The official source of what's happening in Portland, OR
On any given midday in downtown Portland, the rich wafting smells of lunch service fill the streets, especially surrounding the foodcart “pods” housed in converted parking lots. My favorite pod, hands down, takes up an entire city block, sitting between SW 9th and 10th, and SW Alder and SW Washington. This pod is filled with amazing food carts- succulent barbeque pulled pork, “eurotrash” sandwiches and an italian food cart owned by a Portland Timber player.
But The People’s Pig, on the corner of SW 9th and SW Alder, ranks superior in creativity, simplicity and flavor. Portland Monthly Magazine named it one of the best restaurants of 2011- and you don’t even have to sit down to eat. The menu changes seasonally, and may vary from day to day, but the classic favorite is owner/chef Cliff Allen’s Porchetta Sandwich. Porchetta, described on their website as “a savory and moist boneless pork roast seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices like garlic, rosemary, and fennel” is served on a ciabatta roll with arugula and fresh squeezed lemon. It doesn’t get any better than that. Allen’s quiet nature contrasts perfectly with the burst of flavor his sandwich packs. The pork is exceptionally well cooked. The loin meat falls apart in your mouth, the fatty “crackling” melts and occasionally you’ll bite into a crisp piece of skin. Lemon acidity balances the richness perfectly, making it refreshing and satiating rather than heavy. It’s the perfect lunch on any Portland day, be it raining and grey or sunny and bright.
Just across the river at Hawthorne and 12th you’ll find another pod, perfect for the late night “drunchies.” Open until 3 am, Potato Champion has created a serious following surrounding one simple tuber- the potato. These are probably the best fries in town. More than just fries, Potato Champion offers Poutine, the traditional Canadian comfort food of fries topped with brown gravy and white cheddar cheese curds.
More Southern than Canadian? Try their pulled pork fries, perfectly spiced to keep you reaching for another one. Perhaps their most unique offering is PB & J fries. Suspicious? I was, too. Peanut satay sauce and raspberry chipotle jelly quickly transformed my suspicion into pure taste bud ecstasy. The concept is different but the execution hits the spot. It’s not exactly what you would expect, but Jif and Smuckers on fries does not sound appetizing, does it? One other great thing about Potato Champion is the variety of dipping sauces. Beyond the usual ketchup, there are over fifteen different sauces, including Rosemary Truffle Ketchup, Fritessaus, Tarragon Anchovy Mayo, Banana Ketchup, Bourbon Honey Mustard, and so many more. Try them all!
For more information about the author, Bethany Huntley, please visit their profile page.
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