Location: 5427 NE 42nd and Killingsworth
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-7, Sunday, 11-4
The Story: To execute an iconic sandwich in this town, you need attitude. Pastrami Zombie crafts one of the best pastrami sandwiches in Portland and they do it in a food truck.
Pastrami Zombie was born in Ashland by Melissa McMillan who garnered national attention for her restaurant Sammish. Opened in 2016, the food truck found a home at NE 42nd and Killingsworth in the lot next to Pollo Norte restaurant. Melissa, a die hard Chicago sports fan, wears the colors proudly and will engage on the subject with anyone listening. I had the joy of watching the Cubs win a World Series game with Melissa and it was exciting to see her passion. That passion is shown in the sandwiches she creates.
Pastrami Zombie, by namesake alone, knows their beef. The pastrami is Montreal style with beef brined for a few days, smoked with oak, then thick cut. The sandwich – two slices of Grand Central rye with thick cut pastrami, Swiss, slaw, dressing and for mine, mustard – is a beast and delight. Melissa crushed it. Each bite, a mess of beef, slaw, dressing dripping down your chin. A sandwich you’ll dream about returning for.
Pastrami Zombie is legit. The menu isn’t only pastrami. The Zombie also dishes up tuna, a burger and grilled cheese along with daily specials. Enjoy a beer from Pollo Norte while you dive in. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Menu on Website
Location: 5885 NW St. Helen’s Road, Out off HWY 30
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm
Smoke meats get me excited. BBQ. Pulled Pork. Ribs. Brisket. It takes a special talent and sometimes years in the smoke to master a good char and keep things juicy. Carter’s Cart out off Highway 30 is one of the few food carts in Portland serving up superb smoked meats.
Carter’s Cart is located in the parking lot of Anderson’s Roofing Company on HWY 30 between the industrial zone and St. Johns Bridge and offers up covered seating for you to enjoy your sandwich. The menu includes traditional smoked meat items like tri-tip, house rubbed pulled pork and brisket. Sides include salads, slaws and baked beans. On any given day, they offer up a rotating hot soup and even specials. Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi on a ciabatta was the special of the day I visited, but I opted for a more traditional sando, a Tri-Tip Cheesesteak. Carter’s cheesesteak arrives with smoke tri-tip chopped up and mixed with sautéed bell peppers and onions with melted Havarti atop. That glorious mix is then served on a toasted hoagie with chimichurri and Serrano aioli. Let the sandwich sit for a sec to let the Havarti pull everything together then dive in. The mix of the herb heavy chimichurri, spicy Serrano aioli AND smoked beef is divine. A great find.
Carter’s Cart is open Tuesday-Friday from 10-6pm and offers covered seating so you don’t have to return to the office so quickly. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Tri-Tip Cheesesteak – $8 or $10 with sides
- Carter Cubano – smoked pork, pickles, mustard aioli, spicy capicola and Havarti grilled on a hoagie – $8 or $10 with sides.
- Sides – $2 – Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Side Salad, Cucumber Salad
- Full Menu on Website
Here are some updates on Portland’s street food scene:
If you haven’t ventured beyond your favorite food cart pod, there are some new ones that have grown into their own this summer and solidified their spot into Portland’s pod map:
- Piedmont Station – NE 7th and Killingsworth – Opened in 2015, this lot now hosts 10+ food carts, covered seating and Le Tap, a beer cart with numerous craft options
- Killingsworth Station – NE Killingsworth and Maryland – the lot here was built in 2014, but never got traction until now. 6 vendors including Salvadoran, Vietnamese, Mexican and Hungarian
- Kenton Pod – NE Denver and Interstate – this pod, owned and managed by PDC is brand new with 3 vendors including old favorite Killa Dilla
- Grubbin at Ankeny Square – W Burnside and 9th – a challenged park is now a food cart pod. 2 food carts and a community space
- NE MLK and Beech – Newly finished, but no food carts as of yet
Some closures to note:
- Beech Pod on N Mississippi – Gabagool and Tiffin Asha have closed their carts to move into restaurants. MF Tasty moved to N Williams and Failing
- Central Eastside Food Cart Pod – closed for development
- Thick Deep Dish Pizza closed downtown and moved into a food truck. You can find ChicagoLand roaming the streets of Portland serving up Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza
The Portland Mercado, one of Portland’s best food cart lots with a purpose, suffered significant vandalism this week, shutting down 7 of the 10 food cart and causing approximately $25,000 in damage. The Mercado is a beacon of community development with brick and mortar spaces, a commissary kitchen and vendors selling everything from Peruvian to Cuban to Michoacan and more. A destination spot for many. If you are a fan, plan a visit this week to support the lot and the vendors. They will reopen.
