon Sliders – $8
  • Tuna Steak served over salad – $8
  • Chicken Breast Scallopini – $8

Phone: 5036893794
Facebook: Gastro Mania

Korean BBQ Box

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