Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Papa-Pau!

(UPDATE: Papa Pau has temporarily closed. The owners have sold the cart, but they plan to reopen in SE Portland by summer 2013)

Papa-Pau, located at the corner of SE 82nd and Lamphier (several blocks south of the Cartlandia food pod), is a food cart selling Sonoran dogs. Luis and Nash Miramontes, a husband-and-wife team, co-own this place.

When Food Carts Portland first ran tweets and blog posts about a Sonoran dog cart, I couldn't believe it. I had seen that great-looking dog on TV so many times before, namely featured on Travel Channel shows like Man v. Food and Food Wars. So I had hoped one day to make it down to Tucson and try one. Little did I know I wouldn't have to leave the state of Oregon.


Go on Facebook and "like" their page!
Even the Mexican roll (bolillo) here is cart-made, a treasured family recipe. The Papa-Pau Original ($5) includes a pork hot dog wrapped in bacon.

Then the gamut of toppings commences: grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, grilled peppers, pinto beans, pork chorizo, cheez whiz, chopped red onions and tomatoes, mayo, guacamole, mustard, jalapenos, and cotija cheese. Yeah, that's a lot of toppings, but it's really a little bit of each.

Original Sonoran dog
(Papa-Pau!)


Personally, that homemade bun is the key, and man, it's a true winner. It's a feisty little guy. The more you pack into that bun, the more it will withstand and hold everything together. And although I feared there was gonna be too much going on, I somehow tasted every single component while appreciating the textures and saltiness of the bacon-wrapped dog. The colorful toppings make this such a beautiful sight. It hurt me for a split second that I'd be eating this. But pandas are hungry, so I devoured with little remorse for the dog's feelings.

I hope this cart stays around for a long time. I don't know of any other place in Portland (or the Pacific Northwest, for that matter) that offers this. I might not be a Sonoran dog connoisseur, but I'm willing to bet this is the real deal.

I sampled Papa-Pau's homemade potato chips. Nicely seasoned with salt and pepper. I'm not sure if it was fried to order, but I would love if that was the case. In my book, it's just something about super freshly fried items that can't be beat. As a note, for a couple bucks more ($7 total), you can get your Sonoran dog with chips and a drink.

Very good homemade potato chips!
Oh this pepper? Some heat, but no problem for me!
The slightly blistered Caribbean pepper that accompanied my meal had a little kick, but still no match for the spicochist. Luis mentioned habaneros could get involved in the future -- a salsa, perhaps?

Luis let me sample a concoction made with jalapenos, garlic, and soy sauce. A delicious Asian twist. Yeah, from a Sonoran dog cart. And this Asian says it was delicious. I put it on my chips, treating it like a salsa.

Look for a possible nachos option in the future. It could be a great gluten-free item, and certainly something people of all ages would love.

Open 7 days a week as of early August 2012!

I'm a big fan of this cart. Heck, go on Facebook and like their business page! Even Food Carts Portland shared a story about how several guys ate dinner at this cart for nine straight days because it was really a taste of home for them. I taste the love in this cooking. If money, time, and distance weren't a concern, I'd be here very often. Check Papa-Pau out, and tell 'em you saw Aaron's blog post. 8.5/10

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