Some morsels of news from Portland’s street food scene:
Carts opening Restaurants:
Nong’s Khao Man Gai announced they are opening a true to form brick and mortar restaurant in the space next to their current commissary kitchen on SE Ankeny. The restaurant will feature 38 seats with both indoor and outdoor seating and Nong will bring in soft serve ice cream. The menu will feature her signature Khao Man Gai chicken/rice dish along with other items from her PSU location like Thai Basketball MoM’s wings and Coca Cola/cocoa powder-braised pork and rice. And beer – including some from Southeast Asia. Congrats Nong. Watch for opening the first week of April. 609 SE Ankeny.
Cheese and Crack opened their new Snack Shop this week at the former Black Bike Cafe space on E. Burnside. I loved this cart and am excited to visit the new shop which will feature their creative cheese plate, homemade crackers plus other items like charcuterie, pickled goods, and sandwiches. 22 SE 28th Ave. Soft Open Wednesday-Sun, 8am-8pm. (Hat tip to EaterPDX)
Tamale Boy opened their brick and mortar on Friday in the NE neighborhood of Woodlawn on Friday. The restaurant will feature their amazing tamales which were named Yelp’s 2012 Dish of the Year along with other treats. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, GMO Free and delicious. Full bar with cocktails and beer. Find Tamale Boy at 1764 NE Dekum. Open Tuesday to Sunday.
Cultured Caveman, with 3 carts in the city, announced they will take over the former E-San Thai space in the Kenton neighborhood. The 50 seat palio focused restaurant will also feature a small retail space and a revamped menu. They have launched a Kickstarter to raise funds. Watch for an April/May opening.
A few new vendors have popped up out there:
- Rift Valley – Ethiopian – SW 3rd and Washington
- The Leyland Cafe – Breakfast in a double decker bus – NE 52nd and Sandy
- Rua – Vietnamese – SW 9th and Washington
- Satay Indonesia – SW 9th and Alder
- Mama Chow’s Kichen – SW 2nd and Oak
- Thai Pasta 2 – SW 6th and Columbia
- Tandoor Indian – expanded to SW 6th and Columbia
Moberi re-opened their bike smoothie cart in North Portland at the lot at N Mississippi and Beech. They are also setting up shop at NW 23rd and Quimby. Get your smoothie on!
Enjoy the carts!
Location: 8064 SE 17th, north of Tacoma
Hours: Tus-Thurs, 11am-7pm; Fri/Sat, 11am-close; Sun, 12pm-close
The Story: College introduced me to peers from around the country. I remember a friend asking if I wanted to grab a slider. I honestly had no idea what a slider was and no where in McMinnville offered them, so Safeway sold us ground beef and rolls and we set out to make sliders in the dormitory kitchen. Burned and not that flavorful, a new memory was born. Nowadays, sliders are everywhere and in all shapes and styles. A new food cart – PDX Sliders – is bringing their take on the little burger to southeast Portland.
Ryan Rollins, like many who have dove into the food cart scene in the last few years, had another career in another industry before taking the leap into food service. Granted, his tenure at Dairy Queen as a teen may have stoked the entreprenurial spirit. Ryan’s family, including his wife, have worked or owned businesses in the food industry, creating a support structure for Ryan. The slider concept came about after some time seeing restaurants creating bigger and bigger burgers. Further, there are few businesses who solely focus on the mini-burger. Ryan wanted to do the opposite. Ryan’s wife’s culinary education came into play when crafting the menu and weekly specials come about with the help of friends who both work in the cart and at local restaurants. Truly a collaborative effort between friends and family.
At PDX Sliders, Ryan and team craft everything from scratch daily. Ryan proudly proclaims they don’t have a freezer. Fries are fresh cut every morning. You can taste the freshness in the burger. On the menu, you find traditional sliders along with cart crafted gems. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the Broadway with braised pork, Mamma Lil’s peppers, baby arugula and house maid spicy aioli on a ciabatta bun. Not traditional, yet amazing. On a recent visit, I picked up the Sellwood, a burger with bacon, Beechers Flagship Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce and aioli served on a brioche bun. A juicy, messy treat on a cool winter day. At the prices they charge, why not pick out a couple. There is something for everyone on this menu. The St. Johns is a marinated portabella. The Ross Island, a house-made black bean chipotle patty. Burgers are cooked to medium doneness and you can swap out bread for butter lettuce if you want to make it gluten free.
PDX Sliders is a great addition to the street food scene here in Portland. Located in the Sellwood neighborhood, this is one vendor I hope will expand north. Open every day except Monday for both lunch and beyond, there is plenty of opportunity to pick up some nosh. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sliders are $3.50; Fries, $2
- Sellwood – burger, bacon, Cheddar, grilled onions, butter lettuce on brioche bun
- Hawthorne – burger, bacon, goat cheese, strawberry preserves on brioche bun
- Steel – two burgers, bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, aioli on brioche bun
- Burnside – house made meatballs, roasted romas, Mozzarella on ciabatta bun
- Ross Island – house made black bean chipotle patty, pepper jack, butter lettuce on brioche bun
The Great Food Truck Race is back for another round and is actively seeking entrepreneurs and thrill seekers who want to open their own Food Truck. Hang out with Tyler Florence and drive around the country are an added bonus. The Great Food Truck Race is an excellent opportunity for newbies who are interested in opening a food truck to get behind the scenes experience and have great fun along the way. You and two teammates would make up the team and the Food Network and the producers supply the rest.
