The food cart scene in Portland is huge, and weirdly enough it took me until my fourth visit to the city to truly experience this uniquely Portland thing. You see, until food trucks or the carts you might see in other cities, the carts in Portland are actually semi-permanent structures and clusters of them take up whole city blocks. At the Alder Street “Pod” I found Steak Your Claim among the carts and knew it was made for me.
After much deliberation over the pastrami and cheesesteak options, I finally decided to order the Raging Bull. As you can probably tell thanks to the miracle of photography, this was no slouch of a sandwich, being filled with pastrami, crispy onions, chipotle mayo, jalapenos and whiz. It took shockingly long to prepare, but perhaps I was waiting for the pastrami to be cured. Nonetheless, the sandwich looked like something out of a dream.
That dream turned into a delicious mess as I dug into the beast. I could tell the pastrami was tasty, but truthfully it was a little overpowered by the other ingredients in the sandwich, almost making me wish I had gone the purist route. On the other hand, even with overpowered pastrami this was a super delicious sandwich. More importantly, it was the kind of sandwich that carts like this were made for. With limited space and cooking options, specializing in cheesesteaks and pastrami sandwiches are a great way to enable greatness. I can’t wait to get to more carts upon my inevitable return to Portland some day.