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
Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne
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.
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.
- 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
Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne at Lardo
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11am-midnight
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kir Jensen towards the end of last week to chat with her about the grand re-opening of The Sugar Cube, her dessert baby. [The Sugar Cube moved to SE 12th and Hawthorne next to Lardo in August 2012]
The Sugar Cube, a cart specializing in desserts and all things sugary and sweet was originally located in downtown Portland up off SW 9th. Kir made a name for herself quickly with her signature cupcakes. I would drop by occasionally for a tasty chocolate chip cookie just to get my afternoon going. Kir’s original cart closed just weeks after she was profiled in Sunset magazine. It was winter 2009 and financially, some difficult decisions needed to me made. Kir decided to close.
Kir knew she wanted to have her own cart and knew she had a good thing going, just wanted to take the time to do it right. She spent the last year acquiring a new cart, perfecting her craft and acquiring the funding to get her cart off the ground and through what she learned to be the most challenging time for carts – the winter. Kir received a micro loan from Mercy Corp and Albina Bank – a new program designed to help small businesses make their dreams come true. Kir re-opened The Sugar Cube in November 2009 in Mississippi Marketplace to much fanfare. And we’re glad she’s here.
While The Sugar Cube was famous for their cupcakes and still is, Kir has broadened her menu to include a tasty caramelized apple browned butter tart and coffee caramel panna cotta. We had the pleasure of trying these new items while chatting with Kir over a beer at PROST. The panna cotta was creamy, with layers of salted caramel and grated chocolate and topped with a couple of gingersnaps to dip into the whole mess. The caramelized apple tart was a fan favorite at the table also. All items are served up on vintage plates from Kir’s family. Her belief- why let them sit in a cupboard? Why not use them. I loved seeing these tasty desserts on those vintage plates. It warmed the entire experience.
Kir, along with the other carts at Mississippi Marketplace are still working out their hours. They offer up something most every day from morning to night. We should all visit, say hi and help support them all through winter. Oh, and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Some of The Sugar Cubes offerings:
- Coffee caramel panna cotta- velvety smooth coffee panna cotta, topped with a layer of salted caramel, whipped cream, grated chocolate and served with a freshly baked gingersnap cookie.
- Amy Winehouse cupcake- Boozy yellow cake soaked with brandy and orange, dipped in some sexy bittersweet chocolate ganache. Served straight up with a coke straw and a sugar bump. Imported sugar from unknown Colombian region…
- Black N’ Tan cupcake- chocolate buttermilk cupcake, ethereal coffee cream frosting, caramel and toasted coconut.
- Caramelized apple browned butter tart served warm with fresh whoop, apple cider caramel and a dusting of fennel pollen.