Stumptown Kimbap

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Stumptown Kimbap

Stumptown Kimbap

Location: SE 50th and Division, A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Wednesday-Monday, 12-9pm, closed Tuesdays

The Story: On a sunny day, after already having eaten at a few different vendors, I ventured over to see what’s new at A la Carts Food Pavilion. Lucky for me, the hip-hop coming from Stumptown Kimbap caught my attention. After checking out the menu, I couldn’t leave without trying a roll or three.

Stumptown Kimbap specializes in Korean hand rolls. Kim = dried seaweed, bap = steamed white rice. For those uninitiated, me included, we would see these as sushi rolls. Nam Kim, the owner, opened the cart in June to showcase this Korean dish. Take most any ingredient – spam, beef, kimchi, radish – and roll it with rice in seaweed and you have kimbap, a staple for Koreans looking for something quick and easy without the mess.

Kimbap Rolls

Kimbap Rolls

Nam offers a wide range of options for both the vegetarian and meat eater. I picked up a combo which included the original kimbap with marinated ground beef and a spicy kimchi with grilled spam. At $8, the plate provided me with more than 12 rolls with exciting flavors. The spam is grilled before being rolled, offering that signature saltiness with egg white, danmooji radish, carrot and spinach. I’m a sucker for spam and this was one of the best presentations of it. The spicy kimchi roll featuring Choi’s Kimchi added a bit of a kick to the entire plate. Nam threw in a huge pile of marinated daikons for my extra nibbling. Everything handmade fresh to order and excellent.

Stumptown Kimbap is open every day of the week for lunch through dinner except for Tuesday. Nam sells Choi’s Kimchi at the cart if you’re needing to take some home for later. If you’re down in SE seeking something new, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

All rolls are hand wrapped in dried seaweed and white rice.

  • Original Kimbap – marinated ground beef, egg white, danmooji radish, carrot, spinach – $4
  • Spam Kimbap – grilled spam, egg white, danmooji radish, carrot, spinach – #4
  • Bibim Kimbap – spicy red rice, marinated ground beef, egg white, cucumber, carrot, spinach, romaine lettuce – $4
  • Spicy Kimchi Kimbap – marinated beef or grilled spam with Choi’s red napa kimchi – $4
  • Mild Kimchi Kimbap – marinated beef or grilled spam with Choi’s white napa kimchi – $4

Website: Stumptown Kimbap
Facebook: Stumptown Kimbap
Twitter: @StumptownKimbap

La Arepa Venezuelan

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La Arepa

La Arepa

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Daily, 9am-8pm

The Story:

Portland has some great street food from around the world, but we’re lacking a bit in foods from South America. We have a few, but not many. La Arepa has opened and offers authentic Venezuelan food at A la Carts Food Pavilion.

The namesake of this cart is the arepa, a traditional snack/sandwich out of Venezuela. An arepa is a flat, round, bread-like patty made of cornmeal. It is then grilled and filled with cheese, meats, fish and/or vegetables. Since it is wheat-free, it is naturally gluten free and takes the place of bread in many Venezuelan homes. They may look small, but they are filling.

Arepas from La Arepa

Arepas from La Arepa

The arepas we enjoyed on our visit were served with shredded beef and shredded tilapia. The beef, slow cooked with garlic, onion, paprika and black pepper was moist and succulent with an amazing depth of flavor. The tilapia was seasoned with onions, garlic, paprika and sweet pepper, mellowing out the natural saltiness of the fish with some sharp flavors. The actual arepa patty was the key though. It is dense and makes a great vessel for the meat and fish. Looking at the menu, I now want to try one with meat and cheese.

