Browsing articles in "food cart"
Dec 19, 2014
Jim Benson

3rd defendant pleads guilty in vicious attack on food-cart worker

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The third – and final – defendant admitted Thursday to his role in the vicious stabbing of a halal food cart worker in Grasmere during an early winter snowstorm.

Christopher Daniels, 18, pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court, St. George, to first-degree robbery, stemming from the savage Jan. 3 attack.

Authorities allege Daniels, then 17; Eric Peterson, then 20, and Kenneth Young, 22, assaulted the victim at about 1:55 a.m. during the height of a raging storm.

Peterson is also known as Steve Anderson; Young also goes by Keith Young. The three hail from Brooklyn but have ties to Staten Island.

The suspects saw the victim standing by his food cart at the corner of Hylan Boulevard and Old Town Road, authorities said.

They rushed and robbed him, knocking him to the ground and stabbing him repeatedly with two knives and a box cutter, police sources said.

After taking the victim’s cash, the three fled, but they didn’t know the neighborhood well and were caught by patrolling police officers, one NYPD source said.

Police initially thought the 50-year-old victim wouldn’t survive, but his internal organs weren’t punctured, said sources.

Twenty-five minutes before the near-fatal attack, the suspects allegedly mugged a 29-year-old man at knifepoint at the Old Town Road train station. They snatched his cash, said prosecutors.

In September, Peterson admitted to the two attacks and to a third incident on Dec. 20 on Bay Street near Virginia Avenue, in Rosebank.

Police said Peterson knocked a man to the ground, slashed his back and face with a box cutter, and stole his phone and cash.

He pleaded guilty then in state Supreme Court, St. George, to three counts of first-degree assault to cover charges in each case. First-degree assault is a “B” felony, the same classification as attempted second-degree murder, one of the charges on which the defendants were indicted.

Last month, Peterson was sentenced to 12 years behind bars and five years’ post-release supervision for each conviction, according to information from District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s office.

The sentences will run concurrently.

Young pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree robbery.

Under his agreement, he’ll be sentenced Jan. 26 to 10 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision.

Daniels will be sentenced Jan. 5 to seven and a half years behind bars, said prosecutors.

Assistant District Attorney Adam Silberlight is prosecuting

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Dec 18, 2014
Jim Benson

New food cart keeps Clark County favorite alive

For more than 50 years, the Steakburger restaurant and its attached Golf-O-Rama mini-golf course in Hazel Dell were synonymous with good, old-fashioned fun.

Families came from miles around to play putt putt golf and eat a jumbo burger piled high with lettuce, tomatoes and that classic Steakburger sauce.

“People in Clark County have a taste for that sauce,” says Tina Condon, of Vancouver. “Everyone who grew up here remembers the Steakburger.”

For Condon, 53, the Steakburger was more than just a good memory – it was a home away from home. Condon grew up surrounded by Steakburger employees and loyal customers. Her parents, Bob and Merilyn Condon, purchased the restaurant from its original owners in the early 1960s and grew a small burger joint into a local fixture.

At one point, the Condons and their extended family owned seven Steakburgers in Clark County and Portland and boasted more than two dozen employees.

But people get older, children turn away from the family business and economies change. Last year, after Bob and Merilyn decided to sell the restaurant’s 2.3-acre site to a developer, all of those changes caught up to the Steakburger. By mid-June, the restaurant and miniature golf course were just a memory, part of Vancouver’s history.

But, Tina Condon knew there was life left in the Steakburger name.

“My parents asked us kids if we wanted anything and I said, ‘Yes, two things: the recipe for the sauce and the sign,’” Condon says.

With its huge red arrow and clean white lettering atop a cobalt blue background, the memorable Steakburger sign was a throwback to the early ’60s and a big part of what the public remembered about the 51-year-old restaurant. Unfortunately, the Condons had never owned the sign, so Tina couldn’t keep it.

“But I got the sauce,” Condon says. “My plan was to bottle it and sell it.”

Making a commercially sold sauce is a huge undertaking and Condon worried that, if she waited too long, people would start to forget about the Steakburger sauce.

“That’s when I thought about doing the food cart,” Condon says. “That way, people wouldn’t lose their taste for the Steakburger sauce.”

