Wabi Sabi

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Japanese street food

Wabi Sabi

Location: Government Camp, OR
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm

The Story: In a 1965 Grumman Olson step van brought all the way from Long Island, Chefs/Owners Jason and Makoto Cooper are excited to offer traditional Japanese street food and ocean safe sushi. They have brought Wabi Sabi to Portland.

The vintage Grumman Olson van is hard to miss. Shiny silver, simlar to the iconic Airstream, the truck will knock your socks off when you first see it. Jason and Makoto sourced it in NYC where it was built and brought it to Portland on an epic journey they liken to traveling the original Oregon Trail. Somewhere in Indiana, the RV they were towing the truck with died, so Jason sold it for $100 and rented a Uhaul for the remainder of the trip. I know opening a food cart or truck is hard work for anyone. But a story like this? There had to be times when they threw up their hands and almost called it quits. Nope. They powered on and opened earlier this summer in SE Portland. Wabi Sabi’s mission is to offer traditional Japanese street food and ocean safe sushi using sustainable fish, non-gmo soy, organic produce as often as possible and serving in compostable recycled material. They were destined to be part of Portland’s street food scene.

Japanese street food

Yakisoba from Wabi Sabi

At Wabi Sabi you’ll find Hako Zushi, sushi pressed in a Hinoki wood box layered with ingredients, traditionaly used in old Japan for travel. Albacore tuna, pickled mackerel, tilapia sashimi or a mix of all in the chirashi bowl. They also do vegetarian sushi. My eyes though skipped past the sushi to the non-sushi yummies like ramen, hiyashichuka – a cold egg noodle type salad, and yakisoba. I’ve been a fan of yakisoba since I was a kid, so couldn’t pass up this traditional Japanese festival noodle dish. The noodles are sauteed in in a tangy J-BBQ sauce, mung bean and cabbage then tossed with bonito flakes, Kewpie mayo and pickled ginger. I added in spicy kimchee for fun. The first thing you see is the mountain of bonita flakes, but diving into the noodles, you find treasures hidden in every bite. The kimchee added a depth of spice, but didn’t overpower the yakisoba which was some of the best noodles I’ve eaten in awhile. Salty, spicy, a generous amount of ginger and sweetness. A dish I’ll recommend to anyone who asks.

Wabi Sabi is a great addition to our ever evolving street food scene. We have other vendors tackling Japanese street food which is awesome and to see Jason and Makoto bring in their style is even more exciting. Head on down to the SE 32nd and Hawthorne and check out not only the coolest vintage van in town, but some tasty Japanese street food. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Wabi Sabi moved to Government Camp in spring of 2015.

Sample Menu:

  • Hako Zushi – different styles with tuna, tilapia or mackerel – $8
  • Combo of Hako Zushi – $10
  • Vegetarian Sushi – $7
  • Yakisoba – $7. add kimchee for $1
  • Shoyu Ramen  – $8
  • Hiyashichuka – $8

Website: Wabi-Sabi-Kitchen.com
Facebook: Wabi–Sabi-Kitchen

Carte Blanche

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Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche

Location: SE 32nd and Hawthorne
Hours: Thurs-Sun, 12-7pm

The Story:

The ubiquitous silver Airstreams that banked so many miles on the byways of America have now carved out a second life for themselves as food carts. Carte Blanche is the newest on the scene with one pretty silver trailer.

Jesse and Ally have been friends since elementary school, so the cramped quarters of the cart don’t phase them. After culinary school, Jesse spent some time in the kitchen at Pok Pok before finding the cart on Craigslist and with the help of a fellow cart owner, got it built out and opened. Her friends and family also participated by crafting the curtains and bringing a bit of home to it. When you arrive, you’re invited under the awning where there are a few chairs and a small table so you can get out of the rain. Such a cozy spot.

Gromit's Feed from Carte Blanche

Gromit’s Feed from Carte Blanche

The menu at Carte Blanche ranges from sandwiches to bowls and salads and some tasty treats on the side. The day we visited, they were offering samples of their Kale chips which were perfectly crispy and also good for you. The Gromit’s Feed is a lamb and beef burger topped with tzatziki, caramelized onion, feta, tomato and an apple slaw then served upon a rosemary bun. Every bit of the sandwich is a flavor explosion from the burger to the bun to the slaw to the onions. So many unique flavors all put together to create a very special sandwich. I especially enjoyed how the caramelized onions mixed well with the sweetness of the apple slaw and the burger.

Carte Blanche has been open now for about a month at the corner of SE 32nd and Hawthorne with a couple of other carts. When I asked about their hours, they stated they are open till 7 or until they sell out. Be sure to try the Kale chips – something you don’t find on many menus and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

[Menu changes regularly. Check the website for latest offerings.]

Hours: Thurs-Sun, 12-7pm
Phone: 971.222.8626
Website: CarteBlancheFoodCart.com
Twitter: @CarteBlanchePDX
Facebook: Carte Blanche

Fried Egg I’m In Love

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Fried Egg I'm In Love

Fried Egg I’m In Love

Location: SE 32nd and Hawthorne
Hours: Tues-Fri, 8:30am-3pm; Sat/Sun, 9am-3pm

The Story:

I grew up eating eggs and bacon and pancakes at home and would order pigs in a blanket whenever we visited Denny’s or VIPs, but I never thought of taking two slices of bread and making an egg sandwich. Thanks to the food carts, that is now one of my favorite breakfasts. Fried Egg I’m In Love is now open to feed you their egg creations.

Jace and Ryan, longtime friends and band members needed a new gig and saw that the food cart is a lower cost entry point for a small business. They found a well outfitted cart, painted it, created a killer menu and opened this past week. Jace had planned on moving to Portland and Ryan was just burned out of his job and as they began working on the cart, the passion just flowed. Their passion will fill our bellies.

Back in Black Bean Fried Egg Sandwich

Back in Black Bean Fried Egg Sandwich

The menu offers up a great assortment of fried egg sandwiches, with rock ‘n roll names, served on fresh sourdough bread. Each sandwich is made fresh to order and there are veggie, vegan and gluten-free options. I always attempt to try something I normally wouldn’t order, so chose the special of the day with a black bean patty with avocado and green onion and a fried egg in a sandwich. Hot and perfectly grilled, the sourdough is a great choice. As I took those first bites, I quickly became concerned that the yolk would spill all over the place, but the egg was done just right so the yolk wasn’t runny, but it wasn’t hard. Avocado added to create a creaminess with the black beans, egg and toast. A wonderful sandwich I plan on replicating at home.

Jace and Ryan are a couple of great young guns who have an ideal spot right on Hawthorne and a menu that could feed you throughout the day. I’m excited to see the lot where they are located add carts. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Yolko Ono: pesto, Parmesan and hand-pressed housed sausage patty – $5.50
  • Smells like Protein Spirit: ham, steak, bacon or sausage and cheese – $5
  • OK Commuter: over-hard egg with bacon and cheddar – $5
  • PB Jammin: peanut butter, jam – $4
  • Huevo Mutilation: seared ham steak, sauteed onion, cheddar, Aardvark aioli – $6
  • Egg Zeppelin: 2 eggs, 2 sausage patties, cheddar, Aardvark aioli – $8
  • Black in Black Bean: black beans simmered with veggies and spices, served with avocado and green onion – $4.50

Website: FriedEggLove.com
Twitter: @friedegglove
Facebook: Fried Egg Love

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