To apply, send the following information – Name, age, phone number, photo, proposed teammates and photos, description of your culinary background and the idea of your truck to the following email address: email@example.com
Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday
The Story: I’m a child of pizza. I can’t tell you how pizza was so integral in the enjoyment of my childhood and teenage years. Portland had the thin crust pizza covered, but when I visited Chicago, I was introduced to the deep dish style. Thick, a new food cart on SW 3rd and Washington, brings Chicago style pizza to the streets of our fine town.
Thick opened a few months ago and was selling out daily immediately. First time I visited, just after 1pm – totally sold out of slices and making a couple of suit-clad businessmen their own personal pie. Michael Cline is the man behind the pizza. A Chicagoan by birth, Michael saw Portland was lacking in his favorite cuisine, so decided to open the cart. He crafts everything from scratch including the house made Italian sausage, and pies are fresh made daily.
A Chicago deep dish pie is exactly that – deep dish with thick crust. A standard pie takes almost an hour to bake, so Michael makes a specific number of pies each day and when the slices sell out, that’s it. You can pre-order a pie though, so don’t fret. I picked up a slice of handmade Italian sausage – Michael heated it up and handed me a small box which weighed a couple of pounds. While stalwarts may pick it up, I used a fork and knife to enjoy every last bite. Buttery crust acted well as the base layer topped first with Mozzarella then the sausage, and crushed tomatoes. The sausage was spot on and cheese in every bite made for a great lunch.
Thick Deep Dish Pizza is also open for breakfast, so if you’re coming into town early, feel free to stop by for local ham, melted onions, and Comte cheese encased in a classic buttery pastry crust. Sounds good to me. If you do want your own pie, be sure to call ahead and give Michael some time. All good things take time and patience. Drop on by for a thick slice of ‘za and let Michael know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Homemade Italian Sausage- $5/slice
- Spinach – $4/slice
- Whole pies available
Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Monday-Saturday, lunchtime
The Story: To make a truly excellent green chile dish, roasting the chiles is paramount. At Sabrosa Barbosa, owner Cyl hand-roasts pounds of chiles in a cast iron skillet every night. That attention to detail is what garners this new food cart a gold star.
Sabrosa Barbosa opened late last year with a bright red paintjob and bold signs at the ever popular Alder food cart pod. Cyl, chef and owner is originally from LA where she, like many of us in the street food biz, worked 20 years in a different career. It wasn’t until the last few years that she began dabbling and experimenting in the kitchen when her friends and family recognized she had a hidden talent. No formal training, just late nights and attention to the right ingredients and experimentation has led Cyl to open her cart for us Portlanders to enjoy. Most of her dishes are prepared a full 24hrs in advance so flavors can mature and infuse. A celebration of Mexican cuisine made with love.
The menu at Sabrosa Barbosa offers up dinner plates, bowls, quesadillas and even nachos. The mole is made with molasses and honey, no refined sugars here. Cyl uses Peruvian beans with their mild sweetness and thin skins – the longer you cook, the more buttery they become. The Pork Green Chile Bowl is a treat for anyone looking for a spicy dish. And not just for heat sake, Cyl utilizes both jalapeño and serrano peppers to yield a fruity, smoky and spicy effect. Served over spanish rice, this bowl may compete with the others available on the lot for flavor and excitement.
Sabrosa Barbosa is the newest player on the lot. While some may see their cuisine as similar to other vendors, that is the magic of street food. Everyone does it different and Cyl is no slouch when it comes to flavor. The food cart is just one step in her journey to bring passion for cooking to the masses. Keep an eye out for this one. Drop on by next time you’re up that way and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Chicken Mole Dinner – Peruvian beans, Spanish Rice and tortillas – $8.75
- Green Chile Dinner – pork or chicken – $8.75
- Quesadilla Dinner – tortillas, sliced avocado, tomato and cilantro, spicy house crema, peruvian beans, spanish rice – $7.50
- Chicken Mole Bowl – served over Peruvian beans and Spanish rice- $5.75
- Fresh Peruvian Bean Bowl – Peruvian beans topped with fresh onion, tomato, cilantro, diced avocado, fresh feta cheese – $4.50
Facebook: Sabrosa Barbosa
Phone: (503) 278-5606
Want to win free food cart food for a year? Yes you do! The awe inspiring Cartathlon IV scavenger hunt and over-indulgence race put on by Willamette Week returns in 2014 on Sunday March 2. Well costumed teams of five will have four hours to: decipher riddles; eat; ride Tri-Met; find Portland landmarks; eat; complete random tasks; take photos; and eat. Southeast, Southwest, Northeast and North Portland are among the neighborhoods they will visit. A race between some of Portland’s most popular pods, points are earned for the grand prize of free food cart food for a year! Prizes also will be awarded for best dressed team, best team name and more.
