Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Feast of Latin Flavors and Colors at Portland Mercado

I've been hearing lots of interesting things about Portland Mercado - the first official outdoor public market in Portland dedicated to all sorts of Latin food.  Sure there's lots of unofficial, impromptu trucks out there that cater to Latin flavors, but this one's truly special, as it gives your tastebuds a little taste from all different parts of Latin America.  Needless to say, the food is delicious, inexpensive and there's tons of accessible seating to hang out.

Consisting of both indoor and outdoor vendors, Portland Mercado offers a little something for everyone.  If you're looking for that food truck atmosphere, you'll get it by strolling through a row of about 8 different food carts that feature diverse Latin American cuisine - from Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, El Salvador and others.  A lovely, hand crafted wooden arbor tents these carts, with lots of picnic tables for patrons to sit at and enjoy their grub.

As far as the indoor marketplace goes, that's worth checking out as well.  Featuring a few specialty food vendors including a wine and beer shop, a juicery, coffee shop and even a specialty chorizo shop, there's no lack of something interesting and tasty to explore.  The space is also convenient for when you need to use the restrooms, which are spacious and very clean.

Naturally, we gravitated to the outdoor food scene and walked around at least once, surveying what piqued our interest.  After giving it some thought, I zeroed in on the Mixteca cart, which featured mole as well as the Que Bacano! Colombian food cart.

Patacones (loaded!) - I couldn't resist ordering this beautiful dish of fried green plantains that were fully loaded with shredded chicken and the colorful veggies you see above.  The whole presentation was stunning and literally a show-stopper, as other patrons stopped me to ask what was on my plate.

I'm happy to say that the plantains were perfectly crispy and seasoned well, making for a hearty bite with all those other fixins.  In retrospect, we could've shared this plate with more than 2 people.

Chicken Mole Bowl - Always attracted to a nice mole, this one came with shredded chicken, black beans, white rice and crispy cabbage slaw on top.  The overall taste was excellent and each layer provided something a little different.  I loved the smokiness of the mole and the chicken, making evident the careful process with which it was prepared.

Carne Asada Plate - Dan ordered a hearty plate of Mexican food including a slow cooked carne asada steak, a side of refried black beans, Mexican rice and homemade tortillas.  The beef was delicious and a little bit on the sweet side, but the piece-de-resistance came from the homemade corn tortillas that were thicker than the norm.  I loved them so much that I broke off a piece to use as a vehicle for my smoky mole - and it worked perfectly.

Drinks - Taking advantage of the aforementioned juice bar, I tried a beet, carrot and orange concoction that I loved.  Not only was the color strikingly vibrant, its taste was earthy and delicious and not at all over-sweetened which was appreciated.

Service and Cost:
We enjoyed great service in all the different establishments at Portland Mercado.  Some of the trucks have longer waiting times than others but nothing is unmanageable, and I'd estimate that on average, we got our food in about 5-7 minutes.

Costs are inexpensive and range anywhere from $3 for a taco to $11 for a mixed plate.  It's also nice to see that vendors accept both cash and credit cards, making things convenient.

3 Mmmms

Portland Mercado - 7238 SE Foster Road, Portland OR 97206

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...