Food carts are nothing new. Neighborhoods throughout Portland have boasted food cart “pods” with outdoor seating for the past decade, but the craze hasn’t quite hit Clark County yet. Still, Condon had what it takes to run a successful food cart – name recognition, a loyal customer base and a sturdy truck she’d recently purchased to pull her small camper.

Instead of heading to the woods for some outdoor time, like she thought she would, Condon hooked her new truck up to a 16-square-foot food cart and Steakburger on the Go was born.

As Condon predicted, once Clark County folks heard that the Steakburger was back – albeit in a miniaturized, mobile version – they came knocking. In less than a month, Condon has had requests to bring the Steakburger on the Go cart to weddings, class reunions and tree farm lots.

The cart may be tiny, but the food Condon sells is not. Like the original Steakburger, the food cart offers all of the classics: the Jumbo, a ⅓-pound burger served with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and Steakburger sauce; the Double Jumbo; and, on request, the Triple Jumbo; fries and the Ultimate Dog, a hotdog with all the fixins. There are bottles of Steakburger sauce available for $9 and Condon offers a Daily Special like the Hawaiian Chick, a chicken sandwich with provolone, ham and pineapple. 

After a few very rough years, which included the death of her husband, Otoniel Castano, in 2011, Condon says she finally feels like her life is coming together. She has discovered a new love of being in the great outdoors, is spending time with her youngest child, 16-year-old Tessa, and has found her niche with the Steakburger on the Go business.

“For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be,” Condon says. “It just feels right.”

Currently, the Steakburger on the Go cart is located about one half mile from where the original Steakburger was located, at 1015 NE 78th St., near the corner of Highway 99 and Northeast 78th Street in Hazel Dell. You can typically find the cart there during the week, but since this cart is “on the go” and Condon often caters local events, it is wise to check the business’ Facebook site, which lists daily specials and that day’s hours of operation.

For more information, call Condon at (360) 989-5291. For inquiries regarding catering, call (360) 989-5081.

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Dec 18, 2014
Jim Benson

Batter Up, newest addition to Aloha’s food cart pod, serves up waffle sandwiches

You can’t have a bad day making waffles.

That’s what John Robinson, owner and cook at Batter Up, said in his food truck while making a turkey and ham waffle sandwich for a customer.

Robinson, with the help of his wife, Julie Robinson, opened up Batter Up on Oct. 27 in what may be Aloha’s first food truck pod.

Bob Young, owner of the land where four food trucks park, said the pod was “semi-planned, semi-accident.”

It started about two years ago, when the owner of Cocina Mexico Lindo food truck asked Young for a place to operate. The truck used to serve up tacos at another part of the Aloha Mall — off Southwest 185th Avenue and Tualatin Valley Highway. Meanwhile, Young had been looking for a use for a plot of land off Alexander Street. 

“One [truck] led to a second which led to a third which led to a fourth,” said Young, 75, a Washougal resident.

The location sits adjacent to the parking lot at Aloha Mall and offers seating areas for customers. Two Mexican food trucks, a shaved ice truck and, now, a waffle sandwich truck operate there seven days a week. Young said there’s room for one to two more trucks at the pod, which is the only one he knows of in the area.

That may be because many Washington County cities have restrictions on how food trucks may operate.

Robinson said he and his wife chose Aloha Mall because it was less than a mile from their home and the business already had a solid customer base in the area.

“We’ve done farmer’s markets [in Hillsboro], so our fan base is kind of out here,” John Robinson said. “Plus, there’s no food cart pods out here yet.”

“If you go to Hillsboro, if you go to Beaverton there’s not one,” said Julie Robinson, adding Aloha Mall food cart pod is the only one on the west side. “They definitely need to change those laws.”

Business is slow, but John Robinson said that’s likely because of the weather. Reviews on Yelp are positive and Batter Up even gets regulars thanks to a punch card system. Buy nine sandwiches; get the next one free. Also, customers will receive two punches for coming out on a rainy day.

“That seems to have caught on. Everybody brings their punch card back,” Julie Robinson said. “We’ve given away quite a few [sandwiches].” 

Batter Up, open Tuesday through Sunday, has nine savory and sweet waffle sandwiches from $4 to $6.50. The original recipe is a breakfast sandwich made with a bacon-sausage combo and served with egg and American cheese.

