Last week, photo intern Dan Cronin and I were able to tag along on an IACP two-mile walking tour of food carts. The expedition was led by Portland Monthly food writer Mike Thelin, Kelly Clarke and Ben Waterhouse from Willamette Week, and Kaie Wellman, creator of the Eat.Shop series of books.
Before the tour started, Thelin spoke to the anxious group of culinary professionals, containing mostly out-of-towners, about the spur of food carts in Portland.
“A downturn in the economy created food carts that would have been brick and mortar restaurants… In Portland, creativity is currency, and these places are flourishing with creativity,” Thelin said.
During the food cart tour, we consumed the crème de le crème that each cart had to offer. Sadly, we could not visit every P-town food cart and taco truck—for example, Tabor (SW 5th and Oak) was closed due to a family death— but our stomachs were content with the scrumptious ingestibles.
We stopped by Bro-Dog (SW 5th and Stark), where a classic or polish will run you $4 wrapped in a bagel-esque “bun.”
At The BrunchBox (SW 5th, between Oak and Stark), we had the redonkadonk burger ($9), a crazy grilled cheese concoction including four slices of bread, pickles, egg, ham, spam, bacon and condiments. Burp!
We had Korean short rib tacos with kimchi ($4) at KOi Fusion, where we learned that their tortillas are made locally.
The best bureks ($4.40) can be found at Ziba’s Pitas (SW 9th and Adler). The owner, Ziba Ljucevic even provided us with a lesson on how she wraps the pitas, taught to her by her Bosnian grandmother.
And it would be impossible not to tell you about the poutine ($4.50) at Potato Champion. Freshly made fries topped with gravy and fresh cheese cruds. Sound filling? It’s because it is. If anyone wants me I’ll be on the treadmill.