Food Freaks Unite's Blog

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Say Cheese!! Herb’s Mac and Cheese Food Cart November 20, 2013

Portland is a food cart mecca of sorts and I know I won’t be able to eat at each and every one but I can’t believe I haven’t been to Herb’s Mac and Cheese until now.   I normally don’t drive through this area so I only noticed it by taking a different route home trying to avoid traffic unsuccessfully.  This is when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a sandwich board on the street that mentioned mac and cheese over here.   I quickly glanced over and saw a small collection of carts nestled in an empty space off SE Division St and 32nd Ave (Aka D-Street Noshery).  I’m a mac and cheese fiend if I allow myself to be and  I don’t mean the bright orange stuff that comes out of a box or the ones that are microwaved to disgusting perfection.  It is the homemade variety that I can eat uncontrollable amounts of if left alone with a fork and no witnesses.   I wasn’t able to try it right at that moment but I made a mental note to go there one day soon and I had a good feeling that I wasn’t going to regret it. 

Well that day finally came and it seemed odd that I was craving it on a 90 degree day but there I was standing in front of the shiny stainless steel cart  all sweaty trying to figure out what to order.  I was already starving at this point and the simple rules they posted on how to place an order failed to register with me.  I could only decide an whether or not I wanted a regular or double container (the first step).  The following add ons were too many for my brain to figure out on an empty grumbling stomach so I just asked for a plain jane one.   If your brain is in working order, the next step is the addition of meats (bacon, chicken or pepperoni)  followed by the third step of adding veggies  (garlic, spinach, jalapenos,broccoli and diced or sundried tomatoes).  Finally, the fourth step is any addition of other cheeses  (crumbled blue, crumbled feta, pepper jack, parmasean, cheddar and asiago) which will complete the ordering process.  I personally like it plain or with breadcrumbs on top but the other stuff isn’t appealing to me unless it’s cheese.  Call me old school when it comes to my mac and cheese because I don’t think I need all the frills.  To me it just isn’t the same. 

Herb’s version uses penne pasta (perhaps a touch overcooked the day I went) but the cheese is the ultimate test of goodness and it’s there that they don’t dissappoint.  It is creamy and cheesy done right. Their secret sauce recipe is a bechamel based one that coats the pasta like a glove.  I’m not sure if the hunger caused me to lick the lid clean of all the cheese or if the cheese made me lick the lid clean.  Either way, I displayed no table manners and since I was in the confines of my office I didn’t really care.  My stomach was full and the only thing I regret is not ordering the double so I could eat more later.  Perhaps that was a good thing.  By the way, the double is literally double in size so a really great deal for a couple dollars more. 

Location: 3221 SE Division St.  Closed Mondays.  Open Tues, Wed, Thurs and Sun 12pm-9pm.  Fri and Sat 12pm-10pm.

Contact:  503-928-7559

Cost: $5 (small) $7 (large) add ons start at .50 cents and go up to $2 for meats for a large size order.


Retrolicious ~ Mac & Cheese Please! September 20, 2012

The Green Castle food carts located on NE 20th and Fremont are back in business after disappearing for a while (issues with those pesky city permits) and now features some new carts that will definitely catch your attention.  Retrolicious was just one of those carts I was instantly drawn to.  It’s bright pink, shiny and the design on their cart is totally mid-century stylish (my fav).  They don’t post a menu online or on their cart so the mystery made me all the more interested in trying them out because they take comfort food  then add a modern twist to it.  The menu changes so you’ll just have to follow them on social media or walk up to their chalk board and try to decide what to have.

I really wanted to try chicken and waffles but I wasn’t quite in the mood for the waffle part so I went straight for one of my childhood favorites and ordered their version of mac and cheese.  Their modern twist is made with pimento cheese, kale (to make us think it’s healthy) and a sprinkling of potato chip gratin which is totally awesome.

As I waited for my order at the table, I had second thoughts that I may have ordered the wrong item because I didn’t think I had enough food because I was thinking it was a side order size.  Boy was I wrong.  The weight of the box was downright heavy for food and I knew I needed help eating it before even opening the box.  I had a couple of co-workers there to help me out but they are both on again off again weight watcher people so I knew the dent in the food wouldn’t be much.  The mac and cheese was quite delicious.  Not the creamiest of types which one of my co-worker noted as she prefers that kind but I really liked this version and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Perhaps that was the feeling of bloating but for about 15 minutes I was in food heaven.  I would definitely order this again and bring along a small family to help me consume it.  It literally is one of the best and worst things I could put in my body.  I think it took me 3 days to finally finish it along with some more outside help.

The owner of this cart came out to check on our meals and was as nice as could be.  I told her I wanted just the fried chicken next time and she told me she has a chicken wing dish she could whip up if I called ahead.  SCORE.  And I will no doubt be calling soon!  Retrolicious has a stamp card too so you earn a free meal after purchasing 1o lunch entrees which is basically unheard of anymore even for coffee shops.  Bravo retrolicious.  You are even radder now!

Top 10 list of the best/worst thing ever

Website: Find them on Facebook or Twitter.  They are mobile now so their location is ever changing.  Their phone number is 541-409-9271

Cost: lunch meals all under $10.  The mac and cheese was $5