Some items of interest for you street food fans out there:
Portland’s newest food cart pod – Piknik Park Food Carts and Beer – will be celebrating their grand opening this weekend, October 9-11. There will be free tastings and a variety of entertainment. The lot boasts 8 food carts including a beer garden with wine and cider included. More details on their Facebook page.
Downtown’s Georgian cart Kargi Gogo has celebrated two years in business with a revamping of the menu. It seems we all love their cheese bread, so now they offer four different types. The Khachapuri is the original we’ve enjoyed the last two years. The other three include a baked cheese and egg version and one with smoked ham. For those of you who fell in love with their khinkali dumplings, fear not, they still offer them up frozen for you to enjoy at home. Kargi Gogo is located on SW 9th and Washington and open 7 days a week from 11am-4pm.
Piedmont Station on NE Killingsworth and 7th keeps adding vendors. After the initial few, they’ve done some re-arranging and brought in five new vendors offering burgers, southern cuisine, Thai, and chicken wings. Le Tap is now open, offering up 14 taps with beer, wine and cider. If you live in the neighborhood, it is a great place for lunch or dinner with covered seating.
Cartlandia in SE Porltand announced they have three new vendors – Smokin’ Bowls – Indonesian – opening this week; Papaya Fruit and Eatery and Koi Fusion opening Oct 11.
If you were out and about downtown at 10th and Alder on Tuesday the 6th, you would have noticed more than a few vendors closed. The power was out on the lot for more than a couple of hours. Many vendors made due, utilizing propane to prepare their meals, but not having power is a real challenge. Hopefully the electrician has figured out the problem. If you’re a regular, hit up your favorite vendor to give them a little extra boost this week.
Thank you for supporting Portland’s street food scene.
Location: SE 11th and Tacoma – Piknik Park
Hours: Tuesday, 11am-2pm; Thursday-Monday, 11am-7pm
The Story: Malaysian street food in Portland. Until this past month, when asked, I would have to tell people we don’t have the region well represented. Straits Kitchen hit the street running with a new food cart at a new pod down in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood and we’re excited.
Straits Kitchen gets its name from the western coast of Malaysia, specifically the port cities of Malacca and Penang. The cuisine is influenced by the Baba-Nyonya, also known as Straits Chinese. Centuries ago, native Chinese arrived in the region, marrying Malay women and creating an entire new heritage of flavor and color. A blend of Malay and Chinese. Chef Angie, born and raised in Malaysia, brings traditional dishes to Portland, along with creating some fusion of her own. I’ve personally been seeking out dishes from my travels in SE Asia and found them at this cart.
The menu offers a number of dishes for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Small bites include Roti Babi – shredded braised pork, soy sauce, cinnamon and star anise served on a mini baguette with chili sauce and pickled cucumbers. A tasty little sandwich with bright flavors. Perfect for sharing. The Inche Kabin, Nyonya fried chicken wings, are marvelous. Spicy marinated chicken wings fried and served with a soy-lime-jalapeno dipping sauce. If you’re wanting to try multiple flavors, go for more dishes at lower prices. Bowls inlude a spicy pickled salad with pickled vegetables, chili, spices and served with tovu, bean sprouts and more. Straits Kitchen even has Laksa Lemak, a spicy coconut curry and one of my favorite dishes.
Straits Kitchen crushed it on my first visit and I plan to return. A cart I will recommend to colleagues, not just for great dishes, but for the breadth of flavors. Open every day but Wednesday, plan a visit. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Sample menu (full menu on website):
- Loh Bak – five spice pork roll – $5
- Roti Babi – $6
- Inche Kabin – $6
- Acar Salad – $4 or $7
- Laksa Lemak – $10
Location: N Mississippi and Beech
Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-8pm
The Story: The Mississippi Historical District offers up more than a few amazing culinary gems, both in brick and mortar and street food. You think you’ve enjoyed it all when a new maverick arrives and shakes things up. The other night, at the Beech Pod, we dove in to MF Tasty, a new food cart offering up southwest inspired dishes.
MF Tasty started as a secret supper club in Phoenix by owners Nicole and Eric. A menu would be posted and only those who reserved spots were given the secret location and, viola, dinner. After garnering a following, Nicole and Eric decided they wanted to invest in themselves and Portland beckoned. While the menu is southwest inspired, Eric sources local and blends the two, creating amazing offerings from the small kitchen.
Eric put together a great menu of sandwiches, salads and specials. The evening we visited, Shrimp Ceviche took up the mantel. Shrimp tossed in chipotle-tomato broth with onions, apple, herbs and lime. Served with cabbage slaw and tortilla chips, the ceviche was devoured by all at the table. A bit spicy from the chipotle, yet the citrus balanced it all out. The Garbanzo and Greens salad spoke to me for a healthy Friday night nosh. Sautéed spinach, kale and smashed garlic mixed with garbanzo beans and a special spice blend. Add in marinated mushrooms for an extra bit of umph. This is the greens I try and make at home on a regular basis, so it was wonderful to have someone with more skill on the grill provide me with some new options. Everything we tried we enjoyed. I can’t wait to return for the Cemita Sandwich.
