Food Freaks Unite's Blog

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Vietnamese Crispy Crepe March 9, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Food,Lunch,My Favs — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
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Sometimes you discover a dish because a passing waiter brings it to a nearby table and the sight, smell or sizzling sound of it makes you change your order immediately.  The Vietnamese crispy crepe or Banh Xeo was that dish for me.  The sheer size of the greens and crepe itself will attract onlookers.  I’ve tried this at a couple of spots but my favorite place to get this is at Pho Van.  They offer more greens and fillers than other places so I never leave feeling hungry. 

The super thin crepe is made of rice flour with a hint of turmeric and stuffed with shrimp or pork.  I ask them for tofu and they usually fill it with a half block (way too much for me but I appreciate how much they offer).  There is also mung beans, bean sprouts and onions with the option of adding cilantro, basil and lettuce off to the side.  Fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: 1919 Southeast 82nd Avenue Portland Oregon but there are additional locations around town. 

Cost: $8.25

Pho Van on Urbanspoon

 

Chickpea Sandwich at Garden State February 17, 2011

Filed under: Food,Lunch,My Favs — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
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My first food order from this cart were the chickpea fries which I instantly fell in love with so naturally I had to try the sandwich counterpart and it certainly does not disappoint.

The sandwich is made using a ciabatta roll then a fried garbanzo patty is placed inside along with lettuce, lemon aioli, butternut squash and a carrot slaw.  There is sweetness from the carrots and tartness from the aioli which plays well together.  A very well constructed veggie friendly sandwich that carnivores and vegetarians alike will enjoy.  Very filling but it may be a little chickpea overkill when paired up w/ the fries.  I suggest getting the fried risotto ball instead or pick up some regular fries from the falafel place a few carts over. 

I also want to add that Garden State is one of the only carts in the Mississippi pod that is consistently open during the rainy months.  We Oregonians still need to eat!!!  I see a lot of carts closing up early or not opening at all when the crowds are not favorable. I’ve come to Garden State on miserable cold and wet days and they are still making food for the handful of people waiting in the rain.   The other carts should just close up until spring and put a sign up if they are not willing to open in the rain. Geez.  It freaking rains here 4 months straight and that’s being conservative.   So thank you Garden State for staying open.  My hips might not be so thankful but my stomach sure is. 

Cost: $6.50

Address: Mississippi Food Carts

Website: http://gardenstatecart.com/

Call ahead: 503-962-9265

Garden State (Food Cart) on Urbanspoon

 

Lunch at DiPrima Dolci ~ Spinach Pine Nut Feta Torta January 8, 2011

Filed under: Food,Lunch,My Favs — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
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Mangia!

 

My Order: Spinach-Pinenut-Feta Torta: A savory pie baked with spinach, eggs, cream, feta cheese and pine nuts in a flaky crust.  Served with bread and fagioli salad. 

You must like cream and butter in order to enjoy this dish.  I don’t even want to know how much of each ingredient they use because it’s more than is needed in anyone’s daily dietary fat intake.  Once you start eating though you probably won’t even care about such things. The crust is melt in your mouth flaky and buttery and the pine nuts were a nice touch for added texture. What I really liked was the fagioli salad, pronounced fah-zhoo-lee,  which is the Italian word for beans, typically white beans.  Their version had fennel seed (which tastes nothing like fennel) and their addition of red onions and celery added a nice crunch to it. 

FYI…the owner has since changed the salad option and currently does not have this one available (as of Jan 2011) but I imagine she rotates the choices often enough so the fagioli may find its way back on the menu very soon. 

Website: http://www.diprimadolci.com/

Location: DiPrima Dolci 1936 N. Killingsworth, Portland Oregon

Cost: ??? I forgot exactly but somewhere between $7-10

DiPrima Dolci on Urbanspoon

 

Bruce Lee’s Kitchen Food Cart ~ Tofu Teriyaki October 15, 2010

Filed under: Cheap Eats!,Food,Lunch,My Favs — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
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Excellent Teriyaki

Bruce Lee’s Kitchen is my latest favorite food cart located in the Sellwood District of Portland Oregon.  There is a handful of carts set up on 13th and Lexington and this was the first one I wanted to try.  I remember walking by it months earlier during a lunch excursion but  for some reason I opted to eat at a sit down restaurant (mistake).   Part of the draw to this cart was the name, which I have to admit got my attention and made me take a closer look.  For some strange reason I feel like I’m not the only person that was intringued by the name alone.  

