Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cheesesteak Nirvana

Cheesesteak Nirvana is a food cart located at the Cartlandia food pod in SE Portland, Oregon. A father-and-son duo (Marshall and Ben) run this food cart. I personally love it when family members run a food business together.

Menu (as of August 2011)
When I learned that the founder of Geno's Steaks (Joey Vento) had passed away, I was determined to find a good cheesesteak place to honor Joey's memory. Enter Cheesesteak Nirvana. I visited the cart last weekend  and ordered a regular Fundamentalist ($5.50): a 1/4 pound of premium sliced, grilled sirloin with caramelized onions and choice of cheese on an authentic Amoroso bun. The Amoroso buns Cheesesteak Nirvana gets were flash frozen in Philly and shipped here to Oregon, where the buns are heated back to life.

Naturally, I just had to get whiz as my cheese option! Marshall even thought I was from Philly when I asked for the whiz. Nope, just a dude that loves food, that's all!

Regular Fundamentalist cheesesteak
I may have never been to Philadelphia, but this is a cheesesteak, folks. The juicy, flavorful sirloin alone practically sent me to nirvana. And then the perfectly caramelized onions entered the fray. Finally, the gooey, creamy cheese whiz. All just screamed "Philly cheesesteak!" to me.

But then...the Amoroso bun. I want that bun on every damn sandwich I eat from here on out. It was soft, yet had enough firmness on it to encapsulate all the cheesesteak awesomeness inside. The fluffy bun soaked up all the lovely juices, increasing this magical dish to new heights. Yes, it's a messy sandwich, and the dainty individuals may request need a fork. But however one eats it, the food is still awesome!

Don't want cheese whiz? Cheesesteak Nirvana also carries provolone, Tillamook cheddar, or Philly cream cheese. I was also pleased that Cheesesteak Nirvana carries a vegetarian cheesesteak option and other flavorful toppings (mushrooms, grilled bell peppers, pepperoncinis, and tomatoes). They got virtually all bases covered. I'm not sure if they carry hot sauce or hot peppers, but if they do, I'd be one very happy camper. Perhaps next time, I'll also consider adding peppers and mushrooms to my cheesesteak.

This 6-inch cheesesteak was worth every penny, and I'd probably get provolone cheese next time to make it a less messy experience. But Cheesesteak Nirvana lives up to its name. These guys would make Joey Vento proud. 8.75/10

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