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Author Archives: Brooke

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Location: SE 50th and Divison
Number of carts: 14
Covered: Yes
Pros: Lots of entertainment options, wet naps, free wifi, good food choices.
Cons: Beer is only on weekends, really close to Los Gorditos.
Types of food (check their site for current carts): Turkish, burgers, coffee, seafood, Pork, Venezuelan, chicken and waffles, Pizza, Southwestern, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai
http://www.alacartspdx.com/

Ala Cart is much more than just a cart pod. It’s like a cart experience filled with fun for the whole family. What does that even mean? Well, I’ll tell you. In addition to some 14 food carts, there’s also a little playground for kids, cornhole for big kids, sidewalk chalk for beautifying the parking lot and trivial pursuit cards on the tables. Care about cleanliness? They have free wet naps and the port-a-potty has a sink in it. Oh and perhaps the most exciting for a nerd such as myself- FREE WI-FI! And that’s not all. There’s a hair salon (perhaps a trim while you wait?), an ATM and plenty of covered and uncovered seating.
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Of course, if all the carts sucked, all this would be unexciting (although you could grab food at Los Gorditos – the best Mexican food in Portland right down the street and sneak it in) but that’s not a problem. There are several carts that serve interesting and delicious food. I’ll be honest, I fully judge a cart by its cover, and today I selected La Arepa because their menu was all pictures. The cart specializes in Venezuelan food, which is rice and bean based, but was sold me was avocado and plantains. I got the number 15, which was awesome because I didn’t have to attempt to speak Spanish and it tasted damn good. You can tell this place is muy authentico since the dude had a really hard time with my name and ended up calling out “Brulalala” or something.

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Jared was not in tow so I don’t know what food was spicy but not too spicy, but Stan got a stuffed burger from the burger Guild with sweet potato fries. Including a drink, he paid $9 which is a damn value if you ask me. It was certainly not the neatest burger ever eaten, but his review was quite favorable, and like I said, free wet naps!

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The pork chop cart hooked up Lemmy with a water bowl and even a treat, giving this cart high marks for dog friendliness too. Over all, I would like to go back and try more of the carts and Stan gave Ala Carts a hearty two thumbs up. Oh and I almost forgot to mention, how can you be mad at the fun play on words that is the name?

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Location: Corner of SE 52nd and Foster
Number of carts: 11
Covered: Yes
Obligatory Score: 3

https://www.facebook.com/CartsOnFoster

The parking lot that houses Carts on Foster has come along way since it was All Pets Playhouse – a decrepit-looking animal boarding house that I never saw open. Now it’s a bustling cart pod, with a lot more carts than the one other time I awkwardly walked through and then decided to go somewhere else a few months ago.

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Pretty flowersss!

I use the term bustling loosely, it’s not that crowded which is a good thing if you hate waiting in line for food like I do. (That’s one issue with food carts over all I have, is the amount to time it takes to get your food can vary widely if you decide to go to different carts.) The inside is filled with plants, there’s both a tent and a covered porch for seating when it rains. (I heard it does that here.) There’s enough variety in the carts that you have choices but not too many, and the drone of Foster Road is drowned out by the way it’s set up. Basically, it’s nicer than I thought it would be, but ya know, still eating outside in a parking lot. Kinda what you’re signing up for.

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The falafel from El Sultan

As far as food choices go, there’s a couple sandwich carts, a Mexican/Mediterranean cart, a coffee cart, a pastry cart, a breakfast cart and a Hawaiian cart (which actually used to be at Cartlandia.) Again, this changes so don’t trust me on this one, check the facebook or at least, don’t get your hopes up for Mexi/Medi before you go there. ¬†There’s also a bar, which is partially inside and offers an indoor-outdoor seating experience. It actually would be a kinda sweet place if you’re looking for a patio to drink on some sunny summer day.

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A sub from Pressed.

On our visit Jared and I got falafels from El Sultan, which has been there as long as I can remember. Now going to a cart boasting cuisine from two non-adjecent parts of the world may be risky, but for $5 I was satisfied with my purchase. It came with chips and the pita was super soft and yummy. The fillings we’re kinda bland and there was way too much iceberg lettuce. Plus pickles. Who puts pickles on a falafel? Stan got an Italian sub from “Pressed” and was thoroughly disappointed. For $9 at least it came with deep fried french fries, but the bread was an even bigger buzz kill than the sandwich. Sorry Stan.

