“Tiffany Love is angry.” Thus opens an Oregonian article detailing the eviction of several food carts from their pod at SW 6th Ave and Columbia St in Portland. But when we caught up with Tiffany, owner of Love Belizean, she was singing a different tune. “We turned a negative into a positive and are totally expanding our business. I’m like, ecstatic.”
“Where do you guys eat? Where’s the local food?’ They turned us on to a bunch of different local spots, and everybody serves this chicken and rice dish. I mean everybody.”
Since the article ran, things have been falling into place for Tiffany. She’s moving her cart to a brand new food pod run by Tidbit Food & Farm—complete with a full nursery, beer garden, and fire pit—located at SE 20th and Division, and biggest of all, she’s in the process of opening up a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Both of these locations will offer Tiffany’s roasted red pepper and onion tri-tip, red beans and rice stewed in coconut curry, and their signature dish: Belizean chicken and rice. Tiffany was first introduced to this particular style of chicken while honeymooning in Belize with her husband Andy. “We were at the touristy hotels and everything on the menu was American,” she laughs. “So we asked them, ‘Where do you guys eat? Where’s the local food?’ They turned us on to a bunch of different local spots, and everybody serves this chicken and rice dish. I mean everybody. It was one of the cheapest things on the menu, but one of the most fantastic.”
On their return, they looked in vain for something similar and came up empty. So Andy built her a food cart, literally from the ground up. Tiffany trained at Le Cordon Bleu and spent two years in the kitchen of a SE Portland pizza restaurant, where they let her create her own weekly specials. There, she learned the confidence to trust her culinary instincts. After a little experimentation, she came up with her own version of Belizean chicken and rice. Soon enough, Love Belizean was gaining media attention and was named one of Willamette Week’s Top 5 Food Carts of the Year.
The secret is in the recado rojo, a spice rub that’s easy enough to find in Belizean grocery stores for about 25 cents per ball, but not so easy to find in the States. When Tiffany ran out of the stockpile she brought back from her honeymoon, she figured out how to make it fresh. Made with hand-ground annatto seed, garlic, cumin, and other spices, Love Belizean’s recado rojo is what separates their chicken and rice from all the rest.
By the way, a jar of that recado rojo is one of the rewards offered on Love Belizean’s Kickstarter page to help fund their brick-and-mortar. While Love Belizean may have hit an unexpected rough patch, Tiffany and Andy chose to see it as an opportunity for growth. Their Kickstarter runs until August 13th, so head over and show a little love of your own! As Tiffany says, “We’re kind of all family, the cart world out here. Everybody’s looking out for everybody.” Let’s prove them right.
Help fund Love Belizean’s new brick-and-mortar on Kickstarter!
Love Belizean - Portland, OR
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