June Event - Summer CART POD Extravaganza!
Posted 05 June 2010 - 11:01 AM
Posted 05 June 2010 - 03:15 PM
We had an excellent time. First stop was the Mississippi Marketplace (aka, the Pod by Prost at Mississippi & Skidmore). Most of us got there around 11:30 and initially, there were not a lot of options available (eg, open) save the SWern Pizza Company, Ruby Dragon, the vegan bowl cart, The big egg, and Dogfeathers.
Right about 11:45, Garden State opened. The Sugar Cube opened maybe about 12:30, and Nuevo Mexico at 1 (these are guesstimates as I was not wearing a watch).
PnJ & Mr PnJ got several pizzas from Southwestern Pizza -- a breakfast pizza with sausage, very cheesy, and another 'za with potatoes. Jill got a a cornbread pancake from Ruby Dragon. Several items came from the bowl cart. Sara & Jill & Cat & I got provisions from Garden State: aranchini, cheese puffs (or is it cheesy poufs?), chickpea fries, the meatball sub, the pork confit sandwich, and the burger with panchetta (sp). Cat got the Ultimate Sandwich from The Big Egg, and just about all of us got either juice or coffee from Dogfeathers.
Dogfeathers: their coffee comes from Schoendecken, from Sellwood -- it's really good, even the decaf. I have not tried their juices, but if I were a juicehead, I think I'd be all over this cart as they juice will you wait, and the result is beautiful.
The Big Egg: http://thebigeggfoodcart.blogspot.com/ has the menu. This is primarily an egg sandwich joint. Jill & I have been here before for the Portlander, and the Monte Cristo. The great (and bad) thing about the Portlander is that this egg sammy has two eggs, which is twice the egg yumminess that you'd get anywhere else. I like to eat my egg sammies like sammies, though, and so it means I bathe in egg yolk. I know, things really could be worse.
The ultimate sandwich actually is the only thing on their menu without eggs!
This sandwich was a huge hit.
A generous helping of Nutella & 3 pieces of Hardwood smoked bacon lovingly laid between 2 pieces of grilled Grand Central brioche & dusted with powdered sugar..
Garden State, well, I think you all know about it. I really liked everything we ordered, and I would order any and all of it again.
My favorite was the cheesy puffs which came with a side of marinara. Damn, nothing wrong with that. The puffs are not just mozzarella, so they actually taste like something, and the coating was very light. Not at all greasy, just yummy cheesiness.
The burger was the best burger I've ever had from a cart, and this includes the Etta cart downtown. The bun was eggy, the burger was not cooked to death, I have no memory of the cheese except that there was some.
The meatball sub was very good, though it was probably the biggest let down for me. I was hoping for some sort of nirvana, and this was just very good. I mean, it's a meatball sub, what is not to love -- but I didn't get to try it until it had been at the table for 15 minutes or so, so I want to give it the benefit of the doubt.
The chickpea fries were good too, though I think they suffered for two reasons -- one, they are really best eaten when they're piping hot, and they had waited for the pork confit, so they weren't piping hot when they hit the table. Also, they could have used a dipping sauce. But damn, I love chickpea fries and these are very good, even just with a squirt of lemon.
I really liked the cheesy breakfast pizza from SW Pizza Company, as noted above because of the very high percentage of cheese to crust. I think most of my colleagues really felt that that percentage was too high, though, the whole pizza did disappear, so how bad could it really be? The pizzas were small -- maybe 10" or 12".
Once the Sugar Cube opened, many of their goodies appeared on the table, including a vanilla pannacotta, a chocolate-carmel-potato chip cupcake, cherry pie with ice cream and probably other things. While I had been questioning the prices of items there, it's clear to me that they are worth every penny. I just had a tiny smidge of the panna cotta and the cupcake, and wow. Really wonderfully big flavors.
By the time Neuvo Mexico opened, it was all over for me, and even though that was the cart I was most excited about, it was also the cart that I never got near.
Then we went over to Killingsworth and Greeley,, aka North Station, where I believe all of the carts (save the non-cart Pizza Depokos) were open. They have the cute addition of a patch of fake (or is it real?) grass, and tables in the sun. Luckily, they also have tables inside the garage attached to Depokos for people like Jafar and I who don't really care for direct sunlight.
I tried nibbles from Starchy & Husk (all hail Vrunka's mac-n-cheese!) and Wicked Waffles, but I was most excited about Brown Chicken Brown Cow, which offers breakfast tacos. Admittedly, all over East Texas, you can get breakfast tacos for as cheap as a buck a taco, but BCBC's are a great value at $2.50 per. I got one with black beans, cheddar cheese, and avocado, and a second with chipotle sweet potatoes, eggs and avocado. They come with a tasty hot tomato salsa. I LOVED the black bean taco, loved loved loved. The flour tortillas appeared to be handmade. I should have asked if the non-animal items were vegan, and I didn't.
I was also excited to see a Chamorro cart called PDX671 with some of the more popular dishes from Guam including kélaguen, the yummy chicken salad, made with grilled chicken, lemon, coconut, peppers and onions. I didn't try it because I had really reached the end of both my stamina, the room in my stomach, and the $$ in my wallet, but I'm looking forward to trying it soon.