— Nuran Alteir | Twitter

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Dec 17, 2014
Jim Benson

Umai: Food Cart Review

To get to Umai, you need a little faith. Turn down a
street that doesn’t look like a street, and behind the Hazel Room and
Red Velvet Parlour, facing a wall with quotes about murder, you’ll find a
tiny food-cart pod tucked away like an oyster’s pearl in a slab of
dead-end pavement. Nothing could survive here unless it was either
wonderful or desperate.

Well, it’s wonderful,
much like the Bundy’s boiled-bagel cart next to it. Never mind that
Umai has some of the best fried chicken in town, at a criminally low
cost. Chicken karaage—the Japanese take on an American mid-South
staple—is breaded just to the point of crispness and coated in soy,
garlic and ginger, lightly sauced in chopsticks-ready chunks, and almost
perfect for a mere $4. The kale and kelp salad ($3.50) is a lightly
vinegared love affair with all things green by land or sea, with bright
and deep flavors.

But you haven’t gone
down this rabbit hole for kelp. Umai serves terrific ramen ($10), with a
shoyu broth that wallops you with soy, and a shio (salt) broth that
mixes with the natural saltiness of the soup’s tender pulled pork
shoulder to create a sort of light-headed ecstasy amid probable brain
dehydration. But the real depth of flavor is provided by pickled
shiitakes, a just-so soft-boiled egg and a mess of scallions and steamed
greens, not to mention al dente, cart-made noodles with taste and
texture that announce themselves rather than recede into glutenous
limpness. The broths and meat are not tenderly smoky like Shigezo’s or
Mirakutei’s, nor do they reach the muscle-relaxant umami high of Yuzu’s
tonkotsu. But by the end of each bowl of shio, the only thing you’ll
want is more of the same.

  • Order this: Shio ramen, but (pro tip) try the veggie broth with karaage dunked in. Damn.
  • Best deal: That fried chicken is $4.

EAT: Umai, Southeast 33rd Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard, 502-4428, umaipdx.com. Noon-5 pm Wednesday-Sunday.

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Dec 16, 2014
Jim Benson

Tuscan Food Cart Favorite Burrasca Going Brick and Mortar

Burrasca was an immediate hit when it opened in the little cart pod off NE 28th and Ankeny in August 2013. Florentine chef Paolo Calamai’s authentic, deeply flavorful Tuscan dishes were almost too good to eat from a picnic table in a parking lot. And so we knew this day was coming, when Calamai and his wife, Elizabeth Petrosian, would announce their plans to open a full-service restaurant.

“This was always our goal,” Petrosian says. “It’s what we always wanted to do. The cart is great but Paolo could only do five or six dishes from there. Italian food needs to have more options, so you can build a meal.”

With the restaurant, Calamai will still put his focus squarely on Tuscan cuisine, there will just be a lot more of it. “They will definitely be the dishes he offered in the cart,” says Petrosian, “but there will be more dishes, more pastas, plus things like appetizers and desserts.”

The only downside is the cart will shutter on January 1, 2015, while the couple gear up for their new venture, which they’re aiming to open by April or May.

First on the agenda is finding the right location. “We’ve been semi-actively looking,” says Petrosian. “And we’re going to ramp that up and hopefully find something that won’t require a huge build-out.”

Then they’ll take some time off to recharge with a long-awaited family trip to India in late January or early February. When they get back, they’ll launch a Kickstarter in March to help with the expenses, and they’ll host a few few pop-up dinners in their home. They’re also open to working with private investors.

But for now, you can still catch Calamai at the cart, where he’s dishing up things like steaming bowls of ribolitta, tangles of tagliatelle tossed in meaty ragu, and braised squid inzimino, truly one of the best dishes in town. Get your fix while you can.

Burrasca

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Dec 16, 2014
Jim Benson

Second defendant pleads guilty in vicious attack on food-cart worker

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A second defendant has admitted to his role in the vicious stabbing of a halal food cart worker earlier this year in Grasmere during a snowstorm.

Kenneth Young has pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, stemming from the savage Jan. 3 attack.

Young, then 21, was among three suspects charged.

Authorities allege Young, who’s also known as Keith Young; Eric Peterson, then 20, and Christopher Daniels, then 17, assaulted the victim at about 1:55 a.m. during the height of a raging storm.

Peterson is also known as Steve Anderson. The three hail from Brooklyn but have ties to Staten Island.

The suspects saw the victim standing by his food cart at the corner of Hylan Boulevard and Old Town Road, authorities said.

