Mardi Gras is over, but two new food carts are still bringing the party vibes with delightfully messy seafood boils. Plus, the owners of Gabagool launch a new Philly cheesesteak cart, Old Town Pizza buys the New York-style pizzeria Baby Doll, and a new Mexican restaurant in Happy Valley has sparkly margaritas served in high heels. Read on for that and more culinary updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.
NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS
This new cart serving Hainanese chicken and rice (poached chicken and seasoned rice, often served with chili sauce and cucumber slices) soft-opened inside the new CORE (Collective Oregon Eateries) pod on Wednesday. The menu also includes pork belly rice, soy sauce chicken rice, and spicy Thai chili chicken wings.
Pickup or outdoor seating
BYOB (bring your own bib) and dig into an old-fashioned seafood boil from this cart, which soft-opened in the Happy Valley Food Station on February 8. Choose from boils like the "Popular Loner" (a single crab cluster), the "Leglicious" (two clusters), "Shrimp Mania" (20 shrimp), the "Full Catch" (two clusters and 15 shrimp), the "Larry" (a lobster tail), and the "Whole Pot" (two clusters, a dozen shrimp, and a lobster tail), plus "drips" in flavors like cool ranch, lemon pepper, garlic parmesan, honey garlic, and ragin' Cajun.
Pickup or delivery
Just in time for National Margarita Day on Monday, this local chain specializing in "margaritas bigger than your face" from the Vancouver-based Pearl West Restaurant Group opened a new outpost in Happy Valley on February 9. The menu features, of course, an extensive range of margaritas ranging from a spicy jalapeño margarita to a "007 Margarita" with Chambord and gold tequila to a glitzy "Marilyn Monroe" margarita made with glittery champagne and served in a high heel. The menu also features other cocktails, tequila, and piña coladas, plus a food menu with Mexican fare, including street tacos, burritos, enchiladas, seafood, and more.
Pickup, limited indoor dining, and outdoor heated and covered seating
This sandwich cart opened on February 1 and serves sandwiches such as the "Hot Italian" (three types of salami, provolone, Calabrian chili dressing, shredded lettuce, and roasted peppers on Ken's Artisan Bakery ciabatta) and a fried chicken sandwich with iceberg lettuce, pickles, and "comeback sauce" on a house-made potato roll, along with sides like crispy chickpea flour-battered kale chips and grape tomato orzo salad. According to Eater Portland, the cart is planning to move to a new location soon.
The Drip'n Crab
Apparently, food carts serving seafood boils are having a moment! Another new addition to the CORE pod, this cart serving Southern seafood boils and pasta soft-opened the weekend of February 6-7. The cart also sells sweets from the dessert business Guy's Pies.
Pickup or outdoor seating
Ryan Sherman and Peter Fisher, the team behind the Italian cart-turned-restaurant Gabagool, have opened this cart serving elevated Philly cheesesteaks made with shaved Painted Hills grass-fed beef and Amoroso's rolls imported from Philadelphia. You have the option of getting your sandwich "wit" (Philly speak for "with" caramelized onions) and/or "whiz" (a house-made mornay sauce with fontina and cheddar, in place of the customary Cheez Whiz), or with provolone or Swiss cheese. There's also a vegan Impossible version with Impossible Beef and cashew-based whiz, and other Philly favorites, like mushroom steaks and pizza steaks. (Between that, the recent launch of the vegan Philly cheesesteak pop-up Buddy's Steaks, and the "veggie jawn" at the new Puerto Rican-Philadelphian cart Papi Sal's, plant-based eaters in Portland have quite a few new Philly cheesesteak options these days.)
Pickup or delivery
This restaurant serving a blend of Southern and Pacific Northwest cuisine, which started as a catering business in 2016 and has operated out of the Oriental Food Value market since last May, is moving into its own full-fledged brick-and-mortar in the Pearl District in early March. The new spot will feature dishes like peach cobbler chicken and waffles and mac and cheese with crab, lobster, and shrimp, plus indoor and outdoor seating and a full bar.
