Portland Hot Dogs – Food Carts

This post has been a long time in a making, usually because after having one of these I feel like I need to take 5 exercise classes. But, it’s finally time to share some of the hot dogs I’ve been tasting around town.

Hot Dogs, or at least a new gourmet/all in with toppings trend, has emerged recently this 2015. It seemed like it was only just a couple months ago where on a panel Dougie Adams (of Imperial, and also Top Chef,  which is what the panel was celebrating) confessed his love for simple hot dogs.

But then in the past couple months, fancy hot dogs have been a trend. There was the opening on NE Alberta of Donnie Vegas, the Beaverton and roaming truck of Clutch Prime SausageryStray Dog PDX Pop up that specialized in appearing once a week with fancy dogs (and even traveled to New York to pop up), and more on the way thanks to upcoming Micah Camden venture of Hop Dog (which popped up earlier at Boxer Ramen this month and gave out free hot dogs for  National  Hot Dog Day).

I want to do individual reports of the hot dog brick and mortars, but I did try and wanted to share a few other doggies in town that come via the traditional hot dog vendor way: a food cart.

In summer heat wave weather you may not think to visit a food cart, but bad weather days be it too hot, too cold, rainy are days you should especially patronize the food carts. Inside the little kitchen of their cart, it sucks a lot more for them and your visit can be the difference between them even breaking even that day because of lower foot traffic. So visit them, they’ll appreciate you!

We Be Weiners

First, we have the start of my hot dog journey with We Be Weiners . We Be Weiners has been serving up hot dogs since 2005, and the food cart has re-located from the cart pod A la Carts at SE Division to now SW 5th and Harrison by PSU. There are 15 other dogs on the menu (outside biscuits and gravy, meatball sandwiches, Frito Chili Pie and more), ranging from breakfast dogs with gravy to spicy dogs with salsa or one with jalapenos and chilies or even Sambal Oelek, as well as Chicago of, Reuben Dog, Corn Dog, Tofurky Italian Sausage and more.

Of all the food carts offering fancy hot dogs, We Be Weiners has the most variety to choose from. At most dogs hovering at $3-5 it is also the most value for your fancy dog.
We Be Weiners where I got a Porklandia hot dog, with a Hebrew National all beef hot dog filled with Swiss Cheese, Bacon Wrapped, then deep fried and topped with onion crunch and mustard We Be Weiners where I got a Porklandia hot dog, with a Hebrew National all beef hot dog filled with Swiss Cheese, Bacon Wrapped, then deep fried and topped with onion crunch and mustard

This is where I got a Porklandia hot dog, with a Hebrew National all beef hot dog filled with Swiss Cheese, Bacon Wrapped, then deep fried and topped with onion crunch and mustard.
We Be Weiners where I got a Porklandia hot dog, with a Hebrew National all beef hot dog filled with Swiss Cheese, Bacon Wrapped, then deep fried and topped with onion crunch and mustard We Be Weiners where I got a Porklandia hot dog, with a Hebrew National all beef hot dog filled with Swiss Cheese, Bacon Wrapped, then deep fried and topped with onion crunch and mustard

We Be Weiners on Zomato

Dog town

Next, I wanted to highlight the hot dogs available at the Tidbit food cart pod on SE Division and Division, at Dog Town. Their list of about a dozen impressive dogs varies from LaLa Land with bacon and more bacon to a veggie sausage (Farmer’s Daughter, with romesco sauce, grilled leeks, shaved fennel, arugula to go with the veggie sausage so even a vegetarian won’t feel left out), 6 hour pulled pork a la Memphis Pulled Pork dog, to Fricken Chicken with fried chicken and bourbon bread or Lamborghini with Australian Lamb Sausage cuddled in naan bread, or a Sonoran bacon wrapped hot dog with salsa verde and avocado creme nestled in a made to order fry bread. The Friday Night Lights chili dog of course comes topped with Fritos too – they think of everything here to take it to the top and a little past that.

