to heaven in a food cart

PDX foodcarts
Food glorious food. Ok, this is the last of the Portland sketches that you are getting. That was one productive little trip. One thing I must point out is that I hardly ever ate indoors. Despite the rain, I only wanted to eat from the many delicious food carts that dot the city so liberally. Now along with the rule about going to Portland and sketching bridges, it’s also true that no visit to PDX is complete without sketching food carts. The first evening i was there I headed to the large collectio of carts downtown over at SW Alder. Most were closed, it being dark and damp, but I got an absolutely amazing red curry dish from a popular looking place called “I Like Thai Food” (and I do like Thai food, for sure). It was a pretty massive box of yummy food, and only cost $5. I sat on a bench near Powell’s to eat it, savouring every massive spicy bite. I cam back a few days later, on a sunny autumnal Monday, and sketched it alongside a few other carts, before getting another $5 red curry from a different cart around the corner (called Grandma’s Thai or something), just to compare. That too was delicious, but I think ‘I Like Thai food’ was a fair bit better. There were so many carts to choose from, though, such as the Flying Scotsman (fish and chips, yes, but also deep-fried Mars bars – I was too full to indulge, but next time, next time…).

PDX Potato Champion
On the Sunday I was exploring Hawthorne in the rain, food carts were a constant topographical feature. There is a small gaggle of them located around 12th and Hawthorne, including Potato Champion, who specialize in sauce-drowned Belgian frites (always a winner with the Scully tastebuds), and I got a decent poutine, and sketched as best as I could (there was shelter from the rain, but that morning’s mild hangover was still being nursed). I do think that if we lived in Portland, we would very likely eat from food carts about 75% of the time we ate anything, so abundant and varied are they. I am sure many of them are not very good, too, in fact I had one wrap type thing at a cart in the Saturday Market that was very unimpressive, to the point I cannot remember anything about it or even what style of food it was (it must have had some memory-wiping drug in it or something), but on the whole the Portland food cart experience was extremely promising. I know many urban sketchers like to go inside and warm up to eat and linger around a table, but for me food carts are the ultimate urban sketcher’s friend, because you get to stay outside, eat and just carry on drawing.
Food Cart sketching in Portland

If you want to know more about the food carts in Portland, this is a good website:

16 thoughts on “to heaven in a food cart

  1. jenniferappel says:

    Quite the food-cart-a-thon. The sound of that curry is making me hungry.

    Would you believe, in Montreal, food carts are not allowed! Something about encouraging local restaurants – of which we have many. Although, there has been some talk about bringing back the food cart. I hope so, then I can try a sketch or two.

    Until then, I’ll have to enjoy yours.

  2. Vicky Porter says:

    Really nice food carts, Pete. I especially like the carts surrounded by the autumn leaves. Looks like you have about 790+ more carts to try when you return.

    • pete scully says:

      Believe, these trips are not long enough. I was actually a little frustrated that I would get full and not be able to keep eating stuff. I could spend a month drawing foodcarts alone, another month in Powells, and as for the beer and bridges…

  3. Linda Daily says:

    Love your foodcarts! You did the Potato Champion that was in my postcard set.
    I like your version better,you didn’t mess with the background as much.
    Really fun to see Portland through your eyes!

    • pete scully says:

      Ah no, I much much prefer yours. I knew I recognized it when I saw it, and had to draw it, and then remembered when I got back that it was from your painting that I knew of it. I def want to draw more of them next time though!!

  4. Myra Handsaker says:

    Your foodcarts are fantastic! I feel like I could walk up and order some curry and pad thai. Foodcarts, micro brews, bridges and Powells, what more could you ask for? All the sketches in your PDX series are lovely. Cheers!

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