Brazilian House

dieselboi
Brazilian House

Brazilian House

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont, Good Food Here
Hours: Weekdays and weekends, lunch

The Story: I was just telling someone the other day that we really don’t have much cuisine out of South America represented in the street food scene and then, Boom!, I discover Brazilian House at Good Food Here. Woo hoo!

Brazilian House is one of the newer carts on the lot and seems to already have a following. At least threw different groups were sharing a plate from the vendor. Menu items include Moqueca, Tropeiro and Feijoada. Moqueca is a stew made with red pepper, green pepper, onions, tomato, palm oil and coconut milk. Traditionally served with fish, at the cart you can get it with fish, shrimp or chicken. I was sold on that knowing I could return for the other dishes, but the owner convinced us to get her most famous dish – Feijoada, a black bean, bacon, beef and sausage stew served with rice and covered with thinly sliced collard greens. What a dish. The greens were fresh and bright and melded perfectly with the salty and meaty stew. An excellent and hearty dish for the coming winter months.

Feijoada

Feijoada

Brazilian House is one of the only vendors in town doing Brazilian cuisine. We didn’t have room for dessert, but others had picked up the Pudim, a sweet condensed milk flan which looked simply divine. Find Brazilian House at the Good Food Here pod on SE 43rd and Belmont and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Coxinha – chicken balls shaped into drumsticks, battered and fried – $4.50
  • Moqueca – stew served with rice and tomato – $8
  • Tropeiro – beans, bacon, beef, sausage, eggs, green onion, garlic, served with rice and collard greens – $8
  • Feijoada – black beans, bacon, beef, sausage, green onions and served with rice and collard greens – $8

Phone: (503) 360-7688

Fishbox

Lizzy Caston

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont, Good Food Here
Hours:
Tues-Sun, 12 – 8pm

The Story: A friend and I were lamenting the lack of great seafood restaurants in Portland. No, sushi doesn’t count. Yes, we have Granddad places of varying quality such as Jake’s or Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, Fish n’ Chip shops, and a couple of young gastronomic upstarts (the fancy fish place in Fox Tower downtown for example). And yes, you can get great seafood in markets, a few other carts, and it’s always available on most restaurant menus. But, unlike other port cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston or New Orleans, Portland dining isn’t just very seafood focused. Perplexing.

When Dustin and Angie, the owners of the very new Fishbox cart started daydreaming, FISH is what they came up with, a plan that’s been hatching in Dustin’s head since at least 2003. “I was up on the Columbia River, and it was salmon season, and people were up at Mt. Hood fly fishing for trout, and I thought, man, we have all this seafood around and near Portland, we need a really great fish cart,” Dustin told me in an interview one sunny spring day. He comes from formal culinary school training, and years and years working in Portland’s restaurant industry. Dustin was burned out working for crazy restaurant owners and living the often hard livin’, hard partyin’ restaurant lifestyle. The man knows his way around a kitchen for sure though, and knows how to handle fish dishes. From the food I sampled, he’s a hell of a great cook.

Dustin and his partner Angie took their time opening and have put a lot of thought into the menu and kitchen of this simple white van. It’s a great lesson for other wanna be cart owners. “I wanted to build out my kitchen and truck from scratch so that I have it and the equipment EXACTLY the way I need it. I didn’t inherit bad equipment or a clunky layout, which will save me money and time in the long run, especially when I get ready to expand” Dustin explained. Dustin was also very picky about getting a van, rather than a trailer type cart to offer more mobile flexibility and because a van is easier to move for catering and other special events. Dustin continued, “it was more expensive upfront than a cart and the build out took longer, but I think it will be worth it.”

But how about that fish? It’s not purely focused on wild seafood or local seafood, but it’s super fresh, very high quality and prepared with a light touch. The day I visited, the menu featured items such as a very chunky, very creamy clam chowder as good as anything you’d find at the coast, a wild salmon satay with Asian style pesto served with rice, a textbook Caesar Salad (with option Ahi tuna or wild salmon), an Ahi Tuna melt sandwich, a dark roux non-seafood gumbo, and Wild Salmon or Ahi Tuna seared tacos. “It’s funny because before I opened I was always telling people, I’m NOT going to be a taco truck,” Dustin laughed, “but tacos have turned out to be my biggest seller and most popular item.”

