Food & Drink

Everywhere in PDX to celebrate not-Mexican independence

Published On 04/29/2013 Published On 04/29/2013

Cinco de Mayo falls on 5/5. 5/5 = 100%. Coincidence? No. Math. But also: an indication that you should be eating Mexican food and drinking Mexican booze that's 100% great. So check out this list of Portland's best. Best Margarita Verde Cocina Perla 524 NW 14th St; Pearl District; 503.894.9321 The former farmer's marketeers know that sometimes the best margs are the ones that eschew complicated additives and go old-school w/ great ingredients. The Margarita Puro is loaded with fresh-squeezed lime and agave nectar, the Clasico adds Cointreau, and both are available by the glass or in a huge carafe. And if you have to be oh-so-Portland and complicate it, there's also the El Diablo w/ a hint of ginger & creme de cassis. Click here for more than just the margs...
Hottest Waitresses Casa Diablo 2839 NW St Helens St; NW Portland; 503.222.6600 You don't open a strip club themed after the bar in From Dusk Til Dawn and stock your waitstaff with a bunch of fuglies. You stock it with murderous she-vampires! Here, even the bartenders are hot, and they're all topless. But the place is vegan-friendly, so the only thing they'll voraciously crave is your hard-earned dollars. More on Portland's #1 vegan strip club Craziest Taco Filling UNO MAS 2329 NE Glisan St; Kerns; 503.208.2764 The tiny taqueria/ bar offers 20+ two-bite tacos filled with staples like pastor or, for the more adventurous, squishy octopus, tripe, and blood sausage. And since they're all super tiny, you can combine bites to make the terrifying Blood Octopus, whose sausage actually makes it nine-legged. See our full write up here Best Outdoor Space Cruzroom 2338 NE Alberta St; Alberta Arts District; 503.208.3483 Set up like a fireplace-equipped dude ranch right along the main drag of Alberta, Cruzroom's gigantic patio is the perfect spot to hang back, pick up on chiquititas, slug house-infused margaritas (w/ fruit and spice, not Hugh Laurie), and chomp on some of the weirdest tacos in town (like one designed to taste like a Big Mac). And during the chaotic Last Thursday street festivals, that ranch turns into one of the best outdoor parties in town, bar none. Cruise here for more on the 'room
Best Guacamole La Bonita 2839 NE Alberta St; Alberta Arts District; 403.281.3662 & 2710 N Killingsworth St; N Portland; 503.278.3050 The heralded Mexi hole-in-the-wall's now rocking two locations, and both serve up classic guac that's creamy and limey… but not the cockney kind of limey, because that'd be weird. The batches are ultra-fresh and rock just a hint of spice in what looks like an Ecto Cooler milkshake, but is somehow even more delicious than that. Take a look at menu links and more here Best Nachos Trigger 128 NE Russell St; NE Portland; 503.327.8234 Because nothing's simple when the dudes behind legendary Bunk Sandwiches are involved, their Tex-Mex oasis hits each individual chip on their nacho plate w/ a choice between brisket ends or smoked chicken, then layers of salsa, veggies, and cheese. The result is a plate full of the most loaded chips this side of Erik Estrada's retirement party. Pull the trigger on more info Best Tequila Selection Nuestra Cocina 2135 SE Division St; Clinton/Division; 503.232.2135 Taking the same approach to tequila as it does to its super-high-end Mexican cuisine, Nuestra Cocina's rotating selection of agave goodness is among the most meticulously curated in town. You can score barrel-aged awesomeness like the organic 123 Tres, Chamucos, and 7 Leguas, but be sure to save room for "dessert tequilas" like Almendrado. And if you're not in the mood for a marg or a shot, order a tequila martini w/ habanero syrup & salted chili. Check Nuestra's website for more on tequlia and the menu
Hottest Hot Sauce Santeria 703 SW Ankeny St; Downtown; 503.956.7624 Santeria's tacos are sublime… but you won't really be able to taste the mad-fresh carnitas when you smother them in the housemade hot sauce, which's loaded with a secret blend made of habanero and, apparently, Satan's sweat. Even better, you can bring your food into the famous Mary's Club next door; just, please, wash that fire off your hands before stuffing dollars in a stripper's anywhere. Santeria's full menu has more, right here

