Built to Grill

Another trip to Portland would not be complete without more visits to the Portland food carts.  I ventured out to the 3rd & Stark food carts which are about 10 blocks away from where I’m staying.  I didn’t go here last time because my little delicate LA feet thought it was too far to walk.  I manned up and went trekking for good eats.  After a quick walk, maybe 10 minutes, I arrived to another block teeming with food carts.  I had to try Built to Grill, the only food cart rated on yelp with 5 stars!

You’d think Built To Grill specialized in burgers or meat of some sort with a name like that.  Stand corrected, because Buil to Grill is all about Italian, pastas and paninis.


The downside of the majority of the food carts are the limited hours.  They target the working lunch crowd, so if you happen not to work in the area then its probable that you’ll never get to experience the wonders of the food carts.  Lucky for me, I have all the time in the world when I’m here in Portland.  The only limiting factor is the size of my stomach and the fact I’m usually going by myself so I can’t order that much food.  Or can I?

Gnocchi sun dried tomatoes, roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine sauce, fresh basil, shaved parmesan, italian sausage

I was totally impressed with the quality of this dish.  It seriously tasted like something out of a nice Italian restaurant rather than a cart and a paper box.  The gnocchi were soft and light.  The contrast of sun dried and fresh tomatoes was delightful.  The large hunks of roasted garlic added bold flavor without being overwhelming because they were cooked down to soft heaps.  The fresh basil brought an herby bright freshness to the dish.  I was seriously in love.  The dish didn’t need the added sausage but certainly was not hurt but the meaty deliciousness.

Mediterranean Meltdown proscuitto, mortadella, ham, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh basil pesto, mozarella, fresh ciabatta

 This was a true manly sandwich.  It was packed with meat meat meat!  The meat was delicious, perhaps a bit on the salty side, but perfect for an Italian sandwich.  I actually was glad to have bites of pasta in between bites of the sandwich to balance out all the salt.   I would have preferred the sandwich cut down on the meat or increase the balancing flavors from the red peppers and artichoke hearts.  Overall the sandwich was tasty and I’m looking forward to trying the other versions.

I was seriously impressed with the caliber of food served here.  The pasta was bursting with fresh Italian flavors and the sandwich was hearty and made to order.  I asked the chefs where they learned to cook and the main guy went to the CIA in NYC.  Who woulda guessed that these food cart people would actually have formal training?!?!  Built To Grill deserves all 5 stars it has earned on Yelp.  I wish I could have tried all the other pastas and paninis but I guess that will have to wait for another time.  For all of you out there thinking I’m a pig eating all that food by myself, I’ll have you know all that food lasted me for 3 meals!   I love food, but I love NOT being fat even more.


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