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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Eat Mobile: Portland's Food Cart Festival

2013 was our second year to experience Eat Mobile, Portland's annual food cart fest that brings together 50 of the city's best carts who give out some of their tastiest samples and compete for the coveted Carty Award. You pay for your admission bracelet weeks in advance (because the event sells out) and then all the samples are free. You only pay for alcoholic beverages or bottled water, though Vitamin Water is free, since they are a sponsor  of the event. Not only is this festival fun to go to because we love to eat, but it is also cheaper than going to a restaurant, you get to try a ton of different kinds of food and figure out where your favorite carts are located in the city. 

As you know, food carts are a great way to save money on dining out, both at home and when you travel. You can also learn more about the event here, in case you're interested in visiting Portland in late April next year to check it out. There are quite a few vegetarian carts and/or vegetarian options at regular carts. We are lucky not only to live in Portland with such a fantastic choice of food carts and food in general, but we are also a leader in vegetarian food in the city.

Eric started out hardcore with both chocolate mini cupcake and salted caramel ice cream  from Scoops. I wanted to enjoy my first pick: Thai ice tea ice cream. Yum! (I promise it was better than my face suggests.)

Spicy hummus and chickpea fries

I think this may be yet another salted caramel bite. Chocolate brownie with caramel drizzle and light salt flakes.

Look! I found Carlton Banks all grown up! Just kidding. This dude from Chez Dodo was a good sport, smiling for the camera while also dishing up inside out veggie samosas. Totally delicious.

Garcelon's Soup & Grilled Cheese was dishing up spicy crab chowder which made me want to rush home and learn to make chowder myself...or buy a whole bucket to take home and freeze.

Car2Go was handing out yummy cupcake poppers while folks were waiting in line for - wait for it - cupcakes! These dessert goodies below from Hungry Heart Cupcakes.

Here's a close up of one of their delicacies: chocolate maple bacon

There was a totally long line at a cart called Cheese and Crack (not a typo) which serves up locally made cheese, crackers, jam, meats and chocolate. The line was actually way shorter than you would expect after you tried their samples.

Worth it! While in line we traded off grabbing samples from other carts we pasted, included Hungry Heart, but also Kind Bar was giving away full-size bars and Moberi Smoothies had a very inventive cart where they used people-powered blenders to serve up smoothie shots to samplers.

My favorite waffle cart was at Eat Mobile. Gaufre Gourmet makes liege waffles with fun toppings. The ham and cheese waffle is so good. here they were serving something called the spicy goat, with salami and goat cheese, and also strawberry lemonade waffles that had a lemon glaze and topped with strawberry slices.

Another totally awesome part of Eat Mobile is that they are eco-conscious. Instead of giving out tiny utensils at each cart, they gave out these adorable Bambu sporks, it and everything that food was served in and on were compostable and the whole event was solar powered, including the demonstration kitchen/stage and DJ cranking out fun tunes to make the event that much more fun.

Do you frequent any food carts? If so, what do they specialize in?


  1. Isn't it amazing how (deliciously) popular food carts have become in recent years? And now they're at some major airports as well!

    1. I know. Such great food can be found at carts. I've not actually seen them at airports, yet, but now I'm gonna look!

  2. So many food samples! I'd be in heaven:)

    1. I know. I wish they would do it more than once a year, though we have large food cart "pods" here were they have 5-25 carts all in one spot, so you can try several things at one time. Not as much fun as samples, but still convenient.

  3. Yummy stuff! Love the food carts, so was bummed to have missed this year's festival - I'll be there next year, for sure.

  4. Sounds like a delicious time, especially all of those sweets!


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