Recently we headed out on a foodcart field trip. You may remember our post about the delicious, ginormous falafel and fries we had at Gonzo, down on SE 9th & Oak. That was where we ended our blog post, but it was not the end of our field trip!
Next on our list was The Sugar Shop at NE 23rd & Alberta. On the way, a cart called Stumplings — Stumptown Dumplings — caught our eye, so we stopped. It’s part of a little pod near 15th & Alberta that offers Mexican, Japanese, and the paleo-themed Cultured Caveman. Stumplings has four flavors each of steamed dumplings and bao. We debated between the coconut cream and the red bean paste. Red bean paste was the winner and it definitely was a winner! For just two dollars we got a soft pillowy bun of steamy deliciousness. We always get bao when we go to Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and we were very excited to find a place where they are equally as good and quite a bit closer to home!
The Sugar Shop shares a pod with The Cheese Plate, the Fiji Indian Curry cart and The Beer Porches in a nice little courtyard area with picnic tables, adirondack chairs, even a firepit on which you can make your own s’mores with homemade graham crackers and homemade marshmallows from the Sugar Shop. (Jeff’s sampled the Beer Porches brews before and gives them a thumbs-up!) We were even lucky enough to catch a performance from a jazz quartet!
We decided to try something from the Cheese Plate to counteract all the sugar we were about to ingest, so we went all Portlandia and ordered vegan cashew cheese and crackers and some kale chips. The vegan cheese really tastes like cheese. It’s amazing! It’s a creamy spread with a little hint of spice, but most would probably consider it very mild. The crackers were super thin and crisp and chock full of tasty seeds.
While they were showing us our kale chip choices, a guy behind us in line started telling us all of the chips’ ingredients and how they are dehydrated at 16% something or another. I was like, “Wow, you know a lot about these. What are you, the sales rep or something?” Turned out he was! Funny. I’m a super spice wimp, so we ordered the ranch ones, which I was afraid would taste like cool ranch Doritos, but they didn’t at all. They’re awesome, and I am definitely going to look for their brand again: Pacific Northwest Kale Chips. (We should have asked that helpful rep where else we could buy them!*)
The Sugar Shop had so many choices it was hard to decide. I really wanted to make s’mores, but I was also getting full so decided to take the desserts home to eat later. I’m not a big cake person, but they did have a red velvet cake which I read is really tasty. We still had a tough choice to make between a brown butter chocolate chip cookie (are you kidding me?!? YUM!), a salted caramel gooey brownie, or a cheesecake bar with a pecan crust and a whiskey caramel sauce topping. Oh, my! How could we pick? Well, to make it easier on ourselves, we ordered two: the brownie and the cheesecake. I won’t mention the near fiasco when Jeff dropped the cheesecake box on the porch when we got home and the lid popped open… Let’s just say he’s lucky that it all ended up OK.
It all ended up way more than OK, actually. Those desserts were awesome. The cheesecake was not too sweet and the crust was nutty and buttery, and it was covered with a boozy, creamy caramel sauce. The double-decker brownies were pebbled with sea salt which heightened the rich chocolate and smooth caramel flavors. Pure heaven on a plate.
Our success with these new food carts has given us more incentive to explore some of the other top carts on the list. If you have a favorite you think we should try out, let us know in the comments! Enjoy your week or your weekend!
*We DID end up asking the helpful rep Josh where we could get those kale chips. He was kind enough to give us a few more samples to try – the Cheezy and the Original flavors. They were both delicious. The cheezy were more dangerous, though, because with their mellow flavor you could easily eat the whole container in one sitting. The originals have a little more zing. Josh said you can get the chips at Whole Foods, New Seasons, Lamb’s Thriftway, Zupan’s, and most co-ops in town. Also you can buy direct from their website http://www.pacifickale.com. You should give them a try. Good and good for ya!