Spicy Chickpea Sandwiches, Triple-threat Chocolate Cookies, and More

In food-savvy Portland, Oregon, the restaurants that create a buzz aren’t always high-profile places with big-name chefs.

Surprisingly often, they’re food carts. Portlanders line the sidewalks for tastes, then blog at foodcartsportland.com and post reviews on Yelp.

While some cities’ carts could be described in less than flattering terms (hint: rhymes with “coach”), in the City of Roses, they come up smelling like, well, ethereal buckwheat waffles, saffron-scented Italian arancine, and decadent, just-baked chocolate cookies.

The recipes

Spicy Chickpea Sandwiches
In the streets of Palermo, Sicily, you’ll find panelle, fried chickpea-flour patties served on a roll. Kevin Sandri of Garden State adds a carrot slaw, salad greens, roasted squash, and spicy aioli for an exceptionally tasty vegetarian sandwich. Here’s our simplified version, broiled and minus the squash.

Eggs and Greens
At Moxie Rx, Nancye Benson tops bowls of beautiful local salad greens with perfectly fried eggs, crisp slivers of leeks, and a fresh-thyme vinaigrette.

Triple-threat Chocolate Cookies
Prepare to abandon all restraint when you try one of these cookies, made with melted chocolate and chocolate chips in the batter and layered with a chocolate ganache filling. Kir Jensen of the Sugar Cube (now part of the team at Two Tarts Bakery) calls them her secret weapon. The cookies are most irresistible if they’re still soft after baking; test-bake one to judge how long they take in your oven.

Buckwheat Belgian Waffles
These crunchy babies, from Nancye Benson of Moxie Rx, are incredibly light. She lets the batter stand overnight on the counter for slightly sour waffles. We also loved them sweet (chill the batter to keep it from developing a tang). In summer, Benson adds seasonal toppings like plum-rose compote with mascarpone cheese.

More: Top 10 Portland food carts

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