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!