Some events this weekend featuring food carts and trucks throughout Portland
The 2nd annual Jade Night Market takes place in southeast Portland off 82nd and Division. In 2014, the market attracted 20,000 people – a huge success. In 2015, the market has two nights – August 15 and August 22. A celebration of one of Portland’s most culturally diverse areas. Division street will be closed from 80th-82nd and the market is using the PCC campus for the event. The list of vendors is extensive. Both Saturdays, the event runs from 5-10pm with food, retail and live music. On Saturday, the 15th, Portland’s own The Slants will be the featured band. More details about the Jade Night Market can be found at Apano.org
The crazy Adult Soapbox Derby is Saturday on Mt. Tabor. 19 years and counting, Portland’s finest freaks pull out their home built creations to bullet down from the top of Mt. Tabor using only gravity and skilled driving to survive. A truly Portland event that has been around before the New York Times discovered our ice cream. There will be numerous food trucks at the event including Bunk Sandwiches. Oh and beer. Can’t forget the beer. More details at Soapboxracer.com.
The North American Organic Brewers Festival celebrates 11 years of showcasing some of the region’s best beers at Overlook Park this weekend. From Thursday to Sunday, you’ll be able to quaff your palate with beers from 13 Virtues, Agrarian Ales, Bison Organic out of Berkeley, Falling Sky, Finnriver Farm and Cidery from Chimacum WA, Hopworks, Pinkus Muller from Germany, Vagabond out of Salem and many more. Food vendors include The Dump Truck, Urban German, Farm to Fire Pizza, Portland Curry Co. and more. The best part of this event is the location – Overlook park is right across from a Yellow line MAX station and has great views of both downtown, Forest Park and Portland’s NW industrial area. More details at NAOBF.org
There are so many events happening in this fine city, it is difficult to keep track. Just remember, your favorite food carts and trucks are open, so if you’re hungry, drop on by and enjoy.
Some morsels of news from Portland’s street food scene:
Pods – Portland continues to grow the number of pods throughout the city. At last count, there are 40+ in all quadrants. Piedmont Station on NE Killingsworth just east of MLK now has six vendors along with a beer and wine cart (listed below.) We also spotted a new pod in the making out off SE 81st and Washington in the Montavilla neighborhood.
The Gaufre Gourmet quietly closed their downtown cart last week. Fans of the delectable Liege style Belgian waffle will now have to find other alternatives. Charlene and Michael, the owners of the cart for almost five years still dish up their tasty treats at Gigi’s Cafe in the Hillsdale neighborhood.
New Vendors and moves:
- Mrs. Gator’s Snow Balls – traditional New Orleans treat – corner of Western Ave.and Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy
- Hash it Out – new breakfast spot at Mississippi Marketplace
- Dönerländ – Piedmont Station on NE Killingsworth east of MLK
- Snackriledge – vegan – Piedmont Station
- Chokdee Thai – Piedmont Station
- Saucy’s BBQ – Piedmont Station
- Taco on Fire – Piedmont Station
- Le Tap – Beer and Wine vendor at Piedmont Station
- Pig ‘N a Pen – Midwestern delights – Rose City Food Park on NE 52nd and Sandy
- Scout Beer Garden at South Waterfront off Moody as part of The Gantry
- Zia Burger – New Mexican inspired burgers and more – roaming
- La Cubana – Cuban – 3405 SE 82nd Ave north of Powell Blvd
- MF Tasty – Southwest Inspired Cuisint – Beech Pod on N Mississippi and Beech
Thrive Pacific NW, a longtime roaming food truck in the city, announced this week they are taking over the Alameda Cafe in the Alameda neighborhood for a full service restaurant. Congratulation to Erika and crew. Excited to see the new menu. Watch for soft openings in September and full service by October. 4641 NE Fremont St
The Cheese Plate has announced they are closing their cart on NE Alberta this week in order to pursue a brick and mortar restaurant. What’s significant is they are kicking dairy to the curb and going full vegan. The restaurant, Of Roots and Blooms, is still seeking a location, yet you can enjoy your last non-vegan cheese plate at the cart until Sunday. Wishing them well on their new journey. NE 23rd and Alberta.
The New School broke the news that PDX Sliders is going brick and mortar, yet in a non-traditional way. PDX Sliders is teaming up with Ancestry Brewing, a new brewery in town to open 3 location throughout the city featuring the signature sliders and sandwiches. The brewery will be located in Tualatin with taprooms in Sellwood and inner southeast Portland. Brewing to begin in September with taprooms opening in mid-October.
Enjoy the summer and thank you for your continued support of Portland’s dynamic food cart and food truck scene.
Location: 4709 NE MLK Blvd
Hours: Wed/Thurs, 11-7; Friday, 11-6
The Story: BBQ, an American past time. In the last decade, BBQ has become as artisan and lauded as fusion or French cuisine with chefs opening BBQ restaurants throughout the country. No longer is it needed to travel to Austin or Kansas City or Asheville to find good Q. It may be in a food cart like Matt’s BBQ here in Portland.
