PBJ’s Grilled Cartopia

dieselboi
PBJ's Grilled

PBJ’s Grilled

Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 12pm-12am; Fri/Sat, 12pm-3am; Sun, 12pm-12am

The famous PBJ’s Grilled has expanded with a cart at Cartopia, Portland’s original late night pod. Menu can be found at PBJsGrilled.com

El Brasero

dieselboi

El Brasero

El Brasero

Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne

Description:

On a sunny Sunday, post Thanksgiving, no one wants leftovers. This is the time to go out and get something far different than what you have been consuming over the previous few days. Mexican food was the choice for me and we I decided on El Brasero, a Mexican taqueria in Cartopia, that amazing late night cart pod on SE 12th and Hawthorne.

El Brasero has been at Cartopia as long as I can remember. While it isn’t getting the press and accolades its pod partners receive, El Brasero has managed to create a strong following of customers. Every time I’m at the pod, there is an equal number of customers there as there are at the other carts. My roommate has been singing their praises for weeks now, so I decided to visit.

Carnitas Burrito from El Brasero

Carnitas Burrito from El Brasero

When I try a new Mexican cart, I usually have tacos as the gauge of the cart’s food. This time, however, I needed more than a taco, so I opted for the Carnitas burrito. Braised, roasted small chunks of pork is as far from turkey I could get. The burrito came with rice, beans, onions, tomatoes and sour cream, all wrapped in a very tasty flour tortilla. And it was tasty. They have a green salsa that I swear is 100% chopped up jalapenos. Not as spicy as the red sauce, but very flavorful and perfect against the carnitas. The burrito is rather large, so could be shared amongst a group, along with items from the other carts.

El Brasero has a vast menu with what seems like 100’s of items. Tacos, burritos, sopas, tortas, etc. They also have breakfast burritos for you early risers and a good list of vegetarian burritos that include ingredients like jicama, mushrooms, veggie chorizo, or cactus. El Brasero can feed you any time of the day and should be able to cater to most anyone’s food cravings. Couple that with being in the same location with the other cart stars and you have a recipe for success. Next time you are down that way, give El Brasero a visit and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Breakfast Burritos – egg, potato and cheese with your choice of meat – $4.50
  • Chicken Burrito – grilled chicken, onions, tomatoes, chile, cilantro, lettuce, sour cream – $5.75
  • Carnitas Burrito – chunks of pork braised in orange juice w/ lettuce, chile, onions, tomatoes, sour cream – $5.75
  • Fish Burrito – arrez fish, pico de gallo, chipotle sauce – $7.50
  • Quesadilla – flour tortilla filled with cheese and folded with pico de gallo – $5.75
  • Sope – hand made tortilla fried and covered with beans, onions, fresh cheese, lettuce and sour cream – $4.75
  • Nachos – $4.75
  • Tacos with your choice of meat – $1.50
  • Vegetarian Burritos – choice of zucchini, jicama, mushroom, cactus, veggie chorizo – $5-$7

Hours: Daily plus weekends – morning through late night
Contact: unknown

INSERT_MAP

Pyro Pizza

dieselboi
Pyro Pizza

Pyro Pizza

Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne at Cartopia
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11:30am-3am; Closed at 1am in winter

Description:

Friday night on the town. Happy hour at a fancy restaurant in the Pearl with cocktails made from fancy gin and vodka. Where does one go for dinner after such an event? Cartopia! Yes, indeed. We cruised down to SE 12th and Hawthorne to get some food and specifically, try the new Pyro Pizza.

Pyro Pizza is the latest from pizza guru John Eads. You may know him from his other pizza adventure – Give Pizza a Chance – which has graced a downtown spot now for a couple of years and is always busy. John wanted to try something different – wood oven pizza. And by try, I mean build a few by hand and work out the bugs. The oven in the cart at SE 12th and Hawthorne is the 6th iteration and by the taste of the pizza, I think he worked out the kinks.

The night we arrived, it was cool and wet, but not raining. The cart sits high, so they have a small deck to step up to in order to be face to face with them while ordering. You can smell the alder and pine burning away in the oven and feel the warmth while you peruse the menu and order. Just reading the menu makes your mouth water, offering up 12″ pies of all sorts, made right there when you order. While I love a good meat bonanza, I decided upon the traditional margarita so our whole group could enjoy some if they wanted. While we chatted about the new cart and I took some photos, John quickly made my pizza and before I knew it, they were handing to me. Less than 5 minutes, maybe even shorter. Now that is a hot oven.

Margarita from Pyro Pizza

Margarita from Pyro Pizza

The margarita was a great blend of marinara sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil all on a whole wheat crust. The crust was thin and tasty and even the edges kept me intrigued. Ask anyone, I’m not a crust end eater and that evening, I ate every last bit. It was hard to offer up pieces to my friends. The pie is pretty large for $8 and could easily feed two people.

