One of the great advantages of Portland’s food carts is the opportunity to enjoy the regional cuisines from many different cultures across the globe. As those cultures have emigrated to the U.S., they’ve influenced the regional cuisines of this country. At the City Slickers food cart you can explore the culinary landscape of America without the hassle of actually traveling.
The regional foods available at City Slickers are so iconic that their very names bear the mark of their origins. Some have even come to represent the very culture of their city. Names like the Philly Cheesesteak, The Chicago Italian Beef sandwich, The Detroit Coney hotdog. Wait, does that say hot dog?!
It is one of the odd things about Portland that in a town known for its multi-cultural cuisines, it was nigh on impossible to get a plain ol’ hot dog from a food cart. You could find wonderful sausages, but not hot dogs. They were about as common as a oasis in the Sahara.
Leah Tucker came to Portland from the East coast with the intent of opening a food cart. To her surprise she discovered the hot dog desert that is PDX. To Leah this was odd because back East hog dog vendors were as common as, well, let’s just say they’re very common.
Having graduated culinary school in 2011, Leah’s life-long dream of opening a restaurant began in an architectural firm. Upon leaving the world of architecture and construction and moving to Portland to open her food cart it became clear the road she would travel to success. Iconic regional foods prepared in the traditional way they’ve been prepared for decades and even centuries.
Leah’s most popular menu item is her Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with Provolone cheese. Stuffed with thinly-sliced beef that is slow-roasted right in the cart, the sandwich is topped with caramelized onions, green peppers and Provolone cheese. For the hard-core cheesesteak traditionalist you can get the sandwich with Kraft Cheez Wiz.
The slow roasted beef can also be had in a Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich. This is topped with giardiniera relish, and served with the au jus from the beef. Leah’s giardiniera is diced so that you can get the giardiniera in each bite.
As for the hot dogs at City Slickers there are five varieties; LA, Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Portland. It’s the LA Street Dog that stands apart from the others. Start with a bacon-wrapped hot dog deep fried and placed in a toasted sweet Hawaiian roll and topped with caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic aioli, ketchup, and mustard.
City Slickers is located at Piknik Park Food Carts and Beer Garden. Piknik Park is on SE Tacoma at 11th, right next to New Seasons. City Slickers is open 11 AM to 8 PM Monday and Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. Sunday hours are 11 AM to 5 PM. Wednesdays the cart is closed.
Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk iconic regional food, living your dream, Cheez Whiz, and bacon with Leah Tucker of the City Slickers food cart.