Slick’s Big Time BBQ

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Location: Varies – check website
Hours: Varies – check website

The Story: Portland’s BBQ scene is ever changing with new blood launching restaurants and food carts seemingly weekly. Slick’s Big Time BBQ has been around for awhile and their food truck is now roaming the streets of Portland.

Dan and Barbi Slick started their BBQ business with a sauce product line which took off and allowed them to grow their business into catering and events and a BBQ drive-through in Newberg. Over the years, they have had the pleasure of traveling the states with their award winning BBQ and sauce line. Slick’s Big Time BBQ Truck came about as they saw the need to expand into other areas and it is gorgeous. Menu offerings from the truck include pulled pork, smoked turkey and brisket sandwiches, a Texas slaw dog or a rib plate. Brisket is my crutch, so Gene, the pit-master in the truck, set me up with a good size portion on a stadium bun along with house made coleslaw and macaroni salad. The brisket was moist and flavorful with just the right smoke ring. A great amount of food for only $9.

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Gene, the pit-master on the truck visits weekly locations around the Nike campus or you can find them at wineries and events throughout the year. Next time you’re out looking for BBQ, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pulled Pork sandwich – $8
  • Smoked Turkey sandwich – $8
  • Beef Brisket sandwich – $9
  • Rib Plate – $12

Website: SlicksBigTimeBBQ.com
Facebook: Slick’s Big Time BBQ

New Avenues for Youth – Ben & Jerry’s Partnershops

Lizzy Caston
Some the New Avenues For Youth team at their Ben & Jerry's Partnershop ice cream cart.

Some the New Avenues For Youth team at their Ben & Jerry’s Partnershop ice cream cart.

What’s better than ice cream joined with food carts and community giving all-in-one? It’s like a peanut butter and chocolate malt milkshake delivered by gentle flying unicorns in superhero costumes. Not really, but it does always warm our hearts at Food Carts Portland to hear about nonprofits utilizing the power of the carts for a greater cause, especially when it comes to helping homeless and in-need youth.

Enter the New Avenues for Youth / Ben & Jerry’s Partnershops.

New Avenues for Youth is a Portland based nonprofit that works with homeless youth to help  provide them with resources, gain skills, and get the support they need to exit the unstable and often dangerous world of street life. Ben & Jerry’s, the well known ice cream empire, runs the Ben & Jerry’s Partnershops program, ” a form of social enterprise, in which nonprofit organizations leverage the power of business for community benefit”.

In Portland, New Avenues for Youth runs two Ben & Jerry’s Partnershops (one on the PSU Campus, the other on SW Yamhill near 5th). New Avenue also has a food cart and catering program to bring their partnershops to the streets, squares, parks and private events of Portland. How it works is this,

PartnerShops are Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops that are independently owned and operated by community-based nonprofit organizations. Ben & Jerry’s waives the standard franchise fees and provides additional support to help nonprofits operate strong businesses.

PartnerShops offer job and entrepreneurial training to youth and young adults that may face barriers to employment. Ultimately, they help people build better lives. (from the Ben & Jerry’s website)

New Avenue’s for Youth operates the partnershops and works closely with youth in the program to provide extensive job training and other professional and personal support that helps give these hardworking kids employment skills, but also helps boost their self esteem and other positive benefits that can make a difference in their lives. New Avenues for Youth explains,

New Avenues believes that every young person should have food, shelter, and access to education and job training.  We believe we must go beyond meeting basic needs and offer programs that heal young lives and foster growth and independence.
Our mission is to work in partnership with our community to prevent youth homelessness and provide homeless and at-risk young people the resources and skills needed to lead healthy, productive lives.

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You might have seen one of the New Avenue’s Partnershop carts set up and selling scoops and cones at the U.S. Bankcorp Plaza downtown on SW 5th and Oak St. this past summer. With their distinctive Ben & Jerry’s tie-dye t-shirts and cows with clouds cart,  The mobile partnership was a beacon for anyone wanting a quick frozen treat while walking or waiting for the MAX Train just a few feet away.

The New Avenue’s Ben & Jerry’s cart is off the streets for the fall and winter, but is still available for private catering gigs and other functions. And the Ben & Jerry’s Partnershops at the PSU Urban Plaza and the one on SW Yamhill and 5th are open year round for all your ice cream cravings.

In the next year, New Avenue’s for Youth is considering expanding their mobile operations and/or other food programs. ‘Cause I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream that not only tastes good, we all love ice cream that does good too. It’s like the cherry on top of the double Cherry Garcia ice cream cone.

For more information, to inquire about Ben & Jerry’s New Ave’s ice cream catering, or to  volunteer or donate to New Avenues for Youth, contact Phone:  503-224-4339 or email: info@newavenues.org. Website: www.newavenues.org

 

 

Churros Locos

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Churros Locos

Churros Locos

Location: Roaming, check Facebook for current locations
Hours: Check Facebook for current locations/hours

The Story: We all have childhood memories of food. Many of our life choices for meals were shaped by our upbringing and when we end up living somewhere other than our childhood home, we end up with cravings. Churros Locos is here to sate that craving for all who grew up with churros.

It all started with smells. Daniel and Isabel were spending the weekend at the beach and dropped into a gelato shop. In talking with the owner, they brought up the idea of adding something like a churro to the menu in order to have the smell of it wafting both inside and out. Smells will bring people in. Daniel and Isabel had grown up with churros, but had never thought of it as a business until later that night walking back to the hotel. One of those moments when they looked at each other and realized they were thinking the same thing. Churros Locos was born. They acquired a cart, talked with friends and family and did some traveling to learn and perfect their recipes and processes and the cart launched this past April. They secured a key spot on SW 18th directly across from JELD-Wen field and have been at almost every Timbers and Thorns matches.

