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"Sellwood Sliders" shine, at OMSI food cart fest

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Ryan Rollins of PDX Sliders in Sellwood was a popular guy, as he handed out samples of the specialty he calls The Broadway at the OMSI food cart fair.Parking spots near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) were few and far between on the afternoon of April 27, as the Willamette Week “Eat Mobile” food cart competition got underway for 2014.

The VIP tickets – allowing early entry, and an hour of grazing at the event – sold out within 48 hours, and 1,500 hungry folks with regular tickets soon poured through the gates.

“We have 28 food carts represented,” said Willamette Week Associate Publisher Jane Smith.

The lines of those awaiting a bite of food rapidly grew long as attendees filed into the giant “food cart pod” set up in OMSI’s north parking lot.

“In addition to having a good time, bringing new visitors here to visit OMSI is the main reason we’ve hosted the food cart fest here for the past four years,” confided OMSI Events Director Andrea Middleton. “We hope many of these people will come back to visit.”

And, OMSI didn’t miss the opportunity to infuse the event with fun science demonstrations. “One of our recent goals is to increase our Food Science programming, in conjunction with our ‘Theory’ restaurant, and now here at ‘Eat Mobile’, where our staff are entertaining and educating people standing in line.”

When the word got out about what the “PDX Sliders in Sellwood” food cart was serving, folks were lining up to try one of its signature creations – “The Broadway” sandwich. “It’s braised pork with Mama Lil’s Peppers, baby arugula, and house-made spicy aioli dressing,” explained chef and proprietor Ryan Rollins. “We’ve seen a number of people return several times!”

Not long after the OMSI fest, THE BEE visited Rollins at his “PDX Sliders in Sellwood” cart, now located 8064 S.E. 17th Avenue, just north of Tacoma Street, behind the 7-Eleven Store. Although petite in size, “The Steele” – with double beef patties, with grilled onions, bacon, and the spicy aioli dressing – was decadently delicious and satisfying. We felt it our journalistic duty to further explore this local resource. However, getting back to the subject of this article – food, fun, and education certainly made for another enjoyable day at OMSI on April 27th.