A vegan fried chicken cart is coming to Rose City Food Park. The Mocking Bird, a new stand at the Happy Valley Farmer’s Market, will open its first Portland cart in June, complete with vegan-mac-and-cheese-topped faux-chicken sandwiches.
Owner Kayla Lamberson started experimenting with vegan cooking a little more than two years ago, when she became vegan. A longtime sanctuary volunteer and animal activist, Lamberson found herself excited and creatively stimulated by tackling vegan versions of classically meat-and-dairy-heavy dishes. She started bringing her cashew mac and cheese, cheese-less grilled cheese sandwiches, and fried faux chicken and waffles to the animal sanctuaries where she volunteered, and they became a hit. When she moved from Hawaii to Portland, she decided she’d go pro and open the Mocking Bird.
While the Mocking Bird is centered around fake fried chicken — Lamberson is currently tweaking her recipe to use a pea protein base — Lamberson’s whole menu covers a variety of vegan comfort food: She uses cashew cheese for her macaroni and cheese, she makes her dill ranch sans the buttermilk, she even figured out a vegan version of an old family recipe, her grandmother’s butterscotch cream pie. The sandwiches themselves, though, are more than just the vegan chicken — some come topped with that vegan macaroni and cheese, or Follow Your Heart blue cheese dressing. Personally, Lamberson is a big fan of her grilled cheese. “Everyone loves grilled cheese sandwiches,” she says. “I did a few taste parties and it became a huge hit.”
For now, the Mocking Bird continues to appear at the Happy Valley Farmer’s Market, but the cart will arrive at the Rose City Food Park on June 6.
• The Mocking Bird [Instagram]
Correction: This story has been corrected to show that the Mocking Bird’s current fried chicken is not made with seitan.