Churro from Churros Locos

Churro from Churros Locos

A churro is a like a long doughnut and is baked and fried. For Churros Locos, their influence is Mexican, yet churros are well known throughout central and south America and beyond. A simple dough is then extruded to give it that unique star shape and length. Daniel and Isabel par-bake them then quickly fry them on the spot so your churro is hot and fresh. Once out of the fryer, they are sprinkled with sugar. At the cart, you can get a simple churro or a churro sundae with ice-cream and toppings. The warm crisp dough with just enough seductive sugar to sweeten it is truly memory inducing. No wonder they have so many stories of emotional adults relaying churro memories of childhood.

Churros Locos can be found on SW 18th and Morrison by the MAX stop for Timbers matches. They will also be at different events throughout town this fall. Such a great story and a great vendor. Seek them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Churro – $2
  • Churro Sundae – $4

Facebook: Churros Locos
Twitter: @Churros_Locos

Thrive Pacific NW

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Thrive Pacific NW

Thrive Pacific NW

Location: SE 32nd and Hawthorne and mobile, check their website for current location
Hours: Wed-Sun, 11am-3pm and check website for other hours/location

The Story:

Earlier this year, after returning from a trip to California where I had to seek out food trucks all over the city, I drove down Division and saw a food truck parked in front of APEX bar. We have food trucks here in Portland, but most of the mobile vendors are congregated in lots throughout the city, so seeing a truck on the street is something kinda new. Thrive Pacific NW has been roaming the streets of Portland all summer feeding hungry eaters.

Thrive is the work of Stephanie and Erika who only met a year or so ago but have years of experience in the kitchen and wanted to try something new. With a beautifully outfitted truck, they launched with the goal of hitting events and under served areas where there aren’t any food vendors. You may have seen them at Powell’s Street Fair or Sunday Parkways or even the Zoo Concerts.

The Argentinean from Thrive

The Argentinean from Thrive

The menu is designed around Erika’s travels internationally, but the food is all local. Vegetables sourced from local farms and vendors like Kruger Farms and Draper Valley. They even have their own garden plot which they harvested vegetables from throughout the summer. As the seasons change, so will the menu, focusing on what’s fresh and available. Delicata squash was mentioned and my mouth watered. I am a fan of sauteed fresh veggies whether it be kale or broccoli or snap peas. Done well and they retain the fresh out of the garden flavor with a bit of sear on the edges. The Argentinian bowl I enjoyed had a good assortment of sauteed vegetables, seared and seasoned tempeh and a to die for garlicky chimichurri sauce. All served over brown rice. Every bite, whether it was kale or brocolli or carrot or squash had a burst of flavor from the chimichurri. Such a wonderful dish, it made me rethink dinner plans for the nights to come.

Thrive Pacific NW cruises around town to different venues and events. They are regulars outside APEX Bar on SE 12th and Division on Wednesday nights, but you can find their whole schedule on their website which they update regularly. This is a truck to seek out and try. You’ll be glad you did. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Thrive now has a truck permanently at SE 32nd and Hawthorne as of August 2013]

Sample Menu:

Protein can be added to any bowl: organic tempeh, $1; free-range chicken, $2; grass-fed hanger steak, $3

  • Japanese Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, sesame seeds, cilantro, tamari-sesame sauce, sea weed – $7
  • Thai Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, cilantro, mint, peanuts, Thai coconut sauce – $7
  • Mexican Rice Bowl: brown rice, black beans, sauteed veg, tomatillo salsa, avocado, creamy lime sauce – $7
  • Argentinean Rice Bowl: $7
  • Kashmir Rice Bowl: brown rice, sauteed veg, basil, cashews, Indian curry sauce – $7

Hours: check website
Website: ThrivePacificNW.com
Facebook: Thrive Pacific NW
Twitter: @ThrivePacificNW

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Los Roast Hatch Green Chile

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Los Roast Hatch Green Chile

Los Roast Hatch Green Chile

Location: Roaming, Check Facebook

The Story:

A few years ago, when Portland experienced a re-birth of street food which continues till today, a cart opened that surprised many with the uniqueness of the cuisine and the affability of the owner. Jesse Sandoval had brought his family recipes to Portland in the form of Nuevo Mexico, a cart that fed many a Portlander for a couple of years. Jesse is back, partnering with his cart owner Marshall Berg to bring something new – roasted Hatch Green Chiles.

Hatch Green Chiles are from Hatch, New Mexico where they can be found literally growing everywhere. Not really, but if you drive down the main street there during harvest season, you’ll find the chiles in every form, from fresh to dried to roasted and incorporated into every kind of cuisine. Hatch is where its at for these priceless peppers. But why should Hatch have all the fun? Cart owner Marshall Berg partnered with Jesse and have imported more than a few bushels of Hatch Chiles and have been roasting and packaging them to sell. When I first heard of this, my mouth watered as I’m a big fan of most chiles. When I visited the cart at Last Thursday on Alberta I was blown away by the flavor and quality of the product. The team built a custom roaster which they lit up just for me to show how the final product is produced. The contraption is like a bingo ball tumbler but made of heavy gauge steel mesh so when hit with the gas flames, it roasts the peppers tumbling about inside. The smell is memorable and if you purchase some, you can take it home and pull them out of the fridge every day and re-live the roast. These are some amazing peppers.

Los Roast Chile will only be around for as long as green chile season. I’m happy to see Jesse back in the mobile food scene here in Portland and have some of the chiles waiting for my next meal. The cart and roaster will be at the Belmont Street Fair on September 8 with plenty of peppers. Beyond that, check them out on Facebook for their next location. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Facebook: LosRoastChile
Twitter: @LosRoastChile
Phone: 503 830 5310

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