The Story: Do you know where Guyana is? Did you know Portland has an authentic Guyanese food cart? Most don’t, but when you visit Bake on the Run at Piknik Park in Sellwood, owner and chef Michael Singh will use hand gestures to describe the country’s location sandwiched between Venezuela and Suriname and north of Brazil. A pretty cool description to get you in the mood for some authentic Guyanese cuisine.
Michael and his mother Bibi are the team behind Bake on the Run. I had the pleasure of meeting them awhile ago on one of my food cart tours while they were visiting Portland to see how we do it. Even then, I was intrigued to hear about the different dishes they were planning to offer, so when I discovered they opened the cart, I ventured south. Guyana has a number of culinary and cultural influences going back centuries ranging from Portuguese to Chinese and those influences are showcased in the dishes Mike and Bibi offer. On the menu you’ll find Bibi’s Chow Mein, noodles in teriyaki and soy mixed with veggies and chicken.
Egg and Baclhau Bake from Bake on the Run
I was intrigued by the the namesake dish, the bake. A lightly fried bread which I can only describe as a modded puffed pastry, but less sweet is filled with your choice of items. I chose the Portuguese salted cod omelette. While we think of omelettes for breakfast, placing it in the bake was perfect for lunch. The mix of fried bread and the salty cod was divine and to top if off, Michael proffered some of his homemade spicy sauce which gave the dish the perfect amount of kick. You can also get the bake with a chickpea and potato curry or go sweet with jam and Nutella.
Portland’s food cart scene continues to evolve and I’m happy to report that new vendors like Bake on the Run are here to feed a new generation of eaters. You can find Bake on the Run’s authentic Guyanese cuisine at Piknik Park Food Cart Pod in Sellwood off Tacoma. They are open daily for lunch and offer covered and heated seating and a beer cart. When you visit, say hi to Mike and Bibi and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
What: “The Culinary Corridor” — a plan to save downtown’s threatened food carts
When: Wednesday, Oct 31, 9:30 am
Where: Portland City Hall
Downtown food carts were born of the Great Recession. Multiplying across the city’s surface parking lots, they have collectively grown into one of Portland’s great, grassroots success stories. They have fostered, economic opportunities, culinary experimentation, cultural diversity, tourism, and tasty, inexpensive food.
But, soon, downtown’s most iconic food cart “pod”—the full block at SW 10th and Alder, known as Block 216—will be replaced with mixed-use hotel/condo, Portland’s fourth tallest building. The pod’s 55 food carts are poised to be lost next year.
Development of surface parking lots is inevitable. Downtown food carts are endangered species. Portland needs to step up and help them.
In three, back-to-back “communications” to Portland City Council Wednesday, 9:30 am, a trio of food cart advocates will present a concept: “The Culinary Corridor.”
The Culinary Corridor is an anti-business displacement plan. But it’s also a bold urban design move to create an exciting festival street linking downtown’s hippest shopping district, the West End, with the Cultural District. It will re-energize a moribund downtown street with culturally diverse, inexpensive food. It will be a tourist magnet for visitors looking for an authentic Portland experience.
The Culinary Corridor will be the kind of simple, bold, thrifty innovation Portland has long been known for.
Come hear our presentation!
Brett Burmeister started FoodCartsPortland.com in 2008. He is Portland’s leading food-cart tour guide and a fierce advocate for their continued health and diversity.
Daniel Huerta started Churros Locos in 2013 after being laid off. He now has two food truck and a catering business. The World Street Food Congress named Churros Locos to the “Top 50 World Street Food Masters.”
Randy Gragg is a longtime Portland writer and urban design advocate. He has been outspoken about food carts since 2009 when he gave a lecture to the Urban Land Institute on them being “the most important new development in downtown.”
Location: NE 60th and Halsey, The Barley Pod Hours: see updated hours via website
The Story: There’s a new pod in town. Baerlic Brewing opened up a taproom and food cart lot in NE Portland and brought in eight food carts. One of those vendors, Flew The Coop, is bringing southern fried chicken to Rose City Park.
