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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The Burger Guild

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burger food cart portland

The Burger Guild

Location: SE 50th and Ivon, A la Carts Food Pavillion
Hours: Daily, 11:30-8pm

The Story: At some point, Portland became a burger town. Just last year, Willamette Week detailed the 50 best burgers in town which included some food carts. 2010 also introduce Portland to stuffed burgers and now we have our second cart offer such goodies – The Burger Guild.

Burgers and travel trailers go hand in hand and with The Burger Guild, the blue trailer that houses the operation is exactly what I would want as the kitchen for my burger maker. The Burger Guild opened in early July and already has a spot in one of Portland’s newest pods – Green Castle. Even after the first visit, the cart has moved to a more prominent position in the pod, indicating it’s immediate success. What makes The Burger Guild unique is that they stuff the burgers with ingredients like blue cheese, red peppers and onions or garlic and feta. These are great burgers with broad flavors.

burger food cart portland

Kalamata Mama

The Kalamata Mama is a burger you would take home to mom. Using Cascade Natural beef, the burger is stuffed with red peppers, onions, garlic and feta cheese and then thrown on the grill. The whole shebang is put together well with a great bun, spinach, a mix named the Mata mix and some Burger Guild secret sauce. I gotta say – one of those burgers that is photo worthy. A stunning example of A) a unique way of creating a burger and B) an eye for presentation. That first chomp included the green flavors of the spinach with the juiciness of the burger and some overwhelming garlic tones mixed with the savory and warm flavors of the Mata mix. One juicy burger, don’t try to eat this on your lap. But if you do, its worth it!

The Burger Guild is now open at Green Castle on NE 20th and Everett with about ten other carts. There are tables there so you don’t have to sit in your cart with the burger on your lap. Drop on by, try one of their burgers and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Black and Blue: Cascade Natural ground beef stuffed with blue cheese, red peppers and onions and topped with lettuce, tomato and TBG secret sauce – $6.75
  • Kalamata Mama: burger stuffed with red peppers, onions, garlic and feta cheese, topped with spinach, “Mata” mix and TBG secret sauce – $6.75
  • Deep Fried Mushrooms – $5
  • Deep Fried Sliders – $4 or 2 for $7
  • Midwest Style Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – pork tenderloin breaded and fried and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mustard – $5.75

Hours: Tues-Sat, 12-9pm
Phone: 401-287-4373
Website: TheBurgerGuild.com
Facebook: The Burger Guild

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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

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