Portland’s street food scene is among the best in the world, with over 400 food carts across the city. Like whales, Portland food carts gather in “pods,” averaging 5-8 but with the largest hosting more than 60 carts. If you’re coming from a city like NYC, LA or SF, you might think food trucks are the same thing, but there are some big differences — while food trucks need to stay on the move, Portland’s food carts are effectively permanent.
For a festival about indie art and technology, food carts are the culinary equivalent. The barrier to entry and costs are low, letting you experiment with new ideas and build a following without falling into deep debt. And many of Portland’s best carts — like Lardo, Salt & Straw, and Nong’s Khao Man Gai — leverage their fan base to open brick-and-mortar locations.
About 80% of XOXO’s attendees come from out of state, many of them visiting Portland for the first time, so we try to bring the best of Portland to you. This year, our temporary pod is the best we’ve ever had — an all-star lineup of some of PDX’s best food and drink.
In a city known for its coffee, Roseline is something special. Founder Marty Lopes spent years roasting coffee at Extracto and curating coffee at Barista before starting up his own super small-batch roastery. He’ll be serving a variety of freshly-roasted coffee drinks at our custom-built bar at The Redd all weekend, provided for free courtesy of our friends at Stripe. (Friday-Sunday)
Somehow, we managed to convince Olympic Provisions, one of the best charcuterie producers in the world, to run a BBQ at our opening party on Thursday night. They’ll also have their award-winning salami for sale. We’re still in shock about this. Vegan/vegetarian sides available. (Thursday only)
Salt & Straw
It wouldn’t be XOXO without Salt & Straw, and we’re thrilled they’re returning for our opening party on Thursday night. In the last three years, the handmade “farm-to-cone” ice cream by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek has taken over Portland, expanding from a single tiny cart to three retail stores and national expansion in the works. Their constantly-changing menu allows for creative experimentation, often involving local chefs and food producers. (Thursday only)
Getting a table at Andy Ricker’s world-renowned Pok Pok on the weekend can take hours, and it’s always worth the wait. His James Beard-winning take on Thai street food became an international sensation, expanding to locations in NYC and Brooklyn. We’re insanely proud to announce that Pok Pok recently built their first food truck, and it’s making its festival debut at XOXO. Holy crap. (Friday-Sunday)
Fried Egg I’m In Love
The best breakfast sandwiches, and arguably the best-named food cart, in Portland. With dishes like Yolko Ono and Huevo Mutilation, Fried Egg I’m In Love's roots are in music, started by two bandmates from Fort Union. They’re serving breakfast and lunch every morning at XOXO, starting at 9am daily. (Friday-Sunday)
Kim Jong Grillin’
Kim Jong Grillin’ is the stuff food cart legends are made of. Han Hwang’s wonderful Korean BBQ food cart won the Eat Mobile Competition in 2011, and burned to the ground while he was picking up his award. Last month, his cart reopened to acclaim and sell-out crowds after an appearance on the Food Network’s Chopped. (Friday-Sunday)
Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches are the classic nostalgic lunch, but Keena Tallman and Shane Chapman and PBJ’s Grilled wanted to make a grown-up version, a menu stuffed with creative flavor combinations on grilled soft challah bread, with recent expansion made possible by a Kickstarter project last year. (Saturday-Sunday)
Named after Guam’s area code, chef Ed Sablan brings the Chamarro cuisine of his native home to Portland with PDX 671, a delicious and unique fusion of Filipino, Spanish, and Malaysian influences. Winner of the Eat Mobile festival in 2012, and featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Hafa Adai! (Friday-Sunday)
Taco Pedaler's Melanie and Erica ride their three-wheel cargo bike around Portland, spreading their local and organic tacos across the city like modern-day Johnny Appleseeds. But instead of apple seeds, tacos. (Friday-Sunday)
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Nong’s Khao Man Gai — Taken from the street food of her native Bangkok, Nong Poonsukwattana only makes one dish: poached chicken & rice, wrapped in butcher paper and served with a spicy sauce. But it’s so insanely good, the lunch lines at her 10th & Alder location often stretch down the block, leading to two new locations to satiate the addicts. (Saturday only)
It’s hot dogs and burgers, bro. (Sunday only)