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Location: 42nd and Belmont
Number of carts: 15
Types of Food: Veggie, Seafood, Korean, Norwegian, Ice Cream, Coffee, American, Mac and Cheese, Fried Chicken, etc.
Covered: yes

Tucked just off of 39th Ave, I mean, Ceasar Chavez Ave, lies the Good Food Here pod. This aptly-named pod boasts a maze of carts, many of which do indeed serve good food. (Seeing as I’ve only been there once, I didn’t eat at all of them, but we can always assume there’s a dud in the mix when you have anywhere over 5 carts.) Anyway.

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The pod is pretty jam packed with options and in the middle is a covered portico with picnic tables surrounded by foliage. There’s an ATM and the vegetarian cart redeems itself by serving booze. It’s also crowded. On a Wednesday there was a steady flow of traffic and as Stan pointed out “way more hotties” than the previous cart pods. Over all, it’s a little overwhelming, but definitely a decent place to eat a meal.

As for food, I had heard rumor of the Viking Soul Food cart (who knew Vikings had souls?) and it being really, really good, so I went for a Lefse. Lefse’s are Norwegian potato pancakes, super thin, and then filled with all sorts of stuff. I had a special wrap that included chicken, collard greens, tomatoes and garlic-something. There was lots of garlic. As with any food that gets hyped up before I try it I had overly high standards, I was by no means blown away by my meal. It tasted really good, but for $8.50 (including a water cup and the credit card fee) left me a little unsatisfied. Next time, I’d go with the meatball and add some chips or something.
Viking Soul Food on Urbanspoon

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Veggie Reuben from Divine Cafe
Divine Cafe on Urbanspoon

Jared went to Divine Cafe and got a veggie Reuben that looked damn good for being, ya know, vegetarian. He also came back with Tofu tots, which while they looked amazing, actually tasted much like cardboard. I’m not sure if they purveyors of this cart know that potatoes are actually vegetarian and they could make regular tots just as easily that would have been filled more with delicious potato instead of what was basically air.

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Kafta from Aybla
Aybla Grill on Urbanspoon

Stan went to the Mediterranean cart, Aybla Grill, as did our friend Kelly and at $5 a pop, both seemed stoked on their purchases. The cart that I’m mostly likely to go back for though is Namu, a combo Korean/Hawaiian spot. Most of the menu is plate lunches and from the pictures they looked damn good. Then when our friend Laura Lynn showed up with the vegan combo and it actually looked good, well, I’m sold on at least trying it. So that said, I’ll certainly return to Good Food Here.

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Vegan Combo from Nabu


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