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1. Verde Cocina 524 NW 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97209 (Pearl District)

Verde Cocina is owned and operated by a husband-and-wife team dedicated to using Portland area farms' freshest ingredients to make the tastiest Mexican food around. The restaurant, located in the fashionable Pearl District, is a testament to this goal, serving up delicious guacamole, carne asada, and they even have a tequila sampler menu.

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2. Casa Diablo 2839 NW St Helens Rd, Portland, OR 97210 (Nw Portland)

Casa Diablo isn't your typical restaurant from the outside, or, for that matter, the inside. It's modeled after the vampire bar in From Dusk Til Dawn and features a solid vegan menu with must-tries like soy stroganoff. Not what you were expecting? There's another surprise: this spot is actually a strip club that has a bank full of those ever-popular $2 bills for tipping and dancers performing the wildest leather-free strip show you’ll ever see. That's right: this is a vegan strip club. Bless you, Portland.

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3. Uno Mas 2337 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232 (Ne Portland)

Offering tiny tacos -- and nothing else -- Uno Mas's deceptively simple menu's the baby of a chef who's cooked at some of the best Mexi spots in PDX (Authentica, Mextiza). Here he's got 20+ tacos the size of drink coasters rocking everything from carnitas, to chicharron, to octopus.

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4. Cruzroom 2338 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (Alberta Arts Dist)

With one of the best outdoor spaces in Portland, Cruzroom doesn't need to do much else to keep customers coming, but that doesn't stop them. They've got a menu packed with inventive spins on Mexican favorites like Big Mac-flavored tacos and toasted peppercorn infused tequila margaritas. Cruzroom also has a ton of unique events throughout the week, including Movie Nights on Sundays and a LEGO building tournament every first Wednesday of the month.

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5. La Bonita 2839 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (Ne Portland)

With two locations in Portland, the family that owns & operates La Bonita must be on to something, right? Right. Find out for yourself as you make your way through their straight forward, no nonsense menu filled with Mexican classics from huevos rancheros to chicken tamales and chimichangas to what may be the best enchiladas in the whole damn city.

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6. Trigger 128 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212 (Ne Portland)

We all know the warning: Don't mess with Texas. Well the dudes behind Trigger not-so-politely ignored that warning and opened up one of hell a Tex-Mex restaurant...in Oregon. Now that's ballsy. In a wood-paneled space that's got cattle skulls everywhere, they're serving up their own spins on Tex-Mex classics, like smoked brisket, beer-can chicken, and a hazelnut mole quesadilla. Get the Lone Star State food you want without, you know, having to actually go to the Lone Star State.

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7. Nuestra Cocina 2135 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 (Se Portland)

Owned by a husband and wife team, Nuestra Cocina isn't your average Mexican restaurant. The couple behind it take a high-end approach to the cuisine and succeed wildly, offering up authentic, delicious dishes like stuffed chilis, barbecued lamb, and grilled Mexican prawns. If your preferences still lie with a certain 'Mexican Grill,' at least do yourself the favor and check out the Mole Room at Nuestra, where you can take private cooking classes from head chef and co-owner Benjamin Gonzales.

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8. Santeria 703 SW Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

With a menu that ranges from authentic Mexican plates (slow-cooked pork, red snapper) and Americanized favorites ($2.50 tacos!), downtown's Santeria has all the Mexican eats you could dream of. Want more? How about the fact that this joint is located right next to the famous Mary's Club stripclub, which allows you to bring your Santeria grub in with you while you enjoy a dance or two. Yes, you've read that correctly.

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