Matt’s BBQ is located on NE MLK Blvd between Prescott and Alberta in the parking lot of H&B Loan. Unless you’re looking for the cart, you may miss it tucked in the back of the lot with a couple of picnic tables and umbrellas. The travel-trailer-turned-food-cart, completely gutted and remodeled by Matt himself, isn’t necessarily where the magic of the Q happens. The offset smoker behind the cart with slow burning oak creates the Texas style scents and flavors. A menu of brisket, ribs, sausage and sides like slaw, potato salad or pinto beans is pretty affordable compared to local BBQ restaurants. Instead of repeat visits, I ordered “The Whole Shebang.” The entire menu for $16. A bargain in my opinion. Brisket- bark with a salty delightful cruch, the meat with fatty bits there for a reason just melted away at every bite. Ribs – dry-rubbed and smoked came with a hint of pepper. Sausage – juicy and fatty, paired well with the added white bread. Honestly, I was there for the BBQ, not the sides, yet Matt surprised me. The pinto beans and potato salad, scratch made, showed Matt took pride in every bit of his menu. Rarely do I praise sides at a BBQ joint, but Matt nailed it.
If you’re as much a fan of smoked meats as I am, you should make a pilgrimage to Matt’s BBQ in NE Portland. He’s becoming known in the community, so keep an eye on his Facebook page as he may sell out earlier than posted hours. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Brisket Plate with 2 sides – $12
- 1/4 Rack of Ribs with 2 sides – $11
- 2 Sausages with 2 sides – $10
- Brisket sandwich with coleslaw – $7
- Chopped rib sandwich with coleslaw – $6
- The Whole Shebang – $16
- The hot Mess – chopped brisket, sausage, pickled jalapeno sandwich – $9
- Sides – $2.50
Facebook: Matt’s BBQ
FEAST is only a month or so away. Do you have your tickets? The Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational, presented by Dave’s Killer Bread takes over Directors Park right in the heart of downtown Portland the night of September 17th. Use your imagination and create the most creative, flavorful and wacky sandwich and a chef at this event probably put some truffle oil on it. In past years, the Sandwich Invitational showcased amazing creativity and 2015 won’t disappoint.
A national list of Chefs include Nick Anderer of Maialin of NYC, Aaron Barnett of St. Jack, Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ in Austin, Vitaly Paley of Imperial, Justin Wills of Restaurant Beck out of Depoe Bay, Alvin Cailan of Eggslut in LA, Gregory Gourdet of Departure and more. Fifteen amazing chefs will create masterpieces for all to try.
Need to wash it down? Vino from Columbia Winery, Erath, King Estate, Northstar and Coumbia Crest. Beer from Widmer Brothers Brewing and cocktails from Hendrik’s Gin will be on offer.
From an Iron Chef to a Top Chef Master to a BBQ legend, this event has it all. The Sandwich Invitational will be the talk of the town and the unofficial kickoff to a weekend of indulgence that is FEAST. Get your tickets now at FeastPortland.com
Location: SE 28th Pl and Division at Tidbit
Hours: Daily, 9am-9pm
The Story: Back to Eden Bakery knows how to feed Portland. With cases of treats and baked goods catering to vegan, gluten-free and those with food sensitivities, one doesn’t need to go far to get your sweet-tooth on. Back to Eden expanded, bringing a food cart with their delectable morsels to Tidbit on SE Division. Back to Eden opened on NE Alberta in 2009 with the goal of bringing diverse and flavorful baked goods to everyone. A full gluten-free bakery, they want to offer any customer, whether they have allergies to soy, dairy or sugar, a special treat. No one should have to forgo enjoying a raspberry bar due to a sensitivity. After much success at Alberta, the company expanded with a hand built food cart at Tidbit last spring. The cart offers many of the items available at the bakery which includes fudge, cake, cookies, macaroons, cream pies, seasonal fruit pies, cupcakes, vegan ice cream and ice cream floats. The list goes on. The entire sidewalk window of the cart is chalk full of delightful treats. A chocolate chip cookie. A veggie quiche with tomato, zucchini and basil. A chocolate hazelnut sea salt macaroon. Wow! Not normally a sweet tooth, I dove in and ate it all.
I’m so happy to see companies who have successfully grown a brick and mortar restaurant open food carts. It allows other neighborhoods the opportunity to try new dishes and explore new cuisines. Back to Eden did it right. Now, they just need to open an outpost in my neighborhood. The Back to Eden Cart is open daily, so drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Find their menu at BackToEdenBakery.com
Location: N Mississippi and Skidmore, Mississippi Marketplace
Hours: Mon-Wed, 11-5; Thurs-Sat, 11-5 and 8pm-2am; Sun, 11-5
The Story: “I am an FBI Agent!” One of the best lines from Point Break. Also, the first thought I had when seeing the menu at 503 Burger Co, a new food cart at Mississippi Marketplace.
