Here in Portland, Oregon, there are dozens upon dozens of food carts parked across town. These aren’t ordinary food carts. They are here to please the locavores and the foodies and the professional-restaurant folks on their days off. They are here for the spontaneous diner. They are here to offer outstanding food at low prices. They are here to provide a social aspect with a small town feel. They’re fun!
There are carts that serve only imported foods…foods from France, short eats from India, even Venezuelan barbecue. One cart allows people to call ahead for reservations, at which point the owners put out white table cloths and get out the good china. The majority of them serve locally grown fare. There are carts that serve dishes based on fancy cheeses to please even the most discerning caseophile. There is one cart near where I live, that fuses Korean barbecue with the finest Mexican cuisine…and each has fabulous vegetarian options.
The carts are everywhere…but a half block from where we live, where a vacant lot existed this time a year ago, there is now a circle of food carts that surround a large beer tent laden with picnic tables. Other picnic tables sit on the outside of the tent.
We both choose two split biscuits with vegetarian black eyed pea gravy and flower pepper and paprika on top.
All I can say is, “Wow!”.
The light, fluffy biscuits were made with whole grain flour and were expertly split in half. Then, the black eye’d pea gravy was generously ladled on and sprinkled with chopped green onions and paprika to impart a special umami that is usually provided by pork renderings. It was high caloric heaven! BAM!
Other carts in the circle include the aforementioned Korean/Mexican fusion and East Indian carts, one that sells “fill yer own” pie holes (small crusts with made-to-order sweet or savory fillings), meat sandwiches and Italian gelato. There is a gourmet hot dog cart, a cart that sells traditional food from Guam and another that sells traditional Tibetan food. The beer tent is huge and the vendors there sell dozens of different kinds of local brews. There is usually some live acoustic music going on to provide a happy, friendly environment that helps keep Portland weirder than ever.
Mind you, this is just one of the dozens of food cart courts that are scattered across the Rose city, and but one of the plethora of reasons why I love it here!