La Arepa is open every day of the week to serve their tasty Venezuelan dishes. Beyond arepas, they have breakfast dishes, tapas (small plates,) empanadas, desserts, and full meals. This is one of those hidden gems you will be glad you found. Check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Arepa with shredded beef – $6
  • Arepa with chicken – $5
  • Domino: arepa stuffed with black beans and white Cotija cheese – $5
  • Reina Pepiada: arepa stuffed with chopped chicken salad prepared with potatoes, carrots and avocado – $6.50
  • Perico: arepa stuffed with scrambled eggs with garlic, onion, sweet pepper and tomato – $5
  • Empanada with shredded beef: turnover-like cornmeal stuffed pocket – $3
  • Empanada with fish – $3
  • Empanada Domino – black beans and grated white cheese – $2.50
  • Pabellon Criollo – white rice, seasoned shredded beef, fried plantains, sliced avocado, fried egg, black beans and topped with Cotija cheese – $8
  • Cachapa – pancake-like dish made of fresh ground corn with a soft Mozzarella cheese and butter – $4.50

Hours: Daily, 9am-8pm
Phone: 503 200 4952
Facebook: La Arepa

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Year of the Fish

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fish food cart portland

Year of the Fish

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Tues-Thur, 11:30-9; Fri, 11:30-12am; Sat, 12:30-12am, Sun, 12:30-8pm

The Story:

Out off Hawthorne in what many refer to as Stumbletown due to the number of bars, there is a new cart that is open late to sate those munchies you get after a few drinks – Year of the Fish. [Update 11/2011: Year of the Fish moved to SE 50th and Ivon]

Edward MacGregor opened Year of the Fish in September after being out of the restaurant game for a few years. Having grown up working in restaurants and subsequently owning them as a family business, he had taken a break from the grind, hoping to do something else. Well, the call of the deep fryer was too strong, but Edward didn’t want to do another restaurant, so decided on the cart. Locating at 47th and Hawthorne was also a strategic decision – an attempt to attract some of the crowds that line up to the few restaurant options in the area late night.

fish food cart portland

Tiger Prawns from Year of the Fish

Year of the Fish is a fish and chips cart. With options including cod, red snapper and halibut, if you love fish, you’ll like love this cart. Edward offers traditional or gluten-free batter depending on your needs. What surprised me was the offer of tiger prawns. I love a good fish and chips, but to get batter fried tiger prawns raises the bar. Lightly breaded and crunchy, the prawns are delightful. You can get different sauces, but these are so flavorful, you don’t need it. Sided with a handful of steak fries, you have a great little snack.

Year of the Fish is now open for lunch and dinner weekdays and late night on the weekends. Drop on by for some well made fish and chips and other treats and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Cod and Chips – $7
  • Red Snapper and Chips – $7
  • Halibut and Chips – $market rate
  • Tiger Prawns and Chips – $8
  • Clam Chowder – New England style – cup, $3; bowl $5
  • Just Slaw – $3
  • Just Chips – $3

Hours: Tues-Thur, 11:30-9; Fri, 11:30-12am; Sat, 12:30-12am, Sun, 12:30-8pm
Phone: 971 258 6567
Twitter: @YearoftheFish1
Facebook: Year of the Fish

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Istanbul Delight

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turkish food cart portland

Istanbul Delight

Location: SE 50th and Division, A la Carts Food Pavilion
Hours: Weekdays and weekends, lunch and dinner

The Story:

The food pod at North Station has gone through some big changes over the last year with some carts leaving and being replaced by new ones. One of these new carts, Istanbul Delight, is an excellent addition that may surprise you.

