Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fuego, Fusion and Pie

One of the things I love about Portland is the food carts. Food carts here are not just a typical street-side hot dog stand. Think creative, outlandish-- often gourmet-- food at affordable prices and you have Portland food carts. Many of you know my love for "Cartopia," the food cart "pod" at SE 12th and Hawthorne (Belgian fries with great dipping sauces, deep-fried pies, a wood-fired pizza cart and gourmet crepes). A new fave of mine is the "D-Street Noshery," on SE Division near 32nd. They have a collection of carts featuring choices ranging from Venezualan Arepas to Korean tacos.

Fuego de Lotus: your Portland spot for Venezuelan arepas to go
The first place I tried at D-Street Noshery was Fuego de Lotus. This cart features "Arepas," a Venezuelan wheat-free corn cake that serves as a stand-in for bread in giant sandwich-like-but-eat-with-a-fork creations. I got the pork belly with red chili maple sauce (topped with cotija cheese and cabbage salad). It was tasty but very heavy and a little bit greasy. (Full disclosure- I caught my kids' 24-hour stomach flu the next day and that may very well have influenced my assessment of the dish).
A Venezuelan "Arepa" filled with pork belly in chili maple sauce.

I finished my meal by sampling a pecan "Pie Hole" (a muffin-sized personal pie) from The Pie Spot. Their crust is amazing-- light and flaky, embodying buttery deliciousness. And their cart is so dang cute, to boot. I also sampled the Lemon Curd with Vanilla Bean pie hole on another visit. I had it topped with real whipped cream (no out-of-the-can stuff here). Seriously yum!
The Pie Spot: the home of the "Pie Hole"-- a delicious muffin-sized single-serving pie
A pecan and brown sugar "pie hole."
Perhaps my favorite lunch munchie spot here is Koi Fusion. It created a stir when it first opened in spring 2009 as a single mobile cart that advertised its whereabouts to loyal fans via Twitter. Now it has two mobile trucks and a stationary location (here at D-Street Noshery). They specialize in "Korean Mexican BBQ." Yes, you heard that right. Their signature dish is the "Korean Taco": a corn tortilla with cilantro and lime-- filled with Korean Bulgogi and bean sprouts. It may sound a bit out there, but it works.

Korean tacos

Not all of the offerings are quite so creative. There is a pizza-by-the-slice cart that I haven't tried (nothing stands out as being unique on the menu) as well as a soup cart that looks a bit more promising. Herb's Mac & Cheese looks like a definite must try as soon as I'm in the mood for a carb overload. The newest cart, Awesome Cone, looks intriguing: it uses homemade waffle cones as the vehicle for delivering savory fillings like pulled pork or sauteed mushrooms in rosemary glaze. So many options, so little time....

Pizza-- not one of the most creative options in the pod.

Herb's Mac & Cheese: Definitely on my "to-try" list-- and it's so cute!


janeannechovy said...

I've heard good things about Slice--though I haven't tried it myself. Next time call me and I'll meet you there. :)

K kid said...

I'd never looked that closely at it before, JaneAnne, but I checked out the review of it on foodcartsportland.com and it looks like it would be worth trying. Maybe I was just biased by my love for Pyro Pizza at the Hawthorne pod. :)


JonJon said...

I think my only complaint about the food carts and the Portland food scene in general is so many options, too little time. It's seriously overwhelming.

I love the Pie Spot and Koi Fusion.

rlmquest said...

Thanks Karen! I'll be taking my husband there soon! I love mac N' Cheese...so I've got to go and try!