Over all, Carts on Foster is not the worst pod I’ve been to. Considering the location, it’s decent. That said, it’s not a must-visit cart pod by any means. According to Stan, if he had people in town, he wouldn’t bring them there and I’d have to agree.

Happy Espresso on Urbanspoon

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Location: 45th and Woodstock Ave
Number of Carts: 3
Covered Section: No
Obligatory score: 5

Note:  This was supposed to be my introductory post, but I spazzily posted about Cartlandia first.

I may start writing about every cart individually and inserting Jared’s “spicy but not too spicy” input in each one, or more likely just highlight the ones I like, but I really want to start with the pods themselves. After all, part of dining is the experience and I don’t care how good the food is if you feel icky eating there.

So let’s start with the neighborhood I claim to live in (even though my house is technically in Brentwood/Darlington), Woodstock. This pod popped up a few years back and has gone through a few carts, but the line up as of August 14th, 2013 is Graffiti Sandwiches, El Gallo Taco and a breakfast cart, Yolk, which I’ve heard is run by the same people that own Toast.

I really like this pod. One of the best things is there’s not actually too much choice to be made. Three genres, breakfast, Mexican and Sandwiches. I can handle that no matter how my day is going. Plus all three are actually good. I’ve never gotten anything at these cart I’ve been bummed out. Oh yeah, cause not all Food Carts in Portland are the stuff of Food Network legend. There are a lot of them that were opened by people who have no idea what they’re doing.

As far as ambiance, this place is great. There’s no flapping tarps or major thorough-fares, just the cute, Reed College influenced Neighborhood. The tables are wood picnic tables, but not like the crappy kind. They’re heavy duty and feel handcrafted and all Portland-y, and the Mexican cart even has an a house plant.

Basically, this is the perfect cart pod. Not too big, not to small, good choices and a nice place to sit. Of course, if it’s raining you’re grab and go only, but I guess, who goes to Food Carts when it’s raining?


This cart gets a 5 out of whatever number I decide to give the best cart pod I’ve been to. I guess I’m setting the bench mark here. EXCITING.

PS. I’m gonna stick to Southeast Food Carts. That way I don’t have to leave my quadrant.

PPS. Anyone know of any Food Cart blogs I should be reading for inspiration?

PPPS. I don’t remember the log in info for the FTP of this site, so the rebrand may take awhile.

 

El Gallo Taqueria on UrbanspoonYolk on Urbanspoon
El Gallo Taqueria on Citysearch

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Location: 82nd Ave at Spring Water Corridor
Number of Carts: A lot
Covered: Yes
Obligatory Score: 1
http://www.cartlandia.com/

Despite it’s adorable kitschy name, Cartlandia is about the least “Portlandlandia” place in Portland. Yes, it claims “bike-centric” and is on the Springwater Corridor — a Portland-y bike path lined with wild blackberries– but the PDX stereotypes end there. There are tons of carts, but this must be the cheapest place to rent space in Portland, because is seems it’s mostly people who probably shouldn’t own restaurants and are just “trying it out.” Some I’ve tried are fine, but certainly not food you’d drool over and want to seek out again.

My biggest issue with this place is the sheer number of carts. I NEVER know what I want for lunch (hence the Lunch blog – it was supposed to provide direction) so I’ve already suffered with one decision by the time I make it to Cartlandia. Then I get there and have to decide all over again. To make matters worse, there’s always new carts which means I have to walk by awkwardly and try and look at the menu without actually talking to people. (For some reason I feel bad when I don’t get their food if I’ve spoken to them, ok.)

As far as genres go, like you’d expect on 82nd ave, there are a bunch of Thai places. There’s also a few carts representing various Central American countries, and at one point there were two Hot Dog carts. There’s a crepe and wrap place, and pizza. There’s also a sloppy cart that I’ve never seen open. Oh and there’s a British Pastys cart that I almost forgot about. I’m just not interested in bready English food, sorry. Anyway, it changes a bunch so for the current list go here.

