Ninja Plate Lunch

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Ninja Plate Lunch

Ninja Plate Lunch

[Update May 2011 – Closed]
Location:
SW 3rd and Ash

Description:

I was out late the other night and happened upon the newest cart in the SW 3rd and Ash pod – Ninja Plate Lunch. They were celebrating their first late night weekend. I had just munched on a taco from a different late night stand, so was too full to indulge. I’m glad I didn’t eat that night because yesterday, I ventured down and enjoyed a great lunch at Ninja Plate.

The owners, Kahala and Kat, told me their goal is to provide large portions of tasty traditional Hawaiian food for a low price. In looking at the menu, there is nothing there over $5. In this day and age, $5 is a great price for lunch. When they said large portions, I wasn’t sure what that meant until I saw Kat place two scoops of rice and a generous scoop of potato/macaroni salad on a plate then pass it over for the Kahlua pig. I had ordered the pig which turned out to be a large portion of pulled pork shoulder that had been marinated, then cooked and pulled apart before serving. The plate I received could feed two people easy.

 

Kahlua Pork

Kahlua Pork

When I sat down to enjoy this meal, I first just stared at it. What a generous amount of food. I first picked at the pork which was soft, juicy and very flavorful. Then the rice which was sticky and a perfect match to go with the slightly salty pork. Lastly, I dove into the potato/macaroni salad…and never looked back. I’m used to the type of macaroni salad that after a couple of bites, you realize you have eaten your daily intake of mayo. Not so in this case. Mixed in salad were chucks of potato, carrot, and peas. No excess mayo here. The pork was the highlight of the entire meal. No extra sauce or salt or any type of seasoning was needed. It stood on its own as a perfect presentation of this type of dish. I did my best to finish the meal, and almost did. So good. I only left a little rice. Oh and to top it all off, you get a Dum Dum sucker with every meal.

Ninja Plate Lunch opened just a week ago and are still working out a finalized menu. What I list below is what was offered that day. It may change, but I bet it will only change for the better. Kat and Kahala are a couple of nice friendly cartrepreneuers, so you should go say hi. Oh and check them out late night if you in Old Town for a show or just out causing trouble. Tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Shoyu Chicken – $5
  • Kahlua Pig – $5
  • Hamburger steak – $5
  • Loco Moco – rice with hamburger patty on top covered with egg and brown gravy – $5
  • Chicken Curry – $5
  • Tofu Curry – $5
  • all plates come with 2 scoops of rice and 1 scoop of potato/mac salad
  • Spam Masubi – $2

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11am-3pm; Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm-3am
Twitter: NinjaPlateLunch on Twitter

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BBQ Fusion – Closed

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BBQ Fusion

BBQ Fusion

Location: SW 10th and Alder (west of 10th)

Description:

Even with fall in the air and winter on the way, there isn’t a reason to leave the taste of BBQ to summer’s past. There are plenty of places in Portland to get your BBQ fix during the colder months.  BBQ Fusion has joined them.

BBQ Fusion offers up a few BBQ options including a pulled pork sandwich and BBQ ribs. I’m not sure any of the carts downtown offer up ribs, so this is new. I chose to try the pulled pork sandwich with beans and coleslaw. Before I could take some notes on the menu and such, my meal was ready. Speedy!

Pulled Pork sandwich from BBQ Fusion

Pulled Pork sandwich from BBQ Fusion

Before I cruised off to eat this, the owner suggested I try the white sauce. I can’t remember if he called it Alabama or Arkansas white sauce, but I took the suggestion and squirted a bit in my container. That was the best decision. I’m not sure what is in the sauce. Obviously mayonnaise based, it had spices and pepper that made it zing. I dipped my sandwich in it throughout the meal wanting more with every bite. It made the meal.

