The Limp Noodle

SPRING 2010: This cart has closed.

The Limp Noodle Brief Review
Overall Service Food Quality Atmosphere Vegan Options
6.5 9 5 6 6
Location: SW 3rd and Ash Portland, OR
Hours: M-F Lunch, Weekends: Late Times Visited: 2

The Limp Noodle cart has relocated to the corner of 3rd and SW Ash, next to Rick’s Wild Seafood (they don’t have any vegan options, well, maybe the drinks)   and the Ninja Cart. The move came after a summer of traveling to serving festival patrons. The bright red box of a cart reads “Italian Pasta” and “The Limp Noodle” , with a cute dancing ravioli.

The menu is simple – meatball subs, spaghetti with marinara, spaghetti with meatballs, and ravioli, but only one vegan option – spaghetti with marinara. The cart is very clean inside, which must be easy since most the food is prepackaged. You won’t find fresh made pasta here. You will find quick lunch food for a great price. Every time I’ve eaten here I’ve never waited longer than 5 minutes. 5 minutes for $5.

The egg-free, packaged spaghetti (no other pasta shapes are offered) is cooked to order and coated with a simmering cart-made marinara. The noodles are not served al dente as I would have expected, but cooked perfectly through without being too hard or soft. They’ve got it down to the T here. I was surprised to find that even after a 5 minute walk back to the office the noodles were still not overcooked or mushy at that point, but still perfectly firm and tender. The sauce is medium in chunkiness and overall fairly mild with garlic undertones. The sheen of olive oil on the sauce was a bit unnerving but did help to transfer the great tomato taste to each of my taste buds. The Limp Noodle could take a page from Yarp?! and provide a shaker of nutritional yeast to add some flavor and attract some vegans.

The dish comes with a complementary piece of focaccia and a small side of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. The bread is from the wonderful Pearl Street Bakery a few blocks away. Fortunately, the bread is vegan, and perfectly fluffy and firm with a sprinkling of herbs on top. The problem with the little container of mixed olive oil and vinegar is that it’s difficult to taste the vinegar. I shook up the container, opened the lid quickly and stuck my bread in only to be coated with olive oil before reaching the balsamic. While we all love the food that comes from our carts, there can be issues with the way it is served in various containers. I later found the best solution was to add a dollop of tomato sauce and shake it well.

If you’re looking for a quick and simple pasta lunch before heading to Voodoo Doughnut, spend 5 minutes and $5 for a Pastini type of meal (they use the same noodles as Pastini). Two facts set The Limp Noodle apart from other carts – it’s open late on the weekends (this is good for the club going crowd), and they take Visa and Master Card. Not being a big pasta fan I won’t make The Limp Noodle a staple cart in my lunch options, but I will put it in my top quick and cheap list.

Spaghetti with Marinara:


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