A few years back, North Portland was blessed with some great burgers out of food carts at Mississippi Marketplace. Hand crafted with love. 503 Burger Co. has brought back the thunder and I thank them. The 503 opened quietly in July. I happened across them on a jaunt through to see who’s new. (You may remember a few vendors closed at the Marketplace, providing new opportunities for others.) A cool cabin like cart serving burgers and tots. What’s not to love? The menu at 503 harkens back to the age of my youth with burgers named Thunderdome or Road House and even Maverick. On my first visit, I picked up the Johnny Utah with Tillamook cheddar, bibb lettuce, pickled onion, tomato, ketchup, and a smokey chipotle aioli served on a brioche bun. Clean, straightforward, uncomplicated. Divine! Second visit – Back to the Future – a simple burger with cheddar and all the fixin’s. Both burgers sated my cravings and have brought me back. Portland is in a giant burger phase where everything but the kitchen sink is added to the patty. While flavorful, they are just over the top. At 503 Burger Co, the burger was untroublesome, flavorful, a bit messy, without adding pork belly or pickled eggplant. They realize you don’t need all that schtuff to make a great burger. Add tots or maybe event a shake, 503 Burger Co. has it all.
I’m excited to welcome a great burger vendor to Mississippi. If you’re a burger fan, it is in your interest to visit and check out 503 Burger Co. Heck, go twice. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Back to the Future – ketchup, mustard, Tillamook Cheddar, bibb lettuce, pickles, brioche bun – $8
- Road House – pepperoncini cream cheese sauce, fried leeks, butter lettuce, tomato, brioche bun – $8.50
- Thunderdome – beef and pork patty, bacon, Gorgonzola, arugula, BBQ sauce, brioche bun – $9.50
- Maverick – Munster, arugula, caramelized onion, truffle aioli, brioche bun – $9.75
- Tots – $2.50
Location: SE MLK and Stark, Central Eastside Food Cart Lot
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:30am-7:30pm; Saturday, noon-5
The Story: Portland has a number of Indian food carts – Taste of India, Real Taste of India, Indian Taste, Best Taste of India, yet when someone new comes along, with a catchy new name, they make the news. The 9, which serves a mix of Indian and Southeast Asian, has been making the rounds of everyone’s top food cart, so I decided to check it out.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Singapore. The farthest west (or east depending on how you perceive it) from home I’ve reached. Singapore boasts an culturally diverse food scene, which includes a large population of Indians. In Little India, I discovered cuisines, flavors and aromas I hadn’t seen before. Sitting at a Hawker market (their version of street food centers,) I spotted a young man devouring a pile of rice with chicken and veggies served atop a banana leaf with his hands. Biriyani. It became a go to dish for me when wandering the city. Fast forward to July in Portland and I’ve tried some of the biriyani offered at the carts, yet none have impressed me as what The 9 offered. The owners describe the cart as a mix of Indian and Asian, which bodes well for my first visit. The chicken biryani, a bed of moist stir fried rice topped with succulent chicken and fried scallions. On the side, a sweet chicken stock influenced by Thai and Burmese flavors. While offered a fork, I old-schooled it and ate freestyle, tearing off bits of chicken between my fingers and mixing them with the rice and filling my mouth. Simply the best. The broth. What can I say about the broth? I wish I could eat that every day – an elixir of spices and herbs. This is the biryani you’ve been waiting for in Portland.
The 9 is a gem. The Oregonian put them on their top 10 list for 2015 and I can’t agree more. Matthew Korfhage of the Willamette Week, one of my new favorite food writers in the city, jumped for joy after taking his first bite. I’m so glad to see them getting the press. As Matthew stated, go to this cart and spend money. Keep them here! Drop on by next time you’re in SE Portland and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Chicken Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
- Vegetable Biryani – $7 for small, $10 for large
- Roti and Curry – 2 pieces of wheat flour pan-fried bread with house made curry and choice of chicken or tofu – $7
- Plain Roti – $1.50
Facebook: The 9
Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Daily, lunch
The Story: Portland loves their kebab. Visit downtown any given night and numerous vendors are slinging pita filled with sliced meats, veggies and sauces and eaters are eager to indulge. Kelvin’s Döner Kebab is a new food cart featuring the traditional Turkish delight.
Döner is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie made from lamb with a mix of veal, beef or chicken. The purveyor slices off thin bits and fills a pita. At Kelvin’s Döner Kebab, the traditional sandwich is complimented by wraps, salads and even döner atop fries with cheese crumbles. The Döner Kebab I enjoyed started with fresh pita, a fistful of döner, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and then the sauces. Hot sauce, tzatziki sauce, yogurt sauce. I love big sandwiches and Kelvin’s didn’t disappoint. More than a few people on the sidewalk stopped me in astonishment asking where I secured such a huge amount of food. The döner, succulent and salty, mixed with the veggies and sauce melded together perfectly within the fresh pita. One of the best pitas I’ve enjoyed too. Love local sourcing.
Kelvin’s Döner Kebab is open daily for lunch and into the afternoon hours or until they sell out. Next time you’re up for something new, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Döner Kebab – $6.50
- Durum – a Döner wrap – $6.50
- Döner Box – Döner over fries – $7
- Döner Plate – with fries and salad – $10
- Döner Salad – $6-8
Phone: 971 563 2511