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Foodie in training. Currently focusing on my senior year curriculum, so there have not been recent posts. Please peruse previous posts for recommendations!

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Portland Food Carts - A Food Truck Foodie's Dream

I've long heard that Portland's food truck cart scene was something to drool over. What I didn't realize is that the city of Portland is the MECCA of food carts (especially for a mobile food fan like yourselves).

My first Portland food cart siting!
Let me paint a picture.

In Austin, you've hit the jackpot if you've found a lot with more than 5 trailers (not including the atypical, large lot on South Congress). Now in Portland, if you're on a food cart block, you're lucky to find less than 15. I say "lucky" because it makes it so incredibly difficult to make a decision on what cart you want to try.

The Grilled Cheese Grill. "Come by or a taste of your childhood. Unless your childhood sucked, then we'll share a taste of ours."
The variety of cuisines is incredible. I saw the traditional taco, pizza and corn dog carts, but there was also cart after cart of Asian Cuisine, ranging from sushi to thai to chinese, Indian carts, Cuban carts, Grilled Cheese carts-- need I go on?

Just a few more options...
I ultimately decided to sample a Thai dish because the abundance of Thai carts made it feel like Thai was a sort of cultural staple that has grown into the typical Portland-area lunch.

straight to the point.
The smell coming from the cart, let me know I made the right choice. I heard several people at this cart and another one nearby ordering the Pad Kee Mow, so it must be a hit. I wasn't in the mood for noodles, so I went for the Cashew Nuts with chicken--an odd name for a Thai dish, but I love me some cashews and spicy chilis.

While I waited, I chatted with the bearded, archetypal Portland server (which sort of made me feel like I was right back in Austin). He said I Like Thai Food is rated among the best food carts in Portland on some list that I wasn't able to verify online...let's just take his word for it. He told me it wasn't his truck, that he just married the cook, so he could eat the delicious grub everyday of his life. Something tells me he may not have been kidding. We got to talking about our mutual love for chocolate somehow and he drew me a map to place famous for its DRINKING CHOCOLATE, but we'll get to that later.

I walked down the street and sat on a bench across from Powell's Books and enjoyed my meal while listening to the blues player on the corner. I may or may not have been an extra in Portlandia at that very moment.
Cashew Nut with chicken, brown rice, extra side of chili flakes
The Cashew Nut was a great choice; there were so many cashews! The chicken was tender and all white meat and was swimming in the delish sauce. It wasn't quite spicy enough, so I added about half of the chili pepper flakes my cart friend recommended. The veggies were crisp (not soggy like some take out can be) and the rice was cooked just right. I recommend the place!

After my lunch, I toured Powell's where I watched a book binding and bought two new ones. I wandered down the street and got lost twice found the chocolate shop Mr. I Like Thai Food told me about, Cacao. Holy Willy Wonka geek out moment. If you're a big fan of chocolate you need to visit this place. I had the shot size of the dark chocolate drinking chocolate. Pure bliss.

My new love.
I was disappointed I couldn't try more carts, but on such a short trip I didn't have the time. I'm going to go back though and try one of every type of cuisine. And finish every meal off with some drinking chocolate while I'm at it.

If you've been to Portland and tried a food cart, tell me about it below! I'd love to hear about your experience!

I'm sure they don't hold a candle to Hill Country Pierogi.

"Fried Egg, I'm in love." --On my bucket list.
Powell's Books <3 td="td">
The Magic is in the Hole!