Thanks again, Jill, and thanks to everyone who attended and made it such a food fest!
Posted 05 June 2010 - 06:01 PM
At the second pod I loved the sweet potato nuggets from Starchsky and Husk and even took some home with us, although it will probably be tomorrow before I'm hungry again. If ever. Seriously, this was a lot of food. Mr P&J loved the crispy panko topping on the mac and cheese, although I decided I liked the version we had a couple of weeks ago better, Jill and VJ. Name of that restaurant? I also liked the two hot dogs with various toppings, a great value at $5 for both. This wasn't a cheap food crawl because we had so many options and very few true bargains. We just added up our purchases and it came to $55 for both of us, both pods. Worth it! Did anyone go to the third cart pod?
Thanks Jill, for stepping back into your role as events mistress.
Posted 05 June 2010 - 09:19 PM
Wow, sorry I missed that. Thanks Jill for organizing this.
but I was most excited about Brown Chicken Brown Cow, which offers breakfast tacos. Admittedly, all over East Texas, you can get breakfast tacos for as cheap as a buck a taco, but BCBC's are a great value at $2.50 per. I got one with black beans, cheddar cheese, and avocado, and a second with chipotle sweet potatoes, eggs and avocado. They come with a tasty hot tomato salsa. I LOVED the black bean taco, loved loved loved. The flour tortillas appeared to be handmade. I should have asked if the non-animal items were vegan, and I didn't.
Posted 05 June 2010 - 10:24 PM
At the second pod I loved the sweet potato nuggets from Starchsky and Husk and even took some home with us, although it will probably be tomorrow before I'm hungry again. If ever. Seriously, this was a lot of food. Mr P&J loved the crispy panko topping on the mac and cheese, although I decided I liked the version we had a couple of weeks ago better, Jill and VJ. Name of that restaurant?
And Craig, it sounded like the taco you had at Low and Slow was pretty darn good, too.
I've never even come close to feeling hungry this evening. That was really a lot of food!
Posted 05 June 2010 - 10:31 PM
There was really an embarrassment of riches on this crawl. In addition to what's already been listed, we also got italian ices (chocolate-cherry and lemon), a falafel wrap, 2 vegan bowls (don't remember what they were), a shrimp pizza, and a juice drink called Portland Sunshine at the first cart pod; at the second cart pod we also had ice cream (oatmeal-brown sugar, avocado, and mango-champagne sorbet), jambalaya, arepas, waffles (cinnamon sugar dusted and a waffle sandwich of ham and cheese?), biscuits, korean fried chicken, steamed hamburgers, and a sticky bun. There was probably more, but there was such a dizzying array of food that I certainly can't remember it all. Oh - also, that pancake from Ruby Dragon was a quinoa pancake, not cornmeal.
I don't think I need to talk about how much I love SugarCube's cupcakes. I believe Lemonbasil snapped pictures of some fairly revealing moments in that regard. I will say though that I'm glad I got to try their panna cotta and their cherry pie, two things that I never would've gotten to, because if left to myself, I would only ever eat cupcakes.
Standouts for me overall were the crazy bacon-nutella-sandwich thing, the breakfast pizza, the cinnamon sugar waffle, the cheese puffs, and the panna cotta. I heard someone say the puffs had asiago in them, which may explain why they were not just bland cheese-tasting.
Oh, and I had dinner plans with a friend tonight! Gah! I wasn't hungry at all!
Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:20 AM
At Mississippi Marketplace:
It was a vegan quinoa pancake (with berries and maple syrup) from Ruby Dragon - one for $4 (+ 50 cents extra for the berries). It was substantial in a sturdy-food sort of way. It was not bad. They serve their to stay orders on real plates with real silverware, which is a really nice thing. Super nice folks too.
The pork confit with arugula and giardiniera from Garden State was great, also loved their arancini, some of the best around, really, and totally worth $1 each. Cheese puffs were really light and tasty, I'd order those again.
I wasn't totally thrilled with the pizzas or the falafel (from Magic Beans), but I was surprised at how good the vegan bowls from Native Bowl were. The peanut sauce on one of them was very good, but the tofu and mixed veggies were very good and fresh and there was a nice 1" or so layer of rice to soak up the tasty sauces at the bottom. Not the kind of thing I would order, usually, but these were the best things of this kind I have had. The chocolate cake cups from here (also vegan) were surprisingly good too, and a fairly inexpensively priced treat for how rich and chocolatey a thing you get (chocolate cake with ganache-y fudge-y sauce in a paper cup).
I loved the panna cotta from Sugar Cube, totally worth the $5 for a plated dessert and a really light delicious version, using as little gelatin as possible, which is how I like it. I was not as big a fan of the chocolate cupcakes, though I thought the cherry pie was great, especially the flaky crust.
I do like the coffee from Dogfeathers, and I also liked their gingery "Portland Sunshine" juice (that was a great idea, octrvlr!). Folks seemed to like the peach iced tea too, but I did not try it.
