Browsing articles tagged with " food cart"
Mar 16, 2014
Jim Benson

Vancouver cart to deliver food from the farm to city desks

A group of local urban farmers are taking their business direct to the shining glass towers of downtown Vancouver this summer with a farm market food cart at Robson Square and farm-to-office delivery of weekly baskets of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and honey.

Fresh Cart is a partnership between the farmers and the successful Re-Up BBQ, which recently graduated from food cart status to bricks-and-mortar business but still holds a food cart permit on Robson Street. The new cart will sell Re-Up bacon, as well as fruit and vegetables, farm preserves, salads prepared by Maenam Thai restaurant, local honey, fresh ice cream and artisanal sodas made from local fruit and herb syrups.

Electronic Arts is the first big business to sign on to the food basket program with 30-plus employees prepared to spend $40 a week for 17 weeks of locally grown food. The farmers are still in negotiations with a half-dozen other businesses that hope to meet the minimum 30-member threshold.

Nine local urban and peri-urban farms — ranging from just one-third of an acre up to seven acres — have formed a business co-operative and plan to operate a pooled warehouse and distribution system. By using hired staff to prep, package and deliver their products, the farmers will be able to double their production, according to farmer Emi Do.

FarmCity Co-op’s new business model will serve 300 food basket customers through the growing season and should gross close to $250,000, up from a collective $75,000 last year. The group received a $25,000 grant from the Vancity enviroFund to implement their plan.

By hiring staff dedicated to the warehouse and delivery functions, the farmers will spend more time on the land and put more acreage under crops. Independent urban farmers typically spend at least one day each week doing deliveries and usually one more at a farmers market.

“At the height of the growing season there is a huge demand for the farmers’ products, but there isn’t time to get all the work done in the field as well as take care of the direct marketing, sales and distribution function,� said Do. “Getting food to the consumers has been a huge time suck.�

The farmers have literally torn a page from the book All The Dirt: Reflections on Organic Farming, written by the three farmer-members of the Saanich Organics Co-op on Vancouver Island.

“We bought their book and studied it and we are borrowing a lot of their ideas and learning from some of their mistakes,� she said.

By controlling all the points on the value chain from harvest to wholesale, distribution and retail, the farmers will control the price of their products and avoid the markup typically extracted each time a product changes hands.

“This isn’t really a new model for farm business,� said Do. “This is what farmers used to do when there were a lot more small-scale farmers. It went away with the growth of larger agri-business.�

rshore@vancouversun.com

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Mar 13, 2014
Tim Lester

Get trucking on Toronto street food policy


Let’s be optimistic and hope, this time, Toronto council won’t screw up its food truck program the way it did its food cart program.

All of this stems from what is, one would think, the good idea of expanding the selection of foods available on busy Toronto streets beyond hot dogs, not that there’s anything wrong with the venerable tube steak.

But when the city tried a few years back to expand the food cart program to a more international selection of foods it loaded it down with so many restrictions that the program crashed and burned, while some operators lost their shirts.

This time, the city is looking at relaxing the rules to allow the growing food truck industry to expand on our streets.

Unfortunately, this is what the city is proposing after, it says, cutting the red tape.

The annual cost of a license would be $5,066.69, plus parking fees. (By comparison, in a city with a thriving food truck industry like Austin, Texas, it’s under $600.) Food trucks would not be able to park within 50 metres of a restaurant, wiping out the availability of huge sections of Toronto.

Beyond that, councillors and local Business Improvement Areas (local businesses) would be able to request banning local food trucks entirely, setting off a lengthy appeal process.

If there’s going to be this much bureaucracy, even after supposedly cutting red tape, we sense a looming food truck disaster comparable to the food cart disaster.

What’s the point of having a policy allowing food trucks to operate if it’s so restrictive no one can afford to operate them?

We understand restaurants not wanting food trucks parked right outside their doors and reasonable accommodations should be made for them.

That said, customers buying a snack or quick meal from a food truck generally aren’t looking for a sit-down meal.

