Portland food cart scene continues to receive plenty of national attention. It gets a 20-page treatment in the new book “Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels,” by Heather Shouse, which is being released today. And two hometown carts are featured this week and next on the new Cooking Channel series “Eat Street,” which tracks down the most-unique street food around the country.
Tonight, the show’s second episode profiles the downtown cart Brunch Box, which is known for hefty sandwiches and burgers. The secret to the cart’s offerings is the homemade bread, bagels and rolls that are used to make Texas toast-style grilled cheese sandwiches, blackened beef and blue cheese burgers, and a gigantic creation called the Redonkadonk Burger.
The Redonkadonk is a bit of an architectural miracle. Two individual grilled cheese sandwiches serve as the burger’s bun, and piled between them is a beef patty, American cheese, a fried egg, bacon strips, ham and fried Spam slices, as well as a few veggies, presumably to lighten things up a bit. When completed, the burger is almost as tall as a dollar bill is long, presenting diners with the dilemma of how to actually eat the thing. Seeing people try to stuff it in their faces makes for good television.
If the sight of The Brunch Box’s Redonkadonk Burger inspires you to want to make it at home, The Cooking Channel has the recipe (though they don’t serve up any nutritional analysis, which is probably just as well).
Next week, the show hits the Southeast Belmont cart Creme de la Creme, which is actually a 1961 school bus that’s been converted into a French kitchen. The cooking here is built around using good butter, bread and cheese, which comes into play in dishes like escargot, something you don’t think of getting from a food cart, or Croque Monsieur, the classic French ham and cheese sandwich.
“Eat Street” airs at 5 and 9 p.m. Tuesdays and repeats at 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Saturdays on The Cooking Channel.