So, that fight with line cutters at Voodoo Doughnut® really made you work up a hearty appetite. You don’t have a lot of cash to spend (what are you, a thousandaire?) but you want to grab some grub. Good news: Portland really took to the food truck…ahem, food cart trend and it seems to have stuck. It’s easy to find a place to spend that 4 bucks and change burning a hole in your corduroy pocket. Whether it’s breakfast time or you’re burning the midnight oil, you can find Stumptown food carts with their windows open. Here are just a few of the places locals and visitors alike can nosh it up food cart style in PDX:
Top of the Mornin’ to Ya
Sometimes meal preparation is the last thing on your mind after a long night of reading up on sustainable treehouses. Luckily, a few egg-centric food carts in Portland are ready to serve up your morning fuel. If you like a little word play along with your hash browns, head to Fried Egg I’m in Love on SE Hawthorne Boulevard. Delicacies like the Egg Zeppelin and Smells Like Protein Spirit are always on the menu. When the mere thought of fresh biscuits brings you to your knees, venture to The Egg Carton on SE Foster Road. If the biscuits sell out (which they are wont to do), order up some rosemary sweet potato home fries or a mouthwatering eggs benedict. Honorable mention goes to The Big Egg on N Mississippi Avenue, which uses intriguing ingredients like kiwi-lime marmalade and sweet potato apple walnut mash.
Late Night Snacks
Did you tire yourself out at a flash mob protest for werewolf syndrome awareness? Good news, Portlanders, there are lots of carts open past midnight where you can grab second dinner. Cartopia, a pod of carts at SE 12th and Hawthorne, is your mecca. Behold vendors like PBJ’s Grilled, where most sandwiches have PB or J, but you can also quench that random craving for walnut butter or almond butter with goat cheese. Pyro Pizza also sets up shop in Cartopia, so if a Margarita pie is what you crave, you’re in luck until about 3 a.m. when the weather is warm. What’s that? Your recent trip to a feminist bookstore has you longing for the company of your mom? Stop by The Grilled Cheese Grill™ on NE Alberta Street. Friday through Monday the cart remains open late and you can build your own grilled cheese sandwich, just like Ma used to make.
Sure, Portland food trucks are known for being an affordable way to fill your tank. But sometimes the day before you get paid, when you just splurged on vegan dog treats for your poodle Charity Reign…you really need a steal of a deal for lunch. Polli-Tico on SW 3rd Avenue and Oak Street serves up Peruvian-style chicken, cooked on-site in a rotisserie oven. It’s easy to eat here for under $6, with sides as cheap as just a few bucks. Most items at the Maine Street Lobster Company cart on SE 82nd Avenue are a splurge for the budget foodie, but you can still grab a lobster slider or bowl of chowder and have enough cash to buy a Tom Robbins novel. Tiffin Asha on the corner of N Beech Street and N Mississippi Avenue also dishes up street eats at a steal; many of the South Indian sides and specials are under $4.
Typical Portland Shenanigans
Some carts will have you saying “Only in Portland” faster than when you spot a hemp necklace on a free-range chicken. Head to one of the KOi Fusion locations across Portland for a blend of Mexican and Korean cuisine that uses tons of local, organic ingredients. Picnic, located on the corner of SW 3rd Avenue and SW Stark Street, closes for the winter. When it’s in season, though, you will find it serving self-proclaimed “Oregon Trail cuisine” with ingredients from local pigs and nearby farm crops. The cart is more of a stylish wood cabin, like something your eccentric Uncle Dennis set up when he went off the grid but watched a lot of HGTV first.
Food cart season is popular in Portland, and the lines are long. So fill your fanny pack with fair trade nuts to sustain you while you wait, and get ready to nom on some good street eats. Trying all the food carts in Portland is a courageous endeavor, but if you find a good pod you can knock out quite a few in one food-filled afternoon. Happy eating!
Header and Feature photo attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/stu_spivack/Via/https://flic.kr/p/7zRF7u