Great cities have a great street life. Part of that is having a variety of great street food.

So let’s have a city policy that delivers that, rather than one that will see food trucks wandering the city like nomads trying to find a place to set up, until they run out of money.

Just like the food cart operators before them.

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Mar 12, 2014
Jim Benson

Go For the Food: Portland food carts cross borders

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment.

That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger.

The culture of Portland food carts — cheaper than restaurants and meriting just a couple-dollars tip (and sales-tax free, to boot) — allows diners to assemble their own multicourse tasting menu, provided they don’t mind a moderate walk or a quick bike ride. Luckily, most food trucks are assembled in pods scattered across the city, making it easy to visit multiple trucks at each stop.

Start in southeast Portland, where Viking Soul Food does one thing and does it well. The simple, steel-bodied trailer is adorned only with a red umbrella. A sign promises “marvelous handcrafted edibles,” and the menu is as stripped down as the cart itself.

Here you will find lefse, and not much else.

Like crepes without the milk and eggs, these Norwegian potato-flatbread wraps serve as a versatile bed for sweet and savory entrees that co-owner Megan Walhood’s great-grandmother put on the Christmas table every year. The fillings can include heavy-duty pork-and-beef meatballs or a local grab of mushrooms and Oregon-grown hazelnut patties.

The seasonal winter lefse presented a well-balanced mix of goat cheese, pears and walnuts under sherry-sugar reduction — fresh, elegant and simple. Another lefse of house- (er, cart)-cured salmon with pickled shallots and crunchy watercress presented a slightly lighter take.

The real star, though, may be the $3 appetizer of pickled herring and onions, meaty fillets that manage to be bright and salty without overbearing fishiness.

As a bonus, pop by the Brazilian House cart next door for the coxinha, a ball of shredded chicken and spices fried in dough into the shape of a drumstick.

Then walk (or hop on a rental bike) to a rising star of the culinary scene, Carte Blanche, where “Supreme Dictator for Life” Jessie Aron is willing admit to Thai influences from her days in the kitchen at the bicoastal sensation Pok Pok, but says her chief culinary driver is avoiding repetition.

“Usually when I explain the cart, the looks I get back are confusion,” Aron said. “We’ve gotten used to confusing the customer. Until they try the food. Then they’re just happy.”

Here you’ll get mysteriously-named bowls like “Mischief” and “Rum Tum Tugger.” Layered in a way that makes each bite genuinely different from the last are a fruit salad with diced pineapples, snap peas and corn in a sesame-miso crema, and a small heap of prawns.

Oh! The prawns! Crusted with coconut, cashew and kaffir lime, they are a revelation — sweet and citrusy, firm but yielding, the combination balances perfectly against a bed of jasmine rice. The eggplant in the vegetarian version was similarly impressive, glazed in a Thai lime-chili reduction and crisped to a satisfying crunch.

Before your next stop, consider one of Aron’s compost cookies. Don’t worry, this isn’t “Portlandia” gone rogue; it’s just the compilation of what they had hanging around. One winter evening, potato chips and raisins joined pretzels and chocolate chips in a salty-sweet, straight-from-the-oven collaboration.

Have you had enough yet? You have not. Because across the river is a slightly different take on international cuisine, borne of two former Peace Corps volunteers who met in the Republic of Georgia and decided to bring what they ate there back with them.

Behold, Kargi Gogo (roughly translated to “good girl”) and a carb-laden end to one night in town. Here you can go vegetarian and not miss the meat.

Start with the $8 pick-three combination, from which you can sample dumplings, a garlic-walnut puree wrapped in eggplant and khachapuri, a gooey blend of feta and a local sour pickled curd called sulguni inside a thin crust that doubles as perhaps the best grilled cheese in town.

The dumplings, khinkali, come with a brief introduction from co-owner McKinze Cook, who advises diners to lift them from the doughy knot at the top, flip them and eat them from the bottom. It’s an elegant solution to keeping the juices evenly layered over the filling. Eating the dough knot, she says, is optional.

