food cart friday- and a giveaway!

12 Nov

Portland is known as the land of food carts. You literally can’t pass an unused parking lot or street corner without tripping over one. You think it would get old- I think it’s heaven.

For most people from other parts of the country, the idea of eating out of an old airstream, a renovated Roach Coach or a bus sounds unappealing. That is, until you eat food made by amazing chefs with good sense- the overhead is low, they are still held to the same health code standards as standard restaurants and they are much easier to start up, and from there decide if they really want to have a restaurant. The food carts in Portland are so amazing, I literally would be content if I never stepped foot in a regular restaurant again (with the exception of my beloved BL, of course).

The food carts I’m featuring here aren’t neccesarily new to the Portland scene, quite the contrary in most cases, but they are some of my favorites and I had pictures of their food on my phone. So there. 🙂

Best “Dutch burrito”- Flavour Spot

Flavour Spot not only wins for having an awesome vegan waffle sandwich (a crisp waffle stuffed with vegan sausage and schmeared with maple cream), they get extra points for spelling “flavour” with a “u”. They have three locations in Portland, with their Old Town location having night time hours. Excellent.

Best tofu from a truck- Los Gorditos

Los Gorditos, the famed Portland Mexican food truck (and now a brick and mortar restaurant as well), with an exhaustive vegan menu, has the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. My favorite item is the Tofu Bowl, which is actually a large plate (go figure), full of seasoned tofu chunks, creamy refried beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, soy sour cream and avocado. It’s served with piping hot corn tortillas to use to scoop up the magic mix. They also do things with soy curls that make your eyes roll in the back of your head with pleasure.

Most mouth-gasm inducing meal- Wolf & Bear’s

If you think you like falafel, you don’t know anything until you’ve had Wolf & Bear’s. This cart is run by two folks of Israeli descent. I’ve never been to the Middle East, but I have heard from many a credible source that this falafel is the best they’ve ever had in the US. Everything about it is mind-blowing- from the flavorful falafel patty (which is flat rather than in round balls, making it much easier to eat and allowing for falafel-maximizing bites), the fresh pita, the hummus, the tahini, the caramelized onions and grilled pepper and eggplant to the little mix of olives and Israeli pickles (cured in salt brine, not vinegar) on the side. When eating at Wolf & Bear’s, Jim and I can’t even speak, we are so intoxicated with our food. Sadly, the cart owners close down for the soggy winter months, alas, there will be no falafel until next spring. Bummer, but worth the wait.

Best health-infused meal from a cheekily-named cart- Lucille’s Balls

Lucille’s is a newer cart in Portland, in the Good Food Here pod (a pod is a congregation of carts, like an outdoor food court but much more delicious). While the vegan options are limited, they are awesome. This is food cart food you can feel good about eating. The idea is this: pick your balls, pick your sauce, with your base and chow down. I like the sweet potato/spinach balls with coconut curry sauce over polenta. SO GOOD. It’s also served up with a little side salad, which has a tasty viniagrette with a little kick to it. Also in the Good Food Here pod is Kitchen Dances, which is run by Piper, formerly of Proper Eats. They also have great food (including raw options!), but alas I have no pictures.

What are other people’s favorite food carts? I realize I didn’t add Whiffies or Potato Champion, which are good and enormously popular, but I’m just not much of a fried food person.


And now, for this week’s MoFo winner- the post I picked from was my post on healthy baking and winner was lucky commentor #5, Lizzie! Lizzie, in honor of my fun interview with the fabulous Celine, you win a copy of 500 Vegan Recipes!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


11 Responses to “food cart friday- and a giveaway!”

  1. Josiane November 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    During my week in Portland, I only got to try one food cart (I know! must do better next time!) and it was the famous Native Bowl. I need to get myself to Potato Champion, if only to see if they know their poutine for real – poutine being a dish that comes from here and all… ok, I wouldn’t be extra critical, especially since it’s almost impossible to find a vegan version of it around here and I miss it! 😉

  2. radioactivegan November 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    I ate from a Bosnian food cart when I was there, and it was SO SO SO good. the lady was very helpful in pointing out all the vegan stuff, and the tomato sauce was about the most delicious thing ever. I loved it.

  3. Jojo November 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Oh wow, I want that waffle sandwich so much!

  4. Fanny November 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    I’m coming over for a food cart marathon.

  5. Amanda Nobile November 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    I want that waffle sandwich too!!!!! I have not come across any food carts in Philadelphia that come remotely close to your beauties. So jealous, but so happy for you!

  6. meansoybean November 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    I wish we had food carts in Montreal, I’d quit my job and spread the vegan word. I figure the operational costs would be astronomically lower than having a real café, like I dream about.

    The only time I ever purchased food from a cart is when I was in Lisbon. I bought some candied pecans, but it wasn’t a meal.

    I would love to do a vegan foodie trip to Portland (and go to vida vegan) but the flight’s just too expensive. Unless I can get work to send me there… somehow.

    (I have a feeling is the maple syrup that puts the “u” in flavourspot)

  7. Andrea November 13, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Obviously, if I lived in Portland, I would never have to cook again.

  8. Alec November 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    I miss this sooooooo much.

  9. Lizzie November 15, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    Ok, I pretty much want to live inside the Los Gorditos truck. Yumm.

  10. Mo November 15, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    I wants a waffle sandwich!

    • Stephanie November 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

      I live in CO, where there are practically no vegan restaurants. Portland sounds like a dream!

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