The food carts at 10th and Alder, long a downtown institution, close on June 30th to make way for Portland’s new Ritz-Carlton. Over the years, the pod has played host to some of the city’s greatest hits: Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Wolf & Bear’s, The People’s Pig. The loss extends beyond lunch options—in losing the Alder carts, downtown is losing one of its most quintessentially downtown spots. The daily lunch rush brings together a delightfully mismatched grab-bag of locals, commuters, and tourists for a semi-sacred Portland ritual. Hummus gets misidentified, nobody knows where to stand, the business-casual set breaks bread with a group of middle schoolers on a field trip, all with City Target in plain sight. It’s beautiful.
To honor the carts’ passing, here’s a collage of moments sourced from lunchtime observation:
(Tearing into garlic sauce) This hummus is so SPICY!
(Re: tzatziki) “David loooooves this tiki hummus.”
“It was like, a mild hangover? But I still shouldn’t have hit that rollercoaster.”
Extremely Indignant Matriarch: “They’re trying to find waffles, but they’re not gonna find them.”
“Oooooooh, Thai food is spicy.” (Possibly an endorsement, possibly fear-based)
“You can actually schedule Ubers now.”
White woman with dreadlocks chastising her rabbit: “Lenwar! No dairy!”
“Sorry! Quick question! How small does a sausage have to be for you to consider it ‘tiny.’”
“A double? That’s… what? Twice as much as a single?”
(In reference to an old friend’s humble beginnings) “A few years ago, he could barely afford to live in that 5-bedroom by himself.”
(World’s Best Host Explains Food Cart Pods) “This isn’t the only one of these things! There’s another one over there.”