Eating Portland

I didn’t have any particular culinary expectations regarding Portland, Oregon, but then a friend reminded me via facebook that there’s a big food cart scene there. A few minutes later I’d downloaded a free smartphone app and was on my way downtown to search for lunch. According to the site which produced the app, there are around 500 carts in the city, usually grouped into “pods”.

I headed for a spot on the corner of  SW5th and Stark, where there was a pod of around twenty carts offering a wide range of fare:

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Love the photo on this one:

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I chose a Czech cart, which is one of the most well known and popular.

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If I’d known I could get a free postcard I’d have stopped shaving before I left Brussels.

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Here’s my “Schnitzelwich”, which is, as the name suggests, a Schnitzel in a bun, although a tangy red sauce underneath added flavour.

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If we’d had more time there I’d love to have tried some more. In fact given the number of carts you could stay in Portland for over a year and never need to step inside a restaurant or eat at the same cart twice.

The other food ‘must do’ in Portland, about which I was also ignorant before arriving, is Voodoo Doughnuts. Friends who live nearby insisted that we go there.

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We passed it several times during our stay and there was always an enormous queue.

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All the bricks are glittery, for some reason.

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Here’s the full menu.

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And there’s a range of suggestive merchandising. I bought a t-shirt.

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Here’s our haul. Chocolate covered figures for the kids, a Portland special for me (filled with cream and covered in chocolate), and the two at bottom left are for our friends who are American and who therefore insist on having bacon with everything.

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Beautifully soft, sweet doughnuts, and very reasonably priced too.

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6 thoughts on “Eating Portland

  1. J April 24, 2013 / 2:42 pm

    I’ve been to Portland many a time (family there) and have yet to eat at a food truck (though I think my dad gets lunch from them sometimes), and only this last time did I try a bite of a voodoo donut, because I was on a tour. The donuts were quite good, and I might have gone back for more had the line not been LONG and the tour guide walking the other way…we’re hoping to go up this summer. We’ll see if a food truck meal is in our future…

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  2. Mlle April 26, 2013 / 8:14 am

    What was your overall opinion of the food in Portland then? And did you feel the crowd was too “hipster”? I’ve had that impression from afar but still feel like it’s a place that would be fun to live.

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    • simonlitton April 26, 2013 / 8:32 am

      There’s a lot of good food there, especially Asian. The carts were good, mostly for the variety and convenience offered, rather than any ground-breaking culinary experiences, although there was some unusual stuff on offer.
      I saw a lot of young, obviously very cool people, but the place wasn’t as crawling with hipster douchebags as I’d feared.

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  3. Mlle April 26, 2013 / 8:35 am

    I’ve heard that the bike culture there is strong. I have grown to appreciate it living in the NL – I’m not sure if it’s the same in the UK, but after 10 years old or so, we don’t ride bikes. It’s great to see adults moving towards cycling as a mode of transportation in some areas.

    Did you see any Dutch cycling trends, like a bakfiets or mothers with 2-3 children on the bike in different seats? 🙂

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    • simonlitton April 26, 2013 / 8:39 am

      Lots of bikes, yes, although I didn’t notice an enormous amount of kids.

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  4. Genaro Rios May 17, 2013 / 8:55 am

    We passed it several times during our stay and there was always an enormous queue.

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