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#1 Calabrese

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 01:46 PM

http://blogs.wweek.c...never-heard-of/ Ruth Brown

With the hype around Portlandís food carts still running at fever pitch, I donít blame land-owners and wanna-be cooks for rushing to set up new pods and carts as quickly as possible. I do blame them for neglecting to do some basic marketing in the rush.Case in point: Iíd heard word of a new pod at Southeast 50th Avenue and Division Street, called A La Carts. Brownie points for the cheesy pun name, but it was difficult to find out much more about the lot. The website only has information for prospective carts, the Twitter account has precisely three tweets and hasnít been updated since August, and the Facebook page lists five of the carts, but also hasnít been updated for a month.

Thus itís up to the individual carts to promote themselves, butóCatch 22óif you donít know what carts are there in the first place, you canít exactly Google them (or Bing them, though few of them are on Bingís much-hyped new ďFood Cart Finder,Ē either).

Fortunately, I am a freelance journalist with far too much time on my hands, so I actually cycled over to check out whatís on offer. But most people have jobs, families, appointments and responsibilities. With the cart market now so crowded, most people arenít going to make an effort to visit mysterious new cart lots if they donít know whatís on offer.


More info @ link





#2 Nacho_B

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 08:21 PM

Hola mis compaŮeros de la comida,

Well, either there was a plan in place for this space from the start or someone has been paying attention to feedback. This pod continues to evolve.

They have added a bike rack. It isn't bolted down into the pavement, but your bike would be plenty secure on it, as it would be mighty conspicuous for anyone trying to get that rack out the entrance. They have even added a second entrance (exit), also on 50th (just north of the main entrance).

They have added a beer/wine cart here, which is a first in my "pod experience" (and a nice touch in my opinion).

They had some live music tonight, but the most unique thing about this pod (other than that fence and its location) is the beer/wine cart. The pizza cart has to deal with the outstanding Wy'east pizza cart 4 short blocks away, and the taco/burrito cart has to contend with Los Gorditos (a long-time and welcome contributor to this neighborhood just 1 block away). Stiff competition, to be sure.

I do wish them all the best though. It's nice to see a parking lot re-purposed. Here on the east side we have plenty of available free parking (suck it, west side). I'm still weirded out by that tall fence and limited egress, but I'm entitled to my own personal space and crowd issues (reasonable or otherwise). This neighborhood has come a long way over the last few years, can't wait to see what's next.

Now someone just needs to get in there to find out if there's anything tasty...

#3 JayinPortland

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 10:44 PM

I'm interested in the Wild Game Burger place (mentioned in the above article). I passed here on the 14 bus twice last week, almost stopped in I think it was Tuesday afternoon but I was in a hurry elsewhere. Maybe (probably) I'm just talking out of my ass here, but the fence might have something to do with the beer cart?

I don't think this week will work for me but if I can make it there next week I'll try to remember my camera and try a few things, report back.

#4 JayinPortland

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 07:36 PM

Okay so I just stopped by here on a whim about an hour or so ago. The Oktoberfest thing was still going on.

I had an al pastor burrito from Azul Tequila. Sweet-ish, with more than a few chunks of pineapple. The salsas (a chunky red and a watery green) could have been much better, no heat or flavor at all. Overall, burrito was just about worth the $4.50. Nothing worth going out of the way for, although I'll try a few other things there one of these days.

They say they're open 10 AM to 9 PM seven days a week. 503.477.3253. They snuck a menu in my hand as I left.

Tacos = pollo, pastor, carne asada, carnitas, chorizo, spicy tinga ($1.50); machaca, chile colorado, chile verde and steak or chicken 'fajitas' ($1.75)

Burritos = chile verde, grilled steak w/ chile relleno, fundido, chile colorado, spicy tinga, pastor, chorizo, carnitas, pollo, asada ($4.50)

A carne plate for $6.50, enchiladas, a Torta Cubana (5.5) and a regular torta (6), I guess you'd call it. Grilled veggie tacos and burritos, tofu tacos and burritos. A few salads. Sope and tostada. A few deserts, a flan and a cheesecake.

Horchata and of course Jarritos to drink...

I want to try the tinga and the chile colorado tacos next time.

As for the rest of the pod, it's pretty much as described in the linked article above. Only things I noticed not mentioned were that the hot dog cart (We Be Weiners) does a Frito Pie, if you're into that sort of thing. They also do a pulled barbecue chicken sandwich. Hebrew National dogs, and a $4 Reuben.

The fish bus (Deadliest Catch) looks good, and the old Jersey Diner Guy in me can't ever turn down a chance to eat inside an old bus or railcar. $2 fish tacos, ceviche and a bunch of specials and other items. SW Pizza was closed, they do a 'tortilla pizza' thing.

The fondue cart (Fon-due-it) is now up and running, they had a special 'fondue w/ veggies and choice of meat over pasta shells' mac & cheese thing today. I was actually leaning toward trying that but I had to sate my burrito craving instead.

The game burger cart (Over the Top) had rabbit, elk and bison burgers ($9) and a regular cheeseburger (6.5). Definitely want to try the rabbit one of these days.

