Friday, September 23, 2011

Portland(ia) Part 1 - Food Carts

I wasn't really sure where to start discussing our stops in Portland and Seattle. Between the two cities, Portland was easily our favourite - the food and drink, the affordability and the bike-ability all made the place incredibly loveable. That said, Seattle had its charms... and oysters.

We could have eaten at food carts for our entire stay in Portland - there are over 200 operating at any one time - but with so many great restaurants around the city, we found ourselves at the carts for just about four meals, mostly sharing one item and checking out two or three carts for each meal. Here's who we hit:

The Peoples' Pig (11th and Alder) - After raves on Food Carts Portland, we had to head to this one for a porchetta sandwich ($8). It was amazing - moist, flavourful, and peppery from a nice handful of arugula. This cart also featured a few specials, and we ended up with a cone of refreshing watermelon and arugula salad ($3), that went well with our sandwich.

Just some of the carts on Alder between 9th and 11th

Flogene's Home Cooking (11th and Alder) - About five carts down from our first cart was Flogene's, and we thought it best to follow our sandwich with some fried chicken and a biscuit ($6). The fried chicken was tasty, albeit slightly greasy. The biscuit, however, was perfect in every way; flaky, buttery and tangy from the buttermilk.

Nong's Khao Man Gai (9th and Alder) - Nong's cart has received a ton of press and after we tasted her chicken and rice ($6), we can certainly see why. The garlic-y ginger sauce was beautiful and this $6 dish was easily one of the best things we ate over our entire trip.

Noodle House (10th and Alder) - Whilst we were in Portland we happened upon this review of the Noodle House, that praised hand pulled noodles with squid and shrimp ($7.5). While I had the seafood - which easily lived up to the hype - Charles selected the chicken noodles ($6.5) which he was completely happy with. Though the noodles were lovely, the portions were quite large, and neither of us could finish our dishes.

Tábor Czech Food (5th and Stark) - The Schnitzelwich ($8) from Tábor was certainly on my list even before heading down. Though I don't think it quite lived up to the hype, the pork loin version of this sandwich was certainly tasty.

Boolkogi Taco (5th and Stark) - This cart was irresistible, and we got three tasty 'Boolkogi' beef tacos for just $5.

The Pie Spot (D Street Noshery at 32nd and Division) - After lunch at Pok Pok, we couldn't resist heading across the street to check out the carts at D Street. I only wish our stomachs hadn't been so full. We did, however, find room for maple pecan pie ($3.5). Sadly we had to miss Awesome Cone and Captured by Porches Brewing. D Street is definitely on the list next time we're in town.

Although we were staying in the Mississippi area, we never did make it to Mississippi Marketplace, where I was hoping to get my hands on some of the creations from Garden State. Once again, next time.

Since Portland is "A city of neighbourhoods" (I heard that at least a dozen times and read it in articles and guide books even more), I'm going to split restaurants up by NE, Downtown/Pearl and SE Portland, plus there will be one more post on Corvallis/Oregon coast and some general thoughts on Portland. We're doing some post-holiday catch up right now, but I promise I'll get on it soon!


Sharon said...

Thanks for posting about the carts, Marianne! Mack and I are hoping to get to Portland some time soon, so it helps to know which carts we should hit up. Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

Marianne said...

The carts were certainly a highlight of the trip! Hopefully you find some of these carts as tasty as we did.

Portland will certainly be a great destination given your involvement with the trucks here! What's great about Portland is that they are really set up for food carts. The city is incredibly pedestrian friendly, and many of the 'pods' are set up along bike routes or in dense areas that contain many residents and restaurants. Furthermore, they don't mind removing parking to give the carts space.

Thanks, Sharon! Rest of the trip up soon.