Guitar and Food Carts

She Said

Tonight’s Agenda: Division Food Carts & Guitarist: Steven Adams

Cost: $14 for a Shrimp & Guava Noodle dish

Free Guitar Concert!


Since I retired last year & have two kids in college, I have become much more discriminating in my entertainment choices. I want a good bang for the buck. Having lived in Los Angeles for a few years before moving to Portland around 20 years ago, I am always amazed at the accessibility & affordability of the very gifted artists here in Portland. Where else, but Portland, does one get the caliber of talent of Steven Adams for free? To quote my 18 year old, “Are you kidding me?!” We have been worshipers of the church of Steven Adams for several years now. We are so fortunate to live in a city where I get to be practically serenaded for free by one of the best guitarists in the city while dining alfresco. This guy’s guitar repertoire moves seamlessly from one music genre to the next—from jazz to classical to rock and roll—and you never see him sweat. He is so cool. I totally believe my husband wants to be Steve. I want to be Steve. We should all want to be Steve. Yet we are all but simple pagans in comparison to this anointed musician. He’s that cool.

The ice cream cart here is really good. I had a yummy hot fudge sundae with pistachio ice cream. I have to admit, however, I came here less for the food and more for the music.


While my Thai dish was really good, I thought it was really expensive. While it had a sufficient amount of shrimp, and the guava was really tasty, it still seemed overpriced when one considers food carts are not sitdown restaurants with waiters and all of the overhead that goes with cafe dining.  

Food Carts.

Food Carts.

He Said

I do not much go to food carts. For lunch it is a bit more food than I want and for dinner, well, I am an old geezer who wants to be waited on and have a full bar to go with the food. My liver might disagree.

But we had a compelling reason to visit the a la carts food pavillion, the live music on Thursday. Plus, I saw an old friend.

See. Not dead. And neither is Elvis.

See. Not dead. And neither is Elvis.

Disclaimer: I am a huge Steve Adams fan. He taught my boys and the wife to play guitar and I have seen his solo shows and the Led Zeppelin tribute band in which he plays more times than I can count. He is an amazing guitar player. So, like the fan boy am, I went more for the music than the food.

As to the food? Fine. I had the Vietnamese pancakes with shrimp. Never tried that before and it was flavorful and inexpensive at 6 bucks I think of all the Asian styles of food, I like Vietnamese the best.

Menu on a truck.

Menu on a truck.

And, hard to believe, a truly bland beer, a Landmower lager. 25 ago my father and I took a beer class offered by the head brewer of, I think, Bridgeport brewery, and at one point he was asked his favorite beer. He said “whatever was in my hand at the moment”, a philosophy of beer drinking I have long subscribed to. Light beer, just to be clear, is beer any more than tap water is beer. And while I am not a fan of stouts, I do not dislike them so much as do not prefer them. Like I will eat Skippy if there is no Jiff, but Jiff is objectively better. Remember that Larry.

So I like almost any beer. I went to Apex with my son for his last night in town before leaving for Boston and had hoppy Blind Pig IPA followed by a Lambic, a

unique, archaic form of beer that is quite different than modern, commonplace ales and lagers. Authentic lambics are only produced in the Senne River Valley region of Belgium near Brussels. They are unusual because, like beers brewed in ancient times, they are spontaneously fermented with wild, naturally occurring yeast and bacteria.

Sour with a banana aftertaste that tasted nothing like beer. But once I got over the shock of the new it was delicious. I just had to recalibrate my brain and taste buds.

But the Lawnmower? Almost no flavor. Nothing. Like they forgot to add the hops, barley and yeast and sold me a can of beer with homeopathic beer flavor. I have never been so disappointed by a beer.

For desert, salted caramel ice cream hot fudge sundae. I am towards ice cream, the same way I am towards beer. It is too bad that beer floats do not work.

Where to get perfect ice cream.

Where to get perfect ice cream.

Beer varies from good to excellent and I cannot imagine bad ice cream. I am picky in that I like my ice cream hard, not soft, and not too much fat. Haagen Daz has too much fat for my taste. They hit the sweet spot with their ice cream; Goldilocks would have approved. This was excellent and for once I could taste the salt in a salted caramel dessert.

It was the music that make the food even better. Steve mostly played popular songs with his usual professionalism and skill. For the most part you didn’t get a chance to really see his artistry, until he plays a classical/Spanish song that is not only amazing to hear, but amazing to watch. We go to a lot of shows and I have taken to watching the musicians. Steve is an artist and technically amazing to watch. And all from memory. I can’t remember my kids names, and I only have two, and he plays complex and beautiful songs flawlessly and beautifully. It is amazing. You can get a hint from the videos on his website.

A great guitarist.

A great guitarist.

One of the techniques that solo artists do is record loops while they play and then play it back as supporting music. One of my favorite musicians, Emily Well (in PDX Oct 28 at the Doug Fir) is amazing to watch as she constructs her songs.

Steve does the same, but instead of using multiple instruments, he uses his guitar for percussion, lead and rhythm and turns an acoustic guitar into a full band. A.Maze.Ing.

Like I say, I have seen him and his bands perform more times than I can count and I am always enthralled. So while I am not a food cart fan, I will likely return to listen to Steve. And I have been told in no uncertain terms, I need to try the fried chicken cart. So two reasons to go back

I will never be cool.

I will never be cool.

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