That nutella bacon monte cristo type thing from The Big Egg was really delicious. It was too bad that it was something like a 45 minute wait for it...but that is a great cart and it is very busy on the weekends.
The Italian ices from that cart were very 'meh' for me. Too crumbly a texture, not very great flavor, $4 for 2-scoops in a plastic cup...no thanks.
At North Station:
I liked the Korean fried chicken from Yogio, but I was less thrilled with the "paper" and "scissors." Nice women in this cart, and they are workin' hard!
I really liked the Wicked Waffle with cinnamon sugar a lot. Simple but delicious. I thought the one with ham and cheese was OK, but I did not like it as much.
Starchy and Husk's mac 'n' cheese was OK, but I like others around town much better. (Yes, PnJ, Screen Door's version is probably my favorite for that type, and I would say Davis Street Tavern is my fave of the other, stovetop made variety - more like cheesy sauce covered pasta.) Their sweet potato puffs were like sweet potato hush puppies and were very tasty.
I didn't try the hot dogs, jambalaya, or the Mexican or tex-mex stuff, but the steamed burger from Brown Chicken Brown Cow (and no, I can't say it without saying it in that cheesy 70's riff) didn't do it for me, especially after the very tasty specimen from Garden State. The chicken wings from the bbq place (were they from Savvy J's?) were good, and they give the third joint, which I appreciate, but they were kinda swimming in their sauce.
Guamanian cart's lumpia's were pretty good as were Caraquena's arepas. The actual arepas were better than the fillings, I thought, but overall, they were pretty good. She also serves on real plates for orders to stay.
For some crazy reason, we also decided to try some oatmeal and brown sugar ice cream, avocado ice cream, and mango champagne sorbet from Scoop, the ice cream cart. (OK, I am an ice cream fanatic, I led the charge.) I liked the flavor of the oatmeal (though I would have loved some cinnamon in it, possibly raisins) but there was too much oatmeal in it...it was a chore to eat, and way too much fiber in a serving for ice cream! ;o) The avocado was better, but the mango champagne sorbet was delicious, refreshing, and had a great almost creamy texture.
No, it was not an inexpensive outing, was it? Granted, we got too much, way too much - but I have definitely realized that cart eating is not necessarily the cheapest eating or best value in this town. Nice to have all the variety in one place though, and I really appreciated MM's tables and canopy. That was a lot of fun, though, eh?!
And no, I didn't even ask if folks wanted to go to over to Alberta, as everyone looked as full as I felt!
Are folks interested in doing another one of these? We can do NE Alberta, there's a pod at 23rd (Area 23) and there's Grilled Cheese Grill at 11th and I am sure other trouble we can get into along that strip...
Posted 06 June 2010 - 05:22 PM
Posted 06 June 2010 - 05:30 PM
I dragged Joe over there today, and we got the Grandmaster Scramble and a Quinoa pancake from Ruby Dragon. He really liked the scramble, though he was disappointed that the ethiopian spicing was mostly in the tofu and much less so in the rest of the dish. We talked about ways to work around this, but it's hard-- you could use some silken tofu, but probably not much, and then you have the better part of a brick of silken tofu to use up. Though that might be an option for the Ruby Dragon folks.
My pancake was excellent. I had walnuts and dark chocolate in mine -- absolutely divine, and honestly, I didn't need that dark chocolate really. I liked the people at that cart, and I love their tea service -- when you order two for two people, you get a tea pot with tea cups on a tea tray. So damn cute!
Joe was a little starstruck when he saw the owner of Native Bowls, who does an online vegan video cooking class.
He also got a Pear-rot (pear and carrot juice) from Dogfeathers, which he liked a lot.
Posted 06 June 2010 - 05:32 PM
Posted 06 June 2010 - 05:40 PM
The Abbott sandwich seemed a popular choice at Ruby Dragon yesterday, couldn't get a good look at one, though. And yeah, the Ruby Dragon folks are so nice. Good to be able to say there are some very tasty vegan eats at that pod.
Posted 06 June 2010 - 05:55 PM
Posted 07 June 2010 - 12:13 PM
Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:06 PM
I'd go to MM as a destination for a meal all by itself, though. It's a good pod with a lot of quality carts and there is a good mix of things there. It is especially encouraging that there is real vegan food there, being made with healthy veggies and grains, tasty sauces and other ingredients instead of the usual starch and fried stuff many vegan places seem to offer.
And I agree that there was too much trash. I mentioned Ruby Dragon and Caraquena because they were the only carts in two huge pods that offered real plates/silver for folks eating there. Many places use biodegradable stuff, but it would be nice not to make that much trash to begin with. And yes, I know they are carts without dishwashers, but there's a great green industry for someone - supply plates/silver to carts with pick-up and delivery just like they do towels/laundry and rubber mats....
Still, it was a lot of fun trying everything and meeting the cart folks and getting to catch up with all the PFGers!
Posted 07 June 2010 - 03:02 PM
Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:14 PM
Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:51 PM
Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:20 PM
Brown Chicken Brown Cow closed, fyi...
Supposedly they are moving elsewhere... no firm location yet.
Posted 26 April 2011 - 08:26 PM