On Wednesday, it was reported that a number of vendors at Carts on Foster were also vandalized. If you have any information about either of these incidents, please contact the Portland Police.
Thank you for your continue support of Portland’s street food vendors.
Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11-7; Sunday, Noon-6pm
The Story: Portland offers up some amazing treats from street food vendors around the neighborhoods. Every so often though, a true gem arrives with something new and refreshing. Pause Japanese Bistro may be this summer’s fresh gem, serving up light, refreshing Japanese bowls.
Pause Japanese Bistro’s menu is a variety of bowls from Chirashidon to Yakisoba to Yasaidon, all with fresh vegetables and leafy greens and your choice of tuna or tofu. So, what are these? The best way to describe it is a large bowl of love. A bed of white or brown rice topped with greens, chopped vegetables and tuna, either raw or seared. Their own signature sauces top the bowl – Wasabi Soy, Korean Chili, Spicy Mayo, Sweet Chili, Teryaki or Tamari. The Chirashidon bowl I chose – a mix of spinach and romaine, julienned carrots and red cabbage and topped with raw tuna with the Korean Chili sauce. A salad bowl with rice. Brilliant. Also, for $8, it is a huge and satisfying portion for anyone.
Pause is the work of Chef Hyeyeon who lived in Japan and learned how to craft these dishes from her grandmother. Now, Portland gets to enjoy her creations. Pause is located at Rose City Food Park, one of the city’s amazing pods with numerous vendors and a beer garden. Recently, they expanded to downtown with a cart at SW 10th and Washington. Next time you’re in for a treat, give Pause a try and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Facebook: Pause Japanese Bistro
First came the Food Network. Then a race across the country with trucks and even a glossy Hollywood movie featuring a food truck that never broke down. But in all of that, did anyone tell the full story about street food both in Portland and beyond? Not until now. The feature-length documentary, Food Truck: The Movie, will make its World Premiere in Madrid, Spain in July. You get to see it before the Spaniards on June 11.
Documentary filmmaker and Lewis and Clark College Professor Bryan Sebok will present a sneak preview of his film Food Truck: The Movie during a fundraiser event at Rose City Food Park at 5235 NE Sandy Blvd., on June 11. The event will run from 8-11 pm. Live music will begin at 8, followed by the screening at dusk. Q and A with the filmmakers will follow the screening.
Food Truck: The Movie is a deep dive into the global food truck phenomenon through the successes and challenges of the mobile food mecca that is Portland, Oregon. On city streets on every continent, aspiring chefs, entrepreneurs, and immigrants intermingle in the mobile food community. A two billion dollar industry thrives in North America. Yet the significance of street eats is broader. Food Truck: The Movie follows a filmmaker’s immersion as he traces the roots of the scene and its impacts on city life while attempting to eat at a different food truck everyday for a year.
The director, Bryan Sebok is the real deal. When I met up with him for an interview, he had eaten at 30+ vendors. A few months later, over 200. A trooper who has the chops to put together this documentary.
Come on down to Rose City Food Park on June 11 to see the film and enjoy some of the varied offerings at the food cart lot. They have beer and wine available also. See ya there.
Food Truck: The Movie Fundraiser
June 11, 8pm
Rose City Food Park, SE 52nd and Sandy
For more information about the event or if you’re interested in being a sponsor, contact Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: SE 28th Pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, lunch and dinner
The Story: A few years ago, I distinctly remember trying my first wood fired pizza from a food cart. John Eads’ handbuilt Pyro Pizza at Cartopia began slinging these amazing pies from an oven glowing at 900 degrees. Revolutionary to this kid who grew up on Pizza Hut and other corporate ‘za. Paper Bag Pizza took over one of John’s carts at Tidbit this past year, keeping tastebuds from resting.
