Friday, Mar. 26, 2010

6. Food Cart Tour

Food carts first started cropping up around town to serve hungry workers looking for cheap eats to go, but this being Portland, they've now become a citywide vehicle for creative kitcheneers to dispense their locavore-friendly mayo. The city's carts are clustered in pods around town, and if you've got an extendo belly and lots of one-dollar bills you can become a master cart jumper. Here are a few picks from some of the major locations.

From the posse at SW 10th Ave. and Alder St., Nong's Khao Man Gai cart is not to be missed: utilizing the make-one-thing-but-make-it-great approach, Nong, a Bangkok native, offers khao man gai, an amazing Thai chicken dish (poached chicken with rice cooked in chicken stock and fat, with a side of addictive spicy dipping sauce) that's bundled up in butcher paper like a gift for your stomach.

It's hard to make one pick from the large cart crowd at SW 5th Ave. and Oak St., but the Czech specialists who run Tabor are the go-to guys for goulashes, spaetzles and a gut bomb they call the Schnitzelwich.

The cartopia at SE 12th Ave. and Hawthorne Blvd. hosts a late-night scene that sometimes feels like a well-catered rave. Poutine providers Potato Champion bring an indie-rock insouciance to frying potatoes: it may not look like much, but the utmost care and attention have been given to your cone of fries.