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

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

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Thick Deep Dish Pizza

Thick Deep Dish Pizza

No longer at 9th and Washington – Now Mobile food truck

Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday

The Story: I’m a child of pizza. I can’t tell you how pizza was so integral in the enjoyment of my childhood and teenage years. Portland had the thin crust pizza covered, but when I visited Chicago, I was introduced to the deep dish style. Thick, a new food cart on SW 9th and Washington, brings Chicago style pizza to the streets of our fine town.

Thick opened a few months ago and was selling out daily immediately. First time I visited, just after 1pm – totally sold out of slices and making a couple of suit-clad businessmen their own personal pie. Michael Cline is the man behind the pizza. A Chicagoan by birth, Michael saw Portland was lacking in his favorite cuisine, so decided to open the cart. He crafts everything from scratch including the house made Italian sausage, and pies are fresh made daily.

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

Italian Sausage Deep Dish from Thick

A Chicago deep dish pie is exactly that – deep dish with thick crust. A standard pie takes almost an hour to bake, so Michael makes a specific number of pies each day and when the slices sell out, that’s it. You can pre-order a pie though, so don’t fret.  I picked up a slice of handmade Italian sausage – Michael heated it up and handed me a small box which weighed a couple of pounds. While stalwarts may pick it up, I used a fork and knife to enjoy every last bite. Buttery crust acted well as the base layer topped first with Mozzarella then the sausage, and crushed tomatoes. The sausage was spot on and cheese in every bite made for a great lunch.

Thick Deep Dish Pizza is also open for breakfast, so if you’re coming into town early, feel free to stop by for local ham, melted onions, and Comte cheese encased in a classic buttery pastry crust. Sounds good to me. If you do want your own pie, be sure to call ahead and give Michael some time. All good things take time and patience. Drop on by for a thick slice of ‘za and let Michael know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Homemade Italian Sausage-  $5/slice
  • Spinach – $4/slice
  • Whole pies available

Phone: 630-697-6581
Facebook: Thick Pizza

New Avenues for Youth – Ben & Jerry’s Partnershops

Food Carts Portland
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

El Taco Yucateco

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mexican food cart portland

El Taco Yucateco

Location: Mobile
Hours: Weekdays, lunch

The Story: Elloy Martin makes an amazing panucho. Simple, satisfying and oh, so flavorful. Elloy Martin has been making Mexican street food magic in his food cart El Taco Yucateco for a couple of years and now comes to serve the downtown Portland eaters.

I first met Elloy a year or so ago when he was at Green Castle. I made the mistake of assuming his cart was the same as a similar named vendor out east. Lucky for me, it wasn’t a huge error as it was his brother’s cart I had visited. After some ups and downs at Green Castle, Elloy moved the cart downtown this year and opened up on SW Alder between 9th and 10th. The menu at the cart is what you would expect from most Mexican vendors – tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas. All fresh, made to order with pride. What stands out here are the panuchos, a special type of taco. Elloy has to go as far as Sandy to source his special masa paste for the tortillas. A panucho is different than a taco and served open face like a tostada. He makes a tortilla then quickly fries it, puffing it up. Elloy then pulls it out, slices it open and stuffs it with black bean paste. Back in the pan to finish up, he then tops it with lettuce, cabbage, shredded and seasoned chicken, pickled red onion, tomato and avocado. A panucho, done right, is one of those dishes you don’t want to eat – so beautiful. If I could, I would take it somewhere so they could preserve it for all time. Each bite is a treat from the avocado mixing with the marinated onion and the creamy beans. The tortilla isn’t hard, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking up in your hand. A couple of panuchos and a Jarochita on a sunny day is all this boy needs to make him smile.

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Panuchos from El Taco Yucatecos

While waiting for my order, a few other patrons came along for burritos. One woman came up proclaiming that the cart “had the best taco salad in town.” I’ll have to try that next. Elloy is one of those vendors who smiles and engages his customers whether he’s busy or not and I enjoyed chatting with him about Mexican street food. Makes me want to take a trip. Drop on by El Taco Yucateco next time you have a craving for something new. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Panuchos – $2
  • Tacos – beef, chicken, cactus – $1.50
  • Quesadilla-  $3, add beef or chicken for $1
  • Tamale – $3
  • Taco Salad – beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, your choice of meat – $7
  • Burritos – $5
  • Tortas – $5

Phone: (503) 901-0768
Facebook: El Taco Yucateco

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