Ditch the brunch line and fill those grumbling tummies fast by heading straight to your nearest breakfast food cart. Kids can not only use their outside voices the entire time, but you can also settle down at a table near the cart or take your order to go and make a picnic of it on a warm day. Here are some of our favorites.
photo: The Big Egg, credit Marcin M. on Yelp
The Big Egg
A breakfast burrito typically isn’t hard to come by, but The Big Egg has a few well-crafted options that are definitely worth checking out, including two sandwiches, a wrap/burrito, and a seasonal selection. The Breakfast Wrap is a grilled flour tortilla enclosing the usual egg, potato, cheese and salsa, plus an unexpected yogurt-lime sauce — add bacon, ham, or vegetarian sausage, if you so desire. Sit a spell at the Mississippi Marketplace, with its covered seating and a recently-added coffee cart. Take note that this one is cash only.
4233 N. Mississippi Ave.
Online at: thebigegg.com
photo: Tastebud Bagels, credit Mike C. on Yelp
This isn’t your typical New Yawk bagel. Tastebud serves boiled, wood-fired Montreal-style bagels, which are smaller, denser and chewier than the average bagel, but with that same malty, crisp exterior. Traditional Montreal bagel flavors include sesame seed, poppy seed and plain, but they also have salt, black pepper, leek and everything bagels. Get one with a schmear or an open-face sandwich made with seasonal ingredients, like a sea salt bagel with peaches and honey cream cheese.
SW 10th and Alder St.
Online at: tastebudfarm.com
photo: Fried Egg I’m in Love, credit Bradley Stemke on Flickr Creative Commons
Fried Egg I’m in Love
Fried Egg I’m in Love serves up “blue collar” sandwiches with puns on sourdough. The signature sandwich here is the Yolko Ono, with fried egg, pesto and a cart-pressed sausage patty. Your kids might not be in on the joke, but you’ll appreciate that the OK Commuter sandwich is designed to be less messy for people (like your little ‘uns) on the go. Call ahead if you’re in a hurry, or wait and watch the world go by on Hawthorne, one of the best streets for people-watching in the city. Gluten-free bread is available for an extra buck.
3207 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Online at: friedegglove.com
photo: Brunch Box, credit Rick C. on Yelp
Feeling adventurous (and really hungry)? Order any of Brunch Box’s breakfast sandwiches with two grilled cheese sandwiches in place of the bread. The It’s their claim to fame. The Black and Bleu has bacon, sausage, bleu cheese, grilled onions, a fried egg and blackening spice. For the less intrepid, there are other bread choices, like Texas toast, English muffin, bagel, biscuit or wheat bread. Or, if you’re feeling particularly decadent, get your eggy concoction on French toast. A short kids’ menu includes the Cheesasaurus Rex, a grilled cheese made with Texas toast, shaped like dinosaurs and a simple breakfast sandwich, with bacon or sausage on Texas toast and American cheese. This place was so popular that they’ve branched out to open a brick-and-mortar location as well. Call-ahead orders get picked up from the restaurant only.
SW 5th and Stark St.
Online at brunchboxpdx.com
photo: Flavourspot, credit lalawren on Flickr Creative Commons
Johnny-come-lately food cart? No way. This Pre-Portlandia cart has been slinging waffles and waffle sandwiches since 2007. Their Dutch Taco is a waffle sandwich stuffed with toppings, folded in half, wrapped in foil and is made to eat on the go. They have two locations in NoPo, one is their original spot in the Videorama parking lot off N Lombard, the other is in a corner lot just off Mississippi St. Kids love Flavorspot’s Nutella and s’mores waffles, or their plain butter and powdered sugar waffles. Adults go nuts for the seasonal strawberry waffles, as well as their year-round ham and gouda waffles, and their sausage (pork or veggie) with maple butter waffles. For the GF crowd, they now offer wheat-free, buckwheat waffles at their Lombard location.
2310 N Lombard St.
810 N Fremont St
Online at: facebook.com/flavourspot
photo: Yolk, credit Katrina W. on Yelp
Locals and neighbors might not like the secret getting out, but there are some mighty tasty hashes and sandwiches flying out of this Woodstock cart. With house-made English muffins, carefully-selected cheeses, and daily specials featuring ingredients like maple-glazed pork belly on pretzel bread, you wouldn’t want to share the goods, either! If you’re feeling lucky, order “The Breakfast,” which is whatever the chefs feel like making: “No options. No substitutions. No allergies.”
SE 48th and Woodstock
Online at: facebook.com/yolkpdx
photo: Don M. on Yelp
Sip Juice Cart
Now that you’ve had your fill of waffles, bagels and fried egg sandwiches, maybe it’s time to cleanse the pallet. And as most parents know, a great way to sneak in more veggies is to hide them in smoothies. Sip’s two locations serve up healthy organic vegan juices, smoothies and vegan milkshakes. Try a green smoothie, like the Greensicle, with kale spinach, banana, orange, vanilla, agave and ice. For something a little more substantial, try the “Sunrise Bowl” of granola, fruit, nuts, and cinnamon. Sip was rated the #2 juice cart in the country by Food and Wine magazine.
3029 SE 21st Ave.
2210 NE Alberta St.
Online at: sipjuicecart.com
What’s your favorite grab-and-go cart meal? Let us know in the comments!
– Kelley Gardiner