Food Carts Portland Uncategorized

Food Cart Fridays: The Pie Spot

We picked up a couple of pie holes from The Pie Spot the other day. You see them here and there around town at a few restaurants, and even a few other carts, but I was never compelled to get one, because if you tack 3. 50 onto an 8 dollar lunch, you get a double digit lunch lunch bill, which I only go in for when I’m in Napa Valley, or ballin’ outta control in the ATL. These ones were post-dinner, so I felt a splurge would do. We bought a Brown Butter Pecan, and a Marionberry. They were both delicious, very well made pies, but unless you happen to be a squirrel, don’t count on more than 3 or 4 bites. These might be OK for cute tiny people, but I’m a hungry bear and I’ll eat the hell out of some pie, so the pie-to-dollar ration just doesn’t work for me here. Sorry, them’s the breaks––America taught me to like everything big.

Visit: The Pie Spot’s Website
Located at the D-Street Noshery @ 32nd & Division, Portland, OR.

Cooking Uncategorized

I Am Not Fried Boloney Sandwich

I’ve been wanting weird sandwiches lately, like a fried boloney sandwich1, but without the utter gross of boloney. Luckily, there is this fancy faux-bologna stuff called mortadella that allows me to savor the joys of fried boloney without the possibility of suffering a largely imaginary slap on the taste buds by a pair of raunchy desert oysters. No, that would not due at all. And, yeah, purists, I’m calling mortadella boloney, so up yours! I read up on it before posting, and you’re all full of crap. It’s a beef/pork/whatever loaf with special seasonings in it, and some cubes of fat, and some pistachios and peppercorns, but it is what it is: a fancied-up, yet utterly delicious bologna!

Out of the brown wrapping and into the grill pan! In case you didn’t know (perhaps some perspective was in order?) these slices have about a 12″ diameter, so at least 4 slices are required for a sandwich, but who would argue with more? Start with the grill pan mega-hawt and add a splash of olive oil. They fry up super-quick, and take on an elegant brown blistering faster than you’d imagine, so you have to fry flip and cheese with no delay, otherwise the cheese may not have sufficient time to melt over the meat.

I asked for a few slices of provolone, any’ll do, at the swank cheese counter I frequent, and they gave me a thinly sliced half-lb of the stuff that is melting over the mortadella. I’ve got no idea what it is called, but I recommend dropping some coin on some bomb ultra-lux provalone sometime. This stuff had a crisp, tangy bite. I daresay it made the sandwich. In general, I regard most provolone’s as just something one puts with italian-style meats as a matter of course, just so that you can tell yourself, you slapped some cheese on it, but it’s never been game-changing like this stuff was. I’ve got some inquiring to do… The red things are Mama Lil’s Peppers. I’ve liked these for a while, but lately I have become obsessed with them. They’re kinda like other pickled peppers, except a million times better (literally.)

Here we are, at the last paragraph, and I have an admission to make: I totally ripped-off the idea for this sandwich from an venerable food cart here in portland called Lardo, but I’m not ashamed of it. Listen, I’d planned on eating hot dogs for dinner that night, and the meat counter was out of Sabretts! I had to think quick on my feet! And I said to hell with it, I’m making some fried-boloney sandwiches for dinner! (With a side of sugar snap peas for good health…)

Fried Mortadella Sandwiches
to make 4 sandwiches

• 4- small loaves of crusty french bread or ciabatta, toasted
• 16- thin slices of mortadella
• 8- thin slices of provolone
• Mama Lil’s peppers or similar
• Lettuce, julliened
• Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper
• Additional condiments of you choice like Mayo or Mustard

Combine the peppers, a hearty handful of lettuce, a glug of the oil/brine from the peppers, and a dash of S&P, and set aside.