Van Schnitzel's does a pork or chicken schnitzel sandwich (after being spoiled by Tabor's Scnitzelwich, I doubt I could ever eat any other kind again), brat sandwiches and schnitzel plates.

Bayou Fixin's had an alligator sauce piquante special.

The other mini-pod 2 blocks down on Division at 48th had a couple good finds, too. Havana Cafe looks interesting, and the Mexican cart next door (didn't catch its name) does a Torta Milanesa. I think I'll do those two before I get back to A La Carts again.

#5 ExtraMSG

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 08:23 PM

Wife wanted to hit these tonight. Didn't take pictures.

Looked around. Thought the offerings were a little ho-hum. Fondue, a couple Mexican places, Thai cart, veggie burgers, hot dogs, BBQ, etc. I'd say the game burgers were the most interesting cart, but I wasn't in the mood for a burger. The BBQ joint is run by Jazzy's, the BBQ place out on 182nd and Powell that I've enjoyed in the past. Decided on ribs. Smokey and decent, if a little dry. Collards were overly peppery. Cornbread muffin was sweet, but moist and tasty.

Wife got fish tacos and ceviche from the big bus. Fish tacos were kind of odd, like ground fish almost. Seasoned well, though, and okay. The ceviche wasn't that great. They used cured-only chopped shrimp, but the marinating liquid wasn't balanced tasting.

I'll be honest. I've got cart-fatigue. I've never been as high on carts as many online foodies. They're cheap, a good fast food alternative, but truth is the food options in restaurants are better generally, imo, for not a lot more.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#6 TastyTidbits1

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 11:08 AM

We've walked this pod twice and nothing really jumps out enough for us to stay. I don't know if it's the location or the vibe or the choices. They've done a great job with the planning, covered seating, etc. but I can't warm up to it.

I do like going to carts but only for certain things. I love them for a reliable bite after work and after the market on Saturdays. Easy. Tasty. But with that said, I like things that fit in my hand. I don't think of carts when I want a meal that requires a knife.

If I had to choose, my favorite pod for easy tasty food is the small one at 48th and Division.

#7 Jill-O

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 06:07 PM

Went here earlier this week for lunch. Few choices at lunch, most of them not too thrilling. Decided on a roast pork with provolone and garlicky greens sandwich at "Shut Up and Eat" and it was very good. It was $8, which seemed steep without a real side from a cart (small cup of almost raw cabbage trying to be slaw didn't quite rate as a side, though I suppose it was trying to be one), but the ingredients were quality and the sandwich was very tasty. It came with a spicy jus (I assumed the pork was cooked in it) on the side which I dipped into (making progress on the spicy front, folks!) and some roasted red peppers on top.

The pod as a whole, though, is not at all impressive. I want to try D-Street Noshery next as a pod...maybe on the crawl tomorrow...

The $8 spent at Havana Cafe (on SE Division and 48th) the week before was a much better value, and it is very sad that they are closing up (personal stuff making them leave town for at least 6 months)...very, very sad.
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#8 goodbyeohio

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 10:33 AM

I dig the spicy tinga tacos at Azul Tequila (or is it Tequila Azul?). Tried the Arepas last time and was disappointed at what you get for the price there.
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#9 JayinPortland

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 02:52 PM

Seems there's always at least one change every time I hit this pod. I believe there's been another this week, or will be soon, as at least one of the carts from that pod in the NE 20's which just shut down is moving here. The big thing I noticed last time was a new Iraqi cart in the corner here which actually looked pretty good. Biryani stood out on the menu. I'll have to try the cart soon, maybe this weekend. Oh, and there was a new Vietnamese cart but I didn't really check that one out.

Anyway, I've been trying Knuckle Sandwich, the hero cart (I will not say hoagie... well, I mean I won't say that word except to say that I won't say it) expansion from Shut Up & Eat. I am underwhelmed, sadly. I've now had the Italian and the Corned Beef. Not much going on with either, really. Not bad by any means, just... aggressively average. Sounds about right. I'll stick with Shut Up & Eat, the original cart, from now on. They do what they do very well. And I love the Broad Street Bomber. Still haven't tried their meatball sub, despite the good things I've heard. That and the eggplant parm are definitely on my to-do list.

#10 ExtraMSG

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 05:19 PM

Got dinner at the carts last night. Warning: cellphone photos.

Posted Image

We got the banh khot ("mini savory pancakes") and nem nuong cuon from Dolicious, the Vietnamese cart. Banh khot is a rare find but one of my favorite dishes, the Vietnamese version of khanom krok, ie, ebelskivers. The banh khot were pretty good. I prefer them a bit more crusted on the bottom than most of these were, but they were nicely custardy inside, the shrimp not overcooked and relatively fresh tasting. Lettuce and herbs came on the side. It also came with a bit of nuoc mam pha for dipping.

The nem nuong salad roll was good overall, though the weakest part was the nem nuong, the sausage. They said it was made by them, but I found it rather bland. I'd probably try a different salad roll from them next time since it was put together well with good proportions and ingredients overall.