Old Town Pizza has purchased Baby Doll
Old Town Pizza owner Adam Milne, which closed its historic original location in July, has purchased the New York-style pizzeria Baby Doll in Southeast Portland, which is currently open for pickup and delivery. Milne plans to make no significant changes to the restaurant, with the exception of adding a few more taps from Old Town Brewing and other local craft breweries.
Columbia Hospitality announces new Puffy Jacket series
A new pop-up series is making the best of winter al fresco dining. Last week, according to a press release, Columbia Hospitality announced its new "Puffy Jacket Pop-Up Dining Series," which runs Friday-Saturday, February 19-March 27, and encourages local diners to bundle up in their most voluminous outerwear for outdoor meals at different venues in Oregon and Washington. The two Oregon venues are Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge and Public Coast Brewing Co. in Cannon Beach. The menus are inspired by the Pacific Northwest—for example, Wayfarer is serving dishes like cornmeal-encrusted Willapa Bay oysters and Quinault razor clam fritters, while Public Coast will have fried seasonal fish sandwiches. Both destinations will also have cozy beverages like hot toddies, cider, and boozy coffee.
POP-UPS AND EVENTS
Le Pigeon at the NEXT
James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker's celebrated Le Pigeon is pivoting to room service: The French restaurant is teaming up with the modern boutique hotel Jupiter NEXT to offer a pop-up with three-course meals in hotel rooms for $100. Guests have the option to book a stay for the rest of the night for $89 and can also add on optional wine pairings or cocktail pairings from Hey Love. A portion of proceeds from all meals will go towards the nonprofit Feed the Mass.
Jupiter NEXT, Friday-Sunday, 6-8 pm
Virtual Suttle Lodge Winter Beer Fest
The Suttle Lodge is going virtual for their second annual winter beer fest, which aims to raise $50,000 for the Independent Restaurant Alliance of Oregon (a group formed in response to COVID-19 to help independent bar and restaurant owners weather the pandemic). The festivities will include beer panels, drag bingo with queen Peachy Springs, live music from Loch Lomond and Jeremie Albino, and cooking tutorials with chefs like Diane Lam of Sunshine Noodles and Thuy Pham of Mama Dút.
Online, Saturday, 5-9 pm
Prime your liver for Zwickelmania, the annual event where more than 100 breweries open their doors online stores for your drinking pleasure, promising tons of beer releases. Think of it as a virtual open house.
Online, Saturday, 12-3 pm
Giant Squid: A Natural Wine Bar Pop Up by Aaron Barnett & Joel Gunderson
Longtime best friends and drinking buddies Aaron Barnett of St. Jack and Joel Gunderson of Coopers Hall were meant to debut their new natural wine pop-up Giant Squid at La Moule on Valentine's Day, but postponed it to this Saturday. Barnett will prepare a four-course dinner, while Gunderson will supply the wine selection.
La Moule, Saturday, 6-10 pm
Girl Scout Cookie & Wine Pairing
If you've never unfurled on the couch after a long day with a box of Thin Mints and a big ol' glass of Cabernet, you're missing out, friend. Redeem yourself with Hip Chicks Do Wine's package of four Girl Scout cookies paired with four wines of their choosing, which you can pick up at the shop or have delivered to your door.
Hip Chicks Do Wine, February 20-March 5
The crowd-pleasing Thai barbecue joint is serving crispy fried pork shoulder, along with cocktails like frozen yogurt mezcal margaritas and hibiscus whiskey sours.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating
The Indonesian restaurant's chef special rabbit curry is now offering a rabbit curry with clove scented rice, local rabbit leg, coconut cream curry, fermented chili leek chutney, and pickled coriander.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating
Today, the popular Hawaiian cart-turned-restaurant is offering a limited amount of Hawaiian-style Chantilly crumble cake.