Whether you take it all in one go or parcel it out over a couple days, Portland’s international cuisine remains on the fringes while the sun shines brightly on the stuff of more traditional childhood comforts: carts starring grilled peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, homemade marshmallows and gourmet BLTs.

So you’ll have to look. But for those with an open mind and a curious palate, an exciting reward awaits.

___

If You Go…

VIKING SOUL FOOD: 4262 SE Belmont St, Portland, Ore., www.vikingsoulfood.com , 503-704-5481.

CARTE BLANCHE: 3207 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Ore., www.carteblanchefoodcart.com , 971-258-2895.

KARGI GOGO: 950 SW Washington St, Portland, Ore., www.kargigogo.com , 503-489-8432.

___

Nigel Duara can be reached on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nigelduara

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Mar 10, 2014
Jim Benson

Go For the Food: Take culinary world tour with Portland’s food carts, from …

PORTLAND, Ore. – The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment.

That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger.

The culture of Portland food carts — cheaper than restaurants and meriting just a couple-dollars tip (and sales-tax free, to boot) — allows diners to assemble their own multicourse tasting menu, provided they don’t mind a moderate walk or a quick bike ride. Luckily, most food trucks are assembled in pods scattered across the city, making it easy to visit multiple trucks at each stop.

Start in southeast Portland, where Viking Soul Food does one thing and does it well. The simple, steel-bodied trailer is adorned only with a red umbrella. A sign promises “marvelous handcrafted edibles,” and the menu is as stripped down as the cart itself.

Here you will find lefse, and not much else.

Like crepes without the milk and eggs, these Norwegian potato-flatbread wraps serve as a versatile bed for sweet and savory entrees that co-owner Megan Walhood’s great-grandmother put on the Christmas table every year. The fillings can include heavy-duty pork-and-beef meatballs or a local grab of mushrooms and Oregon-grown hazelnut patties.

The seasonal winter lefse presented a well-balanced mix of goat cheese, pears and walnuts under sherry-sugar reduction — fresh, elegant and simple. Another lefse of house- (er, cart)-cured salmon with pickled shallots and crunchy watercress presented a slightly lighter take.

The real star, though, may be the $3 appetizer of pickled herring and onions, meaty fillets that manage to be bright and salty without overbearing fishiness.

As a bonus, pop by the Brazilian House cart next door for the coxinha, a ball of shredded chicken and spices fried in dough into the shape of a drumstick.

Then walk (or hop on a rental bike) to a rising star of the culinary scene, Carte Blanche, where “Supreme Dictator for Life” Jessie Aron is willing admit to Thai influences from her days in the kitchen at the bicoastal sensation Pok Pok, but says her chief culinary driver is avoiding repetition.

“Usually when I explain the cart, the looks I get back are confusion,” Aron said. “We’ve gotten used to confusing the customer. Until they try the food. Then they’re just happy.”

Here you’ll get mysteriously-named bowls like “Mischief” and “Rum Tum Tugger.” Layered in a way that makes each bite genuinely different from the last are a fruit salad with diced pineapples, snap peas and corn in a sesame-miso crema, and a small heap of prawns.

Oh! The prawns! Crusted with coconut, cashew and kaffir lime, they are a revelation — sweet and citrusy, firm but yielding, the combination balances perfectly against a bed of jasmine rice. The eggplant in the vegetarian version was similarly impressive, glazed in a Thai lime-chili reduction and crisped to a satisfying crunch.

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Mar 10, 2014
Jim Benson

White Rock adds out-of-town vendors to food-cart discussion

Despite limited participation in last summer’s pilot effort, beachfront food carts and trucks may be returning to White Rock.

Council was to consider the idea Monday evening – after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.

In a report, the city’s acting director of planning and development services recommends a two-pronged program that would allow up to three food carts on designated pads located between the white rock and just west of the museum, and up to four food trucks in the Bay Street parking lot.

Unlike the pilot program, both opportunities would be open to any Lower Mainland vendor, Richard Wilson notes.

