Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Adventure- Food Carts NW

I’m wildly overdue on this post because if there is one thing that Portland is known for it’s our food carts. We may be small but we love food and not just in restaurants or cooked at home. We’ll gladly huddle in pouring icy rain, driving wind, and chilly weather for this food. Oh, and pay cash, which sometimes feels like a bigger inconvenience than the weather in this credit happy world. Yes, it’s that good.

Everyone has their own take on food cart dining. For some it is ethically mandatory to visit a different one each time; to stretch your culinary wings. For others, they’ve found what they like and will never stray. I fall somewhere in-between. I’d like to be more daring but when you are surrounded by cuisines from every corner of the world and menus written in foreign languages, well, it can be intimidating. I often let the size of the line make up my mind- a long lien means it’s good and I’ll try it.

There are pods of food carts across the city. This week I went to the one of the largest, the group on Alder and 10th Street. This is where I used to go with my colleagues when I worked downtown as it’s so convenient and anything you get there is going to be better than the fast food alternatives.

OK, so pork is really popular but can you blame us?

I went to Eat This! - a great cart with a guy who is so nice and friendly he makes you smile. He’s been on his own since he opened but today there was this nice girl so I’m hoping it means he’s doing well. He takes homemade whole wheat bread dough, rolls it out into a flatbread and throws it on a grill, after which I’d be happy to eat it alone with butter. Instead he fills it with the greatest combinations of meats, cheeses, chutneys, slaws, veg, you name it. My personal favorite (and choice this week): pulled pork with BBQ sauce and horseradish slaw. Spicy, sweet, hot, tender…lord, this is good food. I’d show you a photo but, my gluttony took over and I’d had 4 bites before I remembered my camera. You’ll have to trust me.

Seriously, is there anything on this menu that doesn't look crazy good? Chicken AND bacon? Meatloaf? I'm hungry again.

Another favorite is Savor Soup House. First of all there’s nothing better than soup when it’s miserable out and this woman can make soup like I have never had. She has a tomato fennel with a touch of orange oil, which may sound odd, but elevates the tomato to a whole new level of tomato-ness. I buy a quart and take it home. I’ve even looked online for a recipe but have yet to find anything close.

As if the soup isn’t enough they make a BLT that is even better than my mother’s which is saying a lot (thankfully, she doesn’t read my blog so I won’t be disinherited). Crunchy fresh toasted bread, local apple wood smoked bacon, and fresh local tomatoes. No, it’s not adventurous but it is simply delicious and sometimes that is exactly what you need.  

Round One is complete but I’ll report back in the weeks to come from different areas.


Sydney Shop Girl said...

Those carts look amazing, Catherine!

Need to book my ticket soon.

SSG xxx

Sydney Shop Girl blog

Kathy said...

I want to move to Portland! The food sounds fabulous. Closest thing to this I've experienced to this here in Florida is a food court **sad face**

I must say, back home in Philly the Italian markets were fabulous. They had lots of street vendors there, not quite the food carts in Portland but similar idea.

Looking forward to the next review. Have a great week.

Abby said...

I'm so jealous, as I know Portland is also full of great vegetarian and vegan restaurants/stores/carts. My city is lame, so I just eat at home all the time.

I loved your tour, though! Don't be surprised if you find me on your doorstep with an overnight bag and a spork ;)

Catherine said...

SSG- come on out! We cn do a house swap as I'd love to visit AU!

Kathy- believe me it's new to us too as Utah had nothing but mall food.

Abby-'ve read enough of my posts to know I need friends. You'd be coming for food and I'd be ready to do each other's make-up and hair- BFFs!!

Mila said...

Great post Catherine. Food carts top my favorite things to do in Portland when visiting. I look forward to your upcoming review.

PS. Niki has nominated you for the Make it Count challenge. Hope you take part.

tweedlibrarian said...

I'll have to try Eat This - mmm, meat! I usually walk the other way to get Indian food from a cart near CH2M Hill. So many choices here in PDX- we really are lucky.

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