Posted Image

We also got the cod/snapper combo fish and chips from the Year of the Fish cart. It was a very ample portion for less than $9. However, nothing was salted, which was annoying. It really made everything bland. I would have gone back for some salt, but it was freaking cold and neither of us wanted to go see if the truck had some. The crust was a crisp panko breading will little greasiness. The chips were jo-jos. The snapper was a little freezery, but not bad. The cod was good, succulent and tasty.

The tent was pretty damn cold even right next to the heaters. Definitely better than being out in the wind and rain, though.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#11 tammi

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

We got the banh khot ("mini savory pancakes") and nem nuong cuon from Dolicious, the Vietnamese cart. Banh khot is a rare find but one of my favorite dishes,


I've never had banh khot, sounds amazing! Where is your favorite place to get them?

#12 sacman

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:23 PM

Sigh. You used to be able to get a great version at Quan Chuc. But they're closed now.
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#13 ExtraMSG

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:56 PM

I can't think of any place that has banh khot besides this cart right now, unfortunately. Hopefully someone can set me straight and offer a suggestion.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#14 tammi

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:53 AM

Too bad... I have a hankering for something new! Thanks though Sacman and Msg.

#15 ExtraMSG

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:30 AM

You can get it at that cart. It's certainly not bad.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#16 JayinPortland

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:04 PM

Aladdin's Castle Cafe, big cart right in the NW corner of the pod. Can't miss it.

http://aladdinscastlecafe.com/

Hours are apparently hit or miss, I just finally caught them again this week after three straight unsuccessful attempts over the past four weeks. Food's worth it.

Had the beef shawarma plate; chicken, falafel and ground beef (kafta?) are also available, as is lamb for a $1 up-charge (why can I not find turkey shawarma anywhere outside of DC, Maryland, Philly or South Jersey?!). Amazing amount of shredded beef for the price ($8.50), it's probably close to a quarter pound. Along with the rest of the stuff - a bunch of plain ole' basmati rice anchors the rest of the plate, along with a small green salad (with za'atar? the seasoning was kinda weak but I think that's what it was) and an excellent yogurt sauce featuring a few pieces of cucumber. The marga, an Iraqi-style vegetable stew, is the real star of the show though. That stuff is great. Topping half of the rice, rich and sharp and with a hint of lime-iness to balance things out. I need to make this at home more often. I need to get in touch with my friend, who married an Israeli whose parents came from Iraq, and ask them for a recipe! I could live off this stuff. Really enjoyed it.

#17 ExtraMSG

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:47 PM

btw, Pablo got the banh khot the other day and it was crisped much better than when I got it. Really, really good. Made all the difference with the custardy center playing against the crisp exterior.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#18 nervousxtian

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:04 PM

I can't think of any place that has banh khot besides this cart right now, unfortunately. Hopefully someone can set me straight and offer a suggestion.


Just got an order of these today, along with the braised pork banh mi. The banh mi had a great bread, tasty pork, and was pretty delicious.. but honestly not all that much better than Best Baguette and for almost twice the price. I preferred the bread here though, not sure who they got it from but it was less flaky than I'm used too.

The banh khot on the other hand.. I'd go back for these. Great value you as well, $5 for 6 of them. That get's you the tasty sauce and a good portion of a salad/herb plate. I wrapped mine in the lettuce with some herbs and carrots and dipped in the sauce. I could have eaten 2 orders if I didn't down the banh mi.

They did take about twice as long to deliver the banh khot than the sandwich though, not sure if that's normal.

#19 jcoll4

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 01:35 PM

Aladdin's Castle Cafe, big cart right in the NW corner of the pod. Can't miss it.

http://aladdinscastlecafe.com/

Hours are apparently hit or miss, I just finally caught them again this week after three straight unsuccessful attempts over the past four weeks. Food's worth it.

Had the beef shawarma plate; chicken, falafel and ground beef (kafta?) are also available, as is lamb for a $1 up-charge (why can I not find turkey shawarma anywhere outside of DC, Maryland, Philly or South Jersey?!). Amazing amount of shredded beef for the price ($8.50), it's probably close to a quarter pound. Along with the rest of the stuff - a bunch of plain ole' basmati rice anchors the rest of the plate, along with a small green salad (with za'atar? the seasoning was kinda weak but I think that's what it was) and an excellent yogurt sauce featuring a few pieces of cucumber. The marga, an Iraqi-style vegetable stew, is the real star of the show though. That stuff is great. Topping half of the rice, rich and sharp and with a hint of lime-iness to balance things out. I need to make this at home more often. I need to get in touch with my friend, who married an Israeli whose parents came from Iraq, and ask them for a recipe! I could live off this stuff. Really enjoyed it.


I had the lamb shawarma wrap yesterday. It was delicious, very well made. the meat and the wrap show commitment to quality. no corners being cut, no gristle, no nasties. You should go.
All I did is say I eggs in a vegan dish..

#20 ExtraMSG

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 02:48 PM

Posted Image

Got the banh khot at Dolicious the other day and took a real pic. The only mediocre ones I've had were the ones I had the first time. Every time since, they've been excellent. You can see how nicely these are crusted on the bottom and yet they were still very custardy in the center with nice shrimp.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's