For the carts, the city would provide concrete pads and electrical connections; for the trucks, electricity would be provided.

The idea to pilot food carts last year stemmed from a suggestion heard during a 2012 community forum on the waterfront. Its success – or lack of – was to help guide decisions on whether it would return for an encore this year.

Wilson estimates the capital cost of providing electricity for the trucks at $10,000, and the parking revenue lost at $12,420. The cost of pads and power connections for the carts is estimated at $11,600.

Wilson noted participation of Marine Drive merchants was limited last year – of 12 that applied for food-cart licences, only two used actual food carts and only one of those was out on a regular basis.

“Based on last year’s limited participation, (city staff) conclude there is limited business viability (for food carts) outside of the pier/museum and the iconic white rock area west of the pier,” Wilson writes.

He adds if food trucks are permitted in a parking lot, pedestrian and vehicle interaction concerns would have to be addressed.

 

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Mar 9, 2014
Jim Benson

Go For the Food: Portland food carts cross borders – U

photo
McKinze Cook, co-owner of Portland, Ore., food cart Kargi Gogo, scribbles a customer’s order at the Georgian food cart on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

The Associated Press

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McKinze Cook, co-owner of Portland, Ore., food cart Kargi Gogo, scribbles a customer’s order at the Georgian food cart on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

photo
A customer considers the menu at Portland, Ore., food cart Kargi Gogo on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

The Associated Press

Share Photo

A customer considers the menu at Portland, Ore., food cart Kargi Gogo on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

photo
McKinze Cook, co-owner of Portland, Ore., food cart Kargi Gogo, delivers a customer’s order at the Georgian food cart on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

The Associated Press

Share Photo

McKinze Cook, co-owner of Portland, Ore., food cart Kargi Gogo, delivers a customer’s order at the Georgian food cart on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

photo
The menu at Portland, Ore., Georgian food cart Kargi Gogo on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

The Associated Press

Share Photo

The menu at Portland, Ore., Georgian food cart Kargi Gogo on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 in Portland, Ore. The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment. That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment.

That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger.

The culture of Portland food carts — cheaper than restaurants and meriting just a couple-dollars tip (and sales-tax free, to boot) — allows diners to assemble their own multicourse tasting menu, provided they don’t mind a moderate walk or a quick bike ride. Luckily, most food trucks are assembled in pods scattered across the city, making it easy to visit multiple trucks at each stop.

Start in southeast Portland, where Viking Soul Food does one thing and does it well. The simple, steel-bodied trailer is adorned only with a red umbrella. A sign promises “marvelous handcrafted edibles,” and the menu is as stripped down as the cart itself.

Here you will find lefse, and not much else.

Like crepes without the milk and eggs, these Norwegian potato-flatbread wraps serve as a versatile bed for sweet and savory entrees that co-owner Megan Walhood’s great-grandmother put on the Christmas table every year. The fillings can include heavy-duty pork-and-beef meatballs or a local grab of mushrooms and Oregon-grown hazelnut patties.

The seasonal winter lefse presented a well-balanced mix of goat cheese, pears and walnuts under sherry-sugar reduction — fresh, elegant and simple. Another lefse of house- (er, cart)-cured salmon with pickled shallots and crunchy watercress presented a slightly lighter take.

The real star, though, may be the $3 appetizer of pickled herring and onions, meaty fillets that manage to be bright and salty without overbearing fishiness.

As a bonus, pop by the Brazilian House cart next door for the coxinha, a ball of shredded chicken and spices fried in dough into the shape of a drumstick.

Then walk (or hop on a rental bike) to a rising star of the culinary scene, Carte Blanche, where “Supreme Dictator for Life” Jessie Aron is willing admit to Thai influences from her days in the kitchen at the bicoastal sensation Pok Pok, but says her chief culinary driver is avoiding repetition.

“Usually when I explain the cart, the looks I get back are confusion,” Aron said. “We’ve gotten used to confusing the customer. Until they try the food. Then they’re just happy.”

