Sometimes food carts throw a kink into your plans. Sometimes, they make life a lot easier. Thankfully, Earth Burgers made our life a bit easier this week.
We’d been out at Sellwood Riverfront Park, and the little one was in raptures, carefully selecting rocks to toss into the river. Eventually, it was about an hour to dinnertime. We were 40 minutes away from home, and no solid plans other than “probably picking something up on the way.” Well, half of the city of Portland could be considered “on the way” from Sellwood to our place in Northeast, so we had plenty of options. Eventually, I was able to get the kid in the car, despite his deep ambition to continue throwing a stick at a particular bush, and we headed to Tidbit to see what we could see.
I’d only stopped by Tidbit once, as it popped up shortly after we moved from that part of town. (Back in my day, the only Salt & Straw on Division was a cart that popped up in the summer in front of an empty lot. Ah, simpler times…) Tidbit is a densely-packed, happening food cart pod. In fact, it doesn’t seem so much like a “pod” so much as a community, as it was obviously planned after the food cart boom rather than hastily plunked down in a parking lot. We didn’t have a dinner plan when we walked in, but as we walked up, I saw a sign advertising Pyro’s Wicked Wiches, a cart I’d only learned about recently. Yep, sandwiches from the Pyro Pizza people. I was predisposed to be on board with this. Unfortunately, they had a sign on the cart saying they were opening in about 15 minutes, and we didn’t have that long to wait, between a waiting husband at home, the toddler, and the drizzle that was starting to fall.
So Earth Burgers it was. I’d wanted to try them anyway, so, score!
Earth Burgers serves all house-made, vegan and gluten-free patties, all on vegan buns from Grand Central. Everything starts vegan, with the possibility of adding a slice of Tillamook Cheese to your patty. Nice! Gluten-free buns are available for an extra buck, too.
We got the The Casbah: chickpea burger, cucumbers, tomato, pickled red onions, organic mixed greens, and tahini sauce and the PDmeX: black bean & organic sweet potato burger, red onion, pickled jalapenos, tomato, organic mixed greens, and tomatillo-avocado salsa.
That’s right. Those are two different patties altogether. There’s also an Indian-inspired potato and vegetable burger, as well as a black-eyed pea and kale burger. Dang. It’s nice to have a little variety in the veggie burger game.
The Casbah was a solid patty. Literally. It held its shape remarkably well, and it was easy to cut apart to share. I had to double check to make sure there wasn’t feta in it, as I detected a bit of that tang and salinity.
The PDmeX was a softer, more traditional veggie burger. By traditional, I mean it has the same savory flavor profiles you taste a lot around town in a patty. Because they’re tasty. Unfortunately for our very specific needs, the beans were whole, so the kid refused to eat it. The “tomatillo-avocado salsa” was basically straight-up mounds of guacamole, which is by no means a complaint. If every place gave you this much guacamole, by any name, the world would be a gentler and more beautiful place.
A word of warning: That batch of pickled jalapenos was SPICY. Like, I can eat some pickled jalapenos, but I picked mine off after eating half of one. My husband, at first, was determined to power though, but ended up picking his off, too. “It’s not fun anymore,” he sighed. I learned the hard way a few years ago that jalapenos can vary wildly in intensity. Did you know: The hottest jalapenos are about the same Scoville Units as the least-hot serranos?
Both there packaged neatly in paper boats, wrapped up in white paper taped neatly to a long pick. Both traveled extremely well, too, with the buns holding up to the ingredients. It was a large bite, but a satisfying once.
Fries fared fine, though, and no fry was left uneaten, despite the distance they’d travelled. I wish I could say the same of my burger, but I just couldn’t go the distance. I wanted to keep eating it, but it defeated me. My appetite just couldn’t keep up.
Service at Earth Burgers was sweet, too. After waiting a bit for our our order, we’d wandered back over to the Wicked ‘Wiches cart to check out their menu board (the only veg offering was a grilled cheese, so I was glad we didn’t wait), and when we came back, the woman who had taken our order was waiting for us outside the cart, holding our bags with a big smile.
So the next time you’re in the mood for a veggie burger, I can heartily recommend Earth Burgers. Even better, hang out at Tidbit for some people-watching, and maybe a vegan cupcake at the Back to Eden cart when you’re done. If you have any room left.
Have you eaten at Earth Burgers? Which burger is your favorite? Or, which would you like to try?
SE 28th and Division
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