Paper Bag Pizza is the work of Tom Daly and Emily Goodman and their family, Tom’s been there the times I’ve visited and is always welcoming even if he is simultaneously stoking the fire, making a fresh pie or pulling one out. I bet when it is busier on the weekends, having an extra hand helps. Everything is made to order, no pizza is sitting there waiting to be warmed, that is the glory of the wood fired oven. It only takes a few minutes to make and then bake the pie. As with any pizza joint, you can create your own with a mix of sausages, veggies and cheeses or pick one of their creations. I myself feel the pizza maker is smarter than me with flavor combinations, so I opted for the #1 with sausage, roasted garlic, Calabrian chili, fresh mozzarella atop a tomato sauce. Boom! Each slice, divine. Thin, charred crust, Neapolitan style. Acidic tomato sauce that complements the sausage and cheese so well. Nothing over the top, balanced just right. Trust me, there were no leftovers.
Paper Bag Pizza is the real deal and offers a wide range of toppings for you to make something special. This past week they had fresh asparagus and basil. Open Wednesday to Sunday at Tidbit, head on down, enjoy a pie and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Lunch, weekdays
The Story: A well made sandwich is my crutch. No matter where I am, I’m drawn to sandwiches in all forms. My g0-to is a tuna melt, yet every now and then, I treat myself to a good old fashioned sub. A new cart on SW 10th and Alder here in Portland has brought Italian subs to the eaters downtown. O-Bros’ Osteria is now open.
O-Bros’ Osteria opened in March in the corner cart right on 10th and Alder which has seen vendors over the years sell frozen yogurt, bagels and Asian cuisine. While some may think the cart or location is cursed, I think it needed the right vendor to wow us and O-Bros’ has done that. Having visited now three different times, I gotta say they offer up one of my favorite Italian style subs in town. The Classic Spicy, a sandwich I would put in my desert island package, starts with a toasted hoagie roll, mayo and mustard then layered with ham, salami, pepperoni and parm and topped with chopped lettuce, tomato, and onion. To finish off this masterpiece of Italian culinary genius, they throw in a handful of spicy chopped peppers. Each bite, an explosion of wondrous, gluttonous, delight. Layers of thinly sliced meats melded with the spicy pepper and a bit of mustard on each bite – delightful. I have returned for other sandwiches and each has a special place in my taste memory.
O-Bros’ Osteria is open daily for lunch and offers a broad menu of Italian sub sandwiches along with soups, salads and pasta. If you’re craving a solid old school sub, check them out and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Food Carts Portland is proud and excited to announce that Brett Burmeister, owner and editor of the website, is heading to Manila, Philippines along with one of Portland’s food carts to attend the World Street Food Congress from April 20- April 24, 2016.
Brett will represent Food Carts Portland. Brett will join Portland food cart owners Daniel Huerta and Isabel Sanchez-Huerta from local favorite Churros Locos to showcase Portland’s thriving street food scene, including providing handcrafted treats to over 100,000 attendees. Portland will be in good company, alongside 30 mobile food vendors from places as diverse as Europe, Asia, Central America and beyond.
If you’re a regular reader of Food Carts Portland, you know Brett has been writing about Portland’s street food scene since 2008. He will speak at the Congress as part of their World Street Food Dialogue April 20-21. Brett’s presentation on the Portland street food model highlights how the City of Portland and Multnomah County have supported mobile food vendors to create vibrant community spaces while at the same time supporting the growth of small, local food businesses.
The attending Portland food cart will be part of a 5-day street food jamboree in Bonifacio Global City in Manila with street food vendors from around the world. Churros Locos will showcase their specialty, the Churro Sundae while utilizing local ingredients. The World Street Food Congress organizer, KF Seetoh and his team have visited Portland in the past and know the city’s reputation.
About the World Street Food Congress:
The World Street Food Congress (WSFC) is the first of its kind to connect and open up fresh ideas and thought leadership in the massive, and growing street food culture and industry throughout the world. It also celebrates and showcases this well loved gastro-culture through a five-day celebration of street food. According to founder K.F. Seetoh, the goals of the WSFC are to “preserve, professionalize and create new possibilities for the world’s greatest culinary phenomena – comfort and street food culture.”
The World Street Food Congress takes place April 20-24 in Manila, Philippines. More details about the event can be found at www.wsfcongress.com.
We wish Portland’s Food Carts a Bon Voyage, and expect on-the-ground updates from Brett and Food Carts Portland and Daniel and Isabel from Churros Locos throughout the event.