Sunday, December 8, 2013

Francisco Taqueria

This nondescript taco truck is located in the food cart pod on SW 3rd and Stark in downtown. This particular burrito was brought to me, but I have been to the cart on occasion as well. With so many food options around, it's easy to pass up... but I wouldn't recommend doing something silly like that!

Carnitas Burrito

Price: $5.00
Ingredients: Carnitas (shredded pork), rice, beans, sour cream, lettuce, cheese
Sides: Red and Green Salsa
Size: Short and Fat 

This chubby little guy's just bursting with juicy porky flava, baby! There's no grease better than pig grease, I tell you what.

The scrumptiously supple feathers of pork slowly melt away in my mouth like butter. Delicately delectable. The cool sour cream and tasty beans are the perfect side acts to their porky ring leader.

There was iceberg on this guy, which is usually a bad thing, but in this case, it added a nice texture, without overkill. The same goes for the rice. Like an earthen base for the pig to stand on. There is always room for more pork though!



The Rating:

3.9 outta 5

It would be higher if it only had a liiiiiiiiiittle more pork.


Olé Olé

Located at 2137 E Burnside, I didn't get a chance to visit this establishment, as this was a burrito delivery! Nothing's nicer than having a burrito delivered right to your big fat gut (thanks honey!).

The Ole Ole Burrito

Price: $5.50
Ingredients: Steak, Chile Relleno, Beans, Rice, Pico, Guacamole
Sides: Red and Green Salsa
Size: Filling enough...

I decided to give another one of these chile relleno + steak burritos a go.  This one delivered an almost overwhelming mesh of texture, like eating two burritos wrapped in one skin. The steak wasn't very flavorful, yet had a nice amount of chew; not too tough, not too soft- like baby bear's porridge. The amount was lacking, however. The relleno was on the tough side, and the cheddar cheese had a spongy, springy, squeaky consistency. There wasn't too much rice, and the beans were delicious... but I wasn't dazzled. Just another standard burrito to forget about.

The Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Will I go here again?

Friday, November 15, 2013

El Pato Feliz 2

The original El Pato Feliz in located on 92nd, just North of Foster. This version, on wheels, is located on Foster between 52nd and Powell, SE 26th and Schiller, next to Naomi's. Just look for an old blue bus in a pot-hole-filled parking lot.

Down in the dim doldrums, on this grey gloom of a day, I was in dire need of a burrito fix. Perhaps The Happy Duck can cheer me up!

Carnitas Burrito

Price: $6.00

Ingredients: Carnitas, beans, rice, sour cream, cilantro, onion, lettuce

Sides: Red and green salsa

Size: BIG!

Some burritos are like a mellow stroll in a familiar park, while others are multidimensional thrill rides, sending you spinning into happy delirium. This particular fellow was of the stroll in the park variety, though there were little hints of something much greater. With too much rice, too little pork, and no cheese (WHAAA??), I was left with longing. However, this burrito had some drool worthy flavors. The pork had salt and pepper succulence, with a hint of sweet zing. The beans were buttery, and though there was too much, the rice had that greasy chicken love appeal. The sour cream was at is should be, though one very important dairy product was MIA. None the less, as my belly filled, my worries dissolved. 

The Rating

3 out of 5

Will I go here again? 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nayar Taqueria

Nayar Taqueria is on Foster, at SE 59th ave. It has replaced another taco shack that used to occupy the space. I was excited to try a new place, and was rooting for them! They offer modest decor and typical taqueria fare.

Relleno Classico Burrito

A chile relleno... and steak? Together... in a burrito? Yes please! I couldn't pass up that ridiculously delicious sounding combination!

Price: $6.50

Ingredients: Rice, Refried Beans, Chile Relleno, Steak, Guacamole, Pico

Sides: 2 giant red and green sauces

Size: Medium

My first impression was that the burrito seemed small. However, the enormous salsas may have messed with my perception. Upon taking my first bite, I noticed a strange texture. The steak was chopped into minuscule grey bits, which were intermixed and disguised within the other ingredients; forming a chewy, dare I say gristly, undertone to each bite. While the chile had been roasted, the skin hadn't been removed, giving it a fibrous, unfinished essence. The cheese in the center was greasy and rubbery. The guacamole was the diamond in the rough, pulling through with its creamy freshness, yet still lacking any substantial amount of flavor. The beans and rice were forgettable. With so many strange textures going on, and no spice; this burrito had too much, yet not enough, going on. I wanted to like it, but want often leads you astray.

The Rating:

2 out of 5 stars.

Will I go here again?

