Sonny Bowl

dieselboi
Sonny Bowl

Sonny Bowl

Location: SW 3rd and Washington

Description:

I was in a discussion with some cartivores the other day and we arrived on the topic of uniqueness for carts. There are some carts that offer a menu that while focused maybe on a type of cuisine, the offerings are so broad, it is difficult to choose one item. Like when you go to the local restaurant which as a 4 page menu. We all agreed that if you do one thing very very well, just do that and you will succeed. We see this type of focus with food carts daily. Sonny Bowl is such a cart. They focus their energy and skill on creating a bowl that is vegan, yet fills you up with everything a growing boy needs.

Sonny Bowl specializes in what these days are called rice bowls. Anywhere you see bento advertised, it is usually a chicken skewer over a bowl of rice with a few veggies. Not here. Sonny Bowl takes it beyond veggies and rice by adding in black beans or chickpeas, salsa, soy curls, green beans, and robust sauces. I don’t know why I haven’t discovered this gem all these years. I chose the One, and for $5, I got a pretty large bowl with brown rice covered with black beans, mixed veggies, cilantro-lemon sauce, green chile and salsa. I added in Soy Curls for the extra $1 since they are my newest soy favorite.

Sonny Bowl

Sonny Bowl

I almost couldn’t get the top on. Further, I didn’t want to put the top on and crush that beautiful presentation. When I see green chile listed as part of the dish, I think more of a sauce, but the green chili here was a chunky thick salsa that didn’t disappoint. The beans and rice were cooked just right, not mushy, but not al dente. As far as mixed veggies go, I wonder if they shift with the season. My dish had thinly sliced steamed yellow and green zucchini. The soy curls were great. If you haven’t tried soy curls, either BBQ’ed or in a dish like this, you have to. They have the best flavor and texture; a great addition to the meal.

Sonny Bowl offers three different vegan bowls with simple names like one, two and three. All are $5. Like I stated, I love it when someone specializes in one food type and does it right. Sonny Bowl does it right. If you are down off SW 3rd looking for a filling and healthy lunch, give Sonny Bowl a try and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • One – black beans, mixed veggies, brown rice, cilantro-lemon sauce, green chili and salsa – $5
  • Two – chickpeas, mixed veggies, brown rice, sweet-pineapple curry sauce – $5
  • Three – BBQ soy curls, brown rice, green beans in ginger-citrus sauce – $5
  • add soy curls to any bowl for $1
  • drinks, $2; water $1

Phone/Contact:
Hours: Monday through Friday 11:30am-3:30pm
Website/Twitter: unknown

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Asaase Ital Palace

KMazz

Asaase Ital Palace

Asaase Ital Palace

[Updated July 2010: Closed]

Location: SW 5th and College

Description:

I didn’t realize that what Portland’s food cartopia sorely needed was African-Caribbean specialties until I made a visit to the Asaase Ital Palace by PSU’s cart cluster.  It’s only about two months old, and my previous attempts to sample its wares were foiled by random closures. At least, they appeared random. So today when I noticed from two blocks away that a small crowd was gathered ’round, I made a beeline.

Where do I start? It’s vegan and vegetarian. That means there’s jerk “chicken” and “fish”, and a tofu scramble, but most everything else eschews the ersatz and sticks to real rice, beans and vegetables. The pretty extensive menu is divided up into Starters, with the prize being the Samosa-like Sambusas ($2.00) but with fry bread (4 pieces for $3.00) and plaintains (5 pieces for $4.00) as other choices;  Meals, consisting mostly of rice and greens cooked with spicy oil, or coconut milk, or tomato sauce with a side of fried or boiled plantains; and Soup, apparently called “Sip” in the islands ($6.00).  You can try the Groundnut Sip or the Palm Nut Sip. I tried the Jollof Rice Special, touted as a “real African favorite”, and whatever the origin I can say it was very satisfying: moist red rice mixed up with black eyed peas, a little onion and cabbage topped with slices of cucumber.

Jollof Rice

If you are a fan of coconut, you’ll have to give the Ites Gold and Green Plate a try. How can anyone resist a taste of the tropics with these southern staples? Red beans on yellow rice cooked with tomato and coconut milk with a small side of boiled collard-like greens and cabbage could hardly be improved upon.

Ites Gold and Green Plate

Assaase Ital Palace can up that with Asaase’s fresh smoothies. This cart is all about health, nutrition and feeling good and these fruit drinks deliver ($2.50 each).  I had the Blue Monday even though it was Wednesday: blueberry, banana and a shot of vitamin C powder. I perked right up.  A patron ordering a Sun Splash of Mango, Strawberry, Banana and Orange meant the remains at the bottom of the blender became taste tests and happily I indulged. There was no dairy in these drinks to dilute the flavor. Asaase opens at 9am. Breakfast smoothies anyone?

Oh, about those random closings. The cart owner’s husband is a reggae musician and sometimes they have to play.

Sample Menu:

  • Jollof Rice – small $6, large $9
  • Starters: Jerk veggie fish – $2
  • see description for more information

Hours: Monday through Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 1-6pm
Phone: 503 851 2511
Website: unknown

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