Anyway, once that is taken care of and I get food, the atmosphere feels much like the county fair. I mean, I don’t really know what else I’d expect from a cart pod on 82nd. They have a beer garden with giant blaring TVs, you’re sitting in a shitty parking lot surrounded by like shady car mechanics, and there are tons of tables full of normal, non-hip people eating with the occasional tweaker mountain biker thrown in for good measure. Finally, with so many carts, the whole place smells like fried food.

My hope is that it will get better, as now that I am an 82nd aver, I’m cheering for urban sprawl and redevelopment. According to the Cartlandia blog they just cleared out 7 new spaces maybe someone will put an epic cart in there, but for right now, Cartlandia is kind of a bummer. Oh shit, I just came up with the best idea! Maybe they should start hosting Bingo there, really play off the fair theme! I heard that’s getting hip again on the news, which is where I learn about everything hip, so it could work to be the tipping point for 82nd. Just an idea.

 

Food-Cart

So you may have guessed I got bored with trying to eat lunch on Hawthorne every day. It was expensive, we ran out of restaurants we weren’t specifically avoiding, and oh yeah, I moved my office to felony flats. Well, technically we’ve rebranded it the “Flavel Arts District” hoping it’ll catch on like Alberta did, but apparently white trash people are harder to gentrify. Anyway!

I was just in a heated debate with Stan about our two nearest Food Cart pod locations (actually it wasn’t heated at all, we agreed) and realized, I could start food blogging again, but about cart pods. I’m way better at keeping these things going when I have some sort of structure (or it’ll at least give me entertainment for the next couple weeks until Winter starts.

So get hyped! I’ve got thoughts.

105%, What!?

Posted by Brooke in Scores! | Shopping trips - (1 Comments)

I haven’t been couponing much and when I have it’s barely bloggable. 33% savings? Who cares? But today I stumbled on a deal that I figured I might as well take advantage of… Big Cup O’Noodles were on sale for $.50 each at Safeway. Add in my $1/3 coupon and a Safeway doubler, and that makes them free. Then I realized I had in my possession a $5 off Frozen items coupon as well and my mission was clear: get a bunch of lazy-person food for the office and not pay a damn thing for it. I had three coupons for the noodles, but unfortunately, there were only 4 left of the shelf when I got there, so keep in mind I could have done this deal with 9 of them and it would have worked out the same. I got:

3 Big Cup o’Noodles (Regular price $.99, on sale 2/$1- $1/3 coupon – $.50 Safeway doubler = Free)
2 Swanson Frozen Entrees (Regular price $3.29, on sale $2.50 – $5 off Frozen store coupon = Free)

When he rang me up, somehow an extra $.50 I hadn’t accounted for came off and he handed me back two shiny quarters for a total savings of 105% (my personal best.) Booyeah.

Back At It

Posted by Brooke in Shopping trips - (0 Comments)

Things are slowing down in the world of snowboard blogging, which means I have time to waste, and what better way to waste it than saving money! I spent last weekend going through the circulars which have been, much to Jared’s dismay, stacking up at the house as well as getting rid of all the coupons that expired during my two-month couponing hiatus. The result was the above pile of junk, which luckily Jared was wise enough to capture.

Today though, I made a list and headed off to Fred Meyer, which happens to not only still give you plastic bags, but be extremely close to the new office. Along with having a new office comes plenty of storage space and a need for stuff to fill our kitchenette. Really, the perfect recipe. Unfortunately, Fred Meyer not only doesn’t give you the fun percentages of savings, and I’m also a bit rusty, so not sure I did that great. I spent $44.22 and got:

4 boxes of Nutrigrain bars (Regular $3.89, on sale $2.29- .30 for buying 10 select products= $2.49 each)

2 Jars Planters Peanuts (Regular ?, On Sale 3.79 – .30 for buying 10 – 1.50 off two = $2.74 each)

1 Degree Deodorant (Regular ?, one sale 1.99 – .30 for buying 10 – 1 e coupon = $.69)

1 40pk Hefty Trash Bags (regular ?, on sale 6.99- .30 for buying 10 – $1 coupon = $5.69)

2 jars Ragu sauce (Regular ?, on sale $1.79-.30 for buying 10 – $1/2 coupon = $.99 each)

2 Foster Farms Ground Turkey (Regular $4.99, On sale $3.99 – $1 & $2 coupon = $2.50 each)

2 Seattle’s Best Coffee (Regular $6.99 – $1 in store coupon = $5.99 — I had $1.50 coupons, but managed to lose them inbetween the office and the register) oops.