Probably not. I hope they get it together though!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

San Felipe Taqueria

San Felipe's is an old friend of mine. It's located in Westmoreland, at 6221 SE Milwaukie. I first went there 6 years ago or so, and enjoyed it for a long time. I've always gotten their veggie burrito, out of habit (I used to be vegetarian). They've changed over the years- prices have gone up, food quality has waxed and waned. What do I think of them now, after all of this burrito-consuming experience?

The Veggie Burrito

Price: $6.50

Ingredients: Beans, Rice, Lettuce, Cheese, Sour Cream, Pico

Sides: 5 Salsas to pick from

Size: Smallish

It's tough to judge an old friend, especially if you just don't get along with them anymore- but you wish you did. Sentimental for the past, yet in reality, you know it will never be the same. Have you changed, or have they? Have they become flagrantly bland, boring, and dim? Or have you become more cultured, standards raised to expect nothing less than the best? In this case, I think it's a little of both.

The ingredients were rather banal, and lacked diversity in flavor and texture. The salsas tingled my senses, but the burrito itself was insipid and watery. The beans seemed to be homemade, but again, lacked spice. The tortilla was more stale than crisp, and started leaking halfway through. I wanted to love this burrito, longed for mollifying memories to come awash in my brain, but all I felt was disappointment. 

The Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Will I go back?

The next time I feel like trying to relive the long distant past.

UPDATE: I've returned and my experiences have varied, but I would say the veggie is a pretty solid 3 stars.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Located on the corner of SE 8th and Division, this place dotes on the fact that it's made out of an old shipping container. That happens to have nothing to do with food quality, and is just a ploy to distract your attention, you do-good-portlander, you. Sustainability is awesome, if you have the delicious food to back it up!

It's a strange, awkward experience. You can either drive through, or hit up the walk up window. You order in a "Chipotlesque" style- choosing meat and other toppings to create your custom burrito. It's quite annoying, actually.

The Pork Burrito

Price: $6.15

Sides: Salsa upon request

Size: Medium/Big

I don't really want to waste anyone's time here. This burrito was frankly, a bland brick of tasteless nothingness. Packed full of dry, slightly under cooked rice. The strange cubes of tough pork seemed days old... probably from sitting in one of those weird metal squares under a heat lamp for too long. The lettuce was like slime scraped from the top of a muggy swamp. The hot salsa was more like mild tomato sauce, with a slight Italian flavor going on.

Sorry Aprisa, I wanted to like you. You seemed alright...

The Rating:

1 out of 5 stars.

You're probably better off eating at a real Chipotle...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Taqueria Portland

Cast along the unassuming street of North Fessenden, a worn old sign with the words "Taqueria Portland" is aglow.


The luminescence draws you in, a glimmer of possibility at the edge of the long lonesome thoroughfare. If you are wise, you will simply stop whatever it is you're doing, and head there right now. You are Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and this place is the Devil's Tower. You just must go.

The space is colorful and quirky, and the people are super friendly. They have an extensive menu, booze, and attentive table service!

The Chile Relleno Burrito

I haven't been this excited about a burrito in a very long time. I was about to give up on you, Portland! Then, along comes a Taqueria created in your image.

Ingredients: Chile relleno, beans (pinto or black), rice, onions, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, spicy salsa

Price: $5.39

Sides: Red and Green Sauce, FREE chips and salsa and lolly pops.

Size: BIG

You know that feeling you get, when you bite into something so luscious, so delectable, so flavorsome- that you close your eyes and "mmmmmmmmm" noises just start radiating from your throat? You get that dizzying feeling of joy, buzzing high within the crevices of your brain? Your heart swirls, as if on a tilt-a-whirl at the fair? Pure affirmation that you are alive- breathing, tasting, existing- captivates your very soul? Yes, you know the feeling... it's love! I'm in love, everyone!

The sumptuously spicy pepper; an exquisitely roasted, cheese-infused, crisply encrusted delicacy. Cloaked within an ambrosial entourage of distinctly flavorsome ingredients: oozy refried beans, a pinch of rice, gooey cheese, fortifyingly fresh cilantro and onion, and hot salsa. All wrapped into a scrumptious tortilla skin, forming a labyrinth of taste-bud-mesmerizing-mayhem.

I am still there, in mid-chew, frozen for eternity with my burrito-shaped manifestation of love. All I have to do is close my eyes, and I am whisked away into an ethereal landscape where my consciousness is consumed by the evocative flavors of this burrito. The smell of sizzling onion, slow simmering spices, and hot frying peppers permeates the air all around. I open my eyes to the grandeur of cheese-capped mountains of beans, flowing hot sauce streams, cilantro meadows, and a chile pepper lined pathway. I float along, heading deeper and deeper into burrito bliss. I look into the sky, to see a bright rectangular sun, hot rays shine onto my skin, and I can barely make out the words "Taqueria Portland" silhouetted against the glow.


