Ooey-gooey food carts

While wandering across downtown Portland towards a renowned local brewpub, I instead got distracted by 2 whole blocks of food carts. After wandering around and inspecting the menus, it was a difficult decision between Ethiopian, gyros, Persian, Thai, Mexican, Korean BBQ, Carolina BBQ, Polish perougies, German bratwurst, swarma, and every fusion mashup in between.

The food carts at 10th and Alder are a long  standing Portland institution that I had never heard of, but became an instant fan. There are a few clusters of these carts on parking lots scattered around downtown. Some of these carts have been in their current locations for over 15 years!

I settled on the grilled-cheese cart from The Grilled Cheese Grill and their massive grilled-cheese-burger, “The Cheesus”.

This heavenly mashup brings to mind the old jingle about beef patties with tomatoes lettuce and sauce on a sesame seed bun — scratch that — TWO GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES! Filled with gooey cheese, perfectly toasted bread, and a savory burger, this is the grilled cheese you wish you had as a kid. With about a dozen other cheesy options, Portlandians are clearly spoiled, and this place deserves the growth and multiple locations they are seeing.

But even if you are lactose intolerant, swing by Alder and 10th the next time you’re in Portland. You won’t be disappointed by the myriad of options regardless of your palate or dietary restrictions.

Late Night dining in the Big Easy

After a very filling brunch, the little missus and I spent the afternoon wandering the French Quarter and the waterfront, eventually making our way to the Southern Food and Drink Museum. Afterwards it was nigh on suppertime, so we made our way back to the French Quarter with the intention of enjoying K Paul’s. Unfortunately they were closed on Sundays (as is most of this city), so we headed back to the hotel to cool off and wait for our appetites to return. After a few hours, we prepared to venture out to Camelia Grill, but a quick web search showed us they too were closed. At this point we were reaching closing time and decided to search for 24/7 dining options. Just down St. Charles Avenue from our hotel is The Avenue Pub.

We strolled the 4 short blocks and found a dingy gastropub with 47 different beers on tap, all of them smaller craft brews. The wife chose the Fox Barrel Pear Cider, and I went for the Steiner Weiss while we waited for our orders. The weiss had an incredible head that took the bar tender 5 minutes to pour and another 5 to fully settle. It was wheaty, as expected from that kind of beer, and a bit on the thick side. It stayed nice and cloudy throughout my entire meal and left no sediment.

Shortly our food arrived, a burger for the wife, and the grilled cheese club for me. Having seen mixed reviews, I was happy with the results, and the prices were quite reasonable. The grilled cheese had goat cheese, cheddar, and a heavy dose of a soft feta all melted into gooey yumminess. Along with bacon, tomato, and a fresh pesto, the whole thing was served on some nice thick slices of artisinal sourdough and grilled on a pannini press. The burger was good as well, tasty beef and cooked perfectly with all the juices intact, but otherwise nothing too special. Disappointingly, the burger was supposed to come with pecan crusted onion rings we wanted to try, but these were replaced with good, but generic cross-cut fries.

For late night dining, it was surprisingly good, and I would go back to sample more of the beer list, that being apparently scarce in the Big Easy where rum drinks abound.