I don’t think it’s possible to neatly eat any of their insanely generously topped hot dogs. What makes them stand out to me is how the hot dog menu options are so bold, while still being thoughtfully composed to balance a fun range of flavors and textures to go all out in meeting the dramatic names of the hot dog option. At around $6 these hot dogs deliver upgraded flavor that more than justifies the price. This is more of a sandwich that happens to also have a sausage in it than just a hot dog.
Dog Town, located at Tidbit Food cart at SE 28th and Division offers an impressive heavily topped hot dog menu selection in Portland
Return of the Mac, a hot dog smothered in gooey mac and cheese, crispy bacon, and garlic bread crumbs on a fresh baked bun
Return of the Mac at Dog Town food cart, a hot dog smothered in gooey mac and cheese, crispy bacon, and garlic bread crumbs on a fresh baked bun Return of the Mac at Dog Town food cart, a hot dog smothered in gooey mac and cheese, crispy bacon, and garlic bread crumbs on a fresh baked bun

You’d think with the mac and cheese that would be my favorite, but at Dog Town my favorite is the Rocky Balboa, which is a Philly Cheesesteak Dog that includes All Beef coney Dog split and grilled topped with thinly sliced beef, grilled onions and peppers, and melted provolone.
Dogtown Rocky Balboa hot dog, which is a Philly Cheesesteak Dog that includes All Beef coney Dog split and grilled topped with thinly sliced beef, grilled onions and peppers, and melted provolone Dogtown Rocky Balboa hot dog, which is a Philly Cheesesteak Dog that includes All Beef coney Dog split and grilled topped with thinly sliced beef, grilled onions and peppers, and melted provolone

Dog Town Food Cart on Zomato

Bro-Dogs and Burgers

Finally, we have the super messy but delish offering from Bro-Dogs food truck (roaming food truck so check their social media, and also located at PDX Airport pre-security) of the “Dude!!!” The Dude!!! Bro-dog includes a Zenger smoked bacon and cheddar sausage with bacon, cheddar, mushroom, onion, garlic, cream cheese and two kinds of BBQ sauce, all on a handcrafted Alessio Bakery bun.

Bro-Dogs and Burgers menu also has a regular Bro Dog, Bratwurst, Polish, and Vegan dog as well as a Dirty Burger and Dirty Veggie Burger,  and special sausages like jalapeño cheddar or chicken apple,  all on the Alessio Bakery sandwich bun.

It’s hard not to be drawn to The Dude!!! in really being bad for you in a good way. I would almost expect this to show up on an episode highlighting over the top hot dogs in the US. I mean the size of this thing is veering into burrito territory,  thus the higher $7 price that’s the same price as their Dirty Burger. The rest of the menu is priced a couple bucks less.
Bro-Dogs and Burgers Bro-Dogs and Burgers menu famously includes their Dude!!! dog, as well as Bro Dog, Bratwurst, Polish, and Vegan dog as well as a Dirty Burger and Dirty Veggie burger. Bro-Dogs and Burgers menu famously includes their Dude!!! dog, as well as Bro Dog, Bratwurst, Polish, and Vegan dog as well as a Dirty Burger and Dirty Veggie burger. The Dude!!! Bro-dog from Bro-Dogs and Burgers food cart/truck includes a Zenger smoked bacon and cheddar sausage with bacon, cheddar, mushroom, onion, garlic, cream cheese and two kinds of BBQ sauce, all on a handcrafted Alesio Bakery bun The Dude!!! Bro-dog from Bro-Dogs and Burgers food cart/truck includes a Zenger smoked bacon and cheddar sausage with bacon, cheddar, mushroom, onion, garlic, cream cheese and two kinds of BBQ sauce, all on a handcrafted Alesio Bakery bun

Bro-Dogs on Urbanspoon

What are your thoughts on the fancy hot dog trend? What’s the fanciest hot dig topping you’ve seen?

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National Chicken Wing Day PDX

Today is apparently National Chicken Wing Day. I know this because my sister told me so, and I’m still looking for the all-encompassing food holiday calendar out there. Here are my picks for some places in Portland to get your National Chicken Wing Day fix on…

Pok Pok’s (various Pok Pok locations throughout Portland, New York and LA) Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Chicken Wings

Pok Pok Wing at the PDX airport offers Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Chicken Wings  which you can get normal or spicy. You can get a half dozen in a full order, or just 3 wings in a half order of these fresh whole natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, and tossed in caramlized Phu Quoo fish sauce and garlic

Mama Chow’s Kitchen Lollipop Wings with the bone exposed nicely to give you a place to hold

Mama Chow's Kitchen justifiably raved about lollipop wings with honey soy garlic glaze with jasmine rice and baby bok choy

Fire On The Mountain classic selection of buckets of wings and a dozen possible sauces plus rotating new sauces that they will add… and they even have vegetarian wings. Some people complain the wings can be a little skinny, but I always point out that FOTM uses free range chicken, not doped up chicken.