It's a bit like this cat's experience with friskies.

This burrito makes me want to lower the ratings of all the other burritos I have ever reviewed. It's the best burrito I have ever eaten in Portland. I also got to taste the carnitas and chile verde, both of which were also spectacular. I had to leave .1 just in case I find a better burrito... just in case...

I wish I was eating one right now. You definitely should be- there's really no other reason to exist.


I have subsequently returned to this establishment numerous times, and the burrito was never quite as good as the first time. I would rate it at 4.4 stars average.


Taqueria Portland, as we once knew it, has closed. However, they have a new location at 820 SE 8th, between Morrison and Belmont Streets. The atmosphere is shinier (the lighting almost oppressive), but the people and food are generally the same.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Taqueria Pardos

Located in a parking lot on SE Mill Street, between Grand and 6th, the Gods were on my side when they convinced these folks to park a taco truck right next to Goodwill. You can fuel up before you go popping tags- trying to find a jumpsuit just like your grandpa's? Or perhaps a big ass coat?

Though I do sometimes enjoy overindulgence, overabundance, and the headaches upon headaches of choices in modern America, simplicity is a beautiful thing. There are 4 menu items at Pardos, and 3 meats to choose from. Tacos for a dollar? Check. Burritos for under 5 bucks? Si.

Pork Burrito

Ingredients: Pork, Rice, Beans, Cheese, Pico

Price: $4.50

Sides: Red and Green Salsa

Size: Medium

And now, 3 burrito inspired Haiku:

Mr. Pig thank you
for being so delicious.
Beans, cilantro too!

Rumble in thy gut
burrito blanket, wrap me
into mindful rest.

Hoping for a bite
desire only pains us-
down boy, down boy, sit.

The Rating

3.4 out of 5 stars.

TACOS ARE DIVINE! 5 stars for those suckers!

Monday, April 15, 2013


This tiny joint is a Portland institution; wedged in between Mary's and Tugboat, right across from Bailey's. You can have yourself a fine little night without ever leaving this block! It's generally jam packed, blasting metal music, and ill staffed- but just shut up and enjoy it! Impress your out-of-town friends with a true Portland experience. Enjoy the company of burnt out bums and strung out strippers whilst consuming a massive burrito attack! Don't forget to use the bathroom while you're here, as it is shared with Mary's. You sneaky little devil, you. If you're really bad, they'll deliver your food to you at Mary's, so you can get off in more ways than one! If you're well groomed and boring, they'll deliver it to you at Bailey's.

Here's a link to their MENU.

Chile Relleno Burrito, Santeria Style

Ingredients: Pinto beans, rice, relleno, pico, guacamole sauce. Smothered in verde sauce, cheese, sour cream.

Price: $9.25 + $2.25 (Santeria Style) = $11.50

Sides: 3 tasty hot sauces, Margarita


This sucker is the most expensive burrito I've reviewed on my blog so far. Especially when you add in the strong $7 margarita you'll no doubt order as well! So, it's not a cheap date... so what?

It's also the largest burrito I've reviewed thus far, about the size of a small/medium child. Almost as wide as it is long.

I was so eager to delve into this brute, that I nearly burnt my tongue off! HOT STUFF! The flavors weren't super titillating (perhaps because of my scorched taste buds), but a little hot sauce brought it up a notch or two. Getting it smothered added an exciting, saucy dimension. The relleno was scrumptious, though it was hidden deep within the burrito body. I had to make my way through a stockpile of meh rice and beans before hitting the pleasurable treasure trove. I was surprised with myself as I kept shoveling the monster down my gullet, without swelling up and passing out. Then, towards the end, it hit me! Burritoed-out-stonedness. No need to purchase street drugs outside the door, just finish off one of these bountiful beasts and stumble on home; eyes aglow with the night's shenanigans.

The Rating:

The experience is worth a 5, but the burrito itself gets:

3.4 out of 5

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tienda Santa Cruz

I went on a burrito pilgrimage the other day, to experience the grub from a taqueria in the back of a little market. Located at 8630 North Lombard Street in St Johns, this nondescript, shabby little place could easily be missed. You'd never expect such a bustling place shoved in the back, though it felt more like a cafeteria than a restaurant.  Very utilitarian- no extravagance needed.

They were also cranking out some super delicious looking pastries, if you want desert. Not that you'll need it!

Asada Burrito

Ingredients: Asada, beans, rice, cilantro, onion, cheese

Price: $4.50

Sides: Red and Green Salsa, Pastry for desert!

Size: Medium-big

I've always hated the word "authentic." What amount of truth can such a word hold in modern society? Culture is a mixed up mess; mocking its predecessors, constantly changing, building on its own forgotten history. Nothing is "real," yet everything is.

