Category Archives: Ponderings

US News Awards Portland “World’s Best Street Food”

A Little Bit of Smoke

US News & World Report has awarded Portland Oregon for having the best street food in the world. Portland is their top choice out of a list of ten, including Singapore, Istanbul, Bangkok, Marrakech, Tel Aviv and more.

From spicy burritos to saucy Korean barbeque, twice-fried French fries to Nutella-smeared waffles, you’ll have no trouble satisfying that craving — whatever it may be — in Portland.

According to, this Pacific Northwest city is doing for street food what it did for coffee at the end of the 20th century: Made up of stands, carts, trucks and even bicycles, Portland’s community of snack vendors are working hard to supply an eclectic variety of cuisines in an efficient and cost-effective way. These gastronomic gatherings — like the one found around lunchtime at the corner of SW 10th Avenue and SW Alder Street — now rival Singapore’s hawker centres in terms of quality and affordability.

But it’s the diversity of the fare and the friendliness of both the vendors and the fellow diners that have earned Portland’s street food scene the number one spot. Not sure where to begin? Fellow gastronomes recommend the Cora Y Huichol Taqueria for their tangy Mexican food and Nong’s Khao Man Gai for a serving of creamy Thai curry.

You can read the rest of the article with all the nominated cities here.

For an in-depth guide to the Portland street food scene, make sure to check out Food Carts Portland, and, of course, I scanned the list first with an eye for the barbecue…here’s a few to check out:

Location: NE Alberta between 14th and 15th
Hours: Wed-Sun, 10am-8pm
Brisket, St Louis Style Ribs, Roasted Chicken, Pulled Pork

Ploy Thai
Location: SW 5th and Oak
Hours: Lunchtime, weekdays
BBQ marinated pork or chicken

Island Grill Hawaiian Barbeque
Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
BBQ beef; Beef short ribs; Kalua pork; BBQ spicy pork; BBQ chicken; Shoyu chicken

A Little Bit of Smoke
Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
Pulled Pork, Pulled Chicken

Anyone wanna meet for lunch?

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Barbecue is for men!

Everyone knows that barbecue is a man-only sport, right?

For all my fantastic friends of the female persuasion, especially those who “man” the grill, especially Lynn…

Here’s how it works:

1) The woman buys the food.

2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.

3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill – beer in hand.

Here comes the important part:


5) The woman goes inside to get the plates and cutlery.

6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.

Important again:


8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and brings them to the table.

9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:

10) Everyone praises the MAN and thanks HIM for his awesome bbq efforts.

11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed her “night off.’  Upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there’s just no pleasing some women….

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What is a Chef?

“A good cook is the peculiar gift of the gods. He must be a perfect creature from the brain to the palate, from the palate to the finger’s end.” – Walter Savage Landor

I’ve recently had cause to research the word “Chef”, as one of those wonderfully gutless anonymous posters decided to take umbrage with a regular contributor over his use of the word in regards to himself (luckily, this is a moderated blog, so I got to push the button on that one.)

Now…before I get all preachy, please understand…I really don’t care. I have an opinion (as always) but I’m not runnin’  a flag up the hill amid a hail of bullets on this one. Call yourself whatever you want to call yourself, as long as you can back it up on the plate.

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In response to: Portland code cops crack down on food carts

Found this article, “Portland code cops crack down on food carts” over at and, needless to say, I became irked…


“Consider it a cautionary tale, in the event summer weather ever returns: Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, the agency responsible for enforcing city codes and getting rid of nuisances, will impose monthly fines on food cart operators who leave tables and chairs on sidewalks outside their businesses after receiving written warnings. Although restaurants are permitted to have outdoor seating on city sidewalks, food carts are not, a BDS spokesman said Thursday.” (Read the entire article here)

My response:

I forget…is it “Keep Portland Weird” or “Keep Portland Stupid?” Portland’s Bureau of Development Services seems confused as well.

I’m sure glad that there’s nothing more important in the entire city of Portland for these bean-counting bureaucrats to focus their beady little eyes, and ticket pads,  on than…of my God, the horror…FOOD CARTS!

It’s a good thing they don’t have any real work to do, unemployment would be even higher!

Food carts (yes, with tables and chairs) seem to work just fine in crowded cities all over the world, and in fact are a major tourist draw (note to Portland’s Bureau of Development Services…TOURISTS = MONEY, just FYI…)

Consider the fact that our Portland chefs, our food, and, more specifically, our food carts have been getting high praise of late. Fox News calls Portland’s gourmet food cart scene a “Phenomenon” and “a sublime gourmet experience…redefining Portland, Oregon’s already idiosyncratic, artisanal food scene.”  and Budget Travel  rated Portland the best city for food cart culture…in the world!

Unfortunately without having SOMEONE to fine, most of these city-desk knobs would be out of a job, so I guess it’s in their best interest to make the vendors job harder, and the customers experience less convenient, to justify their paper-pushing. Congratulations on giving people one less reason to go downtown.

– Perry

Perry P. Perkins
Author & Food Blogger

So, yeah…I think that pretty much sums it up.

Feel free to visit and leave your own thoughts. You can contact Portland’s Bureau of Development Services here: and here: 503-823-7700…at least I think you can. The page’s informtion was last updated in 2006, but, you know…they’ve been busy dealing with bistro-table related emergencies and all…

By the way, to find some our Portland’s awesome food cart vendors, visit Food Carts Portland.