There’s a reason why. These aren’t your regular petite fistful Mexican tacos in corn tortillas, but large gourmet tacos in soft big flour wraps. Bursting with perfectly cooked and seasoned seafood, and a generous amount of lightly dressed slaw, three to an order is worth the $9. I was plenty full after just two.

Food is always the best part about visiting Portland’s intense food cart scene, and the Fishbox keeps its side of the bargain up quite nicely on that end. But the stories behind the carts really make me smile. Everyone is unique, and has a terrific story to tell. We think it’s the people that contribute as much to our vibrant cart community as much as the food does. The Fishbox is yet another wonderful, friendly, and tasty addition to our always cool food cart scene.

Sample Menu:

  • Seared Ahi Tuna or Wild Salmon Tacos – $9
  • New England Style Clam Chowder – small $4, large $6
  • Veggie Fried Rice Bowl – $5. With tuna or salmon, $9
  • Wild Salmon Satay with Asian pesto and veggie fried rice – $9

Hours: Tues-Sun, 12 – 8pm
Phone:
503-348-5244

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Cornucopia Joe’s

dieselboi
Cornucopia Joe's

Cornucopia Joe's

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont – Good Food Here
Hours: daily and weekend, lunch into dinner hours

The Story:

Need some pizza? How about some farm fresh veggies? Cornucopia Joe’s has both.

Located at one of Portland’s premier food cart pods, Cornucopia Joe’s offers up fresh hand made pizza along with having a small market selling fresh local vegetables from his farm. Referred to as farmer Joe, he is truly a presence at the pod when he is there. Many a time, Joe has magnanimously rushed over to shake my hand and welcome me to the lot and even bring me one of his fresh smoothies when we’ve been there shooting an episode of one food show or another. Such a kind and generous individual.

Margerita from Cornucopia Joe's

Margerita from Cornucopia Joe's

At Cornucopia Joe’s, they have fresh hand made pizzas along with calzones, smoothies and juices. I could eat pizza daily of someone made it fresh for me; I’m that kinda of eater. The pizza at Joe’s isn’t perfectly round which tells me some love went into it. Add on a great sauce, fresh tomatoes, some Mozzarella and basil and you have the Margarita – a favorite in summer and a gem if found year around. We devoured it and put it on our list of go to pizza carts for the future.

Cornucopia Joe’s has made Good Food Here its home and I’m happy they continue to succeed. Come spring, keep an eye out for the fresh veggie and fruit stand. Drop on by, grab a pie and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Pizzas come in three different sizes ranging from $7-$16 depending on size and style

  • Cheese – tomato sauce, cheese, Italian spices
  • Meat – tomato sauce, choice of pepperoni, Canadian bacon, meatball, sausage or chicken
  • Muffuletta – fresh roasted peppers, artichoke, minced olives, garlic, feta, Mozzarella
  • Vegan – tomato sauce, vegan sausage, vegan Mozzarella, pesto sauce

Hours: daily and weekend, lunch into dinner hours
Phone:
503 840 5282

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Sushi PDX

aaron_jd
Sushi PDX

Sushi PDX

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont
Hours: Tue-Sun, 12pm to 3pm; 5pm to 8pm

The Story:

Sushi has gained greater acceptance in American culture over the years. There are now countless variations of this delicacy, using multiple meats, fish, vegetables, and sauces. The best part: sushi is an ideal street food. People likely use chopsticks, but it is OK to pick the sushi up and eat it with your hands.

Toshi, a sushi chef for over 20 years, opened Sushi PDX about eight months ago. Each piece of sushi and bowl of udon soup exiting his cart showcases the skills he acquired over the years. I visited Japan on a summer study abroad nine years ago, so Toshi and I briefly talked about our experiences there. He’s originally from Japan, but has only been back twice in the last quarter-century.

Sushi PDX

Sushi PDX

The DST Roll is one of the top-selling items. No, probably not what you’re thinking, either. It’s shorthand for double ST, or spicy tuna and shrimp tempura. Crab salad is also added inside the roll. I salivated imagining the crunchy tempura, the mild spicy tuna kick, and the creamy crab salad. The sushi is rolled perfectly, with a generous helping of seafood in the center. The tempura is crispy, contrasting with the other ingredients and the fresh fish is comforting and satisfying. The pickled ginger and wasabi, both served on the side, each add that extra zing to the experience.

