Portland Part 3: Street Food

Portland is known for its extensive street food scene. The food carts in Portland line blocks of downtown and the Pearl district, and pop up in clusters throughout the east side of the city. When there are over 20 carts within a 5 minute walk of each other, it’s difficult to choose one to eat from. Luckily, we were able to go a couple times.

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One thing to keep in mind when planning a meal here is the hours that the carts keep. While they’re not all open at the same time, most of them will be open for lunch throughout the week, and a handful open for dinner. But we found that by 3pm, a lot are closed for business.

Our successful trip for lunch was by SW Alder St and SW 9th Ave. There are so many cuisines and foods to choose from – Egyptian, Korean, Ethiopian, Mexican, Japanese, mac and cheese, and more. No matter your mood, you’ll probably find something good to eat. At the craft market we visited over the weekend, we got a recommendation to go to a Scottish man’s food cart for fish & chips. In an effort to try different things, my mom and I shared fish & chips and Korean BBQ.

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The Frying Scotsman had a variety of fish to choose from for frying. We took the road less traveled with red snapper – more fishy than classic cod/haddock (#nigerian). For Korean BBQ, we chose their Bulgogi-Chicken combo with rice, noodles, chicken, beef, kimchi, and what looked like iceberg lettuce.

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Not pictured: salt + vinegar additions (no ketchup, that’s so American)

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The chicken was more flavorful than the beef but it was all good.

 

If you’re in Portland, check out this food cart Google map of the city to guide you. There’s most likely a hub of carts in a couple areas you’re planning to check out anyway.

Have a favorite food cart corner? Share below! And stay tuned for next week’s review on VOODOO doughnuts!

Food Trucks For Days

   As literally as that modern idiom could be used. And as incomplete as that last sentence was. San Francisco is one of the best cities to be in as a foodie. It’s full of French boulangeries and pâtisseries, so in that sense it’s also the best place to transition oneself to a return to American life & cuisine from France. Vive la baguette. And vive le food truck, because there are easily 50 food trucks in San Francisco, and 50 more in the surrounding Bay Area. There are so many ways to get your food truck fix here, but one I learned about my first day here is called Off the Grid. Seriously check it out because it is super cool. They’ve created more than 30 locations in the Bay Area where 5-40 food trucks/tents will set up shop for either lunch or dinner and you can have your choice of yummy nummies. Food trucks/carts from crêpers to crème brûléers to gyrators to SPECULOOS COTTON CANDYMEN all get together to serve us, with the frequent local band playing live music on the side. Off the Grid gets it. The coolest party to date. So without further ado, let me introduce you to some noms, and how also, not all options are good options here in food-truck land.

 Here’s the crowd for the Sunday afternoon “Picnic at the Presidio”. Blankets, folding chairs and even those shade-maker tents. It was surprisingly steamy that day.
Here is “Fins on the Hoof”, the food truck I selected for my lunch of poutine. I was first introduced to poutine in its birthplace of Québec, right in Québec city during a high school trip. Our tour guide accurately described it to us as “French fries covered with gravy and topped with squeaky cheese”. Probably like you, I thought this sounded absolutely nasty. But I also thought I would never know for sure, so I decided to try the big signature dish of Québec. I’m glad I did because it’s awesome!! Simple and squeaky. So when I saw the traditional québecois poutine at this truck I was sold.
I will definitely be coming back for the lamb burger and salmon/egg salad sandwich though!
This truck had a long line of tickets and a longer line of people – both waiting to order and waiting for their food.
So this poutine…I’m not sure if it’s my developed palate or the particular overload of salt, but I did not love the poutine like I thought I would, and I was very sad. It doesn’t look like the gravy is plentiful, but that’s because it’s busy pooling up (down?) at the bottom of the aluminum container. Not all the fries were hot, and the cheese wasn’t all that squeaky. BTW the squeaky cheese refers to cheese curds! With all that plus the superbly over-salted gravy, I was not impressed by the poutine 😦 Goodbye $9. Did I mention food trucks are expensive?
SO to make up for my disappointing poutine experience, I got myself some more francophoney food at the Crème Brûlée Cart. They do in fact have a store which I stumbled across in the Mission District recently – but I think they make most of their money from their OtG gigs and their middle-of-the-street tents in the Mission and elsewhere.
Check out these flavors. The Crème Brûlée Cart goes all out with the toppings: cookie crumble, caramel, S’MORES. I went all out too, with “The Godfather”: chocolate crème brûlée, “midnight cookie crumble” on top, all covered in caramel sauce. Danggg!

It may have been better with hot fudge sauce, or a component of warmth. It was all kinda gooey and cold, but that’s to be expected.
I have a lot of work to do if I want to get around this food truck scene. Updates to come.