He's probably one of the most enthusiastic people you'll ever meet, especially when it comes to food cart cuisine.
Steven Shomler is a culinary storyteller who explores pods citywide and writes about everything from the menu down to what the food tastes and looks like.
“I go to two to four food carts each week,” he explained.
Shomler’s blog and radio show detailing his experiences have lifted businesses like Tortoise and Hare at the Tidbit pod on Division.
“People are coming and saying ‘I read about your cart, I heard about your cart on the show. We made a trip here just to try your food,’” Bre Richards with the Tortoise and Hare said. “It puts carts on the map that people may not have found otherwise.”
For Shomler it all started in 2010 when a friend insisted that he try a new food cart.
“My friend Adam made me go to Lardo. Today it's a restaurant. There was a time he had a food cart on Belmont. I went to his cart and it was so amazing,” Shomler recalled. “I said to Adam, ‘Adam, we have to start a website and tell idiots like me who have never been to a food cart what it's like.’”
That was when Shomler decided to leave his longtime career in the banking corporate world and try to make it as a food writer.
“Summer of 2011, I decided I was going to bootstrap my way to a better life and become a writer and an author and become a part of the culinary community and build a life out of that,” he said. “I thought, ‘Where do I start?’ and I reflected back at Rick's sandwich and was like, ‘That's it, I'm going to write about food carts.’”
He launched his website "Portland Food Cart Adventures," which quickly became popular.
Shomler, however, didn't fall in love with just the food, but also the people behind it.
“This shoyu ramen is incredible,” he said. “What's more incredible are the owners of Hapa PDX. They're the ones who put this together.”
In 2012, his book "Portland Food Cart Stories" was a top seller on Amazon and helped people like Richards, who moved to Portland from LA to open her own business.
“I tell the stories of 30 food cart owners, Why Portland, why food carts, why that cuisine,” Shomler said.
Over the years, Shomler has featured more than 100 food carts and brought attention to Portland entrepreneurs chasing their dreams.
“They work a crazy amount of hours every week,” he said of the cart owners. “Being able to cheerlead them with that kind of heart is very fulfilling to me.”
To see more of Shomler’s reviews, visit PortlandFoodCartAdventures.com.
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