Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Food Carts of Portland

When I knew we were going to Portland for the weekend the thing that I most wanted to do was check out the food carts.  We arrived on a Saturday late afternoon so the food carts had to wait until Sunday.  We were advised by the concierge at the hotel to go to the "Saturday Market"( apparently it is called the Saturday Market even on Sunday) This was down on the river front so we timed it so that we would be there for lunch.

Food carts at the "Saturday Market"
There were quite a selection of different cuisines Mexican, Thai, southern barbecue, Lebanese and Mongolian amongst others.  We both chose food from The Horn of Africa, this intrigued me I don't think I have ever had that and the pictures looked interesting.  I ordered the Chicken platter.

African food cart

Of everything that I ate this weekend and I had some very good food, this was my favourite. The chicken had some similarities to tandoori chicken, though it was moister and and very flavourful.  It was chicken leg and thigh meat so much tastier and moist than chicken breast.  This came with what looked like a samosa which was filled with chicken and potato and the pastry was exactly the same as a samosa.  There was also a vegetable curry, which had cabbage, carrots and green beans in it and a creamy yellow sauce which I think must have had some coconut milk and a whole lot of turmeric in it. Also on there was a wonderful lentil dish, boy I had some good lentils this week. The whole thing was served on a spongy rather sour tasting flat bread.  That was not my favourite part of the meal, but everything else was so good I let it slide.  The person standing next to me said, "that looks so colourful you could take a picture if it" which of course I did.

The chicken platter from the Horn of Africa
We ate this standing up at some tables set up next to all the food carts.

As we walked around Portland we came across several parking lots that were ringed with food carts but they were all closed on Sunday afternoon.

Closed up food carts.
I was disapointed but glad that we had a chance to try them out at the market.

Monday dawned a sunnier warmer day and we ventured out downtown Portland again.  Most of the carts were now opened, this was obvoisly the lunch of choice for those working in downtown Portland.

Open food carts

This time I was feeling like mexican and my Father was feeling like Indian. As luck would have it there was both within a few feet of the other.  

My father patiantly waiting for his taste of India
My father ordered chicken tikka masala (England's new national dish) which came with rice and a wonderful authentic fluffy naan bread. There was enough for two and I think this $9.00 dish ate sitting in the park excited him more than the meal in the fancy restaurant the night before.

Chicken Tikka Masala
I am afraid this picture does not do the taste justice, though presentation was lacking it was really delicious.

I went over to a food cart called  Loco Loco, doesn't that mean crazy crazy in English?

Crazy Crazy mexican food
I ordered 2 tacos one beef (carnitas) and one pork (pastor) I chose to have one on a corn tortilla and one on a flour tortilla.  For $3.00 I got these two tacos with some very good hot sauce and a pickled jalapeno.

Pork and beef tacos
This was not an enormous lunch but it was enough and more importantly it tasted really good, and I don't know of anywhere I can get a really good fresh tasty lunch for $3.00.

I loved the food carts and I can not wait for them to take hold in Vancouver, the only problem is you need to have some tables and chairs close by. We ate our first meal standing at a table and second in a park on a bench which was a little akward.  I did wee some pictures of Portlandians (is that what they call them?) eating at tables and chairs on a summers evening in the parking lot in the middle of the food carts.  This reminded me very much of Singapore where we had done the same thing in 1974.

So roll on summer and roll on food carts.

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