MF Tasty raised the bar for street food on Mississippi, yet the Beech Pod has always offered up dishes and cuisine to rival many of the restaurants on the street. Next time you’re up that way, drop on by and try some of Eric’s magic and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Cemita Sandwich – Achiote glazed pork for $9 or KBBQ marinated mushroom for $8
- Garbanzo and Greens – $6
- Tortilla Espanol – Spanish frittata of potato, smoked poblanos, caramelized onion and egg – $6
Some tidbits of food cart news for September:
Food Cart Pod Closures – we knew it was coming. With property values skyrocketing in the city, some food cart pods are going the way of development. Good Food Here in SE 43rd and Belmont will close soon and vendors are already seeking new locations. A new pod is sprouting up across the street. More details on that when it comes together. Q19 in NW Portland is closing. We’ve been contacted by multiple vendors there about the lot being developed in the near future and they are being evicted.
New Food Cart Pod in Sellwood. Piknik Park Food Carts and Beer is now open on SE 11th and Tacoma in Sellwood. The new pod has attracted a great lineup of vendors including:
- Bent-Lee’s Kitchen – brats, schnitzel, tacos
- City Slickers – specialties from cities around the USA
- Devin’s Dive – plant based grub
- Essential Whole Juice
- Polli-Tico – rotisserie Peruvian chicken
- SushiLOVE – vegan sushi
- Straits Kitchen – Malaysian
- Village Patisserie – French inspired bakery
The lot is new, so hours are still being flushed out, but expect vendors to follow the east side model doing lunch and dinner during the week including weekend service.
Are you shopping for a mobile unit? There are many options – trucks, trailers, buses, vans. OR, you could go with a bicycle trailer solution. Mini Mobile Bike Carts is located down in the central east side industrial district where they build custom bike trailers that can be used for food service. So cool. Owner Jason Brown launched a Kickstarter to grow the business and bring his custom trailers to the masses. Maybe we’ll see a few roaming the city in the coming months.
- The Cluck Truck – SW 10th and Washington
- Small Pharaoh – expanded to SW 3rd and Washington
- MFTasty- N Mississippi and Beech
- Pineapple Bliss – Cartlandia
- Tōv: an Egyptian/middle eastern themed coffee cart – SE 32nd and Hawthorne
The City of Milwaukie is looking into food cart pods. On September 22, the city will host a forum to discuss bringing organize pods to the city. If you’re from the area and want to have a voice in the decision, head on down to the Public Safety Building at 3200 SE Harrison St. at 6pm on the 22nd. The conversation will include identifying publicly owned land to be used to host vendors. The city also has a survey going if you can’t make the public meeting.
Labor Day usually signals the end of the summer sales season for the food carts in town. With the weather changing and tourists back home, sales are down for many. But we’re Portlanders. We have parkas. Head on out to your favorite food cart or pod this week and let them know you’re still a customer. Thank you for supporting Portland’s dynamic and ever evolving street food scene.
Portland loves brunch. Saunter down any one of the city’s commercial streets on a Saturday or Sunday and you’ll discover a gaggle of citizen eaters awaiting their next Eggs Benedict or Chicken and Waffle plate. Portlandia highlighted our brunch culture and many of my friends claim the Portland economy is partially based on brunch. We embrace it. We love it. We stand in the rain for it. Brunch! Brunch! Brunch! Chant with me.
When Feast announced the Sunday Brunch Village in Pioneer Courthouse Square, a collective squee echoed across the land. Presented by Tillamook Creamery and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature the park will be resplendent with Bloody Mary bars, biscuit egg n’ cheese sandwiches, Texas tacos, and yes, fried chicken and waffles. Chefs bring their A game to events like this and all for us eaters. Featured Chefs include Melissa McMillan of Sammish in Ashland, Jason French of Ned Ludd, Rick Gencarelli of Lardo (which use to be a food cart), Nate Smell of Pip’s Originals and Sarah Shafer of Irving Street Kitchen to name a few. Oh, and Bloody Marys, Mimosas and artisan coffee and tea for all.
Brunch Village is September 20 from 11-2. Tickets are still available at FeastPortland.com. Feast Portland’s charitable partners, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and No Kid Hungry work to end childhood hunger in Oregon and across America. Feast Portland donates festival net proceeds to the charities and over the last three years, has donated more than $162,000.
Location: NE 52nd and Sandy at Rose City Food Park
Hours: daily, lunch
The Story: You’ve enjoyed dumplings I assume, but what about a Momo? Momo House, a new food cart at Portland’s Rose City Food Park, serves up these large and delightful pockets of joy along with other Tibetan and Indian dishes.
