Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ramy's Lamb Shack

(UPDATE 11/8/12: Ramy has moved his original cart from Cartlandia to the Hillsdale Food Park (SW Capitol Hwy & Sunset). There is also a second truck located at the Rose City Food Park at NE 52nd and Sandy Blvd.)

Ramy's Lamb Shack is located at the Cartlandia food pod in Portland, Oregon. After about a month of soft opens, Ramy held his grand opening on April 7, sporting a full menu of about 10-12 items.

Photo taken on 4/4/12, days before the grand opening
The cart now has a large menu board and awesome signs!
Ramy also operates a limousine service when not serving food. He mentioned that opening this cart was like a typical weekend, where he and his friends would gather, eat awesome food, and have a great time.

Everything is made fresh to order. His tzatziki and tahini sauces are made from scratch. He gets his lamb, beef, and chicken from local businesses. Ramy has butchering experience and prepares all the meat himself. Is there anything this guy can't do?!

I arrived a few days before his grand opening. "Super gyros" and baklava were on the menu that day. Lamb gyros are $9, while beef and chicken gyros are $7.

Considering Ramy named his cart a "lamb shack," I went with the lamb gyro. Succulent pieces of lamb, marinated in a secret array of ingredients, hit the flattop along with some onions. Can I get a hell yeah?!

In the meantime, Ramy offered me some baklava ($2.50). I've had my share of awesome baklava over the years, and I figured, sure, I'll have one piece. Ramy warned me that I'll be wanting more than one piece. But eh, what's the harm?

It ended up being two pieces. How it didn't get to, say, a dozen, I'll never know.

Baklava...piece #1
(Ramy's Lamb Shack)
Baklava...piece #2
I'm such a glutton for this stuff....
Ramy takes about two hours to prepare this baklava. I told Ramy straight-up that it was a life-changing experience. Other baklava I've had seem to have a soggy underside from having excess honey-based sauce ooze out of the phyllo. Here, Ramy ensures that mind-blowing sauce stays encased. A thin layer of finely minced nuts lies in the center, with a little more on top. I picked this petite triangular delicacy and happily noshed away. Sticky? A bit. Messy? Nope.

Oh damn, the gyro! Panda stomach will be very happy! A giant pita flatbread got a healthy dose of tzatziki. The lamb and grilled onions came next, followed by some cucumber and tomato. A hit of tahini and feta later, Ramy rolled the gyro into a narrow coned shape for serving.

Super lamb gyro with baklava
(Ramy's Lamb Shack)

Juicy, tender lamb. Onions perfectly caramelized. Refreshing cucumber and tomato. Salty feta with creamy tahini and tzatziki. Wonderfully toasted pita. Did I hit all the proper food groups yet?

All the juices from the lamb and onions merged into the tzatziki and tahini, creating a ridiculously unfair quadruple-team super sauce. Damn foodie weakness....

Stomach, you happy? Yes? Such a good growing stomach! You're welcome.

Thanks to Charlene at the Gaufre Gourmet, Ramy knows I love spicy food. He's up for the challenge. I haven't had extremely spicy food from this type of cuisine before, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Ramy is one of the friendliest cart owners I've met on my food adventures. Since I've just had two of his menu items, I'll have to return to try some more items from his full menu -- and perhaps to get my mouth set on fire. 8.75/10

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