Teams of five may register for $60 per team. The participation fee includes breakfast snacks and Ninkasi samples, free Tri-Met passes, free food along the route, free Cartathlon swag for each team member and admission to an after-party where each member of your team will receive a free pint of Ninkasi.
To sign up your team of five, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include:
1. Team name
2. Team captain name
3. Daytime telephone number
More info about Cartathlon IV can be found at WWeek.com
Location: N Williams Ave between Failing and Shaver
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm
The Story: A simple grilled cheese sandwich is a treat for anyone, young or old. Melty is the word I’m thinking of. EthelKays Grilled Cheese and Lemonade is the newest food cart in town serving up delightful little morsels of cheese and bread.
Julie McBee opened the EthelKays food cart in 2013 in the Cully district in NE Portland after many years working in the service industry and restaurants. She always knew she wanted her own business and used the different positions to educate herself in cooking and managing a business. Before the cart was launched, Julie and her former partner had a stand at the Woodstock Farmers Market selling lemonade and grilled cheese – that business is still there named Urban Cheese. Julie moved on, opening the cart and then after a year in NE, moved to N Williams avenue, posting up next to Lodekka and the Hopworks Bike Bar. A prime location for any vendor.
EthelKay’s Grilled Cheese and Lemonade focuses on just that – cheese and lemons. Yet, with an extra bit of love. On the menu, you’ll find hot gooey grilled cheese sandwiches made with everything from cheddar to bacon to avocado to fruit and veggie chips. Think of it and she probably has it. Being a fan of tomatoes, basil and balsamic, I chose the Tuscan with buffalo Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, balsamic and olive oil grilled between two slices of a bolo roll. Toasted just right, the Mozzarella doesn’t get really melty, but the flavors all infuse creating what I refer to as a reverse Margherita pizza. Every chomp – balsamic and oil blended with tomato juices dripped down my chin. I didn’t mind a bit. A great choice of bread made it even better than expected.
Julie has a great little cart with an amazing menu. Her lemonade is made fresh with wedges of lemon to make it extra tangy. I can’t wait till summer when I can sit on the curb, enjoy one and people watch. Drop on by next time you’re in the neighborhood and let Julie know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Ruthie – como bread, cheddar, sharp cheddar and havartti – $5
- Pappy – como bread, chaddar, sharp cheddar, havartti, bacon and tomato – $7
- French Connection – bolo roll, brie, pear, arugula, balsamic, olive oil – $6.50
- Tuscan – $6
- Monte Cristo – como bread, swiss, gruyere, black forest ham, dijon, blackberry jam, dipped in egg, grilled and dusted with powdered sugar – $7.50
- Soups – $3
- Spicy Peanut Noodles – noodles, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, peapods, peanuts, asian pepper sauce – $4
- Lemonade – $3
- Raspberry Lemonade – $3.50
Location: SW 2nd and Stark
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm – winter hours may be shorter
The Story: Like pie? I do. Forking up warm chunks of hot apple pie is a year around pleasure. Ever thought of eating a pie out of a jar? All Jarred Up, a food cart in downtown Portland has that covered.
All Jarred Up is by no means a new business. Opened in the Etsy marketplace in 2010, owner Teri Hiles started packaging and shipping pie in small jam sized mason jars before opening the cart. Such and interesting and unique concept. Teri started the business after seeing a cupcake in a jar. Her offerings on Etsy make my mouth water – Very Very Berry, Caramel Apple, Pecan, Banana and even toffee or cookies. Every jar is freshly packed and sealed so all you have to do is open and enjoy.
Teri launched the All Jarred Up food cart in fall of 2012 at the corner of SW 2nd and Stark. At the cart, beyond pie in a jar, she also offers fresh made brownies, cookies, coffee, sodas and more. The menu changes regularly, so you’ll need to visit to see what’s on special that day. I picked up the spiced apple crumble with granny smith apples in Teri’s very own spice mix and topped with an oat crumble. Once opened, I just sat there an ogled – a pie in a jar. I devoured it, oat crumbles everywhere. The choice of granny smith apples was spot on, adding that summer tang to a winter treat.
All Jarred Up is bucking the trend by offering sweet options downtown. She also recycles the jars, so if you order a pie, bring the jar back for a 50c credit toward your next order. Or, use it in your own jamming. If you’re not from around here, you can order her treats off Etsy. Drop on by for a pie and let Teri know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample Menu: (subject to change with seasonal offerings)
- Pie in a Jar – various flavors – $7
- Red Velvet Brownies – $2
- Chocolate Chip Cookies – $1.50
- Cranberry Scones – $2
- Truffled Hot Chocolate – $2.50
won the beverly hills pie contest