However, authentic is the word that comes to mind when describing this burrito experience. Although, there was no one slaughtering goats out back (at least I don't think so). Plus, I don't even consider burritos authentic Mexican cuisine, but somehow, this was really really real. Pure and simple.

The tortilla was phenomenally crisp and chewy at the same time. How'd they do that? There was too much of it, but it was so yummy that I didn't care. The thinly sliced steak was subtle and savory, if a bit on the chewy side. The rice and beans added little to the overall essence. Cilantro and onion. Yeah!

But... the whole time I was eating, I was wishing that I had gotten the tacos instead. I know... I know... I'm a burrito junkie- tacos are for pansies, right? But hear me out. This was like eating a giant taco; it was just too much of the same thing. If I were eating a variety of tacos, fresh squeezes of lime every now and then... it would have been heavenly! When I'm chowing down on a burrito, I want that juicy, saucy, cheesy, oozy, dynamic mesh of flavors and textures tickling my senses. This was just too simple, too primordial.

If you're taking it back, taking it waaaaaaaaaaay back, taking it to the street... take it to the tacos.

The Rating

3 out of 5

if it were tacos and I was the taco aficionado... a million out of 5! 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cha Cha Cha

Cha Cha Cha is a local Portland chain. I visited the one located in Sellwood, at 1605 SE Bybee. It's in a colorful foursquare style home, which makes for a bright, funky, inviting atmosphere. Wherever you are, you probably aren't far from a Cha Cha Cha.

Chile Verde Burrito

Ingredients: Pork in Tomatillo Sauce, Rice, Refried beans, Guacamole, Pico, Cheese

Price: $6.50

Size: Acceptable

Sides: Red and Green Sauce

It looked pretty! As for the taste, it was tantalizingly... devoid. It brought about lucid memories... of all those boring gringo burritos I've had in the past. Experiences like this blend together in a swirling, whirling, empty hole in my brain. Once it's unwrapped from it's pretty yellow paper, I couldn't pick it out of a lineup of suspect burritos. Can't you just see them all lined up against a wall, drooping over sadly, as they try to stand upright?

"Turn to the left!"

It seemed decently fresh, I'll give it that much. At least it wasn't made from dehydrated bean packets and partially hydrogenated soybean scum scraped from the bottom of an enormous vat in a rat infested factory in the outskirts of Chicago. The plethora of rice, mixed with the minuscule amount of pork, was like hunting for "a needle in a haystack" or going on a "wild goose chase." Inspiring nothing, but hackneyed adages. Expected, so expected. A burrito for the novice. A burrito for the children. A burrito for someone who fears Mexican food. A burrito that doesn't fill up that hollow feeling, no matter how big it is. You are nothing to me! NOTHING!

The Rating

1.5 outta 5 stars

Ok, I understand that a lot of people like Cha Cha Cha... Take your kids their for quesadillas. Take your grandparents there for a friendly atmosphere, and food that won't wreck any sensitive intestines. You stick to your banal burritos. I'll stick to my trashed-out-greasy-fatty-heart-attack-delights, thank you very much.

Cha Cha Cha? Try Cha Cha BLAH!

Friday, January 18, 2013

La Merced



 Located in inner SE Portland, on Clay between Water and 2nd ave, right next to the train tracks. This little taco truck literally shook as an Amtrak sped by right behind it. A sensible menu, with your typical selections, and a few spunky vegetarian options. The folks working here were extremely friendly and their happy demeanor alone could draw me back.


The Poblano Burrito


Ingredients: Smoked poblano peppers, corn, black beans, rice, potatoes, cilantro, caramelized onion, sour cream and queso fresco

Price: $6.00

Size: Gigante! 

Sides: Red and Green Salsa

Nothing is quite like parking in the bright January sunshine, a big burrito sittin' in your lap, just waiting to be savored. Watching the world pass you by as you indulge and soak in some rays filled with good old vitamin D.

This sucker was ENORMOUS! You could definitely feed a small village for 6 bucks. Though I was consuming an unprecedented amount of food, it felt ok, because it had vegetables in it! That's healthy, right? The peppers were sweet, tangy, fresh and perfectly roasted, and the onion added a subtle sweetness as well. The beans, corn, and potatoes were on the mellow side, but well textured.  All the ingredients converged nicely within their tortilla skin, and were well dispersed. I would have liked more spice and more cheese. I appreciate the creative innovation behind this veggie option, not your standard old "rice, beans, lettuce" foo-hah. Oh, and the red salsa was fabulous!

The Rating

3.2 outta 5

Will I go here again?

I would love to try a more meaty option, and like I said, they are soooooo nice!