Momo House joins the diverse lineup of food carts at Rose City which includes Vietnamese, Mexican, Guamian, Thai and a myriad of American dishes. I would argue the lot offers up one of the more eclectic collective menus. The menu offerings at Momo House run the gamut from the large dumplings to fried rice dishes to known Indian delights like samosa or curry. The fried momo are filled with beef, pork or veggies mixed with celery, scallion and garlic and served with fresh veggies and a dipping sauce – usually spicy. A large doughy pocket of meat and taste tingling delight. Dip in the spicy sauce and simply devour. So decadent. Also available vegetarian style. The Pork Chili, day long slow cooked pork with house recipe of garlic, ginger and Arrma-Sichuan pepper along with soy sauce and served with fried rice, rounded out the meal. The spice presented itself well, but not overwhelming if you’re sensitive to the heat. While it appears to be yet another fried rice dish, the secret recipe raised it above the bar, impressing me.
Momo House is open daily for lunch and into the afternoon and dinner. The menu is broad and offers up something for everyone. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Momo dumplings – $4.99-6.99 depending on size
- Fried Momos – $4.99-6.99 depending on size
- Chole Poori – chole masala, a vegetarian dish with chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs, spices – served with naan – $4.99
- Chicken Curry – Indian style chicken curry thali with sides – $6.99
- Vegetable Thali – vegetable plate with dal and rice and seasonal salad – $6.99
Phone: (503) 764-5028
Location: NE 7th and Killingsworth at Piedmont Station
Hours: Tues-Fri, 11:30-2:30 and 5-930pm; Sat/Sun, 12-9:30
The Story: Piedmont Station, one of Portland’s newest food cart pods, brings tasty treats to northeast Portland just off MLK Blvd and Killingsworth. Of the new food carts, PDX Dönerländ offers up a dish rarely found on the east side – döner kebab.
Owners Ron and Franziska are the team behind PDX Dönerländ. Franziska hails from Karlsruhe in Germany and Ron from San Francisco, yet they began their love over meat sandwiches while traveling in Germany. Franziska grew up with döner, a dish originating in Turkey and brought to Germany in the 50’s by guest workers, so opening a food cart and sharing the love came to pass. Franziska also has more than a few years as a professional chef under her belt, so that helps. Their mission is to serve the highest quality ingredients and use organic when possible and 100% GMO free. Everything served is made from scratch in the cart and you can tell by the freshness of every bite.
I’ve enjoyed a myriad of döner kebab over the years. Some served atop rice or with salad, others in a pita or other type of pocket bread. While traditional döner was usually mutton, most everyone now serves a mix of chicken and turkey, with some offering beef or lamb. At PDX Dönerländ, the kebab flatbread sandwich is stuffed with sliced chicken and turkey döner meat, lettuce, tomatoes, red cabbage, onions, pepperoncini and your choice of a yogurt-dill or red sauce. I was expecting thin slices of meat, but here, they were chunks, adding a texture and breadth of flavor I hadn’t expected. The sauce dripped throughout the meat and veggies, adding a cool sweetness to the entire meal. Lastly, the flatbread. Everything comes down to the bread right? Franziska nailed it, creating the best possible vessel for the cacophony of meat, veggies and sauce.
I’m excited to see vendors bringing traditional street foods from Europe to Portland. There are excellent dishes under represented in the vast array of vendors throughout this fine town. Welcome to Portland PDX Dönerländ. Next time you’re up in the neighborhood, drop on by the pod, enjoy a döner kebab, maybe a beer and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Döner kebab sandwich – $9
- Vegetarian/Vegan Doner – $9
- Mediterranean Salads – $7-9 depending on toppings
Location: 3405 SE 82nd, just north of Powell
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11-8
The Story: Portland is embracing everything south of the border and I don’t necessarily mean Mexican cuisine. Salvadoran, Argentinean, Brazilian and more and more, Cuban. La Cubana, a new food truck located at the food cart pod on 82nd and Powell presents us with island delights.
Mario and Vivian opened La Cubana earlier this year in a new pod featuring Mexican and Korean offerings. I’ve visited a few Cuban vendors in town, yet haven’t seen as diverse a menu as Vivan and Mario offer. Start with simple tostones, deep fried smashed green plantains with garlic and lemon with a dash of salt. Or maybe sauteed Cuban style okra – Quimbombó. The Ropa Vieja, “old clothes” in Spanish, is slow cooked shredded beef with savory bits of onion, pepper and garlic in a rich tomato sauce with salad and beans and rices on the side. So many options. So many flavors. In the end, the Cuban Sandwich landed in my hands with a side of plantain chips. A pressed baguette with Swiss cheese, ham, grilled pork, pickles and mustard. Mustard – my dessert island condiment. First bite – I marveled the yellow mustard poked through the savory pork and cheese with a brightness and tang. No mayo or ketchup on this classic. The baguette, an ideal vessel for the goods, held together with crunch. A wonderful sandwich made by wonderful people.
La Cubana opens for lunch and dinner and also offers a wide range of drinks. Next time you’re down off 82nd and desire something new, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Ropa Vieja – $9
- Cuban Sandwich – $9
- Picadillo – ground beef with potato, white rice, onion and maduros on the side – $8.50
- Yuca con Mojo – yucca root cooked until soft, dressed with olive oil, fresh smashed garlic, lemon juice and choice of meat – $10
- Qumbombo – Okra – $4.50
- Tostones – $4
Phone: 503 754 4044