There are some vegetarian items on the menu as well. If you’re not a big sushi lover, Toshi offers five different udon noodle soups at dinner time, perfect on a cold, rainy evening. Oh, and Sushi PDX now delivers, using Pegasus Delivery to get food to your home or office (hand rolls not included, likely because it loses its freshness en route to its destination). Head over to Sushi PDX and try Toshi’s food. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya!

Sample Menu:

Various sushi rolls ($3 to $8.50); includes:

  • Vegetable Roll – $4.50
  • Spicy Tuna Roll – $5.50 (add 50 cents for avocado)
  • DST Roll – $6
  • Crunchy Roll – $6.50
  • Soft Shell Crab Roll – $8.50

Various hand rolls – $3.25 each, two for $6, three for $8.50

  • Choices include spicy tuna, California, salmon skin, vegetable, and spicy scallop

Udon Soup (dinner only)

  • Kake (plain) – $5
  • Sansai – $6
  • Niku (with Pork or Chicken) – $6
  • Tempura – $6.50 (two pieces tempura); $7.25 (three pieces)
  • Curry (with pork or chicken) – $7

Miso soup – $1.50

Hours: Tue-Sun, 12pm to 3pm; 5pm to 8pm
Website: SushiPDX.com
Twitter: @SushiPDX
Facebook: Sushi PDX

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Blues City Biscuits

dieselboi
Blues City Biscuits

Blues City Biscuits

Location: SE 43rd and Belmont

Hours: Thurs-Mon, 9am-2:30pm

The Story:

Well made biscuits are a wonderful delight. I remember the first time I ever had what was described as authentic biscuits and gravy made by a southerner and how amazing it was. Selling well made biscuits with great gravy and other items any day of the week is what Blues City Biscuits is here to do.

In a 1954 trailer that she describes as a “spam can,” Kimberly bakes biscuits fresh for her many different dishes. Hailing from Memphis, the Blues City, she got her bug for good soul food and everything made in the cart uses fresh locally sourced produce when in season along with other organic goods. Her secret for the biscuits is Bob’s Red Mill wholegrain unbleached flour.

The Booker T from Blues City Biscuits

The Booker T from Blues City Biscuits

There are so many amazing items on the menu, it is hard to choose just one. Luckily, we were able to have a great little chat about the cart and her food while I read and re-read the description of each item. Biscuits. Gravy. Eggs. Bacon. Smoky collard greens. Spiced fried apples. Kimberly has some great creations. Instead of going overboard, I decided to stay simple and ordered the Booker T. with a fried egg, some green onions and sausage gravy served between her fresh made biscuit. So good. The biscuit, about the size of a bagel, is the perfect vessel for eggs and gravy. Mixing the egg with the chunky sausage gravy and green onions is ingenious. A great little sandwich for anytime of the day.

Blues City Biscuits is a great little cart with some wonderful southern influenced food. Kimberly has already outgrown her cart and has launched a campaign to raise some much needed funds so she can expand. Check her project out at IndieGoGo. If you’re a fan of biscuits or gravy or both, you should check this cart out. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Blues City Biscuits has moved to D-Street Noshery as of Feb 20, 2012]

[Blues City Biscuits moved to SE 43rd and Belmont in 2013 and changed owners.]

Sample Menu:

All sandwiches served on fresh buttermilk biscuits.

  • Jerry Lee: thick-cut glazed ham steak w/fried egg, Tillamook cheddar and sausage gravy – $7
  • Isaac: fried egg w/Tillamook Cheddar, smoky collard greens and sausage gravy – $6.50
  • Otis: fried egg w/Tillamook Cheddar, spiced fried apples, honey butter and pecans – $6.50
  • Booker T: fried egg, green onions and sausage gravy – $5.50
  • Elvis: creamy peanut butter, fresh banana and Nutella – $5
  • Ma Rainey Breakfast: classic biscuits and gravy – $6
  • Nina Simone Breakfast: fried egg w/Tillamook Cheddar and spiced fried apples on buttery hominy grits w/smoky collard greens on the side – $7

Hours: Tues & Wed 11-3; Thurs & Fri, 11-7; Sat & Sun, 10-8
Website: BluesCityBiscuits.com
Twitter: @BCBiscuits
Facebook: Blues City Biscuits

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