I was happy to see fried tofu as an option for some of their entrees.  Unfortunately the teriyaki choice was not one of them but sometimes if you ask, you shall receive.  The owner happily accomodated my request and I was bubbling with anticipation from the smells and sounds coming from the kitchen.  The portion was huge! I had lunch the next day too and it was just as tasty.  Fried tofu, broccoli, carrots and rice smothered in teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds.  The meal was so piping hot that I couldn’t take a picture of it right away because of the steam coming up to my camera lens.  I’m happy to say it was delish! I also found out that I could call in my orders so I took advantage of that perk the next time I was there to cut down on the waiting time. 

Great name.  Great Food.  Leftovers.  For $5.50? Hell yeah

Bruce Lee's Kitchen (Food Cart) on Urbanspoon

 

Fat Kitty Falafel September 6, 2010

Filed under: Cheap Eats!,Food,Lunch — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
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Falafel: Fried balls of chickpeas and/or fava beans which can be eaten alone or served with flat bread. 

I’m assuming this cart’s name was inspired by the owner Al’s cat who is grossly overweight.  His plus sized feline was a topic of conversation one day and I just put 2 and 2 together.  I’m smart like that. 

There is nothing fancy about the way he makes his falafel wrap, it is straight forward simple but every component is fresh and delicious.  Falafel is a dish that can easily turn bad if the bread is too dry or the chickpeas are fried too long.  I’ve had both types of failures and it is very difficult to finish eating your meal if one part of the wrap is dried out.  The problem with most “to go” falafel places is they make them ahead of time and they dry up like rice cakes or they over fry them and suck all the moisture out.  But the owner of Fat Kitty makes them fresh to order and has never over cooked one yet.  The flatbread is always soft and the veggies are never past their prime.  He offers a variety of sauces and I always opt for the spicy one. 

Part of the draw of coming to this cart is talking to the Al who is quite the character.  He can talk you up about anything and everything.  I know random things about him like his cat needs medication and has more medical coverage than him and that he is friends with Tyler Florence from the Food Network.  I’ve stood there long after getting my meal, knowing with each minute it grows colder because I’m still wrapped up in a conversation with him.  He makes the whole experience worth coming back for.  Killer falafel and interesting chit chat is what you get at Fat Kitty.

Location: Currently on E 7th and Burnside

Cost: $5 make you holla.

 

My latest obsession…Food carts August 14, 2010

There is a food cart revolution happening in Portland Oregon.  Why I love these carts so much is the owners really care about the food they are producing and everything is made to order!   This isn’t fast food, it is food fast.  Carts are popping up everywhere there is space and although I may never get a chance to eat  at each one, I love the fact that I have so many choices around me. 

My go to spot for lunch is the Native Bowl in the Mississippi Neighborhood in North Portland. This cart is vegan only but don’t let that scare you away.  I probably shouldn’t share this bit of information but you can call your order ahead of time (503-330-7616) and forego the wait that can be upwards of 15 minutes on a busy sunny day.  The first time I went there, I ordered the Couch Bowl. (In Portland, we pronounce that Cooch” I don’t know why, we just do).  I always get the small bowl which comes in a Chinese take out box.  I’ve never tried anything else just because I simply LOVE this dish. 

So what’s in the bowl? Grilled tofu, sesame bean sprouts, Kochujang sweet and spicy sauce, jasmine rice, organic lettuce, carrots, scallions and toasted sesame seeds. It is mildly spicy and packed with flavor. The moment you open the box you will be intoxicated with the aroma. It is unbelievable! I’ve brought other people who’ve ordered different things and they said their meal was just as good.

Location: Food carts on the corner of Mississippi and Skidmore

Cost: $6