It is no small fact that Lance Chess and Katie Shimer are the two most recklessly dangerous people in the Mercury office. Depending on the day, you're bound to find one or both drinking themselves self into an overnight hospital stay, running a yellow in a photo radar intersection, or smoking a big doober in a clearly marked "Drug Free Zone." But despite the need for danger, Lance and Katie also share a deep, nagging sense of obligation. Obligation to family, to jobs, to book clubs, dinner dates, and parties--and thus, neither can go around raising as much hell as they'd like. And ever since Lance blew his finger off during a raucous round of "shoot the Budweiser can," they're been banned from the Mercury firearms cabinet. Thus, they must find new, creative ways to dare each other. This week's challenge: food cart roulette. Rules: You must pick a downtown food cart at random, whatever you stumble upon, and eat until you're full, stomachaches and crippling diarrhea be damned. Examine their results, below:

Loco Locos
SW 5th between Stark & Oak

Most of the taco wagons downtown are indiscernible to me, food-wise and price-wise, the only real difference being the service, or rather the lack thereof. Loco Locos offer fast, friendly Mexican at the going rate. The veggie burrito is full of beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and real guacamole for $3.50. And it's grilled, giving it a satisfying, toasty flavor. Other greats include the carne asada or delicious chile relleno burritos for $4 each. LC

New Taste of India
SW 5th between Stark & Oak

Offering the most food I've ever been served for $4.50, New Taste of India really puts out a grubbin' vegetarian spread for the dough. The six-item combo comes with a delicious spinach dish called Saag Paneer. It features bite-sized Indian cheese cubes and the spinach itself offers just enough heat to play off the creaminess of the cheese. The other veggie dishes are less exciting but delicious nonetheless. Most have a curry kick and juggle various potato, cauliflower, and pea combinations familiar to Indian food lovers. All are served atop fragrant basmati rice and served with two delicious pieces of fresh Nan. This is the place to go if you feel like risking a stomach rupture. LC

The Whole Bowl
SW Park & Yamhill, and 1100 NW Glisan in the Pearl

My new favorite food cart, the Whole Bowl serves only one thing: a big, hearty bowl of tasty hippie stuff. They layer brown rice, red and black beans, fresh avocado, salsa, black olives, sour cream, Tillamook cheddar,--cilantro, and tali sauce to create their signature bowl. The Whole Bowl's handmade lemony, garlicky tali sauce is truly the key ingredient, dressing up the other components and elevating them to holy greatness. If you think this sounds like a load of stoner babble, just try this simple delicacy yourself. KS

Dreamer's Café
SW 5th between Stark & Oak

For $4.25 Dreamers serves an incredibly tasty Buffalo tofu wrap chock full of spicy tofu with fresh veggies and just the right amount of ranch dressing to cool it off. They also have a veggie wrap with a pesto dressing which is a little on the drippy side. Bargain hunters will love the giant falafel sandwich for $3.50. Oh, and if you're hung over they have a lifesaver. It's the Good Life Energy Shake. (I know, I know.) The G.L.E.S. has an orange/pineapple/coconut milk base mixed with five kinds of organic green grass, four types of blue-green algae, green tea extract, royal jelly, bee pollen ginger, and Echinacea. All for $3.50! It tastes surprisingly like an Orange Julius, but with no screaming mall brats in sight. LC

Thai Sky
SW 5th Between Stark & Oak

Considering my drinking, smoking, and sleeping habits, I shouldn't really be eating what basically amounts to a jar of liquid peanut butter--but oh well. Thai Sky serves up a huge plate of Mussaman curry, chock full of potatoes, ladled over a generous bed of rice. The sauce was delicious and creamy, decidedly peanut-buttery, and almost dessert-like. My only complaint about the meal was that it was so huge and heavy that I felt like checking myself into a fat farm after eating it, and couldn't shake the guilt all day. A safer bet? The huge overstuffed salad rolls with chili sauce are a meal by themselves. KS