Enjoy yourself, cherish others
First, let me say I love cheese and everything about cheese. Through my three-year training as a salesperson with focus on organic wholesale, I spent almost two years at the cheese section, participated several cheese workshops in the past years. So I am tough to sell. I had high expectations regarding the food cart. And, I can say I wasn’t disappointed. Be prepared to be wowed.
The Cheese Plate, located at the Alberta Street and 23rd Food Cart lot next to Townshend Tea’s, providing cheese-focused vegetarian and vegan food. Nick and Carina, the owners of this special food cart come up with creative dishes, that include local seasonal ingredients presented in a trendy modern way. Cheese has a great importance in their life since they met years ago in San Francisco. On their first date Carina picked up her favorite blue cheese and Nicked grabbed his favorite dark chocolate. Together they selected a wine which none of them tried before and headed to San Francisco Dolores Park to know each other. This date was the beginning of their culinary voyage.
At this time Nick worked as a sous chef at the Restaurant Lulu in San Francisco. Carina worked as a sever in the same restaurant while finishing her second Masters Degree in American History with focus on gender, race and ethnicity in American cookbooks of the last century. During her undergraduate and graduate school she worked as a server, bartender, wine director and restaurant manager in many notable restaurants in New England.
They moved to Portland in 2008, when Carina accepted the job of Managing Editor and Publisher of FPMT’s magazine Mandala. Nick hails from East Oregon and has family in Portland, what made the move perfect for them. Nick quickly found work as a sous chef at Ciao Vito in NE Portland.
Originally, Nick and Carina talked about opening a restaurant, but with two little kids and two older kids which are from a previous relationship from Carina, a food cart seemed more do-able. They love Alberta’s vibrant vibe and live nearby, so they choose this location to open The Cheese Plate and are now neighbors with lots of other great businesses. You can get everything from seasonal cheese plates, mac and cheese, soups to sandwiches.
We ordered the Cheese Lovers’ Oregon Cheese Plate with four Oregon cheeses, today’s pickles,cart-made crackers, a goat cheese and chocolate truffle & seasonal jam. Amazingly presented, they serve their food on a beautiful wood cutting board. It may appear to you as a small plate, but the savory sweet harmony is enough for two. We ordered in addition to our Cheese Plate, the Pumpkin-Cheddar Ale Soup topped with cart-made croutons and were full from this. The soup was so creamy and the cheese perfectly melted. In case you are vegan, they offer next to their Vegan Cheese plate many other items, including the vegan chocolate truffles. In case you seek gluten-free options, they use gluten -free bread from Happy Camper Bread,that tastes yummy and you would not notice that it is gluten-free bread. Carina was so kind and brought as the vegan cheese to try and I need to say : Yummy!!!
As we enjoyed our dinner in the heated tent at the fire pit, it let me once more realize how easy it can be to pamper yourself and that quality is more than quantity. Nick and Carina clearly care about the quality of their signature product: cheese. You can meet them personally, including the 20-year-old son which helps them from Thursday to Sunday.
All of the cheeses are handcrafted in Oregon. The presentation of the food and the kind owner who explained every item in detail, made our visit exquisite. Dedicated to local and seasonal product, they source the ingredients always close to Portland. The seasonal Jam for the sandwiches comes from Kelly’s Jelly made in the Portland Area. The vegan chocolates truffles are handcrafted sweet treats by Missionary Chocolates which are so delicious and so different , without words and local.
Indulge, The Cheese Plate
2231 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211