Saturday, February 26, 2011

J & K Do Portland Food Carts: Month 2.

Waffles & Cheesesteaks edition! Those things go together, right?

For those just tuning in, you can get the lowdown on the Portland food cart scene, and our attempt to correct our almost total lack of knowledge about it, here. We were able to dine on some delicious cart food twice this month, the first of which was for breakfast, which is Kathy's and my favorite meal to dine out for (as attested to here). So for some gals who love breakfast, and are on a journey to love food carts? Imagine our delight in discovering that there's a cart within walking distance of our apartment which is solely devoted to the art of the waffle. Yes, life is good, my friends. Big Top Waffles is located at one of the newest food cart pods in Southeast which is just starting to get to its feet, at Foster and SE 52nd.

For most of the time that we have lived in our somewhat-pathetic-yet-lovable neighborhood of Foster-Powell, this corner was a desolate stretch of parking lot surrounding an abandoned doggie daycare place.  Peeling paint of adorable doggie faces haunted me each time I passed it: "Look at us! People probably just sell drugs here now! Woof!" In addition to the food carts starting to build in the parking lot, I hear rumors of the doggie daycare building being rebuilt into a brewpub. In other words, the most amazing thing to possibly happen to this little corner of our world is happening. And this is why I love Portland: hope springs eternal, via young people and small business.

What I Had: The Magician--nutella, bananas, chocolate, whipped cream. You had me at nutella.

What Kathy Had: The Fire Eater--a cornbread waffle topped with chili and cheddar cheese. You had her at cornbread.

The Conclusion: Okay, I have to be honest and say I was slightly disappointed with mine, mainly because it was half the size of Kathy's (not sure why) and the waffle wasn't as light and fluffy tasting as I was hoping. But, still, let's be honest, when you have nutella and bananas and chocolate it can never be that bad. And my opinion of the cart overall was buoyed when I had a taste of Kathy's, which was pretty darn delicious. You might think that chili would be a bold choice at 10AM (okay, I thought that, a little), but bold decisions are the spice of life, people. Especially if that decision involves chili and green onions, because, it's, you know, literally spicy.

Also, the prices are really, really reasonable, and there's a plethora of other waffle options to be had.

There are a few other carts starting up here which look promising, and we definitely plan to return and support our most local food cart pod.

A few weeks later we were actually on the hunt for some good thai food, and decided to head over to the pod on Belmont and SE 43rd, Good Food Here, to pursue a well-reviewed thai cart with the delightful name of Yum Zap. Much to our distress, the mythical Yum Zap was closed when we got there, but our distress was lessened pretty quickly when we realized when we were surrounded by a bunch of other tempting choices. We almost walked right by Dog Eat Dawg, a cart specializing in hot dogs and Philly Cheesesteaks, until we started looking at some of the pictures and the guy working called out to us and quickly sold us on his food with his charming demeanor and our thai desires quickly sizzled in favor of good ol' cheese and meat. This is the power of good customer service/selling skills, people. Also, in case a cheesesteak wasn't enough, I also ordered a bowl of their chili, because it was cold and rainy and it just sounded really good. The guy said, "Well, our bowls of chili are pretty big, you know," while giving me a little bit of a look, and I said, "Yep," and he said, "Want me to top that with some Tillamook cheddar cheese?" and I said, "Yep."

Man oh man were these cheesesteaks good. REAL good, even if I was shamed when I put ketchup on mine. I even said as I was applying it, "Shhh, don't let him see!," because I already knew this guy knew what he was talking about and would shame me if he saw it, but then he asked for our cheesesteaks back so he could put them in another container to keep them hotter when we told him we were going home with them, and he said, "Wait, what is this red stuff on here?," and I looked at the ground, and he shook his head, but decided to still let me have it back, which was kind.

What we'd like to eat if we went back: something nice and fattening from a brightly decorated cart entitled Euro-Trash; a sandwich from the equally well named Lardo; something fancy and French from the fancy French place; and pretty much anything from the fabulously named Lucille's Balls, which I think mainly serves plates of meatballs.

Lucille's Balls.

People are freaking geniuses.


  1. your ketchup moment was one of the worst things to ever happen.

    also, you forgot to mention that the hot dog dude gave that little boy who came up to say he loved the hot dogs a gummy hot dog. SO CUTE.

  2. I can't believe you put ketchup on a cheesesteak.

  3. I can’t help but be amazed on how much sales a food cart business gets in a day.If you don’t have much capital and you want to go into food business, then a food cart maybe ideal for you.

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