Pyro Pizza is now open at SE 12th and Hawthorne. The glory of that pod is that you can go down there, get a pie and also have a pick at some of the other carts to round out a meal. Take a group and have a potluck. John admits they are “working out the kinks.” Not sure what that means because my pie was excellent. Stop on by and enjoy some wood oven pizza and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Antipasts – sliced fresh mozzarella layered with plum tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic vinigar – $5
  • Traditional Margarita pizza – fresh marinara sauce, mozzarella di buffalo, fresh basil, and a dash of olive oil – $8
  • Pepperoni – fresh marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and locally produced peperoni – $7
  • Caramelized onion – caramelized torpedo onions, gorgonzola and parmigiano-reggiano cheese with pistachios – $8
  • Cuattro formaggi – a blend of fresh mozzarella, sheep’s cheese, gorgonzola and parmigiano-reggiano – $8
  • Homemade sodas also available

Hours: Tues-Sun, 11:30am-3am; Closed at 1am in winter
Email: pyropizzacart@gmail.com
Website: Pyro Pizza
Twitter: Pyro Pizza
Facebook: Pyro Pizza

INSERT_MAP

Perierra Creperie

dieselboi

3495685976_14e5e0f0d4_b

Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne

Description:

11:47pm on a Saturday night and you have the munchies.  You’ve had too many tacos and pizza in your life and you’re looking for something new.  I suggest you head down to SE 12th and Hawthorne and grab a Crepe.

Perierra Creperie makes both sweet and savory crepes with all kinds of ingredients.  Want something with smoked salmon?  They got it.  What about asparagus?  Yup.  How about lemon or nutella or pear or strawberry?  If you can think of it, they probably have it and can make it into a yummy crepe.  I was indeed there around 12:15am one Friday evening and the carts were as my friend puts it “popping off.”  Potato Champion next door was pretty crowded, but I wanted something more substantial, so I opted for the mozarella, soprasetta, basil and red pepper.  mmmmm, soprasetta.  Look at that yummy goodness:

Crepe

It seemed like it only took a couple of seconds for the crepe pancake to brown enough for her to flip it and then add the ingredients and then a few seconds more and it was in my hands then in my belly.   Such a great replacement for the late night nosh.  The New York Times even took in some crepes on a recent visit.

Finished Crepe

Sample Menu:

  • Lemon and sugar – $3.50
  • Nutella and banana – $5
  • Chocolate and prosciutto –  $5
  • Walnut + honey + cardamom + corriander – $5
  • add frangelico or grand marnier to any of the sweet for $1
  • Gogonzola, pear, walnut, honey – $7
  • Ham and Gruyere – $6
  • Mozarella, soprasetta, basil, red pepper – $8
  • Smoke salmon, cream cheese, arugula, lemon – $8
  • Shakes and smoothies available also

Hours: Tues – Sat: 8am-3am; Sunday: 9am – 3pm
Email: perierra@gmail.com
Website: Perierra on Facebook

INSERT_MAP

Potato Champion

dieselboi
Potato Champion

Potato Champion

Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne
Hours: Tues-Fri, 4pm-3am; Sat/Sun, 12pm-3am

Description: Ahh, 2am and you’ve had a couple of beers. Now what? You could stop on by any one of the late night 24hr fast food joints for “4th meal” and pay for it in the morning, or you could head on down to SE 12th and Hawthorne and get some Belgian style fries. Potato Champion has been slingin’ them with poutine since 2008 and is going strong.

Potato Champion is Portland’s only late night fry cart and from my experience, the only cart in town specializing in Belgian style frites. Belgian style frites are peeled, cut, washed, then blanched with a first fry before frying again. This creates a crispy outside while staying fluffy inside. I don’t know about all that techno mumbo jumbo, I just know that they are what the doctor ordered at 2am.

Palak Paneer Fries from Potato Champion

Palak Paneer Fries from Potato Champion

Mike McKinnon opened Potato Champion back in 2008 on the corner of SE 12th and Hawthorne. Every night, he would sit there and wait for customers. There were quiet, rainy, cold nights, but Mike stuck it out and defined his cart as one of Portland’s premier late night food carts. The lot blossomed with vendors and is known beyond the city as a place to nosh after 2am. Mike has tinkered with expansion, opening a second cart a few years ago, yet for now, the cart at Cartopia is his focus. The menu has changed to with the addition of such treats as Chili Cheese Fries, PB and J Fries, Pulled Pork and Fries and a new favorite of mine, Palak Paneer Fries with curried spinach and paneer cheese served over fries and toped with a cilantro chutney. Wow! Brilliant.

Mike was a pioneer when the street food scene was changing and is still plugging away. Open now for evening and late night along with lunch on the weekends, you don’t have a reason to not visit and check out some of Portland’s best fries. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[This article was originally published in October of 2008. Updated May, 2014]

Sample Menu:

  • Fries – Small: $3; Large: $7.00
  • Choice of sauces: Horseradish Ketchup; Rosemary Truffle Ketchup; Mayonnaise; Pesto Mayo; Tarragon Anchovy Mayo; Remoulade; Dijon Mustard; “Harder” Hot Mustard, etc.
  • Poutine: Small: $5; Large: $10 (Vegan and Vegetarian available)
  • PB and J Fries – fries topped with satay sauce and smokey chipotle raspberry jam – sm, $5; lg, $10
  • Pulled Pork Fries – sm, $6; lg, $12.50

Website: PotatoChampion.com
Twitter: @PotatoChampion
Facebook: Potato Champion

css.php