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Tidbit Cart Pod - SE Division and 28th Place

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#1 Jill-O

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 09:15 AM

Well, this is a promising new addition to the Portland food landscape in general and the world of carts in particular. We've been several times now for breakfast and dinner. And we plan to keep returning...


Stacy's is a breakfast sandwich cart and does a nice job making tasty breakfast sandwiches that are reasonably sized and not total gut bombs for around the $6 price point.  She uses a really delicious bacon from Montana and has some nice additions like greens and chevre (for those of you who love it, and if you don't there are other cheese choices) and fig jam. She makes her own breakfast sausage and it is delicious too. Best part is she is open early - like 7:30/8am, even on the weekend, and that is a big plus for us.


Buki is a newly opened cart specializing in takoyaki (fried balls of pancake-y batter with chunks of octopus inside and served under a blanket of shaved bonito, with squiggles of katsu sauce and mayonnaise) which come 8 to an order. We tried them and they were good (although I would have preferred if they were cooked just a bit more - they were swamped with orders). They had a special for $5 of cold octopus with a soy dipping sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger which was delicious. They are still figuring it out, and this cart is one to watch. They will soon have several types of takoyaki available in addition to the traditional with octopus (some veggie without the bonito and with kimchi instead of octopus - some fusion-y combos too) and bubble tea.


Love Belizean is another winner. Ms. Love is currently looking at opening a brick and mortar restaurant downtown (hope she keeps this cart, don't know if she will). We had an order of the "double chicken" which is a $10 order of 2 braised chicken thighs (single is one thigh for $8) on 3 scoops of rice and beans, a side salad (ours was a great pile baby arugula with a lemony vinaigrette), pickled onions and cilantro (like onion ceviche, in a little paper cup as a condiment) and a choice of 1 of the several imported from Belize bottled hot sauces (she sells them by the bottle too). It was really delicious and enough food for 2 (we shared this, the takoyaki and the octopus one night and it was more than enough food for 2). The chicken was succulent and the beans whole in the rice but completely creamy inside with rice that wasn't mushy. We will definitely be back. In addition to the chicken she has a red pepper trip tip and she does a combo of both the chicken and beef. I think she sells the beans and rice alone too.


There is a Pyro Pizza cart here (in addition to the others around town). Haven't tried their pizza at any location, but here they really look good with nice char and the size (I think 12" diameter) is decent for $8 - share-able or not, as you choose.


A guy who sat down next to us to share our table (that happens here, and it has been OK so far - if there are only 2 of you, it isn't fair to take up a picnic table for 6, ya know?) hit Tandoor's Saffron Indian Kitchen and he had a plastic partitioned container full of food - 2 chicken dishes and rice, that he said was delicious (it looked good) and cost him $6. Two could have easily shared that much food (he polished it off himself, though ;o).


Sue loves Scout Beer Garden. They have about 10 or so taps in their cart, which usually include a cider, almost all locals (if not all), and they pour both pints and smaller glasses. They use real glassware when there isn't musical entertainment, disposable when there is (people start dancing and glasses start breaking we were told ;o). Most (but not all) of the available seating is in an area where you can drink that beer.


Haven't tried Ingrid's Scandinavian Food cart, but I am intrigued...ditto the Smaaken Waffle cart, especially for dessert. Smaaken has gluten free waffles and vegan choices as well as full of gluten carnivore and dairy choices.


There are also carts there from folks who have multiple carts like Aybla's Mediterranean (always a great salad with grilled juicy chicken or lamb, so I am always happy to see them as an option) and Namu Korean-Hawaiian (not a bad cart either) who also have carts at the Good Food Here pod on SE Belmont and other locations. Tambayan, a brick and mortar FIlipino place on SE Foster, has also gotten into the cart game, and their food is good, though I have not had it from the cart yet.


The Dog House cart moved from Good Food Here, and Sue tried them there once. Said they were OK but didn't love her burger and shake.


Don't confuse that with the Dog Town cart...who makes their own sausages and has some interesting hot dog and sausage topping combos. Looks good, but haven't tried it yet...Sue will likely pull that trigger first, she loves hot dogs and I'm not a big fan.


And don't confuse either of those with the coffee cart, Dogbone Farm (that adorable little red vintage truck right on Division). They do decent coffee, and it is at least a better choice than the next closest coffee shop a few blocks down, Flying Cat (which is dreadful, really - nice folks but lousy coffee).


Tried Hapa PDX the ramen cart and wasn't thrilled. It was an awkward experience with the Asian cart guy assuming we knew nothing about ramen and were very conservative eaters afraid of spice and flavor (Sue said she felt she was racially profiled ;o). Everything we had there was meh. Not terrible, but not worth going back for with other, better carts around.


It is weird to have about 3 carts that don't sell food - they sell gifts, flowers, vintage clothing and collectibles. But hey, if they can make money doing it, I guess folks like that sort of variety in a pod...I suppose we will see.


Parsons Farms sells produce from a spot in the pod that is on the SE 28th Place side. Nice use of pod space and nice to see a farm stand in the city. I grew up in Brooklyn going to open air produce stores and it reminds me of that.