Here you’ll get mysteriously-named bowls like “Mischief” and “Rum Tum Tugger.” Layered in a way that makes each bite genuinely different from the last are a fruit salad with diced pineapples, snap peas and corn in a sesame-miso crema, and a small heap of prawns.

Oh! The prawns! Crusted with coconut, cashew and kaffir lime, they are a revelation — sweet and citrusy, firm but yielding, the combination balances perfectly against a bed of jasmine rice. The eggplant in the vegetarian version was similarly impressive, glazed in a Thai lime-chili reduction and crisped to a satisfying crunch.

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Mar 9, 2014
Jim Benson

The Lot food cart pod on west side of Bend rocks with live music, 16 beer taps …

The happening dining/entertaining scene in Bend includes a food cart pod that maybe beats anything in Portland. Called the Lot (click to read about it in the Source Weekly), it opened last April and was rocking when I visited Thursday night last week.

The Lot is located in a west Bend neighborhood, just north of the 7-Eleven off Northwest Galveston Avenue, at 745 N.W. Columbia Street near Hutch’s Bicycle Store. It has been featuring live music on Thursday evenings for about a month.

Don’t worry, you won’t freeze during winter dining at this outdoor food cart pod. The five carts surround a designed, permanent dining area. The main feature is a small building, from where beer from 16 taps is poured. Restrooms are in the back of this permanent building.

The seating area is a mix of open space, tables and chairs, plus a 14-person pod around a long, narrow propane fireplace. The floor is brick pavers and there is a roof overhead. Vertical plastic blinds enclose the seating area, but they are easy to separate and walk through. The ground just off the pavement is covered in round river rock to keep the dust (or mud) down.

Oh, and someone said the the permanent seats are heated when needed.

Providing entertainment was a local band named Almost Acceptable.

Mark Unze sent me an email about the band. He plays harmonica and sings back up vocals in Almost Acceptable. Chase Silcocks, who plays banjo and kick drum, is lead singer. Aron Webber is the stand up bass player. Band members are born and raised in Bend. They came out with their first CC last year, produced in Bend.

Free viewing of the CD, “Calgary Sessions,” is available at almostacceptable.bandcamp.com. The style is folk, punk, acoustic, bluegrass.

Food is from Rico’s Tacos, the Brown Owl, Mauna Kea Grill, Reel Food Street Bistro and Thailandia Asian Food Cart. Hours vary by cart, but the Lot is open daily.

The beer looked mostly to be local, and there was a long line to get it. Some would work to the head of the line, get their beer, then immediately get back in line. This setting is in a neighborhood and most patrons likely walk home.

– Terry Richard

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Mar 8, 2014
Kim Rivers

Gourdet on Cutthroat Kitchen; Food Truck Race Casting

gregorygour250CK.jpg

FOOD TVDeparture chef Gregory Gourdet will appear on an episode of Food Network competition Cutthroat Kitchen that airs this Sunday, March 9 (and he looks pretty pleased with something that happened, at right). In the episode, titled “Pressed or Steamed,” host Alton Brown forces the chef-contestants through challenges like making quiche from compost scraps and cooking using an iron. Back in 2011, Gourdet appeared on an episode of the Food Network’s super-extreme competition Extreme Chef. Cutthroat premieres Sunday at 10p.m. [EaterWire]

EVERYWHERE— Speaking of the Food Network, its reality/competition show Great Food Truck Race is currently casting for its next season, actively seeking “newbies who are interested in opening a food truck.” Food Carts Portland has the official casting notice, but confidential to interested food-cart owners: the concepts in this show must be completely mobile (hence the “race” part). More information here. [FCP]

CENTRAL EASTSIDE INDUSTRIAL— Hybrid bowling alley/bar Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge plays host to Portland’s annual edition of Lebowskifest, celebrating with a costume contest, The Big Lebowski screening, and drink specials (probably White Russians). More information here. [EaterWire]

Photo of Gourdet courtesy Food Network

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Mar 7, 2014
Jim Benson

Keizer teen heartbroken after food cart stolen

He owns a business and he doesn’t even have his driver’s license yet.