My favorite in town, PaaDee Thai Peek gai tod, fried wings glazed in Sriracha fish sauce. If you come here, you must get this, happy hour or not.

PaaDee Thai comfort food พาดี, Peek gai tod, fried wings glazed in Sriracha fish sauce. If you come here, you must get this, happy hour or not.

Happy Wings Wednesday!

What/where are your favorite chicken wings?

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Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich

Last week, I walked you through making your own fresh ricotta. Today, I’m going to share another recipe on how to enjoy that fresh ricotta. This Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich is vegetarian and a mix of flavors textures like the soft creamy ricotta and firm edamame and grassy microgreens, crunchy slighly spicy radish and acid of quick pickled red onions. This is my take when I saw the recipe of Summer Pea and Radish Pita in the Vegetarian Times and was inspired to make a version that’s more me and less pea.
My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich

The original recipe made 6 sandwiches, and there was not an easy way to reduce the amount for quick pickling the onions (and you use the leftover liquid to help make vinaigrette), so I followed that portion exactly. So, you will have a bunch of leftover quick pickled onion to enjoy as you will. I only needed to make 2 sandwiches for my household of 2, so you’ll notice I give instructions in the ingredients and directions below for what is needed per each sandwich.
My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich

Rather than making a sandwich, you can totally eat this as a salad as well and ignore the bread (I used regular sandwich bread here and not pita). My version also uses microgreens and edamame, which I used instead of pea shoots and peas as called by the original recipe, though the idea of pea shoots and peas in a sandwich is pretty lovely too.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of diced onions
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (you can also use peas instead)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 cups microgreens or pea shoots or you can use torn butter lettuce, your call (you will use about a cup of greens per sandwich)
  • About 2 cups of thinly sliced radishes (you will use 1/3 cup per sandwich)
    Slicing radishes thinly thanks to my new mandoline
  • Your choice of sandwich bread – I used multigrain
  • 1 cup of fresh ricotta (especially if you make it yourself, like in my recipe here for homemade ricotta)
  • Directions:
  1. First, place the diced onions in a heat proof bowl. Let me interrupt this step for a second to plug one of my favorite kitchen tools besides my silicon spatulas for scraping every bit of food in containers, KitchenArt ButterMate for measuring and cutting butter with no mess, and my rice cooker. My #4 fave kitchen tool is the Vidalia Onion Chop Wizard. I bought it a couple years ago when after (wearing glasses, not contacts) chopping a large beautiful onion I had procured from the Portland Farmers Market, I noticed at work the next day that the misty morning was continuing in that it was looking a little misty inside my work cubicle looking at my monitor. An emergency appointment that evening at the eye doctor yielded that I had somehow burned my eye with possibly onion vapors and needed steroid eye drops for the rest of the week. Shortly after that I bought this Chop Wizard and now I can get onions diced in less than a minute and there are never any tears. It even measures how many cups of onions I have so I only need to chop what I need. Some people like the repetitive ritual of chopping, but not me – and this chopper helps me get if over faster with all sorts of vegetables, not just onions. It’s awesome.
    <One of my favorite kitchen tools, the Vidalia Chop Wizard makes dicing onions so easy One of my favorite kitchen tools, the Vidalia Chop Wizard makes dicing onions so easy
    Anyway, in a small saucepan bring to a boil a combination of the 1/4 cup water, the 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to a boil.  Once it is boiling, remove the liquid from heat and pour over your diced onions. Let the onions pickle for about 15 minutes before separating the onions out. Don’t toss the onion vinegar liquid – you’ll be using that as a vinaigrette later! This is a great trick for quick pickling onions for any of your sandwich needs.
    Quick pickling the diced red onions is easy, just onions, and then boiled water with apple cider vinegar and some sugar Quick pickling the diced red onions is easy, just onions, and then boiled water with apple cider vinegar and some sugar Quick pickling the diced red onions is easy, just onions, and then boiled water with apple cider vinegar and some sugar
  2. If you use frozen edamame like I did, you should defrost them by steaming, boiling, or because of the summer heatwave I just used the microwave. They only need to be heated for a few minutes, and then blanched for the same number of minutes (I refreshed mine in water with ice). Drain the edamame from the water and set aside.
  3. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the leftover onion vinegar liquid that was left in a mixing bowl with the olive 3 tablespoons of olive oil. That’s enough dressing for 6 sandwiches, but I only needed to make 2 sandwiches so I eyed only a small amount to keep in the bowl and refrigerated the rest for future sandwiches and salads.
  4. In a mixing bowl I combined that small amount of onion vinaigrette (approximately two tablespoons) with a small amount of the quick pickled onions (probably two tablespoons, one for each sandwich again) as well as 2 cups of microgreens, a tablespon of the shelled edamame, and 1/3 cup of sliced radishes and tossed them all together so everything was coated with the vinaigrette.
    For the greens portion of the Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich, toss the onion vinaigrette with microgreens, radishes, edamame, and the quick pickled red onions For the greens portion of the Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich, toss the onion vinaigrette with microgreens, radishes, edamame, and the quick pickled red onions
  5. For each sandwich, I first spread the fresh ricotta (about 1 tablespoon for each sandwich half), and then topped each half with 1/2 a cup of the greens edamame radish mixture.
    My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich

