As you know, we adore Portland’s food cart scene. Tasty food served by friendly people—what’s not to love? But as great as it can be to get a meal from a cart, it’s not always the speediest thing in the world (we won’t name names, but once we waited a full 45 minutes for a tray of simple veggie sushi…). And while Portland is definitely not a rush, rush, rush kind of place, there are days when we need to just grab something and go.
We stumbled upon a solution a few days ago. Our refrigerator was desperately low on food, so we headed to the grocery store to stock up. On the way, we noticed a few people walking into The Whole Bowl and remembered that we’d been wanting to try it out. At first we were confused by the fact that there wasn’t a single menu in the whole place, but the girl behind the counter explained why: They have one thing. It’s called, unsurprisingly, The Whole Bowl, and it has brown rice, red and black beans, avocado, salsa, black olives, sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, and a lemon-garlic-y blend called Tali sauce (it was invented by owner Tali Ovadia).
You have a choice of two sizes—small ($5) or regular ($5.50)—and you can customize it however you want (easy on the sour cream, drop the olives, etc.). We got the small with everything, and it was plenty. And man, was it good. The sauce is the secret. There’s something about that lemon-garlic combo that makes the dish more the sum of its parts.
The best part? There’s virtually zero waiting. We ordered, paid, and were handed our bowl all within 2 minutes. Now that’s fast food!