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Portland Food Update April 2010

The past few months have seen some changes in the Portland food scene (I’m talking the one I’m interested in – pizza, bbq, hot dogs, bacon-dusted fries, etc., not that fancy or healthy stuff!). Here’s a quick update:

Opening almost two months ago was the Skinny Cart BBQ at 202 Washington Ave. While I was off in Austin consuming as much BBQ as I could possibly find, Portland was getting its own fill of some delicious new smoked, grilled, and messy meats. Ron Gan opened the cart in the bright green shack next to his house and plans to add more mobile carts to his arsenal before too long.

From one friend who hadn’t yet tried the food, it “looked legit.” I knew what he meant before even laying eyes on it – as many foods go, especially of the barbecue variety – the more dilapidated the restaurant/cart/truck looks, the more delicious the food is. As it turns out, this theory holds true with Skinny Cart.

The menu is very limited – to just two items, in fact. Their names seem to change, but basically you can either get a beef or pork sandwich. On this trip I had the pork – listed that day as “pulled pork” though what ended up on the bun was less the stringy stuff and more full chunks of shoulder pork, which is fine by me! I was surprised on my first bite (through some tangy peppers and onions on top) when I felt the crunch of – yes, here it comes, folks – bacon! Full, tasty, crispy strips of bacon inside the pork sandwich. Perfect!

While there’s no proper seating to rest while you enjoy your meal (I recommend stopping by on a bike trip, it’ll make you justify the meaty goodness if you’re one of those calorie-conscious people – I’m not) though there are some concrete blocks by the driveway which provide a partial view of the city. Hours are 11am-3pm (I think…) most days.

In other food news, my favorite pizza joint in town, Otto, is growing up a bit. The owners have opened Enzo next door. The beer-and-wine bar has table where you can order drinks and full pies from next door, which are passed through a pizza-sized window in the wall.

Finally, in what will certainly be even more of a bummer in the summer, when cheap hot dogs and onion rings are what you want at 2 am, Papaya King on Dana Street is long gone. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

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