Owners of the Southeast Asian food cart Noy Viet Lao start up new plant shop in the French Quarter

CONNECTION PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Noy Viet Lao owners Brian and Tutu Nelson (middle left and right) recently opened Talise Gardens.

From Pad Ki Mao to pho, Noy Viet Lao food cart owners Tutu and Brian Nelson are known for their wide-ranging Southeast Asian cuisine.

But when they opened their plant shop, Talise Gardens, in early May, their presence in the Multnomah Village French Quarter extended beyond food.

"My wife Tutu, she loves cooking. That's why we do the food cart. And she loves plants," Brian says. "It's something we thought about doing a long time ago because we enjoy plants."

The shop sells ornamental plants, herbs, air plants, tropical plants, cacti, succulents and more. It consists mostly of indoor plants, but also includes some outdoor varieties.

"We're just trying to carry a large array, anything that's beautiful and nice," Brian says. "I enjoy the air plants. They're very unique, easy to care for. I also like a lot of the tropicals we have. They can live indoors and are really cool looking. It makes your house look alive."

Brian was excited the day the shop opened and wants potential customers to feel like they can come to the shop not only to buy plants, but for planting advice as well.

"It's cool. It feels good and we just want everyone in the neighborhood to know that it's a place for them to come if they want to ask questions and learn about plants and how to take care of them," Brian says. "We're more than welcome to answer those questions and help people in their adventure with plants."

And Brian hopes the plant shop will complement the Nelsons' food cart and the French Quarter as a whole.

"It's all part of what is going on here at the French Quarter — just a community center for people to hangout," he says. "We have the tea shop, the soap shop, the plant shop. You've got the food carts. The farm stands. There's something for the whole neighborhood to hangout and enjoy."

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