Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quest for (Awesome) Trashy Mexican Food

So, as I've lamented before, there is a dire shortage of awesome trashy Mexican food in Waltham. It's almost worse than when I lived in Melbourne. In Melbourne there was no (remotely authentic) Mexican food at all. In Waltham there are a few places that come recommended as being good, authentic Mexican food and get my hopes up only to leave me disappointed with their lame bland white rice and lack of the flavors I'm craving. Thus, as promised, I'm working on fitting as much trashy Mexican food into my weekend in Portland as possible. First up was take-out from Ole Frijole with my parents on Monday night when we got home from Seattle. They've actually spruced the place up quite a bit since I was there in July, including the addition of a nice hot sauce bar. (The hot red sauce is AWESOME.) We went with a variety of items to share, and I sort of panicked while ordering (I don't do well under pressure), so we ended up with more than was strictly necessary for one meal... but I'm not complaining.
First upwas a Carnitas Quesadilla (because I have a carnitas obsession, and "Mmmm... Cheese..."). This was pretty darn awesome. (It's not on the picture of the plate above because we enjoyed is as an appetizer... and I'll go ahead and throw in the apology here for the fact that I only have the crappier of my two cameras with me on this trip...)
Next we went with a Chicken Chimichanga in honor of Stanley, which we'd enjoyed before and enjoyed again this time.
The Carne Asada Torta has been haunting my memory since I first tried it, so we ordered that again,
as well as a Carnitas Torta (again: carnitas obsession + "Mmmm... Torta...").
Then I panicked and added a Chorizo Burrito to the order. This turned out to be a good call, both because it ensured that there would be ample leftovers for brekky the next day and because it was delicious.
I met up with my friend, J, on Tuesday for lunch. We were hoping to hit Autentica, but our suspicions about their phone message ("We open at 11am for lunch!") were confirmed and they were indeed closed. Not having a real back-up plan and working with only my 12-year-old memories of how Northeast Portland works, we decided to head to Alberta, where I remembered there being restaurants, and we ended up outside of La Bonita (which is two doors down from La Sirenita). J ordered an awesome-looking Carne Asada Tostada (at rear in the picture below) while I went with a Chile Relleno platter. We also both ordered Horchata (J because she loves it, me because I was curious and wanted to seem cool). The tortillas with my platter were lame, but it was a pretty good relleno so I was happy. The Horchata was also totally awesome.
Last night I had plans to go out for Trashy Mexican with Max, Midge, and Micahoe. We headed out towards 42nd and Killingsworth, thinking we'd hit either Ole Frijole or "that place across the street from Ole Frijole," aka Santeria Domingo Taqueria Oaxaca (Yes. I was willing to go to Ole Frijole again...) At the last minute I made the call that we should hit Santeria Domingo Taqueria, since I'd never had a chance to really explore their menu beyond the awesome burrito they once made for me, and I'm really glad that's where we ended up. I ordered the Carnitas Plate (the thing I order to compare Mexican restaurants to my favorite place in Santa Barbara), and it was the bomb.
The Carnitas were delicious, crispy, and not at all greasy - by far the best I've had in Portland, and probably better than Super Cucas, too. This is definitely going to be my favorite place in Portland for what has become (through deprivation) possibly my favorite cuisine these days... And they even put up slightly tacky decorations for the season:
Here's hoping everyone has an awesome extended weekend, whether celebrating holidays or just happy to not be at work...


Chef E said...

The title caught my attention, since I live in a state that has NO trashy mexican anything...I would eat most of this food, just for the purpose of reliving my Texas memories!

Happy Holidays, I love your blog...

emmo said...

I really may have reconsidered moving to the east coast if I'd known the west coast had a monopoly on awesome trashy Mexican food. =)

I can cook delicious Mexican food, but it's never quite the same... and making a whole batch of carnitas just for myself seems a little excessive... If only I'd never lived in SoCal I wouldn't know what I was missing. =)

Midge said...

sooooo good, except I think I ordered the messiest possible thing on the menu.

emmo said...

@Midge - I went back on Sunday for my last meal in Portland, and it was even better: Turns out they make delicious homemade tortillas on the weekends. =)