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Any ideas on can't miss spots in Portland - especially Street Food?

teejaymoore Apr 22, 2010 03:35 PM

Heading to Portland next week for a friend's wedding and may have a little free time. I've heard there is a lot with a bunch of food carts together and wondered if it's a) worth the trip and b) are they any that stand out in particular?

Also, any other favorite places. Price not an object, but more up for casual than fancy. Also a sushi lover (Yoko's is a favorite in town) but interested to hear of any better options.

Thanks for the assist. Staying at the Nines Hotel but can get around fine although may not rent a car this trip.

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  1. s
    syrahgirl RE: teejaymoore Apr 23, 2010 08:59 AM

    I would not miss Le Pigeon, Park Kitchen in the Pearl District is another great option, both of these places are pretty casual. Enjoy Portland! :)

    Park Kitchen
    422 NW 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

    Le Pigeon
    738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

    1. j
      JayinPortland RE: teejaymoore Apr 23, 2010 03:24 PM

      Actually, there's about ten or twelve lots (pods) with multiple food carts spread all over the city, and a more than a hundred individual carts scattered around as well. ;)

      See here for more -


      There are exceptions of course, but generally the food carts downtown are mainly focused on serving weekday lunch, while the carts and pods here on the east side are open evenings and weekends.

      You have four large cart pods all within walking distance of you at the Nines, one at SW 5th & Stark, one at SW 3rd & Stark, one centered around SW 10th & Alder, and another down near PSU, as well as a handful of others scattered around as well. Those are your best bets for a weekday lunch. If it's a weekend or late night, take a quick hop right across the river to SE 12th & Hawthorne and hit the cart pod there. Everything's good at that one, and they're open til 3 AM most nights.

      I'm not too familiar with most of the carts in North and NE, but I can recommend Addy's Sandwich Bar and Ziba's Pitas at SW 10th & Alder and the hot dog / sausage stand at SW 3rd & Stark downtown, and Yarp and Whiffie's Fried Pies at SE Hawthorne & 12th. Garden State down in Sellwood is a favorite, as well.

      7 Replies
      1. re: JayinPortland
        cheeseisheaven RE: JayinPortland Apr 25, 2010 10:37 AM

        The pods in the NE, Mississippi has the Good egg for a breakfast sandwich, and Sugar Cube for dessert...Garden State also has a cart there, and the arancini are fab...Refeul North has a great selection of food, Arepas, pizza, BBQ, waffles...Killingsworth and Greeley. Alberta St has the Mono Malo tapas cart, arepas cart and smoothie station ( I'm not sure of the cross st) as well as Grillled cheese grill , El Nutri, BBQ...and more

        Also a standout cart is the Scottish fish and chips in the NW on Raleigh btw 21st and 22nd.

        Happy eating!

        1. re: JayinPortland
          teejaymoore RE: JayinPortland Apr 26, 2010 07:53 PM

          Fried pies! I'm in. There's a place between Napa and Sonoma called the Fremont Diner which has fried pies (to wash down their pulled pork "whole hog" sandwich as they call it).

          Jay - any suggestions on a pod in a cool neighborhood to explore? Our Saturday afternoon is going to be pretty open so willing to travel a bit for some good eats and fun neighborhood.

          1. re: teejaymoore
            teejaymoore RE: teejaymoore Apr 26, 2010 08:06 PM

            To narrow it down a little - most interested in Mexican, BBQ or a great Cuban Sandwich.....although the fish & chips place does sound good.

            1. re: teejaymoore
              JayinPortland RE: teejaymoore Apr 28, 2010 12:39 PM

              For a Saturday afternoon, I'd suggest visiting either (or both!) the Cartopia food cart pod at SE 12th & Hawthorne, which is in SE Portland just across the river from downtown, or the Mississippi Marketplace (http://www.missmarketplace.com/) pod, up in North Portland. The latter has a pub where you can take your food in and enjoy with a good beer. Both are easily accessible via transit, and both are in fun and interesting walkable neighborhoods. I prefer SE myself, but I live here so I'm biased. ;


              Can't go wrong with either one, though!

              1. re: JayinPortland
                Nettie RE: JayinPortland Apr 28, 2010 03:42 PM

                Are the Cartopia carts open in the afternoon? I know that some of them don't open until 8PM, but maybe it's different on Saturdays.

                There's also a few pods on NE Alberta now, which is another fun neighborhood to explore on foot. There's one at NE 23rd and Alberta with some good options.

