Hawthorne Asylum Food Carts
Hawthorne Asylum, the sprawling new food cart pod near Cartopia, is a street food enthusiast’s Disneyland, with everything from vegan Egyptian to a Southern-meets-South-African. The pod officially opened this February amongst sleet and snow, but the pod is now in full gear, with several carts, plenty of covered seating, a fire pit, and steam punk metal work. Here’s what to know going in.
Its barbecue is on point
As promised, Bark City BBQ, Eater PDX’s 2018 Cart of the Year, made the move from North Portland to Southeast’s Hawthorne Asylum. The cart is still hawking the dishes that made it a star — pickled avocado, smoky-fatty brisket, no-joke ribs — but it’s getting into meatier territory at the new locale: the Bark City BBQ’s Barky Burger, a brisket burger loaded with beef and smoked cheddar, is coming soon to the cart, as well as lamb ribs and shoulder.
The brunch options are far from your usual eggs-and-bacon
In Latin cultures, Mestizaje loosely means “mixture.” At Mestizaje food cart, this this mix is gives a gracious nod to the owner’s Spanish-Portuguese grandmother in the form of Atuna Alcantra, a sandwich-style dish that is made with tuna, olive, potato, and parsley. Cart owner Seanja Pastrana-Mondragon says this dish is a great brunch option, as well as her Monte Cristo torta. Dishing out a range of plates, Mestizaje serves Pastrana-Mondragon’s diverse families’ favorite dishes.
You can find Southern-South-African food at the Asylum
All directions point to fried chicken and grits at the new food cart South, which combines the American South with South Africa. Owners Jeremy Lucas of Alabama and Siobhan Passmore of South Africa are serving up heirloom grains and grits with Mary’s Chicken and Carlton Farms Pork. Not to skip: the po’ boy on a Pearl Bakery baguette.
It’s vegan friendly, thanks to a hard-to-find Egyptian favorite
Peri Koshari’s owner Faisal Faisal is bringing a classic Egyptian dish to Southeast Portland with his popular Koshari Bowl. Well-known on the East coast, Koshari is a mix of rice, pasta, and lentils with a tomato-based sauce, chickpeas, and onion; the dish can be hard to find on Portland menus excluding a few carts like Elmasry downtown, but at Peri Koshari, it’s the cart’s namesake. The 100 percent vegan cart also serves various forms of falafel — as a “taco,” a plate, and as a sandwich. The tiny cart was originally based near Portland State University, but it made the to expand its hours and customer base.
Health-conscious eaters have some options
Meatless diners are in luck, even if Egyptian food doesn’t appeal: Daily Fuel vegan and vegetarian cart brings high-energy food to its eaters. With a background in chiropractic medicine, owner Dax McMillan assures diners that his eats are packed with high-density nutrients. McMillan says that his “Frankenstein-style” cart, created by hand with the help of McMillan’s Grimm colleague, Mark Haleston, is the first to have a reverse osmosis alkaline water system — basically super obsessively purified water.
There’s plenty of booze
With 16 ounce “power pints” of mimosas and cart-made sangria, Black Dagger is the first cart guests hit after passing through the wrought iron gates of Hawthorne Asylum. Black Dagger’s owner Scott Kinard has loaded his taps with craft beers and ciders, including Oregon brews like Migration’s Straight Outta Portland. He’s not the only entertainment coming to the pod: Kinard says that Hawthorne Asylum’s co-owner Brock Johnson is working to create a live music stage and more unique features to set this food pod apart from the rest.
There are fun things to drink for the alcohol-free, too
For an interesting craft drink that is zero-proof, the Pelmeni Pelmeni cart is now making its own kvas, the fermented non-alcoholic beverage popular throughout Eastern Europe. This gingery drink is cart-made and on-tap at Pelmeni Pelmeni, and for those unsure if they’re willing to commit to a full glass Pelmeni Pelmini gives free samples of its bread-based brew. For sustenance, this cart serves up Slavic dishes; think stuffed dumplings with fillings like chicken and cabbage and sweet vareniki filled with berries and cream.
10 Perfectly Portland Shops in the Division/Clinton Neighborhood
Prepare for a trove of chic threads, comic-book finds, stylish stationery, and lady-approved sex toys.