Heat a grill pan or whatever, and start toasting the bread. When the pan is hot add a slosh of oil to coat the pan, then slap in the mortadella in single layer. It will fry quickly, so be careful not to burn it, but allow the first side to brown nicely, then flip the slices, and arrange so that they are ready to go straight from the pan to the bread. Add the cheese as soon as possible. Hopefully, the bread is finished toasting by now, and you can quickly add some mayonnaise or mustard or both, or none even. One the mortadella is done on the second side, and it shouldn’t take longer than a minute, transfer it to the bread. Add a hearty helping of lettuce and peppers, and fold it over so that the bread and everything comes together in a sandwich-like manner.

1I can’t footnote the title, but if I could I’d add the same note: I (also, it would seem) ripped-off the title of this post from a great novel about a young man who looks exactly like Sidney Poitier.

Foodcarts Portland

Food Cart Fridays: Fuego de Lotus

Fuego de Lotus specializes in arepas, a traditionally handheld street food originating in Venezuala. I was originally introduced to them while watching an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network. Essentially they are small, deep fried rounds made of masa harina, a very finely ground corn flour, that are then stuffed with your choice of ingredients. I thought they sounded great as a drunken snacky kind of food, and so I made some a while back in anticipation of being drunken and wanting some. I remember following a recipe that I found through Cook’s Illustrated (which I was more or less addicted to as I was learning to cook, and therefore trusted) that called for a chicken and avocado filling. I made that and one other filling that I can’t recall right now. In any case, they were delicious–creamy pockets with a crisp exterior bursting with an abundance of fresh flavors. I made about a dozen. I didn’t make enough. Once I heard about this cart specializing in arepas I was eager to taste the wares. Well, what can I say? It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was still very good. However, I will stipulate that we both ordered plates and not a stand alone arepa, which may have been more in line with my preconceived notions of arepadom.

I ordered a plate with chorizo sausage. All plates are $9 and come standard with an arepa, black beans, rice, red cabbage salad, fried plantains, and cotija cheese. The plates were well composed and balanced; the chirozo was medium spicy, and well seasoned, the rice and black beans cooked perfectly, with the vinegary cabbage rounding out the flavors, and providing a nice counter weight to everything else on the plate. I wish more people would include a simple item such as this to their dishes at food carts–something to go to in order to cleanse the palate and start a new cycle of bites. It really makes the meal so much more enjoyable.

This is tough. My only gripe is with the arepa! While it was crispy and savory, I would argue that it was too much so. It wasn’t light and moist on the inside, but rather dense, almost solid. I tried to make an arepa sandwich with it and everything just evacuated the premises when I tried to squeeze it together. I ended up using it to scoop and bite, which I didn’t mind so much as it just wasn’t what I wanted. I feel like I am greatly exaggerating the importance of this, though, because I was still very satisfied with the dish as a whole.

Gabrielle ordered the plate with chicken verde. As you can see, it is virtually identical with the exception of the meats. The chicken verde was flavorful and well spiced. I think I liked it a bit more than the chorizo, but I only tried a bite or two. Gabrielle agrees with me about the arepas, and prefers them they way I made them that one time. However, this difference isn’t enough to keep from going back. On the contrary, we would definitely return, but we might just ask to have the arepas fried a bit less.

Located at 32nd & Division in Portland, OR at the D-Street Noshery


Dead Ringer

I bought you on ebay 4 years ago and today I had to lay you to rest, your neck snapped, your body tattered and bruised. I had believed we had a fine relationship, but now it seems that perhaps I abused you, and treated you unkindly. But, as I look at you, laid out on top of this soiled napkin in a second had stoneware baking dish, I am reminded that I don’t really give a shit about phones at all, and I’ve moved on to an LG I took from the phone recycling drop box on the counter at Bi-Partisan Cafe. It’s shinier than you ever were, but that will change. RIP


Moutarde de Gangsta

I was out at a place called Tanya’s European Deli to pick up some rye and pierogies, and I got those things, but I also got a jar of this mustard mayo that features the Russian Flava-Flav. In fact, I don’t even think that the image is modeled on a real Russian person, but rather that it is Flava-Flav; that moonlighting on random mustard jars around the world is a leisure activity for him.. I don’t even think I’m going to use it. I just feel better knowing that it’s in my fridge.