For doing the buy 10 deal, I got back another $2 Catalina, which i put towards Jared’s diet soda addiction. All in all, not a terrible trip, but certainly not my best work.

Wicked Savings, Guy

Posted by Brooke in Scores! - (0 Comments)

 

I’m back east for a week, which is exciting for the couponer in me because there are CVS’s everywhere. For whatever reason, we don’t have CVS in Portland, and so I am forced to miss out on the deals there week after week. But on a stop for gas somewhere in Southern New Hampshire, I found myself sitting next to a CVS that was just begging me to come in.

With some quick internet research on my phone I found a couple money-making deals that seemed worth doing, but much like I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t really been keeping up on my clipping and organizing, so I was missing most of the necessary coupons. I did, however, see a deal for what were basically free candy canes, and who doesn’t like free candy, so I went in to see if I could pull it off.

Basically for $1.27, you got a box of candy canes, and received a $1.27 extra bucks reward, making them free. Except, I had to get a CVS card, and when she rang in my order, the extra bucks didn’t print. Because it was a new card she couldn’t just issue them after the fact so, long story short, the manager came over and handed me $1.27 cash. Which I’d say is a wicked good deal.

I might try out Price Chopper or Hannaford while I’m here and stock up my parents on a bunch of crap they don’t really need. Or I might just enjoy my candy canes and call it good.

 

It was the beginning of the month recently (actually less recently than when I first intended to post this, but whatever) which means — $10 off $75 coupon at Safeway! Since it’s obviously easier to score deals on crap like Hamburger Helper than food you actually eat, I always do my biggest trip during the week this is valid.

By buying things we actually needed even though they weren’t the BEST DEAL (cat food, cat litter, etc) my percentage was thrown off a bit, but I still managed to save 47% and pay $84.50 for $158 worth of stuff.

Here are a few of my best deals:

2 Jars of Prego sauce (regular price $2.29, on sale $1.69- $.50/2 MFG coupon = Paid $1.44 each)

Swanson Vegetable stock (regular price $3.99, on sale $3 – $25 store coupon – $1 mfg coupon= Paid $1.75)

1 8ct Mission Tortillas (Regular price $3.29, on sale $2.19 – $1 store coupon = paid $1.19)

Azuymaya Tofu (regular price $1.99, on sale 2/$3 – $.55 coupon = paid $.95)

Freebreeze Air Effects (Regular price $3.79, free with purchase of Duracell batteries = paid FREE)

2 Liter Dr. Pepper 10 (Regular price $2.99, on sale $1.67 – One free coupon up to $1.99 + deposit= Paid $.05)

3 16 oz Pom Wonderful Lite drinks (Regular price $2.49, on sale $1.99 or buy three for $1.49 each – 3 $1 off coupons = paid .$49 each)

I also used a Safeway doubler to save $2 more, plus got $1 for buying two jars of Barilla to use on my next order. Since apparently this blog is “inspiring others” just a heads up most of the Safeway coupons I used are in a coupon book (which came with last weeks circular) that is valid through Thanksgiving.

Sidenote: When I got home, i was tagged on Facebook that friends in Colorado had saved 58% and been paid $.01 each to take organic lemonade out of the store, making me feel less proud of my deals. However, I am going to try and make Sarah guest blog from now on.

 

 

 

 

 

This couponing thing makes dealing with getting your period way easier. Tampons are expensive, and it’s clearly all part of society’s plan to keep us bitches barefoot and pregnant. But ever since I’ve discovered couponing, I’ve paid next to nothing for the pleasure of bleeding every month, and that, my friends, is great! So screw you glass ceiling, society and all that junk, I am woman, hear me roar!

Ok, but seriously, I saved 60% at Safeway last night. I got:

2 Boxes of Kotex Tampons (Regular price $6.98, on sale 2/$5 – $1.50/2 coupon – Safeway doubler ($.50) = Paid $3.00, plus got $2 cat for next time!)

1 Smart Balance Peanut Butter (Regular price $.540, on sale $2.50 – $.75 coupon – $.50 doubler = Paid $1.25)

1 Bag on spinach. ($1.29, not on sale, but needed for dinner)

Paid $5.54 for $13.76 worth of stuff, plus got $2 back.