They rushed and robbed him, knocking him to the ground and stabbing him repeatedly with two knives and a box cutter, police sources said.

After taking the victim’s cash, the three fled, but they didn’t know the neighborhood well and were caught by patrolling police officers, one NYPD source said.

Police initially thought the 50-year-old victim wouldn’t survive, but his internal organs weren’t punctured, said sources.

Twenty-five minutes before the near-fatal attack, the suspects allegedly mugged a 29-year-old man at knifepoint at the Old Town Road train station. They snatched his cash, said prosecutors.

In September, Peterson admitted to the two attacks and to a third incident on Dec. 20 on Bay Street near Virginia Avenue, in Rosebank.

Police said Peterson knocked a man to the ground, slashed his back and face with a box cutter, and stole his phone and cash.

He pleaded guilty then in state Supreme Court, St. George, to three counts of first-degree assault to cover charges in each case. First-degree assault is a “B” felony, the same classification as attempted second-degree murder, one of the charges on which the defendants were indicted.

Last month, Peterson was sentenced to 12 years behind bars and five years’ post-release supervision for each conviction, according to information from District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s office.

The sentences will run concurrently.

Daniels’ case is pending.

Young’s plea covers the attack on the food-cart worker and the train-station mugging. He was not involved in the Rosebank incident.

Under his agreement, he will be sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision on Jan. 26 in state Supreme Court, St. George.

His lawyer, Maria Guastella, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Assistant District Attorney Adam Silberlight is prosecuting.

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Dec 12, 2014
Jim Benson

Redditors Petition to Bring Back Time-Consuming (but Tasty) Braciola to PDX …

Say what you will about the rabbit hole that is Reddit, but users can wield tremendous power. Case in point: bringing the braciola back to North Portland’s Gabagool food cart.

There are hundreds of “subreddits” on the site, including one for people who like to take pictures of their food. So cart owner and Redditor Ryan Sherman decided to post his own picture last week, choosing a luscious-looking shot of his braciola, almost glowing with heavenly deliciousness. It was upvoted so many times it made the front page.

“I really just wanted to post a picture of my food. I didn’t expect it to get as popular as it did,” says Sherman.

The string of comments, which ranged from X-rated to requests for food cart advice, included many from Portland Redditors who were making plans to hit the N. Mississippi cart the very next day. Trouble is, the braciola is a special and wasn’t on the menu. “If I knew it would get that popular I would have posted something that was on the menu,” he says.

At the Redditors’ demand, Sherman promised to bring the braciola back. And, as of yesterday, he made good on his promise.

“It’s pork shoulder, sliced and pounded thin, and stuffed with proscuitto, fresh mozzarella, breadcrumbs and parsley. Then it’s rolled and tied, seared and then finished in the oven. It’s served over homemade tagliatelle with tomato sauce. It’s really a lot of work to make. We don’t do it very often.” And during the lean months of winter, it’s even more of a rare occurrence.

Sherman says the braciola will be on the menu at least until Sunday, and maybe into next week. “I made a lot.”

Furthering the good news, Sherman has applied for a liquor license and will start serving beer and wine by the glass and half-bottle splits starting in January. “We’ll have a few local and a few Italian wines,” he says. “We’re working with a local wine distributor and we’ll change it up a lot.” As for beer, he’s planning to have one Italian brew, such as Peroni, as well as options from nearby Bridgeport and Stormbreaker.

Gabagool

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Dec 10, 2014
Jim Benson

Russian Horse: Food Cart Review

A Russian horse must be no-nonsense and a hard worker,
built for terrible winters. But at Russian Horse food cart, stick with
snacks and desserts—food for dawdlers and wastrels.

The Sellwood cart
began as a no-nonsense pierogi slinger. Its dumplings (three for $5) are
serviceable if unexciting, with traditional innards of farmer’s cheese
and potatoes, and options on kielbasa, heavy garlic or add-ons such as
asparagus. The pierogi are fried a bit tough, and the rubbery dough must
either be drenched in broth ($1.50 extra) or livened with juices from
the accompanying caramelized onions. 

