Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

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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

magnolia

1522 SE 32nd Ave

Date of visit: February 3, 2010

Price for 2 (with tip) $20

We’re really winding down this project — basically the places left to go are either not really on Hawthorne, or just plain scary. Magnolia fell into the former category with it’s slightly off-the-beaten-path location on 32nd. We were actually trying to go to Chance of Rain cafe, the former occupant, but it’s gone, Magnolia is open and there we were.

I gathered this was more of a breakfast spot, the waitress was sure to let us know they served it all day, although the menu options were not very extensive for either meal. I was feeling lunchy, so I went with a BLT. Actually, I realize this has become my normal Wednesday meal, as we often hit up Hungry Tiger on hump day, and that’s what I always end up getting (even though they have $1 corn dogs.) Not sure what that says about me, guess I am getting old and boring.

Anyway, the menu reads very gourmet, so when my sandwich showed up on what appeared to be cheap toasted white bread, I wasn’t particularly excited. Luckily, the bacon was really, really good– perfectly thick and crispy — and instead of lettuce it was served with spinach (BST?), which was also a nice touch. The house chips were a definitely highlight, I can’t think of another place in Portland that makes their own that are so thin and yummy. Oh and the pickle was legitimately spicy, as promised on the menu. It was an overall decent lunch, until I realized it cost $7.50. Not trying to be cheap, but at Hungry Tiger I get the half- order (more than enough for me) and it’s under $5 (and it has avocado on it!)

Jared got a veggie burger, which may have been the only true veggie option on the menu, and since he won’t ever tell me what he thinks, I will go off looks. The bun and burger patty seemed mismatched. The burger was thick for a veggie patty, but the bun was even thicker, almost bloated. Maybe it was soft and delicious, but it looked a bit odd. The sides were the same so refer to my review above for those.

I wasn’t entire upset up the offerings at Magnolia, the food was very ok, and I’d bet it would be a good choice for line-free weekend brunch. Overall, it seemed a bit to0 unnecessarily gourmet. Instead of offering fancy food, a better plan would just be offering good food, but maybe that’s just me.

Veggie options: Limited

Speed: It was empty and the service was good, accordingly.

BLT

BLT

Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger

jam

2239 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Jam on Hawthorne on Urbanspoon

Date of visit: January 13, 2010

Price for 2 (with tip) $18.50

Jam on Hawthorne is a pretty typical Portland breakfast joint, and if you know any thing about Portland, that’s a good thing, at least foodwise. Ample portions, lots of variety and a full bar with all sorts of specialty cocktails are a must for any go-to breakfast spot in this town. But of course, there is a dark side to almost all of the good ones: the are small and usually crowded, and unfortunately, this much is also true for Jam.

We managed to arrive at prime lunch time, and had to put our names on the list and wait a good 10-15 minutes for a table. On a Wednesday. So accordingly if you try to hit up Jam on a weekend between 10-1, plan on standing out in the rain.

The menu boasts more breakfast options than lunch, but solid choices for either. Jared went lunch, with a grilled cheese and tomato with hash browns, and I went breakfast, with “The Bizness.” Not only did this corned beef, egg and onion sandwich have an awesome name, but I felt “blog-ligated” to get it. Yes, I just made that word up, but as the menu had an entire corned beef section, with the words “house-made” and “slow-roasted” in the description, it seemed like something I needed to try to get the true Jam experience.

My sandwich was giant. Like giant to the point that I looked at it for a few minutes trying to figure out how to get it down, and when I finished half of it, I rewarded myself with a pat on the back. As for the quality of the corned beef, well, as I realized shortly after ordering, I am in no way qualified to review corned beef. Aside from the occasional St. Patty’s Day dinner, I never really eat the stuff. But given my unsophisticated palate, I’d say it was pretty damn good, and definitely tender. The whole thing was quite tasty– soft rye bread and sweet and tangy long island dressing. Next time I would definitely opt to split it with someone else though, eating as much as I did mostly succeeded in making me need a nap.

