We know it seems a little weird to say, “Come on kids! Let’s go to the food cart for dinner!” – but with food carts like these, you won’t be able to resist! Offering high-quality, often organic ingredients, these are far more than fast-food joints on wheels. Food carts are the new gourmet restaurants hitting the dining scene and you won’t want to miss it. Check out some of our picks to get you rolling!

PBJ’s
These aren’t your mama’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. First of all, they are grilled, which means that all the yummy ingredients get locked inside of the amazing organic breads that they use. For the little ones, they’ll make a standard PB&J while you enjoy creations such as the Betty – Challah bread grilled with gruyere cheese, bread and butter pickles, white pepper, sea salt and PBJ’s own peanut butter. Check out their full menu and location details on PBJ’s website.

Awesome Cone
We’re pretty sure that Awesome Cone was the brainchild of a parent because dinner in a cone is brilliant kids food – fill up a cone with healthy foods and let them dig in! Awesome Cone has a simple menu featuring the best ingredients – kids will love the O’Pioneer Cone filled with wagon wheel pasta in tomato sauce (bonus – it’s vegan!) and you’ll love the Pig Cone with pulled pork and a scoop of coleslaw. Just be careful or your kids will want to start eating every meal out of a cone! Visit the Awesome Cone website for more information.

The Waffle Window
Although it’s not technically a food truck, it’s not technically a restaurant either, so we’re going to sneak this amazing Portland food experience in here! The Waffle Window is just that—a walk up window on the side of a building in the Hawthorne neighborhood where, for between $2 and $5, you can get a gourmet waffle to go. For a savory waffle, try the Ham & Cheese (served with syrup on the side!) or for a treat, the Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich is a must. Read more about their location, menu and hours on their website.

Whiffies Fried Pies
Obviously we don’t condone feeding your family large quantities of fried food, but a little fried pie on occasion isn’t so bad – especially when it comes from the Whiffies cart. The Whiffies menu changes from week to week so you’ll want to visit their website to check for kid-friendly options before leaving the house, but with regulars like Mac and Cheese with Peas or Bacon and Tofu Pot Pies, it’s hard to go wrong. Parents will love Whiffies because they truly have the science of making fried pies down – everything stays sealed in the packet instead of running down the hands and arms of your little ones. For Whiffies’ menu and location, please visit their website.

Want to check out even more of the Portland food cart scene? Don’t miss Eat Mobile, Portland’s Annual Food Cart Festival, on April 23, 2011.

— Katie Kavulla