Review: Brunchbox Portland

This review is long overdue. Ahh but where to begin…

When we first moved out to Portland and heard about the food cart phenomena, I was nervous. I wondered how more than one person could fit in those carts, let alone functionally cook in them. What about health codes? On the other hand my mind went to–small storage space=fresher ingredients? Less man power=simpler food? The cart trend really interested me, and I don’t think I will ever forget the first time we went to the Alder Street carts and walked around the entire perimeter 3 times in an attempt to decide what we wanted. German? Thai? Mexican? Vietnamese? BBQ? Mediterranean? Cuban? Ethiopian? The list just went on and on! (Seriously though, see the list here).

Although the Alder Street food carts is (to my knowledge) the largest cluster of carts, you will find them all over Portland! Brunchbox is located at SW 5th Avenue downtown. It’s known as one of the top food carts according to Yelp (291 reviews and counting), and even has a Zagat rating of 26/30. Their menus (a separate breakfast and lunch menu are offered) involve the pairings of Texas toast, bagels, or English muffins with some quality grass-fed beef, eggs, sausage or bacon. Even SPAM sneaks into some of their concoctions! I am going to concentrate on their lunch menu since that is what I have so often frequented.

Outlaw in foreground, YouCanHasCheesburger in background.

The food prep goes on right in front of your eyes in a food cart as there is no back room or door to close–and I will be the first to admit that watching some manly men assemble my lunch makes me pretty giddy. I ordered the Outlaw–a twist on the classic burger with cheddar cheese, bacon, crispy grilled onions, lettuce, pickles, tomato, BBQ sauce, and mayo on Texas toast. I am drowning just sitting here thinking about that burger. The Texas toast is easily my favorite touch as it adds a crunchy grilled cheese element (one of the ultimate comfort foods) to an already complex, textured palate. Ktams decided to go with the YouCanHasCheesburger, which is a burger with american cheese (he got double patties), lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, ketchup, mustard, and mayo literally nestled between two whole grilled cheese sandwiches.

My artsy Outlaw
We were both delighted with our decisions and nommed happily in my car–I will say that is the one drawback to food carts. Unless you have an office or warm place nearby, eating (especially in the dead of winter) can be a little tricky. I made the most of eating in my car by using my dashboard for an improve burger shoot (Ktams wouldn’t let me shoot his burger–understandably so). Brunchbox definitely gets my seal of approval as a fabulous food cart find. The men that work the cart are conversational and professional, and the flavor combinations shine through in everything we’ve tried to date. Next time over to the Brunchbox I’m going to try the Thai Bacon and perhaps the Monstrosity.
And now to share the most exciting news about Brunchbox–they announced just yesterday that they are opening a stand alone restaurant in Portland between Alder and Morrison!! I did hear whispers of this a few weeks back at our last stop in–but am so happy that things seem to be continuing to moving forward, and needless to say I will be first in line at opening!

What’s your favorite food cart?

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  • Reply Jenni Bost January 22, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Yay for the new restaurant! And, yum. I was super nervous about food carts for the longest time when I came out here. WHERE DO THEY GO TO THE RESTROOM!?!

    But, now I bring all the visitors we get to the food carts at least one time when they visit. LOVE THEM. The polish cart at the Alder pods is my favorite.

    BTW– there is an awesome little pod up the road from me “Cartlandia” — we should go sometime when it gets warmer!

  • Reply Elena @ CDACN January 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I need to go eat there like right now

  • Reply Little Goose January 22, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    In Portland I always go to DC Vegetarian. I think I’m addicted šŸ˜

  • Reply Kayla Moothart January 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Wow! Those are large sandwiches – even I am not sure that I could take down Kevin’s! I am ashamed to say that I still have not eaten at a food cart in Portland!

  • Reply Macey Snelson January 23, 2013 at 2:01 am

    I love the food carts! And I love that Portland has them all over! One of my favorite summertime activities is riding my bike along the Springwater Corridor and stopping for a burger on the way back šŸ™‚

  • Reply Sam January 23, 2013 at 6:02 am

    YUM!! I miss the carts so much! Ps you’re blog is looking nice and simple and sleek! love it!

  • Reply Jenn Pdx January 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Ohhh this is a block from my office. I may have to pick a splurge meal and head down there!

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