Friday, August 5, 2011


Lardo is a sandwich-and-fries food cart located at the Good Food Here food cart pod on SE Belmont St. in Portland, Oregon. It's all about the pork here, folks!

The owner/operator of Lardo was a friendly dude who knew his pork. I asked him a few questions about mortadella and Mama Lil's peppers, since I had never heard of either of those items before. Basically, mortadella is an Italian cured sausage (pretty much like bologna) and Mama Lil's are red pickled peppers. The owner even gave me a sample of the ungriddled mortadella and the Mama Lil's that service!

Satisfied, I went for the $7 griddled mortadella sandwich: mortadella griddled on the flattop, with provolone cheese, greens, Mama Lil's red pickled peppers, and a mustard aioli inside a ciabatta roll.

Griddled Mortadella Sandwich
I thought the sandwich was a very good choice, and a great introduction to mortadella. I really enjoyed the multitude of flavors in this one. The ciabatta roll was a good bread choice. It stayed firm on the outside, but had that wonderful fluffy "give" to it as I took that bite. The griddled cooked mortadella was a million times better than the uncooked sample. The flavors heightened a zillionfold, bringing out the saltiness and a little spiciness (from the black peppercorns embedded in each slice). The lettuce gave a refreshing aura to the dish, while the Mama Lil's pickled peppers brought a bit of tang to the party.

I'm not exactly sold on the mustard aioli. I thought it really just got lost in the shuffle with all those other big flavors. If it were me, I woulda just thrown sriracha in there for added flavor and spice.

I must say that the biggest turn-off of the entire meal was the grease emanating from the sandwich. Looking at the bottom of the to-go box, a pool of unappetizing oil -- both from the cooked mortadella and from the pickled peppers -- had collected, saturating the bottom of my ciabatta roll. Yes, I know it's "Lardo"...fat and grease are basically synonymous with this food cart. But still, that was just bloody ridiculous. There's a fine line between having fat work for you (like how you can use fat to your advantage in a slow-cooking process) and having fat just make people want to vomit (grease collecting on your plate).

Lardo has a nice menu, and trust me, it's a tasty griddled mortadella sandwich, but all that excess grease will probably prevent me from really being a regular customer. It gets a good score for the flavorful sandwich, though. 6/10

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