Local, vegan and vegetarian options are ubiquitous in Portland. Fresh and affordable seafood, not so much. Local Motive, the South Waterfront food cart that mother-daughter duo Janette Sinclair and Brittany Kofford opened two years ago, is aiming for that niche.
The caboose-shaped bright red cart is parked under the rusty corrugated steel overhang on the back side of an industrial supply warehouse next to the streetcar stop at Southwest Bond Avenue and Lane Street. Around it are metered parking spaces where you can leave a car for 11 hours with one stub.
The small menu includes three seafood-based sandwiches and two vegetarian options. For $20, my dining companion and I got an impressive amount of food. The sandwiches come with a generous side of quinoa salad, seafood chowder, commercial Kettle Chips repackaged in paper sacks, or slaw. Service is fast and friendly. It's cash only and the nearest ATM is a few blocks away.
Local Motive's line-caught Oregon albacore is nothing like mayonnaise concoctions made from canned tuna, and is bettered by sweet, crunchy apples and toasted hazelnuts. A Dungeness crab melt with Tillamook white cheddar and homemade tartar sauce is the best thing since the Krabby Patty. The crab is grilled to a faint char, and soft ciabatta lets the filling speak for itself. The quinoa salad and slaw were both light and refreshing offsets to the richness of the sandwich.
Lighter still, the wild Oregon mushroom sandwich was lackluster, with tough mushrooms offering little flavor. The sharp white cheddar ($1 extra) saved the shrooms.
Because this is Porklandia, there's also frequently a pulled pork sandwich on offer as a daily special. It's proven very popular. You can put hooks in the water, it seems, but you can't make this town of landlubbers bite.
- Order this: Dungeness crab melt ($9, half $6) with quinoa.
EAT: Local Motive, 3838 SW Moody Ave., localmotivepdx.com. 11 am-3:30 pm Monday-Friday. Cash only. $.