Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Altengartz Bratwurst Food Cart

We here at tabletalkportland are firm believers that working out should be FUN!, so we always try to end our grueling fitness sessions somewhere rewarding. For example, Michelle often concludes her morning Mt. Tabor bootcamp classes at Pine State Biscuits, Reatha and I like to take fast walks to St. Cupcake, Jennifer and I do lunges all five blocks to Ken's Artisan Bakery for Monday Night Pizza, and the last time Tata and I went for a hike, we somehow ended up drinking an exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon in the awe-inspiring wine cellar of a British expat named Julian, whom we met at our beloved M Bar.

So it made sense that Special Correspondent April and I should finish our downtown Bridge Run yesterday at the Altengartz German Brand Bratwurst ( food cart. After all, my friend Jeff had informed me on Monday that it was the best sausage in town, so I had to try it ASAP. And it was on our route. Sort of. Okay, so admittedly we may have designed our running route around the Altengartz Bratwurst food cart. Why not?

We were greeted cheerfully by Altengartz Operations Manager Jameson Wittkopp, as we stood in the freezing rain trying to decide what to put on my brat. Sadly poor April had already eaten lunch. That was a mistake, SC April! Sort of like when you went to OTTO ENOTECA IN NEW YORK FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS YEAR and STILL FAILED TO GET CHEF MARIO BATALI TO AUTOGRAPH YOUR HAPPY HAPPY BELLY!! WHATEVER!Bypassing the sauerkraut, cheese, and garlic, I simply opted for the grilled onions, then squirted whole grain mustard all over my steaming bratwurst, and SC April and I sat at a tiny green plastic table (in the freezing rain) on the edge of SW Alder while I ate the whole thing. I was pretty damn hot in my mustard-smeared Nike running garb, let me tell you. Those dapper downtown businessmen hurrying past on their way to Jake's were doing double takes, uh huh! I suspect that should I patronize the Altengartz Bratwurst stand a few times a week, I will have several marriage proposals by summer. Mother, prepare my dowry at once! Three docile young goats and a cask of the family grappa!!

I don't feel that I am exaggerating when I say that the Altengartz Bratwursts are the best I've had, and believe me, I should know ---I ate a lot of sausage in Germany and Austria last summer. And Bangers 'n Mash in England. And Chori-tho in Spain. And Boudin Blancs in France. I love sausage. Jameson--whose father George developed the Altengartz recipe in 1981 when he couldn't find suitable brats in the States--told me the secret family recipe includes Carlton Farms pork (yay! Oregon pork rules!) and 14 different herbs and spices. Currently, Altengartz sells their esteemed brats to several well-known local restaurants, like Bridgeport Brewpub, Oaks Bottom Public House, and Mash Tun Brew Pub, and hopes to expand their local presence.

Even if you are one of those They Who Shall Not Eat Meat, you can experience Altengartz Brats in a modified format--Jameson makes a chickpea-based Veggie Brat, which--as I heard him personally assure a woman who told him she was "funny about meat enzymes"--is cooked totally separate from the fükenamazing meaty version.

I am a little ashamed to admit that I went back to the Altengartz Brat Cart today. Yes, for the second day in a row. I drove, because it was raining and I didn't want to sit outside and eat it even though my mom has been calling and asking me when I want the goats 'n grappa delivered (eek!), and I didn't want the precious sausage to cool on the long trudge home through this revolting faux-Spring weather. And today, just when I thought the Altengartz Bratwurst experience couldn't get any better, Jameson advised me to order the 'käse', a fondue-like spread fashioned from Swiss cheese, wine and garlic. It isn't on the menu, so ask for it. I took my brat home as quickly as traffic laws allowed (haha, right) and ate it whilst reading the new Gourmet magazine. Heaven? I think so.

So please modify your running route, lunch route, or goat-herding route, to include an Altengartz Bratwurst. Jameson mans the cart daily from 11 am to 3 pm, and if you have a post-night-on-the town late night sausage craving, he also positions the cart at SW 2nd and Ash on Friday and Saturday nights from 11 pm to 3 am! Tata and I are going to undergo a rigorous pub crawl through Old Town tomorrow, see you soon Jameson!!


Altengartz German Brand Bratwurst * Food Cart aka Mobile Restaurant SW 10th & Alder, 11 am - 3 pm daily, 11 pm - 3 am Fri & Sat at SW 2nd & Ash * 503.975.2549 * * yes, quite possibly the world's best brats, yes, get the käse, yes, make a point of running past here at least once a week. A day? Maybe!

1 comment:

  1. I love these people! I'm a seasoned pub crawler and a regular late-nite customer of Altengartz. I can speak for myself and my fellow drinking buddies when I say, they've saved my life many times over!
    You need to visit them during their late night hours and see them in action. Jameson is always busy cooking up his great brats and his lovely wife Anna is a crowdpleaser on her own. I've watched her juggle and handle a myriad of characters, most of them shit-faced, waiting in line for their food. Her wit and charm make the sometimes, loooong wait a pleasure. Together, this couple is a Portland icon!