Hey, when you go…piss off a bureaucrat…bring your own chair!


PS – There’s a great new book out on the Portland food cart scene, “Cartopia: Portland’s Food Cart Revolution” by Kelly Rodgers & Kelley Roy –  which tells, through stories and photography, how the perfect storm of Portland’s independent culture, artisan economy, and “foodie” scene created the food cart revolution.

“Portland has over 500 food carts, some clustered into “pods” in parking lots and others staking their solitary claim on the sidewalk. Artisanal, quirky, independent, and an exceptional value, these food carts are the perfect symbol of what Portland is all about.

As authors Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy explore the factors that have placed Portland in the street-food spotlight, they also document the personality and character of the Portland carts, and by extension, Portland itself.” (from


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Happy Independence Day!

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. 

You may think you have overeaten, but it’s patriotism. 

~Erma Bombeck


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Not happy with Intense Debate software’s “reputation score.”

Okay, so this is a non-food related rant…just wanted to let you know that, upfront, lol.

I went to a stranger’s blog this morning, and posted a comment about an interview they did with a friend of mine. Once I’d posted I noticed that next to my name, in the comments thread, was a red box with the number -57 and an exclamation point.

Hovering my mouse over this, I got this message:

Sorry if it’s hard to read, here’s what it says in the blue box:

IntenseDebate Reputation Meter

The reputation meter is a measure of strength of all previous comments made on our system by a certain commenter as judged by his or her peers. It is one way to tell whether the comment you are reading is written by someone well-regarded.

What the heck…the “average” score is 16 points, and I have NEGATIVE FIFTY-SEVEN? Linked to MY blog???

As you might guess…this angered me.

I tracked back to the software’s site and there’s nowhere, that I can find, to delete my “account” (which I never signed on for.) Oh, and no password is required on the site to view my account, either.

I found that the rating is based on 5 (yes – FIVE) total comments I’ve made in the last six months. Three of these posts were made on the same thread. Only one of the five had anything to do with the Burnin’ Love BBQ Blog. Yet, they’re telling readers that “The better commenter, the greater number” without mentioning that, oh by the way, out of thousands of this writer’s comments, this rating is based on 5 of them.

My ire increased.

Given the lack of options, a “Contact Support” email was about the best I could do…

My Letter:

I wanted to know why I received a -57 score rating on my “reputation” so I tracked it down…of the thousands of comments I’ve posted this year, your system tracked exactly 5 of them. 3 of which are from a single thread: a complaint about how an airline treated a plane-full of us passengers.  

Because we were going to Hawaii on vacation, and because it happened to be the same weekend as the Tsunami, and because the local news station ( KOMO – Seattle, WA) made us their lead-in joke that evening, my comments were blasted.

Kinda pisses me off that your software is rating and ADVERTISING my online reputation with a red exclamation point, based on a probable 1/500th or less of my actual comments. I did not opt in to be “rated” by your system, and I either want my information corrected, or I want my comments blocked from your “meter.”

I make my living online, and I’m wondering if the owners of this service are familiar with the phrase, “defamation of character and professional damages”?

I will be checking back, soon and often, to insure that this situation is resolved.

Perry P. Perkins
Independent Publisher
Elk Mountain Books

Okay, I’m going to go for a walk, have a milkshake, kick a cat…something.

I’ll keep ya’all updated.



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Your favorite burger for a buck?

Okay, so obviously  we can all make a slammin’ hamburger at home, and many restaurants and pubs are putting out some very good burgers as well, but sometimes we only have enough time (or loose change) to swing through a drive-thru and order from the giant talking head.

For me, BK was the champ since I was a wee-greasemonkey, at least until they opened a Sonic in Wilsonville. Now…I’m torn.

Who get’s your vote?

(Please don’t vote “None of the above.” If you are morally, or gastronomically opposed to fast food, go read this post, instead! Lol)

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Memorial Day 2011…

To our fallen heroes and their families. We thank you.

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Pike Place-style market in Portland?

A permanent public market?

At the west end of the Morrison Bridge?

I think I’d be cautiously optimistic about the first, completely nonplussed about the latter.

Without knowing the details of who’d be selling,  what I do know is that I’d love to have a local “Pike’s Place.” (Though I wish is was a little more “local” (to me) than Downtown Portland.)

See, I’m a huge fan of the local farmer’s markets, but the ones I’ve been to around here just are’t big enough to be much more than novelty shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting my Bigfoot Bread, my cumin gouda (thank you Willamette Valley Cheese Co.) and, of course, my Saucisson d’Arles and Sopressatta (God bless you Olympic Provisions!)

However, I don’t want “one more trip” on my to-do list. If I do the farmer’s market, I want it to replace my trip to the grocery store (sweet Lord, please!) and I want to come home with a week’s worth of groceries.

As it is, the local FM’s just don’t have the variety of product or vendors to make that feasible.

What I also DON’T want is some local-government-marketing-department-run “outdoor Walmart” that’s shipping in its produce on the same trucks as the box stores and tacking on a 25% ‘greenie fee” for the hipness of shopping there.

Is that all asking too much?

Here’s hoping not.

Anyone out there more in the know on this matter than me? (That should be most of you…)

What’s your opinion?


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Spelling and grilling in the same joke…

How could I pass that up?

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