They have live music often in the evenings, and a really nice fire pit with a seating area around it.  They really did create a very nice pod with amenities (there are portable toilets and a hand washing station that they built an attractive enclosure around) and a well-curated selection of interesting carts.


Word is that there will be walls put on the tents so that it can be a comfortable all-season pod. Looking forward to see how that works. 


If you like the food cart scene, this pod should be on your radar. Even if you don't, you should give it a whirl, it really is a much nicer experience than just about every other pod in the city. And there's some good food that's a great value to try there, some types of it not available elsewhere in the city.


A list of all the current carts in the pod:


The Doghouse PDX serving gourmet burgers and tots.
Aybla Mediterranean Grill
Namu Korean * Hawaiian
Earth Burgers serving an international array of vegan burgers.
E san Thai
Ingrid's Scandinavian Food
Scout Beer Garden
Pyro PIzza
Tambayan Filipino fare.
Stacy's 65 serving peace, love and breakfast.
Tandoor's Saffron Indian Kitchen
Love Belizean
DragonflyMonet for fresh cut flowers and gifts from France.
Azul Tequila Mexican Taqueria
Hapa PDX serving of irresistible bowls of steaming ramen.
Lodekka vintage clothing and collectibles
Dog Town for gourmet dogs and sausages.
Potato Potato for breakfast and a potato topped with all the things you love.
Dogbone Farm serving piping hot coffee and tea from the cutest cart ever.
Parsons Farms
Menagerie, a mobile gift and art boutique.
Smaaken Waffles
Buki serving up Japanese street food and bubble tea.


And coming soon; PBJ's, sandwiches with gourmet nut butters and all sorts of incredible edibles.

Never give up! Never surrender!

#2 Angelhair

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 11:40 AM

Nice post! The pod has been the victim of tweakers recently, and more business can help some of those folks recoup any losses: http://pdx.eater.com...rts-power-cords

#3 nervousxtian

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 07:07 PM

I've had Hapa PDX multiple times.. and love it.. probably my favorite ramen in town.

#4 nate

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 09:13 AM

I tried the tonkatsu at Hapa out on 50th and really enjoyed it. The noodles were pretty average commercial grade, but everything else about it was delicious and very flavorful.

#5 Jill-O

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 03:11 PM

A nice piece with pictures from EaterPDX (yeah, the new Eater site does kinda suck, doesn't it):




And, on a personal note, in the pics, that dog in front of the Dogbone Farm coffee cart...he is totally in love with my doxie Zelda (who ignores him, but that doesn't seem to quell his interest ;o).

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#6 Jill-O

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 03:43 PM

Tried the waffles at the Smaaken cart last weekend for breakfast.




First off, these are NOT Liège-style waffles or Brussels waffles, the thick crispy waffles with deep craters. These are thinner and round and folded in half to accommodate fillings. I prefer Liège-style waffles or Brussels waffles but Smakken is really about the fillings more than the waffles themselves (which are just fine for this kind of waffle).


That said...damn, are these ever good.


I like savory and sweet so I went for an Elvis: Thick cut Cascade Farms Bacon, Peanut Butter, Bananas, and Honey (I asked them to switch the honey out for maple because I hate the taste of honey and love the taste of maple and they did.)


It was a really great balance of all of those ingredients - salty, sweet, nutty, meaty, moist...not too much of anything and a very satisfying breakfast. Totally worth the $6.95 thankyouverymuch.


Sue loved her Nutella and bacon waffle, though she said half of one would be enough for her. If I was having one as a dessert, yep, I agree, half is definitely enough...but for a meal, I'd want a whole one.


They have lots of savory and sweet choices, vegan/veggie choices, gluten-free options. They've had a refreshing unsweetened hibiscus iced tea choice of beverage lately that is also very good (I am always looking for un-carbonated drinks without caffeine and sugar after 3pm, and almost always settle for water.)


And I had such a good pour over at Dogbone Farms coffee that morning that I had to have another...Sue is a quad iced latte kind of gal and she thinks he does a good job there too.


Another really good cart meal at this pod. It was wet out, but the covered seating was dry and it wasn't crowded at all.


Really, I have never been the biggest food cart fan...there are a lot of really mediocre carts around. But Tidbit is proving to be a really nice pod with a good selection of carts run by folks that care about their food.


I have to replace my head gasket on my car, so I am sure there are more cart meals in my future (as well as more eating at home ;o)...stay tuned! 

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#7 loofahgirl

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 03:51 PM

Jill, I'm a big fan of this cart, too. The (gf) one I got was excellent. I'm hungry just thinking about it!


The only thing I would add to this would be an avocado option. But that's just me; I seem to want avocado in everything lately! :)

#8 Jill-O

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 08:30 AM

Good to know the GF waffles are good too. Someone asked me about them as I was eating mine, but I hadn't heard from anyone who had eaten one before.


Can't swear to it, but I thought avocado was an add-on...maybe they have it only sometimes...or maybe I am completely wrong.  But yeah, why wouldn't everyone want avocado on those turkey/ham combos, on the egg combos, on the BLT and Club options??  No brainer!

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#9 loofahgirl

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 07:34 PM

When I was there, I asked and he said no. But that would be perfect if so!