Fried chicken sandwiches have become ubiquitous throughout the Portland food scene with both restaurants and food carts putting out tasty little gems. I was first introduced to the southern style hot chicken more than a few years ago when a native of Memphis moved to town. I hadn’t really explored the southern fried chicken nor the simple fried chicken world other than buckets of KFC at school potlucks as a child. So many options and so many flavors and styles. Portland, be proud of the options you have.
Nashville Hot from Flew The Coop
Flew The Coop offers up five different southern fried chicken sandwiches. The KFC isn’t what you think, just a play on words. Korean Fried Chicken tossed in a sweet & spicy Korean chili sauce, topped with pickled daikon, pickled carrot, sesame seeds, & slaw. Or you can get a traditional fried chicken or even Buffalo chicken. I opted for the Nashville Hot. There is something going on in Memphis and Nashville and Buffalo where hot sauce and chicken just simply fall into place. The Nashville was spot on. Spicy as F, yet with a creamy coleslaw to calm the tastebuds and pickles on the bottom. I love that mix. The first bite, your tongue gets vinegar and then spice and then the cool of the slaw.
Flew The Coop is now open at the The Barley Pod which offers an indoor taproom by Baerlic Beer and outdoor covered seating. A welcoming place to enjoy lunch or dinner with friends and family. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Some exciting news to report for all you Food Cart Fans:
You may not know this, but Mississippi Marketplace on N Mississippi and Skidmore is now PROST! Marketplace. The owners of PROST!, the German pub at the lot, purchased the entire space earlier this year and have been making some excellent changes. New vendors include Caspian Kabob Persian, Matt’s BBQ and Little Conejo. The owners of PROST! have also opened two additional carts – BloodBuzz, an option for morning cocktails and coffee; and BreadBox, a breakfast and lunch sandwich cart. With these changes, you can move about most of the lot with a beer or cocktail and grab a seat and enjoy some tasty vittles. PROST! Marketplace is open daily with some vendors opening for breakfast.
Baerlic Brewing has expanded to NE Portland with a cool new tasting room and food cart pod. The Halsey Beer Hall at the Barley Pod is located at NE 60th and Halsey and hosts eight vendors including Hapa PDX (Ramen), Namu (Korean/Hawaiian), Bam Pow! Burgers, Bing Mi (Chinese crepes) and Smakken Waffle Sandwiches (Dutch-style waffles). Grab a beer and enjoy some great food from some of Portland’s best vendors. Kid friendly and open daily.
The Village at St. Johns is yet another new food cart pod located at N Chicago and Ivanhoe in St. Johns. Vendors include Fishbox, Highsight Beer Cart, Taste of Casablanca (Moroccan), Sila Thai and Uncle Tsang’s Vegetarian Kitchen. There are so many exciting things happening in St. Johns, go visit.
BG’s Food Cartel is the newest and largest pod in Beaverton. The owners created a prime food cart location with seating, an event space and a lawn for picnics. 21 vendors featuring Thai, Chicken Wings, Mediterranean, Argentinean, German, Chinese, Italian, Guamanian and more. The lot sports the Speakeasy Bar and indoor and outdoor seating. Located at 4250 SW Rose Biggi Ave, the lot is open daily.
With all the new lots and changes on the east side, there is change afoot in downtown. At the intersections of SW 10th and Alder there are 60 food carts who will be looking for a new home in the near future. Developers have submitted plans for hotels on both lots that currently house these vendors. If you have a favorite, go visit this summer and support them.
Today we learn of Anthony Bourdain’s death at 61. For many in the food industry and beyond, Bourdain has been a force of good for decades, telling us stories from around the globe and showing everyone that food is an adventure beyond the plate. Tony was an advocate for street food. He was integral in the launch of the World Street Food Congress in Singapore, an event that promotes and professionalizes street food. It’s a sad day for all.
Food can be a difficult world for all involved. Hard days and difficult nights. If you or someone you know needs help, 1-800-273-TALK is just a moment away. There is also a crisis text line. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454. The lines are staffed by a mix of paid professionals and unpaid volunteers trained in crisis and suicide intervention. The confidential environment, the 24-hour accessibility, a caller’s ability to hang up at any time and the person-centered care have helped its success, advocates say.