We were both happy with our meals, but I am not sure that the food at Jam is worth the wait. I mean, it’s good, but like I said before, if you’re going to serve breakfast in Portland, it better be good! There was no shortage of variety and the hash browns were nice and crispy (I like to think of them as healthy french fries!) but I don’t think you’ll be seeing me sitting outside in the rain waiting for a table next Saturday.

Veggie options: tons, basically everything except the corned beef can be ordered vegetarian

Speed: Aside from waiting for a table it was respectable

Grilled cheese and tomato

Grilled cheese and tomato

The Bizness

The Bizness

noahs

3541 Southeast Hawthorne

http://www.noahs.com/

Noah's on Urbanspoon

Date of visit: November 29, 2009

Cost for 2: $18

Noah’s bagels was one of those gray areas in this (lately somewhat neglected) blog project, which is probably why it’s taken me so long to get around to writing it up (that and I am lazy.) Since it’s technically a chain, it wasn’t really necessary for us to eat there to reach our goal, but on this random day, it seemed like a good idea. But since I’m obviously not overly inspired by a bagel chain I’ll keep this short.

Bagels in Portland, like pizza, aren’t great. So Noah’s NY-style bagels are about as good as you’re going to get. That said, as a lunch spot, their sandwiches and sides are not really that exciting. I always forget which side option I like less — on this trip I got cole slaw, and it was nothing special. Kinda mushy and totally bland. I’ve also tried the potato salad, which if I remember correctly includes potatoes cut way to big for my taste.

As for the sandwiches, Jared and I both got melts: him veggie and me roast beef and cheddar. Jared went with his standard review “It’s decent, spicy, but not too spicy,” but on mine I am going with medicore at best. Basically, the roast beef is sliced too thick and was sort of dried out, probably due to the toasting process.

Basically, Noah’s is ok, but if you’re after a good bagel sandwich in Portland, Kettleman’s on SE 11th has, way, way better options.

Speed: Pretty quick

Veggie options: A decent selection of Vegetables and shmears, any of which can be put on a bagel.

Roast beef

Roast beef and cheddar melt

Veggie melt

Veggie melt

Date of Visit: Nov 1, 2009

Price for 2 (with tip): $30

We hit up Bread and Ink for brunch this morning. Since I’ve already done a full review of it, and I don’t really want to work too hard today, figured I’d just post some pictures of what we got. I must say, it was some of the best-looking food I’ve ever gotten there (and it tasted pretty good too!)

breadandink2

Belgian Waffle with pear, whipped cream and powdered sugar

breakandink

Skillet scramble with sausage, red onions, roasted potatoes, spinach and cheddar

P1010485

http://www.breadandinkcafe.com/

Bread and Ink Cafe on Urbanspoon

3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Price for 2 (with tip) $26

Bread and Ink has been situated on the corner of 36th and SE Hawthorne for 25 years, and is definitely worth a stop if you’re on the Hawthorne strip. This is a favorite breakfast spot of ours, mostly because of their awesome waffles. Waffles can also be purchased from an outside window, but as I have an aversion to getting food and having no where to eat it, I’ve always opted to sit down inside.

I’ve gotten a few different things here breakfast-wise. The lox eggs benedict is one of my favorite benedicts in Portland, so creamy and decadant, but accordingly, a little rich for a breakfast dish. Almost all egg dishes come with a choice of breads (as the name implies) and potatoes, though you can sub polenta, which is actually more delicious than their roasted potatoes. During the week hashbrowns are also available, but we’re usually foiled on that one due to this being our Sunday spot.

I have also had lunch a few times here and what really sets it apart is the fresh, quality ingredients. It sounds cliched, but shrimp sandwiches with fresh mango really wouldn’t be as good defrosted. The staff at Bread and Ink is another thing that makes this place pretty cool. Even though it’s an upscale, white table cloth sort of joint, most of the staff is heavily tattooed making it hard to forget you are still in Portland. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get waited on by the guy with the chain wallet, who actually may be the owner. He’s not good at counting change, but he’s friendly and entertaining.

The only real negative about Bread and Ink is it’s a little on the pricey side for a lunch place, but since they serve all three meals, you can opt to go here anytime.