BBQ Fusion is located in one of the ever growing pods just west of SW 10th avenue on Alder. Next time you are up there and craving some BBQ, check them out and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Pulled pork sandwich with beans and coleslaw – $6
  • Grilled shrimp served over rice with coleslaw (regular or Cajun) – $6
  • Chicken skewers – Mediterranean, Thai or Cajun – $6
  • Sausage plates  – brat, beef or veggies – $4
  • Pork ribs – half rack – $10; full rack $20

Hours: Monday through Friday – lunchtime
Phone: 503-805-4155
Website: unknown

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The Local Grind

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The Local Grind

The Local Grind

Location: Ira Keller Fountain Park – SW 4th and Clay
Hours: weekdays, lunchtime

Description:

Whenever I think of the first food carts I ate at, I harken back to the early 90’s and the carts that were available in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I forget about the love that we discovered when working down by PSU of the Hawaiian cart at the Ira Keller Fountain. Over the years, I can’t tell you how many rice bowls I ate there because early on, we were there every day – even in the rain. There is nothing like grabbing an excellent mix of marinated grilled chicken over rice and sitting at the edge of the fountain and enjoying the quiet while you eat. Over the years, the cart has come and gone and changed names and ownership. I’m happy to tell you that The Local Grind offers up what I remember and it is pretty darn tasty.

Some call it bento, others call it rice bowls, I call it chicken over rice. The Local Grind offers up three different types of marinated grilled chicken over rice – as simple as that. I’m glad it is simple as it doesn’t force me to choose from a large menu and it allows them to focus their energy on what they do well. The three types are garlic/honey, teriyaki and “da shred.” All are chicken marinated over night and then grilled and fresh for lunch every day. I usually choose two different types of chicken – garlic and honey and da shred. “Da Shred” is shredded chicken simmered in fresh ginger and garlic sauce and I’ll tell you, it is some of the best chicken I have tasted.

Da Shred and Garlic Honey over brown rice

Da Shred and Garlic Honey over brown rice

Sitting there with the slightly overcast sky, listening to the fountain was a great day to enjoy this lunch. I got a large, which is more than I really should be eating, but I finished it. The rice was a generous portion (I chose brown rice) and the chicken was moist and fully flavored throughout. No dry chicken here.

The Local Grind can be found at the top of the fountain across from Keller Auditorium. I would suggest them for before the opera, but I don’t think they do anything but lunch. While the weather is still nice, head on down to enjoy some local flavor and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • All meals are a bed of rice covered with a small or large portion of chicken. Brown or white rice available. Small -$5; large – $6
  • Teriyaki – marinated overnight in homemade teriyaki sauce
  • Da shred – tasty morsels of chicken simmered in fresh ginger and garlic
  • Garlic honey – a blend of honey, sesame and fresh ginger and garlic
  • Sides – Island style mac salad; fresh sauteed veggies – $1

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11am-2pm
Website: LocalGrindpdx.com
Facebook: Local Grind
Email:
thelocalgrind@gmail.com

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Po'Town Vittles

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Po'Town Vittles

Po'Town Vittles

[Updated 3/2010 – cart no longer at this location – unknown whereabouts.]

Location: SW Moody and Abernathy in South Waterfront

Description:

Vittles. Love that word. Vittles. I think I actually use it more in casual conversation than I am aware of. When I heard there was a cart named Po’ Town Vittles, I knew I had to check it out. It was worth it.

Po’ Town Vittles had a great menu of sandwiches and salads. I was drawn there by the lure of fish and chips. I’m a huge fan of good fish and I haven’t discovered a cart yet that offered it. The fish is creole seasoned tilapia and the chips are double fried for extra tastiness. When we arrived and eyed the menu and specials, I almost changed my mind. Wow, some of the best sounding sandwiches I have seen offered. They even offer a muffuletta which makes my mouth water just thinking about it. The special of the day when we were down there was a Carolina Sand Lapper pulled pork sandwich. My buddy who foodcarts with me daily ordered that and in his words – it was one of the best he’d tasted.

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My other foodcart friend ordered a Spring Chicken Dijon salad with cherry tomatoes, currants, blue cheese and tender fried chicken pieces on a bed of fresh salad greens. We were all pretty jealous of his meal. I almost abandoned my tilapia to go order the salad. Wow, what generous portions.

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Po’ Town Vittles is located in South Waterfront, the area down south of the Marquam bridge where the new condo towers are going up. You can get down there by car, but it is challenging. I would suggest taking the streetcar or riding your bike. An added bonus would be riding the tram up to OHSU on a sunny day.

Sample Menu:

  • Fish and Chips – $5
  • Seafood basket – seasoned tilapia, shrimp and oysters – $6
  • Spring Chicken dijon salad – $6
  • Muffuletta – salami, mortodella, olive spread – $5
  • Fried Chicken – spicy chicken breast with comeback sauce – $5.50
  • Fries – old school twice cooked fries – $1.50 and $2.50

Hours: Lunchtime weekdays
Contact: Unknown
Website: Unknown

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