Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Whole Bowl (and then some...)

Now that I'm lucky to work near all the great food carts in Downtown Portland (around 9th Avenue and Alder Street), there's never a shortage of new things to try.  This week proved to be a super food cart week, as my co-workers and I ventured over a few times.  Starting the week off right with a hearty lunch from the Whole Bowl cart, I'm excited to tell you about my experience.

About the Whole Bowl:
Far from a new food cart/truck around town, The Whole Bowl has been in operation for more than 10 years and much to its success, has enjoyed lots of expansion.  Now located in 6 different locations in Portland, the cart continues to be popular among locals and tourists alike.  The main draw is that it combines healthy, simple and wholesome ingredients friendly to a vegetarian and vegan palate.  I love that it's ultra simple in that you have just one choice to make, but you truly can't go wrong.  Fair warning - if you choose to hit this place up during prime-time lunch hours, expect to wait a few minutes.

Big Bowl
(fully loaded) - Deciding to go for the whole shebang, I ordered the big bowl with everything in it.  The portion was pretty hefty for lunch, and truth be told it kept me full nearly the entire day.

Consisting of a simple layer dish, you'll find the following in your big bowl: brown rice, red and black beans, salsa, black olives, Tillamook cheddar, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and their secret sauce (as in literally) called Tali.  The latter is undoubtedly the best part and what makes getting the Whole Bowl a fabulous experience.  It's hard to tell exactly what's in it, and they truly do keep it a secret, but I detected hints of cumin, maybe some allspice, saffron and some sort of creamy mixture.  Since the dish is vegan, I'm pretty sure there's no traces of milk, cream or yogurt but there has to be something that gives it that lovely consistency.

Aside from the delightful Tali sauce, all ingredients are simple but of really high quality and super fresh.  This is especially important if working with something uncomplicated and there's no mystery in what you're eating, which is important (except for that irresistible Tali sauce).

Service and Cost:
Despite the long-ish wait, it's not an unpleasant one, as you meet all sorts of characters while waiting on line.  Once you get to the front of the line though, the staff is lovely, helpful and super quick. Delivering your bowl with a smile, their kind and helpful disposition goes a long way.

Costs are as affordable as can be, at just $6 for a large portion so needless to say, you get great bank for you buck.

3 Mmmms

The Whole Bowl - SW 9th and Alder, Portland OR 97204
MAX to Galleria Stop

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