Sunday, May 16, 2010

Food Cart Festival

In our eight years of dating, one of the best dates Cyn and I have had was going to the Food Cart Festival a few weeks ago. Not bad for a date that took place under a bridge with hundreds of people.

So here's the setup: Willamette Weekly invited 30 of the best food carts in town to participate at the festival. The entrance fee was $7 (about the the price of a typical food cart meal) and you could grab a sample at every cart there. We were lucky to even get tickets because it was sold out days in advance.

There were three awards (the Carty awards) up for grabs: Best Taste and Best Style which were decided by a panel of distinguished food critics and the People's Choice award - every attendee could vote for just one cart.

Here are some highlights...

Moxie Rx - Winner of Best Style. Moxie is a breakfast cart. They had their special blend of granola with greek yogurt and cranberry compote. Fantastic.

Fat Kitty Falafel - I was most excited about this cart because it's regarded as the best falafel in town, but it was too far away from my workplace to try. Sadly, I was disappointed. I had a better falafel just a few days before the festival.

PBJs - Runner-up Best Taste. Well, it was a fried PB&J with bacon in it. Not sure what else can be said. They had other flavors to try (like a maple PB&J), but I didn't get to try them.

Addy's Sanwich Bar - One of the highest regarded carts in town. I had a chicken salad pesto sample that was out of this world.

Soupcycle - Soups delivered by bicycle...get it? Anyway, the soup doesn't look that great, but it was a peanut soup that was really delicious.

Another soup that was arguably even better was from Savor Soup House. It was lentils with braised lamb stew.

FlavourSpot - Runner-up People's Choice - I voted for this place. They specialize in waffle sandwiches. The "sweet" sandwich of strawberry jam and mascarpone (I think?) was quite good, but the "savory" sandwich on the left had sausage and a super sticky maple butter sauce that you'd sign your life away for. 

Hot Lips Soda - Okay, this wasn't really a cart. They were for sale and I couldn't pass it up because it's the best soda in the world. Mmm...Boysenberry.

Pyro Pizza - Traditional wood-fired oven pizza from a cart. Amazing. I couldn't wait to try this one.

Pyro had several flavors - we chose Margherita and a Gorgonzola/Hazelnut pizza. Delish.

SIP - Organic smoothies. I asked the owner what was in the sample and he rattled off at least 10 different fruits and veggies. It tasted a whole lot better than I imagined, but I'll stick with Portland Smoothie Company.

Garden State - Winner of Best Taste. Sicilian inspired sandwiches. So good, I went back to the cart on my birthday. Amazing food for a cart or anywhere else.

Whiffies Fried Pies - Winner of People's Choice. They have savory or sweet pies. Clockwise from the leftmost pic are Peanut Butter Cream, Beef Brisket, and Mounds of Deliciousness. I've also gone back to this cart and had Marionberry and Double Chocolate Cream.

Fifty Licks - An ice cream food cart. Cynthia voted for this one, and it's no surprise why. Her sample (on the right) was Lemon Coconut Sherbet. It was the most flavor-packed ice cream I've ever had. I got Maple Bacon ice cream which was also quite good.


  1. What a perfect date. It all looks and sounds so good.

  2. Sheesh, I've gotta get out there! Not so sure about adding bacon to grilled PB&J sandwiches (which I love) or maple bacon ice cream ... but several of the other items look/sound very enticing! When is this thing? Maybe we should plan a trip out there around it!

  3. That sounds so amazing! I'm totally jealous. Have you guys made it to the Saturday Market yet? That is my all-time favorite place to go when I come to visit.

  4. I am seriously envious of this most amazing date! Holy cow...that's a lot of tasting and such a great deal. Will be blocking this post from Nick...he will faint when he sees all the scrumptious grub!

    Glad you two had fun!


  5. I think this was a month ago that we went here. So, Charlie, DeAnn, Sally and Patty, we could all have a great time there together!

    Sally I haven't been to the Saturday market yet since we moved here, but I have been before and I enjoyed it too, so I've been talking about going there since we moved here, and if you are planning a trip we will have to meet up.

  6. Wow what a fun date! The food looked fabulous. What a fun post--I love to see what people are doing in their part of the world!