Friday, April 29, 2011

J & K Do Portland Food Carts: Month 4

April Food Cart Win

We were somewhat lazy this month and returned to A La Carts, which we visited Month 1. This is only lazy because there are still so many other carts we haven't visited. But listen: A La Carts is really close to us. And they have a lot of great options of food to eat. So, there you have it. This pod, by the way, also has restrooms, a heated tent, and the city's first and only HAIRCUTTING CART. Yes, you can go to a cart and get your hair cut. What will this kooky place think of next?

My Choice: I went to Fondue It and got this, which I believe was called the Mac-a-Due: macaroni with sausage covered in fondue cheese sauce. This was pretty good, but not fantastic. I really enjoyed the sausage--who knew I would become such a sausage person? Not me, for sure. My sister would be disappointed. The crusty garlic bread which came with it was also really great--so salty and yummy! But I felt like there either needed to be less pasta or more sauce--pretty soon I was left with just a bunch of sticky flavorless noodles.

Oh, and that thing next to my Mac-a-Due is a piece of chocolate covered bacon. On a stick. Covered in salt and pepper AND powdered sugar, to really take the sweet/salty thing over the top. It was a little bit too much for me, and I found eating it off the stick to be slightly difficult, but Kathy enjoyed it.

Kathy's Choice: Kathy visited Over the Top, a high quality, classy kind of cart which serves huge burgers made from all variety of animal. Elk, bison, lamb, boar, emu, etc. Yeah, EMU. Kathy went with the wild boar. This was one impressive burger, people. It also came with an apple coleslaw covered in blue cheese. In general I'm a big coleslaw person, and I was particularly blown away by this one--even with the delicious blue cheese and the sweet and tart apples, it still had a completely classic vinegar-y coleslaw taste! I don't even know how it happened! Anyway, Kathy was clearly the winner of this round. Good, meaty stuff.

April Food Cart Fail

This past weekend, we visited Eat Mobile, a food cart festival put on by Willamette Weekly. We had bought tickets for this a few weeks earlier. We were pumped. I in particular thought that in addition to being delicious, it would be something cool and interesting to blog about. (Because life is all about blogging! Right?!?!)

Well my friends. Eat Mobile ended up being a kind of sad story. Here it is:

We arrived a little late, and even though showing up late to a festival is FINE because it's a FESTIVAL and you can arrive WHENEVER YOU WANT, I am sometimes surprisingly neurotic and so was already stressed out. When we got there, a half hour after the gates opened, there was still a HUGE ONLY SEMI-ORGANIZED LINE to get in. Huge lines apparently always signal Bad News For Jill, because they always mean that there will eventually be lots of line cutting. This makes me suddenly remember that when in crowds, human beings turn to their most irritating assholeish traits. This makes me angry, turning on my own irritating assholeish traits. Yeah, so those people who got here WAY BEFORE US are waylaid because they're letting a car pass through the line. So let's ALL FIFTEEN OF US JERKFACES WHO JUST GOT HERE jump in line ahead of them, BECAUSE WE CAN! And even though we all have tickets, we all HAVE TO GET IN RIGHT NOW OR WE'RE GOING TO DIE! And suddenly, even though I am normally a very calm person, I am also from the East Coast, you see. And I also have remnants of genes from a very grumpy grandfather who loved yelling at and about people. And sometimes all these things come out fiercely, and causes me to yell, "Oh yeah, AWESOME. All of you people are SO AWESOME. YOU ARE NOT ASSHOLES AT ALL. All of these people DID NOT GET HERE BEFORE YOU. AWESOME. JUST GREAT." Kathy eventually persuaded me to take a chill pill. Kinda.

Anyway, so we eventually got in and were right away overwhelmed by all the people. In my opinion, there were just too many people here. You had to wait in line for at least 20 minutes for any cart. Often when you finally got to the cart, you were presented with the tiniest sample of all time. While this is understandable, since they're carts and don't have limitless supplies of food--there were a few carts already bearing "ALL OUT OF FOOD" signs by the time we got to them--when you're hungry and pumped for food, this can be less than satisfying. Also, you often have no idea what type of food exactly you're going to get. After waiting for 20 minutes at one cart, we were presented with fried anchovies. To which I said, "I CAN SEE ITS EYES!!" and promptly gave it to someone else waiting in line.

The location under the Morrison Bridge was also kind of weird. I mean, it was a hip, indie location (I guess), but it also felt just dark and crowded, enhancing my grumpiness. It was actually a rare nice day on this day, too, which I felt was almost wasted in the dark industrial gloom. I would have enjoyed the waiting in line much more if I was on the other side of the river, on the lovely Tom McCall Waterfront Park, where many summer festivals are held, instead. (I do understand that this location is much more expensive for festivals to rent.)

I had also been led to believe that you got free PBR, a notion which was confirmed when we saw almost every person passing us holding a can, and we thought if anything, some free crappy beer would help soothe us. Lo and behold, once we finally made our way through the throngs, they cost $2.50. Later on, upon further studying my ticket, I realized that the beer was only free for special people who paid a lot of money to get in to the festival early. Boo.

Overall, after awhile, we decided it all just wasn't that worth it and we weren't having that great of a time. So we left. But, to not be too much of a sourpusss:

The best part of our experience at the event was a stop at a pizza cart called Slice. Slice is located off of Division, but not at A La Carts, which is also off of Division. (Seriously: So many cart options even on one street!) The workers at the cart were very cool-looking but also very nice, and we got a small, but still almost full, SLICE, of pizza! This was very exciting after the single piece of pasta we got at another cart! They were slicing from two pies, and we actually could have gotten a slice from EACH pie, but they ran out of the second right as we got there. Bummer. This I'm pretty sure was their Smokin' Soppressata, and it was gooey and flavorful and delicious! This cart was also located on a side street that extended beyond the bridge, so we also got to wait in the sun, adding to the good pizza time.

Also, we didn't feel that we had wasted our money, since all of the proceeds went to Mercy Corps, which I believe is pretty much one of the best organizations of all time.

In conclusion, Kathy is a good person for always putting up with me when I am grumpy, and secondly, pizza always makes everything better.

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