Thursday, August 12, 2010

Portland, Part 1: Food Carts

One of my favorite things about our recent trip to Portland?  Definitely the food carts.  Food carts are genius.  Need to grab something quick during your lunch hour? Food cart.  Too excited about exploring the city to sit down?  Food cart.  Just want a cheap, quality meal?  Food cart.  In Portland, there are hundreds.  There's the Thai food cart that sells out daily, the cart devoted to grilled cheese, Korean fusion carts, Czechoslovakian food carts, and for basically anything you could possibly be craving while walking the streets of Portland--yes, there's a cart for that. 
bloop, the oatmeal food cart in Portland.
We sampled several food carts during our trip, but I'm going to start with the one I found most exciting.  Browsing the local carts on, I happened upon bloop, the oatmeal cart.  Over the last year I've made the drastic change from oatmeal despiser to oatmeal fanatic.  I used to only be able to swallow a bite or two before I was back to wondering who in their right mind would eat a bowl of mush for a breakfast.  Now, I swear, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and occasionally I do).  I'll make it over the stove, add some blueberries, sliced bananas, a pinch of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and it's a great meal.  Oats are healthy whole grains, they're filling, and they're a fantastic way to start your day.  A bowl of warm oatmeal with fresh fruit is little short of perfection.  Don't ask me why I was so against it before.  It's good to know some people change for the better.  
Back to bloop.  After discovering the cart online, bloop was automatically transcribed into my internal itinerary so Monday morning I walked a few blocks from our hotel and located it on 3rd and Washington.  I was already impressed that a food cart specializing in oatmeal existed, but when I saw the cart, it had something else going for it.  This thing was cute!  I won't waste time describing it, so just check out the pictures.
close-up of bloop's "Peanut Butter Banana Dreams" oatmeal
I ordered the Peanut Butter Banana dreams oatmeal, described above, and which was voted one of the "10 Best Street Eats in America" by Men's Health magazine.  After taking the first warm, chewy bite, my verdict was already decided: de-lishhhh-ous.  But how could it not be when it's called "Peanut Butter Banana Dreams" with a chalkboard description that'll make your mouth water?  My dad tried the simple oatmeal with just almond milk, oatmeal and brown sugar, and my mom got the same thing but with an addition of cherries.  Both were similarly awesome.
Simple oatmeal with cherries
All of the menu options are vegan and all of them sound great.  I'm going to have to find some almond milk and try to recreate a few of them.  If that fails, I guess I'll just have to come up with another good excuse to go to Portland.

All of the other meals we had at the food carts were lunches.  Ryo tried burritos at two different Mexican food carts and rated them both pretty highly.  My parents and I had Korean burritos at a cart called Korean Twist.  These burritos contained bean sprouts, spicy chicken, rice, spicy sauce and some other veggies.  I'd never had anything like it before, but after trying these, I wish I had!  Unfortunately our hunger prevented us from snapping some pictures of these meals, but trust me, they looked and tasted great.
Handmade mozzarella sandwich from the Portland Soup Co.
On our first day my mom wanted to stop at the Portland Soup Company cart since she'd seen a video about it online.  She and I each had the sandwich with handmade mozzarella, fresh basil, marinated roma tomatoes, balsamic syrup, and roasted garlic aioli.  My dad had to try the slow smoked pork butt sandwich with purple cabbage apple slaw.  You couldn't go wrong with either choice.

Next time you're in Portland, try a few of the carts, and give me some recommendations for future visits!  Now excuse me while I go make some oatmeal. 


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