Taqueria Santa Cruz

April 13, 2007

Taqueria Santa Cruz

8630 N Lombard St
(503) 286-7302
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Panaderia y Tienda Santa Cruz
Taqueria Santa Cruz
When you're right downtown in St Johns, and hungry, you might be tempted to stop at Ole Ole. But real St. Johners will tell you that that's the wrong move. It's okay, sure, but there's better, and just two doors down.

My favorite new place is the Taqueria Santa Cruz. It's in the back of the Panaderia & Tienda Santa Cruz, and if you didn't read the sign or the menu board, you might just think it's a tienda. And it is a tienda, but proceed to the back for the taqueria, already.

The Taqueria is a big white room—it'll get no awards for decor or comfort. The menu is reasonably simple: tacos from $1-$1.50, burritos from $3.50-$4, with meat choices of asada, pollo asado, al pastor, chorizo, tripa, lengua, cabeza. Huaraches, masa formed in a long oval and topped with beans, lettuce and cheese, are $3.50. Tortas are $3.50-$4, and have some of the more popular torta options: jamon, cubana, and milanesa. Tostadas are $2-$2.50.

There are platos too, but I didn't see anyone eating them. Instead, just about everyone around me was having one of the weekend dishes, 5 tacos with barbacoa consomme, caldo de camerones, and menudo. These all involve pho-sized bowls of soup that folks were happily tucking in to.

We ordered a couple each of carne asada and chorizo tacos, a pollo tostado, and a huarache with carne asada. These plus two Jarritos put us back $11.

The carne asada was good, small chopped pieces that had seen some fire, and had some flavor. Chorizo was flavorful and oily without being greasy (though I've heard that sometimes it is greasy there). The chicken, I never got a bite of, but I get the definite impression that it was good as well.

My huarache was like a sope on steroids. Sure, it doesn't compete with the huaraches at Ochoa in Hillsboro, but it's definitely the best I've had on the east side. It's named for the Mexican sandal, made from an oval of fried masa, topped with refrieds, lettuce, meat and a little fresh mexican cheese. It is both filling and delicious.

Table salsas are unadorned, in squirt bottles. There's a nice chile arbol red, and the usual (but delicious) tomatillo green salsas. On the weekends, you'll often get a bowl of a creamy avocado based salsa as well which is luscious.

Restaurants in North Portland, St Johns Neighborhood

Posted at April 13, 2007 * add entry to del.icio.us

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