"We turned what previously looked like a prison into a community-friendly gathering place," says Roger Goldingay, proudly.

He's talking about Cartlandia, his grandly named new food-cart pod that sits at the junction of Southeast 82nd Avenue and the Springwater Corridor bike trail. Yes, another pod. But this one brings a much-needed sense of community along with deep-fried turkey sandwiches to a gritty thoroughfare often associated with used-car lots and big-box stores (OK, and amazing Asian food). 

Pod developer Goldingay, who also owns the North Portland food-cart pod Mississippi Marketplace, rehabbed the site—installing utilities and hauling away razor wire from the former used-car lot to create a space for a dozen food carts (there's room for 30) outer-Southeast's cart-starved neighbors as well as the cyclists who ride along the trail. 

Wooing the cycling community was a major goal. There's even a bike repair trailer dubbed "The Bike Rack" on-site. Plus actual indoor restrooms, free Wi-Fi and grub served mostly by first-time cart owners so excited and eager to please they'll bring your food out to you in the covered seating area by the big-screen TV.


Eat this: Go for the Unitarian ($5.50/$8.50) and pick whatever toppings work for your belief system.


Eat this: The potato and cheese pasty ($6) is the ultimate in rainy-day comfort food.


Eat this: The Howlin' Wolf ($8)—shrimp simmered in a tomato, bacon, garlic broth over creamy grits. Served with collard greens and a corn dodger on the side.

Just when you thought you had turkey figured out, someone comes along and adds provolone and cranberry sauce, wraps it in dough and then deep-fries it. That someone is Etienne Saucier who, even in his chef scrubs, is a dead ringer for dreamy American Idol contestant Casey James. Saucier’s cart Blt—Breakfast, Lunch Today—specializes in fried sandwiches. (It does offer non-fried sandwiches, too, including a muffuletta, $6.50, and croque monsieur, $6). That New Orleans twist carries over into other items like fried shrimp pie ($4) and beignets ($3). Do not leave without trying the seasoned cart-made tater tots ($2.50), which my lunchmate declared to be “little packets of deep-fried joy.” 

Eat this: Those tots and the insanely good Monte Cristo ($8)—turkey, ham, mayo and mustard in sweet beignet dough dusted with powdered sugar. You will giggle like a 12-year-old girl when Saucier brings it to your table.


Eat this: Just go with the flow and order the trio of sliders ($6).


There are about 10 days during the year in Portland that are perfect for shave ice. But after eating at Local Girls Hawaiian Shave Ice and Grill, you’ll probably start justifying other days as suitable for the sweet, icy treat. The cart starts its sugar bombs with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the bottom, then layers fluffy shaved ice, squeezes on one (or more) of the 20 syrups and tops it with cream. All that translates to something that tastes like a creamy Slurpee, only better. A small shave ice ($4) is enough to happily send you into a sugar coma. Thankfully they’re looking into some sugar-free options. They also have Hawaiian plate lunches, teriyaki, spam musubi and Kalua pork. 

Eat this: Shave ice with tiger's blood (strawberry and coconut) and wedding cake flavors.

Rock House Grill

Eat this: The single steakburger with cheese ($6) is the size of your head, but much tastier.

EAT: Cartlandia, 8145 SE 82nd Ave., 358-7873. Info at cartlandia.com and on Facebook. Cart hours vary, so check Facebook before you visit. Cash only. ATM on site.