Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Mi Mero Holy-Mole - Serious Mexican on Division
Yesterday, Fooditka needed Mexican food in the worst way. Being Fooditka, she'd heard about Mi Mero Mole, a highly recommended taco joint with a couple of locations in PDX. There is one on Division in Southeast, and one in Chinatown. We went to the one on Division. I use the term joint in the positive sense; it is by no means a hole in the wall. Rather, it's a no-frills kind of establishment with tasty food that isn't fancy, just good.
They bill themselves as Guisado Style, which is a very homey style of Mexican street cooking. Their specialty is the different traditional stews, or moles, that have various bases like beef, shrimp, pork, and veggie options. Their tortillas are also a major strength; they are made from scratch out of ground nixtamal, which is supposedly a more authentic way to do it.
They have a full bar as well with a pretty extensive drink menu, but I didn't get too far down the page, and picked the tamarind margarita, which was pretty good.
The restaurant is split into two sections. When you walk in the door, there is a line to order food. The register and the kitchen is all on that side. You order, pay, take a number and go sit down in the other half of the place. The cashier is also the bartender, and you grab a bottle of tap water and some glasses on your way to your table. When your food is ready, they find you and bring it to you. The place was clean, and pretty busy, but there was plenty of room to sit.
The first page of the menu tells you all of the different moles that are available on a given day. There are Beef and Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Seafood, Veggie, and Vegan options so you will definitely find something you like. These are all the fillings and you can get them as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and plates. We opted for the 5 mole sampler, and a meatball taco, which is yet another option to choose from. One note: although we didn't get the burrito, I saw several people going to town on them and they looked stellar. Next time I go, I probably have to get one.
Mole Sampler - This was a 5 variety sampler that came with a bunch of soft tortillas, rice, and beans. The moles were all pretty different, and all very good. The 5 different bases were Pork, Beef, Shrimp, Chicken, and some kind of veggie which I think was sweet potato, but I couldn't swear to it. My favorite was the pork; the sauce was lighter and creamy, and very nicely seasoned. It complemented the pork which was really well cooked; tender and juicy, but nice big chunks. The shrimp was also really tasty, but they only gave us two shrimps, so...meh. The chicken also stood out; it was more shredded than the pork, and the sauce was a bit darker and more tangy. These are served with a pretty big plate of rice and beans, along with the soft nixtamal tortillas. The tortillas were great, and the whole effect of mole, rice, beans and fresh tortilla was exactly right.
Tacos Albondigas - Although the sampler was probably enough food for the two of us, I wanted to be sure, so we got the extra taco. The meatballs, or albonigas, are made from beef, pork, and ham and then stuffed with an egg and smothered in a chipotle-tomato sauce, so...hell yeah. And the one taco came with 2 large-ish meatballs cut it half, so there was plenty to split between Fooditka and yours truly.
Service and Cost:
There wasn't a lot of service, as we ordered and then sat with our beverages and waited for the food. The cashier was also the bartender, and he was nice enough, and the guy who served us our food was totally pleasant as well. The food came out pretty quickly, and when we were done we bused our own dishes. The overall cost was perfectly reasonable for a nice amount of really good food; our mole sampler, extra taco, and margarita came out around $12.00 a piece. I would definitely go back again.
Mi Mero Mole - 5026 SE Division St Portland, OR, 97206
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