I have been able to enjoy all the flavors of the Middle East as a result of the cart scene here in Portland. I have heard arguments that the food throughout the region is all the same – falafel and gyros and hummus. I disagree with that generalization and argue that each country and culture has their own distinct flavors and spices and methods for creating meals. At Istanbul Delight, Kamo, the owner, presents dishes from Turkey, inviting you to enjoy his creations.

turkish food cart portland

Vegetarian Plate at Istanbul Delight

We were in the mood for a light snack so we wouldn’t arrive at a BBQ later in the day stuffed and at Istanbul Delight, we were able to get small plates with big flavor. The Gül Börek, a phyllo dough roll with spinach, feta and onion baked inside is made fresh every morning. Kamo stated that you wouldn’t normally find this item later in the day because they make them in batches in the early morning and sell out quickly. The circular roll is deceiving. It looks big and heavy, but is light and airy and when you bite in. The buttery phyllo melts in your mouth with the wonderful mixture of the spinach, feta and onion. So good, it is hard not to stuff it all in your mouth. You slow down and enjoy every bite. The gül börek is served with a crisp Mediterranean salad of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes and spiced with a bit of mint and topped with a sprinkle of sumac. Cool and tangy and perfect for a light snack.

Istanbul Delight is now open at North Station in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood of north Portland. Look for the bright blue cart. Kamo’s menu goes beyond the gül börek and offers daily specials along with Turkish Coffee. Let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Moved to SE Portland in 2013]

Sample Menu:

  • Beef/Lamb Gyro Wrap: served wrapped in pita with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and tzatziki sauce – $6
  • Falafel Wrap: chickpea patties wrapped in pita with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and  tzatziki or tahini sauce – $5
  • Gül Börek: spinach, feta and onion rolled and baked in phyllo dough. Served with Mediterranean salad – $4
  • Vegetarian Plate: 1 gül börek, 2 falafel patties and Mediterranean salad – $6.50
  • Cheese Borek: deep fried pastry filled with feta cheese and parsley – 4 for $4
  • Turkish Coffee: $2

Hours: Weekdays and weekends, lunch and dinner
Phone: 503 894 4605
Website: IstanbulDelightPDX.blogspot.com
Twitter: @IstanbulPDX          Facebook: Istanbul Delight

Chicken Run

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Chicken Run

Chicken Run

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pod
Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11-9; Fri/Sat, 11-10

The Story:

When you walk on the lot at A la Carts, one of the first carts you see is Chicken Run, a new white trailer with an amazing mosaic style painting of a huge chicken. Colorful and welcoming. And the food is great too.

Chicken Run opened in September along with many of the new carts on the lots and offers up a simple menu of a few choice Thai dishes. Their catch phrase is “Experience the one and only.” Since they are the only Thai cart on the lot, they do have a corner on the market. While the cart’s name includes chicken, they do have vegetarian options to choose from.

Satay from Chicken Run

Satay from Chicken Run

The satay everyone in our group enjoyed included grilled tofu in a coconut herb sauce and served with a peanut sauce for dipping or dribbling over the rice. Not a spicy dish, but full of flavors mixing the sweetness that comes with coconut and the silkiness of tofu, balanced by the nutty peanut sauce. It just all fits together like a square peg in a square hole. Accompanying the dish was a bright and fresh cucumber salad and a cup of traditional soup broth. Since one plate didn’t seem enough, we ordered up one of their salad bits, a huge salad roll with tofu. Another wonderful creation.

I’m glad to see that the owners of A la Carts have chosen to have only one Thai cart along with only one Mexican cart. It allows for that cart to showcase their style and Chicken Run was an excellent choice. If you’re down that way, pay them a visit, sit inside the covered, heated seating area and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Kao Mok Kai: rich flavored curry herb rice cooked with coconut milk. choice of marinated chicken or tofu with curry powder slow cooked and served with mixed vegetables, cucumber salad and sauce – $6
  • Satay: marinated and grilled chicken or tofu in coconut herb sauce served with peanut sauce, cucumber salad and soup – $6
  • Crazy Peanut: steamed broccoli, cabbage, carrots, fresh spinach and choice of chicken or tofu. topped with peanut sauce – $6
  • Salad bits: fresh vegetables, tofu, rice noodle wrapped in rice paper and served with sweet and sour peanut sauce – $3
  • Daily specials always available

Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday/Saturday, 11am-10pm
Phone: (503) 839-6095

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