A Keizer boy was thrilled to get his business cooking in a mobile food cart that he’d saved up to buy.

But it was stolen right after he bought it.

“I’m taking French class and we made crepes. It’s really interesting,” said 14-year-old Jordan Epping.

That lesson inspired Epping to make crepes and sell them out of a food cart.

“I’ve always been interested in starting a business and this crepe business sounded like a really good idea,” he said.

Last week, Epping bought a cart off of Craigslist.

He used all his savings.

“It was originally listed for $400, but the guy was on Craigslist so long I got it for $150,” he said.

Jordan had plans to fix it up with corrugated metal, install a sink and sell crepes.

“I’ve actually already registered as the sole proprietor with the IRS,” he said.

His menu cover shows the name of his business: La Crepe Ape.

“I actually had my grandpa lined up to be an investor, for three percent,” he said.

But on Monday, someone stole the cart from a locked storage lot in Salem.

The storage lot was closed that day and they don’t have cameras.

“It would really be nice to get it back because of the time and the money,” said the teen.

Jordan just wants the cart back so he can get his business rolling.

The cart was so new that it wasn’t insured, yet.

His mom filed a police report with Keizer police.

If you’ve seen it, give them a call.

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Mar 6, 2014
Jim Benson

Go For the Food: Take culinary world tour with Portland’s food carts, from …

PORTLAND, Ore. – The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment.

That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger.

The culture of Portland food carts — cheaper than restaurants and meriting just a couple-dollars tip (and sales-tax free, to boot) — allows diners to assemble their own multicourse tasting menu, provided they don’t mind a moderate walk or a quick bike ride. Luckily, most food trucks are assembled in pods scattered across the city, making it easy to visit multiple trucks at each stop.

Start in southeast Portland, where Viking Soul Food does one thing and does it well. The simple, steel-bodied trailer is adorned only with a red umbrella. A sign promises “marvelous handcrafted edibles,” and the menu is as stripped down as the cart itself.

Here you will find lefse, and not much else.

Like crepes without the milk and eggs, these Norwegian potato-flatbread wraps serve as a versatile bed for sweet and savory entrees that co-owner Megan Walhood’s great-grandmother put on the Christmas table every year. The fillings can include heavy-duty pork-and-beef meatballs or a local grab of mushrooms and Oregon-grown hazelnut patties.

The seasonal winter lefse presented a well-balanced mix of goat cheese, pears and walnuts under sherry-sugar reduction — fresh, elegant and simple. Another lefse of house- (er, cart)-cured salmon with pickled shallots and crunchy watercress presented a slightly lighter take.

The real star, though, may be the $3 appetizer of pickled herring and onions, meaty fillets that manage to be bright and salty without overbearing fishiness.

As a bonus, pop by the Brazilian House cart next door for the coxinha, a ball of shredded chicken and spices fried in dough into the shape of a drumstick.

Then walk (or hop on a rental bike) to a rising star of the culinary scene, Carte Blanche, where “Supreme Dictator for Life” Jessie Aron is willing admit to Thai influences from her days in the kitchen at the bicoastal sensation Pok Pok, but says her chief culinary driver is avoiding repetition.

“Usually when I explain the cart, the looks I get back are confusion,” Aron said. “We’ve gotten used to confusing the customer. Until they try the food. Then they’re just happy.”

Here you’ll get mysteriously-named bowls like “Mischief” and “Rum Tum Tugger.” Layered in a way that makes each bite genuinely different from the last are a fruit salad with diced pineapples, snap peas and corn in a sesame-miso crema, and a small heap of prawns.

Oh! The prawns! Crusted with coconut, cashew and kaffir lime, they are a revelation — sweet and citrusy, firm but yielding, the combination balances perfectly against a bed of jasmine rice. The eggplant in the vegetarian version was similarly impressive, glazed in a Thai lime-chili reduction and crisped to a satisfying crunch.

Recommended Reading

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