I left my sandwiches open-faced because that’s my thing right now, to let the insides of a sandwich be visually enjoyed. I also am a bit greedy and may overstuff my sandwich.
My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich My recipe for a summer sandwich of fun textures, a Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens Sandwich

The next day, instead of sandwiches I added more torn butter lettuce to fill it out (I added a bit more of the leftover vinaigrette to compensate) and had this whole thing in salad form instead of sandwich (and my homemade ricotta had gotten more firm, so was perfect for adding in little 1/4 teaspoon fulls instead of spreading on bread).
Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens salad Radish, Edamame, Ricotta and Greens salad

What’s one of your favorite go to summer sandwiches during the hot summer? What are your favorite kitchen tools/tricks?

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Book Review of The Fold by Peter Clines

The Fold, by Peter Clines, does a good job immediately from the first chapter of plunking you immediately into the feeling of something is off and not right. The story admirably carries that unexplained feeling through 2/3 of the book (about 200 pages) as you try to understand what is going on and endeavor to find the explanation of why something is not right along with the protagonist.

This is likely what will keep you turning the pages and make it hard to put this book down- you will get caught up wanting to know the answer as well. The clues are sprinkled in ways that you will likely put it together around the same time he does, and thankfully does not wait until the end with some twist ending.

Instead, the surprise for me is that the last 1/3 of the book turns into more of an action thriller. This part I had a harder time following as I read then the first 2/3 as it relies on translating the words into action scenes in your head, so I probably missed some details and can only hope someone DOES turn this into a movie.

Though there is a little science involved, it is explained in a way that an everyday person can understand. Thankfully the main character, although stretching a bit with his eidetic memory that automatically gives him a mini super power, is also very relatable in that he is an English high school teacher. You can follow his viewpoint and his understanding of the science well since they use comparisons to more common real world things.

In many ways it reminds me of Jurassic Park in setting up a fascinating science premise but focused less on the science that the JP books, though science is a foundation. The trade of the science speak in the book is to focus more on setting up intelligent, quirky, but believable people and the way they act towards each other where the science does not overshadow people (which in that way, reminded me of Interstellar). The main character also is a bit reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes but without the awkward social skills – and this is intentional.

Sprinkles of humor from current culture like Star Trek, Game of Thrones, mentions of Simpsons, Looney Toons, etc. make the characters seem real, and each one comes across as very intelligent, yet individual with their specific quirks. And the premise is fantastic – the wonder of a possibly life altering scientific breakthrough, being dropped into a new situation with a team where you are trying to figure out what the heck is going on and you are the odd man out… All of that engages you right along into the story. I don’t want to give away too much as the journey is the fun of the book.

A really fun rainy day read, I would recommend it for high school and up (there is a little bit of foul language).

Disclosure: This book was provided to me as part of the Blogging for Books program, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015

I was fortunate to be able to attend last week the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 at OMSI with Chef Ryan Morgan and Chef Jim Dodge. I was excited and very curious to see the many savory ways to incorporate berries into a multi course dinner instead of the usual suspects of berry smoothies and cocktails, pies and ice cream. The menu looked very impressive, with wine pairings or dry sparkling pairing available for each of the four courses.
Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner July 18, 2015 at OMSI with Chef Ryan Morgan and Chef Jim Dodge Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner July 18, 2015 at OMSI with Chef Ryan Morgan and Chef Jim Dodge

The dinner took place on the OMSI terrace, which gave us a view of the Tillikum Bridge as the sun slowly set behind the rest of the Portland cityscape along the Willamette River during dinner.

