After seeing a flyer on a telephone pole for a mysterious new vegan food cart selling “taco sandwiches,” I made plans to visit as soon as possible. On a Sunday evening, my dog and I walked over to the understated lot on 26th and SE Belmont that this vegan cart shares with a Thai cart. Together the two carts have four attractive picnic tables for guests.
The black and red cart said “Taco Sandwiches. Vegan.” When I asked the man working inside what the name of the cart was, he said, “Taco Sandwiches,” adding apologetically, “I didn’t name it.” He said they opened in August to a slow start, but business is picking up as word gets around.
The menu lists five fillings that can be made either as a taco or a sandwich. My eyes immediately went to jackfruit barbacoa, even though I wasn’t sure what barbacoa meant. A later consultation with Wikipedia gave this definition: “In the U.S., barbacoa is often prepared with parts from the heads of cattle, such as the cheeks. In northern Mexico, it is also sometimes made from beef head, but more often it is prepared from goat meat.” Well, no wonder. What self-respecting vegan needs factoids like that?
The worker said the jackfruit is the most popular filling, but that his favorite was the meatloaf and gravy, made with field roast. Other filling options included BLT, chicken fajita and bacon and egg..
I ordered one jackfruit and one field roast sandwich to go. I was tempted by the sides – rice cauliflower (which is all cauliflower, no actual rice) and refried white beans – but decided to try those another time. The cart also has vegan horchata.
The hefty sandwiches cost six dollars each. (Tacos cost $3) My dog Rudy was extremely interested and plotted to get into my bag of sandwiches on the way home. He frequently begs, but seemed to find these sandwiches more delicious smelling than my average vegan meal.
I cut each sandwich in half, planning to save the other half for my husband. But they were both so good I kept swiping a little more of his half sandwiches. The jackfruit barbacoa was a big pile of shredded and spiced meat-like fruit. The meatloaf was more of a typical sort of sliced fake meat sandwich, but good and messy with the gravy.
Great sandwiches, great value. So Portlanders, head over to Taco Sandwiches and help keep this new cart in business.