Go for the junk food
instead, on a menu that’s been slowly expanding into capitalist
decadence since the cart opened in March. The chicken wings Kiev (four
for $7.50) are a clever casual-food update on the old Russian
chicken-breast dish. The wings are deep-fried in heavy breading, doused
in herbed garlic butter and tanged up by lemon. It’s artery-tightening
bar food for old-country hockey fans, and it’s great. The potato
pancakes ($6.50), meanwhile, are slathered in housemade
applesauce—alongside onions and sour cream—for a beautifully
sweet-savory, crisp treat.

Get the desserts,
however, and you’re golden. The pierogi are best ordered with a magma
flow of dark chocolate inside (three for $5), and lately the cart has
been serving a rotating array of little tarts filled with ganache and
peppermint, pumpkin or pecan. The syrniki (three for $2.50) are
basically tiny Dutch pancakes, powdered with sugar and touched with
lemon zest. But perhaps my favorite are the most humble: Ponchiki (three
for $3.50) are yeasty tennis balls of fried dough made with farmer’s
cheese—cakier, creamier versions of a sour-cream doughnut. They’re
terrific.

So forget Russian horse. Get lazy. Russian show pony.

  • Order this: Chicken wings Kiev, potato pancakes, ponchiki.
  • I’ll pass: Savory pierogi. 

EAT: Russian Horse, Southeast 13th and Lexington streets, 971-599-1346, russianhorse.com. Noon-8 pm Wednesday-Saturday, noon-3 pm Sunday.  

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Dec 10, 2014
Jim Benson

Could San Francisco follow Portland’s food cart lead? A sustainable Portland …



Laura Weiss GoBox web*304

GO Box’s Laura Weiss is taking the Portland reusable food container service to San Francisco. GO Box San Francisco aims to raise $15,000 on Indiegogo.





Rare Creekside Estate15 photos







Wendy Culverwell
Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal

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A Portland company that makes reusable takeout containers is taking its campaign to reduce the amount of disposable food containers that end up in landfills on the road.

GO Box PDX is expanding its services to San Francisco, launching on the momentum of its 2,000-plus Portland members.

Owner Laura Weiss estimates GO Box has replaced nearly 60,000 disposable takeout containers since launching in 2011. That’s the equivalent of all the disposable food containers consumed in Portland every month.

GO Box San Francisco launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo last week to expand to downtown and surrounding cities. It has raised $2,191 out of $15,000 sought as of Tuesday morning.

It piloted the program in the Dogpatch neighborhood in early December.

GO Box subscribers pay $18 per year and receive digital tokens via email or smartphone, which they present at participating food vendors. The customer receives their meal in a BPA-free, reusable plastic clamshell container that can be returned to a drop-off site.

The containers are cleaned in health department certified kitchens by partner restaurants.

Wendy Culverwell covers sustainable business, manufacturing and law.



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Dec 8, 2014
Jim Benson

Southeast Portland’s Burrasca food cart closing to focus on opening brick and …

If you’ve got a craving for Tuscan food, make sure to visit Southeast Portland’s Burrasca soon.

The food cart, one of The Oregonian’s top 10 food carts of 2014, will be closing Jan. 1 to focus on opening a restaurant, according to their website. Their brick and mortar is slated to open in spring of 2015.

In the coming months, the food cart is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help with expenses for the restaurant as well as hosting a handful of pop-up dinners in owner Paolo Calamai’s home. 

Here’s what Michael Russell wrote about Burrasca earlier this year:

Burrasca stormed onto Portland’s food cart scene about a year ago, and its rustic Tuscan peasant food has been our not-so-secret crush ever since. Here, Paolo Calamai, a Florentine native who’s worked front- and back-of-house jobs at Italian restaurants in Italy, New York and San Francisco, prepares the hearty, soulful fare of his hometown. In the winter there were Tuscan rib-stickers like pappardelle with wild boar ragu, ribollita, the bread, kale and white bean soup, and in zimino, slow-simmered calamari in an inky spinach-tomato stew. Lately, Burrasca’s menu has embraced summer with pasta e ceci, a smooth chickpea, garlic and rosemary soup, drizzled with olive oil, hiding stubby slips of tagliatelle, and with crisp polpette, the chicken-potato croquettes, made from Calamai’s grandmother’s recipe and served with a stunning red sauce. The showstopper is the silky spinach gnudi — I’ve had versions for three times the price at buzzy Portland Italian restaurants that weren’t fit to wear Burrasca’s sage-infused butter sauce.

More to come. 

Burrasca is located at 113 S.E. 28th Avenue.

– Samantha Bakall  

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