Everything on the menu looked worthy of grazing, but I had to make a choice. I went with the top two items.
The black quinoa salad with pickled fiddleheads, piquillo peppers, wild cress and blood orange vinaigrette was amazing. I saw fiddleheads at one of the other booths, but I’ve never been able to cook them as well as should be done. Pickling them preserved their adorableness while adding a burst of flavor. The quinoa was flavored by the vinaigrette and the entire dish was refreshing and delightful.
I ordered one chicken-waffle taco with smoked collard slaw. The buttermilk-cheddar waffle taco shell was crisp, while the cornflake-crusted chicken tender was exactly what I like in chicken. It was a fun taco, and only $3 I’m looking forward to stopping there every weekend when I visit the farmers market.
I’ve been following Cultured Caveman food cart for a long time, yet hadn’t eaten at any of their three food carts. I like the idea of paleo cuisine and some of their offerings sounded tasty. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their upcoming brick-and-mortar opening, and I enthusiastically promoted it to my social networks. I was overjoyed when they went over their goal with just hours left on Friday. I myself chipped in at the level where I’ll get a paleo cooking class with co-owner Heather Hunter.
I finally stopped in today to try the food. Heather was working the cart at Alberta and NE 15th. It was a foul-weather day with few people out at noon, unlike the nice-weather, record-setting days they’ve had recently.
Heather and co-owner Joe Ban were fun to promote — their video for Kickstarter was fun and it felt good to help out young entrepreneurs. They previously funded their carts via Kickstarter as well. Joe might be the model for the caveman painting on the cart. Both are good advertisements for a paleo diet and exercise.
Their paleo offerings have no dairy, soy or gluten. They are made only from ingredients that could be hunted or gathered. Heather sources her ingredients from organic and local suppliers.
I said hi to Heather and ordered the paleo chicken tenders and the warm collards with bacon. They made a nice lunch. The chicken tenders are made from Draper Valley chicken breast, coated in organic coconut flour and egg, with a little garlic powder and sea salt. They are fried in 100% grass-fed beef tallow and served with a southwestern aioli. This is what chicken nuggets SHOULD be. The collard greens packed a lot of nutrients. The sources and nutrition for each dish are included on their web site. I felt good after having that lunch.
Their restaurant will be a casual dining/counter service establishment in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland. My Kickstarter donation entitles me to attend their soft opening, so I’m looking forward to that this summer.
While Portland sprouts food carts as fast as blackberry vines invade your back yard, Vancouver, Washington has restrictive laws that have acted like Round-Up for our mobile eating scene. I was very excited to attend the soft opening for the Esoteric BBQ truck on Sunday, March 23, 2014.
The bright red truck features a smoker on one end and ordering window on the opposite end. But the smokey flavored foods hail more from Hawaii than from the southern states.
I perused the menu and settled on the Island Bowl. Like many items on the menu, it is designated gluten free. It’s available with Kahlua pork, chicken, tri-tip or portabelloa muschroom over their pineapple lime rice that is infused with green onion and cilantro. The bowl arrived unadorned, with moist and succulent Kahlua pork sprinkled with salt and mounded on top of the rice. They have squeeze bottles of bbq sauce, siracha mayo, sweet chili sauce and plain siracha to put on your dish.
I was very pleased with the bowl. I liked the pineapple rice and it complemented the pork. I didn’t feel any real need for the condiments, but sampled a little anyway.
Next time, I would probably go for the Smoked taco, which comes in a soft corn tortilla and is topped with broccoli slaw. Many people were ordering the BBQ black beans topped with candied bacon and the Smokey Mac made with smoked gouda, sharp white cheddar, and Monterey Jack.
In addition to the meaty offerings, they also have a smoked portabella mushroom available in a flat bread warp with onions, peppers and provolone.
I look forward to stalking this truck and enjoying more of their food.