Monday, February 20, 2012

Love My Bento

(NOTE: This cart has closed)

Love My Bento is a Hawaiian food cart located near the corner of SW 9th and Alder in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Hey, more 808 love representing in downtown! The cart owners are John and Michelle. As one probably would guess, they are originally from Hawaii, having lived in Waipahu and Kapolei (that'd be on Oahu, folks) before coming to Oregon. Small world....

Michelle wanted to open a food cart for a while now, and both felt this was the right time to go for it. And hey, why not stay true to your roots for food options?

The menu is pretty simple, with about six or seven plate lunch items and a couple of burger options. I'm an island boy at heart, and I needed my mac salad fix!

Menu (February 2012)
What is it with me and chicken? I think I've seen too many Chick-fil-A commercials..."Eat mor chikin."

I opted for the shoyu chicken ($5.50). A healthy portion of slow-cooked shoyu chicken on a bed of white rice, with some homemade macaroni salad. I saw the light -- and it was good.

Shoyu Chicken Bento
(Love My Bento)

"You like pickled onions too?"

Whoa, what?! Um, yes! Nothing like some sweet, tangy, crunchy onions to go with the meal! (insert Homer Simpson salivation picture here)

Pickled onions!
It's like the dang chicken is singing opera to me before I eat it. "It's beautiful, so beautiful..." (fake crying)

The moist chicken had taken a sauna session in a subtle teriyaki-style sauce. That same sauce coated the rice. Ho...winnahs! Yeah, many of us island boys gotta eat flavored rice. It builds awesome character, after all. If I had to nitpick, a bit too much chicken skin on my portion. I may be a human vacuum, but even I'll avoid consuming that part.

Mac salad = freakin' awesome. The key to a killer Hawaiian plate lunch, and they nailed it. You ever have one of those moments where time stops and you see one of those flowery, sunny fields? It's like Happy Gilmore when he went to his happy place! Cool, isn't it?

They also got cole slaw, but trust me, just eat the mac salad. Love their bento...Hawaiian style! No mainland alterations!

They got kalua pig, teriyaki chicken, even pipkaula. Damn. Maybe they'll do a loco moco later? Oh, and for the burger lovers, three burgers on the menu!

I lost count of how many different food carts operated there before John and Michelle came along. It used to be a Filipino cart a few months ago. I know 808 Grinds is on the same block, and they're tough competition. A Hawaiian food cart a few blocks away only stayed open for a couple months before closing. Here's to hoping Love My Bento has a long cart life! 7.75/10

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