During the Hors d’oeuvre time as we mingled, cocktail pairings by the Eastside Distilling & Commissary Syrups included this Portland Potato Vodka with Strawberry and Cucumber and Lime, as well as Below Deck Silver Rum with Marionberry, Cacao, Ginger and Lemon. No-Li Brewhouse Mosh Pit Tart Cherry and Cranberry Ale offered a beer pairing option to cocktails.
"Cocktail Cocktail of the Eastside Distilling & Commissary Syrups Portland Potato Vodka with Strawberry and Cucumber and Lime at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015

Hors d’ oeuvres

Blueberry and blue cheese empanada with ginger and green onion chimmi – this was definitely my favorite of the three as it really put the berry front and center and was such a unique combination of flavors that is so creative to put together, very impressive.
Blueberry and blue cheese empanada with ginger and green onion chimmi at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Blueberry and blue cheese empanada with ginger and green onion chimmi at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Blueberry and blue cheese empanada with ginger and green onion chimmi at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015
Smoked pork, raspberry glaze, herbed salsa is a combo I’d like to see more often. BBQ is often about the spice and sweetness through tomato, but you can get fabulous sweetness for your bbq meats from berries too!
Hors d’ oeuvres - Blueberry and blue cheese empanada with ginger and green onion chimmi plus the Smoked pork, raspberry glaze, herbed salsa at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Smoked pork, raspberry glaze, herbed salsa at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015
Cured salmon and shrimp salad with herbs and blackberries in butter lettuce offered an appetizer that was probably the healthiest of the three
Cured salmon and shrimp salad with herbs and blackberries in butter lettuce at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Hors d’ oeuvres at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015

Salad course

Herbs, flowers and silky greens with honey, up in your face chevre and marionberries was presented beautifully and paired with Adelsheim Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris
Herbs, flowers and silky greens with honey, Up in Your Face chevre and marionberries at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Herbs, flowers and silky greens with honey, Up in Your Face chevre and marionberries at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015

Main course

Chicken barbacoa, pickled strawberries, cotija cheese, blackberry serrano sauce served over duck smashed potatoes topped with shaved kale slaw Holy moly was this amazing! My only complaint was that the plating was not consistent – which resulted in my table looking around to find the most photogenic one since the saucing varied so much.
Chicken barbacoa, pickled strawberries, cotija cheese, blackberry serrano sauce served over duck smashed potatoes topped with shaved kale slaw at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Chicken barbacoa, pickled strawberries, cotija cheese, blackberry serrano sauce served over duck smashed potatoes topped with shaved kale slaw at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015
This course was paired with side by side tastings of Pinot Noir that included Foris Vineyard 2011 Pinot Noir from Rogue Valley with the same year but different area, Seufert Winery 2011 Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley.
Chicken barbacoa with pickled strawberries and blackberry serrano sauce, paired with Foris Vineyard 2011 Pinot Noir and Seufert Winery 2011 Pinot Noir at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015

Dessert

Boysenberry cassata, yuzu butter chiffon cake, soft cream, boysenberry sauce I admit I had never heard of a cassata before this course, and it turns out it’s a Sicilian Italian dessert that starts with a small cake (here a very thin layer of that butter chiffon cake) with a big layer of a softer ricotta cake that’s very soft, almost remisicent of a cheesecake that is softer like whipped cream.
Boysenberry cassata, yuzu butter chiffon cake, soft cream, boysenberry sauce at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Boysenberry cassata, yuzu butter chiffon cake, soft cream, boysenberry sauce at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015

It even came with a little raspberry spritzer to polish off the berrylicious dinner experience of the Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015
Raspberry Spritzer to go with the Boysenberry cassata, yuzu butter chiffon cake, soft cream, boysenberry sauce at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015 Raspberry Spritzer to go with the Boysenberry cassata, yuzu butter chiffon cake, soft cream, boysenberry sauce at the Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Gala Berry Dinner 2015

One of the important things I learned is that while now in the summer it’s easy to support our local farmers with the fresh local berries, you can continue to support them year round by buying frozen local berries in the freezer section. The berries are processed and frozen (or canned,  or jarred, etc.) often mere hours after being picked. So even as you thaw the berries  they will be significantly fresher still from imported berries. Furthermore, Oregon Berries benefit from a especially friendly climate here and soil type which makes them taste different (better!) so you will notice a difference in berry flavors!

Which of these courses sounded most delectable to you?

Disclosure: I attended the dinner as part of a media pass of the Oregon Berry Festival courtesy of the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own. 

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