Take a break from stuffing your face to explore this Southeast neighborhood’s bonanza of boutiques and shops. Seeking some chic fashions, old-school vinyl, or lady-approved X-rated toys? They’ve got you covered. (Not enough for you? Find more wonderfully weird shops here.)
Chic and carefree, this locally owned mini-chain boasts three locations packed with sharp brands like Prairie Underground, Mother Denim, and Velvet to local Grayling jewelry and Pons shoes.
A quirky analog realm of rare records, cassette tapes, and vintage audio gear—this is the spot to stock up on hard-to-find house and techno to boogie, Italo disco, darkwave, and indie rock (and get your hands on a quality old-school turntable while you’re at it).
Books with Pictures
IMAGE: KELLY CLARKE
The comics scene gets an all-inclusive makeover at this super-friendly shop with a mission to welcome everybody who “loves good stories”— that means newbies, women and people of color, and kids as much as seasoned collectors. And it translates to a tidy space bursting with indie and LGBTQ titles, comics featuring kickass female and POC heroes, kids’ picture books, Marvel and DC standards, and small-run handmade comics. Super indeed.
This clothing and fabric boutique specializes in tailored but sassy and colorful everyday wear that can easily be dressed up for a wedding or a night on the town. Offerings range from dresses, skirts, and shirts to socks, hats, purses, and jewelry, with an emphasis on fairly traded materials that feel good and are meant to last. Though they offer labels that hail from places as different as San Francisco and France, the focus is on showcasing local designers at affordable prices, including clothing lines by the owners and employees. Bonus: a full schedule of sewing classes, too.
A sun-drenched space brimming with skincare elixirs, recycled brass jewelry, and cobalt-hued scarves, tea towels, and table runners from local and national makers, Field Trip also doubles as a workshop center. You need to pick up a “The Future Is Female” sweatshirt and brush up on your macrame or indigo dyeing skills? Done.
San Francisco–born indie publisher Little Otsu’s high-style stationery shop is a study in Luddite perfection—from blank notebooks and planners adorned with pineapples and winsome pine trees to beautifully illustrated kids books and wrapping paper pretty enough to give as a gift itself.
A fetchingly austere clutch of “useful and beautiful things,” Orn Hansen is an equally good spot to acquire indie Euro, Japanese, and American men’s and women’s clothing (Edwardian-inspired camisoles to vintage 1930s-era varsity sweaters), as well as the odd bit of sand-toned pottery or brass and steel shears. Let the window-shopping/Instagramming begin.
Buy, sell, trade, or consign at this upscale clothing resale store for kids and maternity. The staff is serious about accepting only the highest-quality gently worn items—think current fashions from Hanna Andersson, Gymboree, Pumpkin Patch, and Patagonia; they’ll also give the thumbs up to handmade and vintage pieces, as long as they are in pristine condition. Moms-to-be can meet the needs of their expanding bellies in affordable fashion thanks to labels like Mimi Maternity, Japanese Weekend, and Olian. Piccolina also buys and sells gently used cloth diapers and wraps, books, toys, strollers, high chairs, carriers, slings, cribs, and bedding.
There are adult stores, and then there’s Portland’s own female- and queer-friendly sex toy boutique—a chic trove of eye-popping tomes, paraben-free lubes, and a rainbow of high-end vibrators and dildos overseen by a crew of frank, enthusiastic staffers who are down to help you discover, well, whatever works for you—BDSM gear to exercisers that are like vaginal Fitbits. Bonus: the shop’s private group store tours are the best educational titillation in town.
Forget musty and cluttered: This clean, organized women’s vintage clothing boutique looks more like the chic ladies’ dress shops of yore—which may be why it has regular customers who stop by every week to hang out and dish about fashion. Owner/style maven Liz Gross firmly believes that whatever is currently in vogue is based on pieces that have been done before. So despite the older labels, everything feels up-to-date. Imagine a 1950s fitted silk floral-print bombshell dress, or the perfect little black 1960s cocktail dress—something Audrey Hepburn herself might have worn—each handpicked by Gross. Très haute. The space is also home to appointment-only designer and vintage bridal boutique the English Dept., which sells some of the city’s most unique wedding frocks.