UPDATE: These delicious are now served at brick and mortar restaurant Teote Areperia in SE Portland!
I was contemplating calling this a restaurant review, but it’s not quite a restaurant, so I figured I’d call it what it is. A friend of mine, Erica, introduced me to this Venezuelan food cart on SE Division and… 32nd? It’s called Fuego de Lotus. It’s amazing.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind.
Portland is largely known for its food scene and, in particular, its food carts. Now I have found a few food carts that I like, but I am never as in awe of some carts as some people seem to be. Granted, I haven’t visited many of the famed ones (except the Frying Scotsman, which is wonderful for UK style fish and chips), but I just never found that they were completely outstanding. Until Erica took me to Fuego de Lotus.
The first time I went to the food cart pod on Division, I got mac n’ cheese from some other cart. It was good. But I did not know what I was missing. One day, between a nice long climb and rehearsal for a play we were both working on, Erica and I stopped by Fuego de Lotus to grab some food to go. Her favorite is the green chili chicken arepa, so that’s what I got. Arepas are basically the equivalent of fried english muffins made with corn flour. Perfectly crispy on the outside and flavorful, they make a great base for the deliciously saucy chicken and cabbage. Yum-0. So it became tradition: after climbing on weekends, we would go get arepas.
Well last week, I decided to branch out. I had stuck with the green chili chicken because it was so damn good, I didn’t feel the need to try anything else. I hadn’t even looked at the other items on the menu… ridiculous, I know. But the food cart is also dangerously close to my office, and so the other day, Jonah and I went to get arepas for lunch. I tried the chorizo with fried plantains: really tasty, if a little spicy for me; Jonah tried the pork belly with red chili maple sauce: bacon-y and delicious and perfectly spicy. So now I’m even more obsessed. I’ve gone a few times for lunch since I’ve realized how close it is, and I can already see that the proximity is going to be a problem.
If you’re in Portland, looking for a taste of the food cart culture, this would be my top suggestion. Delicious food, wonderful service (the guy who is always working when I go is super nice), and a nice little pod filled with tables to sit and enjoy (plus covered tables in case the Portland weather persists).