Veggie options: Yes, although the egg dishes are not available with tofu like many places in Portland.

Speed: Even though this isn’t the ideal lunch spot, they get you in and out pretty quickly. The waffle window is probably even faster.

ABC Scramble with Polenta

ABC Scramble with Polenta

Belgian street waffles

Belgian street waffles

hawthornecafe4

3354 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Hawthorne Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

Date of visit: September 24, 2009

Price for 2 (with tip) $24.40

The Hawthorne Street Cafe is a oddly named place, with Hawthorne being a boulevard and all, but that’s not the only thing unique about it. It’s situated in an old, misplaced farm house on the corner of 33rd Ave, and from the outside, seems more on the upscale end of the spectrum. But immediately upon walking in, I felt like I’d ended up back in Vermont, in a country cafe complete with red checkered table clothes and a sloping porch where we were seated.

The menu is standard breakfast and lunch fare, with breakfast served all day. Of course, this creates the lunch or breakfast dilemma, in which I opted for lunch and Jared for breakfast. For breakfast you had all the basics: pancakes, omelets, scrambles, etc, with the one notable item, crepes with season fruit that changes depending on the day. Lunchwise it was salads, sandwiches and burgers, and the lunch items were actually a bit cheaper overall than breakfast it seemed. The sandwich choices included some all veggie selections and then turkey, chicken and other meats. The one oddity was a gyro, which could most logically be explained by the super friendly Middle Eastern man who greeted us graciously when we entered. Since he thanked us profusely for coming, I’m going to venture he was the owner.

I got a turkey and avocado sandwich with pasta salad, made with fresh cooked turkey. It was all very good, but not anything I couldn’t have easily made at home (in fact, I think I have for the week after Thanksgiving every year.) Jared got a tofu scramble (hold the egg) with potatoes and toast. They brought out at least 5 kinds of hot sauce for him, since apparently they are aware tofu has no flavor. His review, it was good, it was food. And overall, the offerings at Hawthorne Street Cafe were just that, food. It would be a good place to take visiting family members, and the service was excellent, but it wasn’t anything that exciting or special. And I am happy to report, that slanted porch did not fall off while we were sitting on it.

Veggie options: A few

Speed: The second I put down my fork the check was on the table.

Turkey and Avacado Sandwich

Turkey and Avocado Sandwich

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

cupandsaucer3

3566 SE Hawthorne Blvd

http://www.cupandsaucercafe.com/

Cup & Saucer Cafe on Urbanspoon

Dates of visits: 7/19/09 and 7/25/09

Price for 2: $22

The Cup and Saucer cafe is actually a chain of three Portland restaurants, and more of a breakfast spot than lunch. That said, we’ve visited it on several occasions, usually for weekend brunch. But since we’ve got a whole lot of new restaurants to try, and I’d already taken pictures of this one, I figured it counts!

If there’s one thing you can expect from a breakfast spot on Hawthorne (or anywhere in Portland for that matter) it’s that you’re going to wait for a solid 30 minutes for a seat during the weekends. For that reason, on my first visit to Cup and Saucer, on a Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised to not wait at all. Of course, on subsequent weekend visits I have had to wait, but never more than 10 minutes.

The menu includes both lunch and breakfast choices and is pretty standard American cafe fare. The first time I went I got a scramble with cream cheese and chives, potatoes and toast that was deliciously simple and one of the only breakfasts I’ve actually been able to finish in recent history. I tried the Florentine Benedict on another trip, which was definitely not the best Benedict I’ve had. There was too much spinach (I know that’s what florentine is, thanks) and the hollandaise was a bit bland. I also have sampled the lunch menu with a tuna melt and tortilla soup. It was decent, but I’d really have to say the simple scramble was the best of all.

Veggie Options: Yup

Speed: Never been for weekday lunch, but if breakfast is an indication, pretty quick. Also, you just bring up your check to pay at the end, which cuts down on the wait time for the server.

 Three eggs scrambled with cream cheese and chives

Three eggs scrambled with cream cheese and chives

Veggie biscuits and gravy

Veggie biscuits and gravy

Florentine Benedict

Florentine Benedict