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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
7.5
7.5
$10
Italian, Sandwiches
Food cart

Hours
Daily 11:00am–3:30pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards None

www.gardenstatecart.com

Sellwood
SE 13th Ave. and SE Lexington St.
Portland, OR
(503) 705-5273
Garden State
A tiny trailer serving great Italian street food and sandwiches

Garden State is a thimble of a food cart, but it turns out Italian street food that’s big on flavor. The little aluminum trailer is typically simple, with just a few tables and chairs in its gravel lot and a cooler of sodas and waters. This mostly residential part of Sellwood makes for a friendly neighborhood ambience, as well a postprandial walk to some of the coolest antique stores in the city.

Vegetarians will find just as much to love here as will meatier appetites. Arancini, a Sicilian dish, are golf-ball-sized spheres of fried saffrony risotto, each filled with an oozy dollop of mozzarella and surprisingly free of grease. A meaty ragù or vegetarian tomato sauce is served on the side so you can opt for meat or no meat. A fried chickpea “fillet” works well on a sandwich of crusty but yielding ciabatta bread with a carrot-radish slaw, lemony-garlicky aïoli, and gently sweet delicata squash.

Some sandwiches flirt with cross-culturalism, including a plentiful meatball sub with nicely toasted edges and a spicy tomato sauce. A “Cuban Vacation,” a take on the cubano, is packed with slow-cooked, shredded pork and a tangy green-tomato chutney. Mustard and sour cream help to moisten the pork so the ciabatta is nice and soaked by the last bite.

Soups change frequently, and salads can be added for just a few bucks more. Chickpea fries are also terrific and, at just a couple bucks a pop, one of the best deals in town.

This would be a great meal anywhere in the city, but this stretch of Sellwood is particularly lucky to have it for refueling while antiquing.

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