                1. re: Nettie
                  JayinPortland RE: Nettie Apr 28, 2010 05:32 PM

                  It's a recent thing, maybe as of like 6 weeks ago? Most carts there are open all day now, from lunchtime to late night. And El Brasero has been open from breakfast to late night for a while now. Always a good idea to check first, of course...

                  1. re: JayinPortland
                    Nettie RE: JayinPortland Apr 29, 2010 02:07 PM

                    Thanks, that's good to know! I've gotta stop by for breakfast at El Brasero sometime...

        2. JillO RE: teejaymoore Apr 28, 2010 02:58 PM

          The good old Portland Tip Sheet is currently being updated (will post new link when it is complete), but IACP was recently in town and these are some fine suggestions all in one place, with pics and links:


          2 Replies
          1. re: JillO
            teejaymoore RE: JillO Apr 28, 2010 03:50 PM

            JillO - GREAT RECOMMENDATION/LINK. Exactly what I was hoping for as the food carts are overwhelming and while the food carts portland website is cool, they're trying not to rate so difficult to decipher what's good/not good.

            Can you do BBQ and Pizza at one lunch? Hmmmm

            1. re: teejaymoore
              JillO RE: teejaymoore Apr 28, 2010 05:42 PM

              ...as long as the BBQ wasn't on the pizza, probably... Sorry, I'm from Bklyn, NY originally, I think it's illegal there to put BBQ on your pizza. ;o)

              The Tip Sheet, which is being updated, is even better...stay tuned...(but don't hold your breath, it won't be that fast...)

              Btw, there's a lot more chat about stuff in Portland, by actual Portlanders, at www.portlandfood.org.

          2. mmerino RE: teejaymoore Apr 28, 2010 03:47 PM

            Brunchbox. It has some really fun food. 'You can has Cheeseburger' is an experience not to be missed. Go hungry.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mmerino
              extramsg RE: mmerino Apr 30, 2010 11:51 PM

              I haven't tried it, but I've heard the version at Grilled Cheese Grill is even better.

              The Grilled Cheese Grill
              1027 NE Alberta Ave, Portland, OR

            2. t
              teejaymoore RE: teejaymoore May 2, 2010 03:20 PM

              OK - we're back and let me say what a food town!! We ate at three carts: 1) Violetta (amazing burger, didn't love the truffle fries), 2) Tabor (great schnizelwich with the peppers and horseradish) and 3) Give Pizza a Try (really nice BBQ chicken pizza NY style).

              Also had a great dinner at Paley's Place. Probably the best steak tartare I have had outside of France. I think the plane probably had trouble lifting off to get us home we ate so much!

              Paley's Place
              1204 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

              5 Replies
              1. re: teejaymoore
                teejaymoore RE: teejaymoore May 2, 2010 05:31 PM

                and how could I forget Pine State Biscuits at the Farmers Market (the Reggie). It should be illegal a biscuit with fried chicken, bacon, sausage gravy and cheese!!

                Pine State Biscuits
                3640 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

                1. re: teejaymoore
                  JayinPortland RE: teejaymoore May 2, 2010 08:52 PM

                  Great to hear! I used to eat lunch at Give Pizza a Chance regularly, but I haven't been there in a while since I don't find myself downtown for lunch often. I will tomorrow though, and I'm already planning on having a Schnitzelwich for lunch from Tabor.

                  I think I'm the only Portlander who's never had a Pine State Biscuit sandwich before. Probably time to remedy that soon, I don't live far at all from their Belmont location and I'll probably be over at the PSU farmers' market next Saturday...


                  1. re: JayinPortland
                    lemonbasilpdx RE: JayinPortland May 13, 2010 07:52 PM

                    I've worked for the Portland Farmers' Market for 3 years, and I just had my FIRST PS biscuit a few weeks ago. The lines are daunting, and the market can be so bustling that standing in one spot for a half hour is impossible. They really are amazing, though I imagine the ones at the Belmont location are even better...

                    1. re: lemonbasilpdx
                      JillO RE: lemonbasilpdx May 14, 2010 10:36 AM

                      Yep, with less of a wait and more options.

                2. re: teejaymoore
                  Leonardo RE: teejaymoore May 2, 2010 09:50 PM

                  Thanks for the report!
                  I love the Pine State with shiitake gravy.
                  I've never been to Give Pizza a Try, but usually am partial to Give Pizza a Chance (Get it? Give Peace a Chance?)!

                3. l
                  luckywonton RE: teejaymoore May 3, 2010 12:36 PM

                  My favorite food cart: Nong's Khao Man Gai. Only one dish--chicken and rice, with a side of winter melon soup--and it's simple but phenomenal. Get there early.


                  Nong's Khao Man Gai
                  SW 10th and Alder, Portland, OR

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