PBJ’s Grilled Cartopia

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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

Bubba Bernie’s

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Location: SE 12th and Hawthorne, Cartopia

The Story:

On Friday or Saturday night, I am a sucker for fries or a pizza or a pie – all the wonderful things available at Cartopia down on SE 12th and Hawthorne. Yet, sometimes, you have a craving for something a little different – maybe a po’boy or some BBQ or even some jambalaya. Well, Bubba Bernie’s is there to sate that craving.

Bubba Bernie’s serves up a great mix of southern comfort food. The evening we visited, a cold dark Saturday night, we were able to sit comfortably at their tables under their awning warmed by their gas space heater. It was one of those nights when the only thing that could warm you was direct heat, and Bernie’s had it. We ordered a BBQ beef brisket sandwich and the vegan jambalaya with kale and veggie sausage. [Read more…]

El Brasero

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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

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The Sugar Cube

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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.

Caramelized Apple Brown Butter Cart

Caramelized Apple Brown Butter Cart

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.

Amy Winehouse Cupcake

Amy Winehouse Cupcake

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.

[You can read Cuisine Bonne Femme’s original profile of The Sugar Cube here]

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.

Twitter: TheSugarCube

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Pyro Pizza

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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

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