July 21, 2006


943 SE Oak St, Hillsboro
(503) 640-4755
get there via trimet

Taqueria Hermanos Ochoa's
The menu at Ochoa's
When I make the pilgrimage to Hillsboro, I have to eat Mexican, because there are a couple great purveyors of Mexican food there. Usually, that means a visit to La Flor de Michoacan, but the other morning, Nick Zukin mentioned Ochoa's, and I knew I had to go there. On the way out, I beat myself up: why don't I ever go there? The food is great, servings are massive, options are endless.

And then once I'm there, I remember. You walk in, and there's a crowd of people, but where does the line end? There's an english menu with tacos and combo plates, and then there's a wall of photos with faded labels. What meats are available? What about nopales? I see barbacoa (a huge steamed cattle head). Everyone is speaking spanish, and I'm wondering if my awful tourist pidgin is up to this.

Still. Our cashier can pidgin English so we order. Huaraches are one of the reasons to make the trip: masa "sandals" the size of an NBA player's foot that are grilled, spread with refried beans and then topped with some sort of meat. I chose carne asada. I also got sopes, masa disks covered with refrieds, meat, fresh mexican cheese, crema, avocado, and lettuce, and a combination plate with more carne asada.

This and two jarritos cost $18. My sopes were most expensive at $5.50! The combination & the huaraches were both $5.

While we wait for the food, we explore the salsa bar. 5 salsas: a pico, two reds, and two greens, and the red and green we try are both blistering and addictive. Free chips await—help yourself. While we watch people around us get food, I make mental notes of things to try next time. The 7 Mares (7 seas) soup looks wonderful, as does a Cocktel de Camarones—good-sized shrimp, topped with good-sized chunks of avocado. I watch a man tuck into a torta, which seems about the size of his head. I watch someone from the kitchen come out and trim out some barbacoa for an order.

You'll notice there's no photos of the food: it's because we fell into it! The huaraches plate came with two giant huaraches, plus rice, beans & guacamole. The sopes: three to a plate, no sides. And the combo plate: rice & beans, and freshly made tortillas. Everything was delicious, both hot, and as leftovers (we brought lots home).

On the way out, I asked about to-go menus. The cashier said, yes she had them, and then I repeated the question in spanish: she gave me a scowl and said, no, of course, no! I wish I had a road map. But I think I'll be back there soon, saying, give me what he's eating.

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not to be overly pedantic, but pidgeon=bird, pidgin=contact language.

place sounds great!

Love this place. I need to come up with more excuses to go to Hillsboro. Their quesadias are good and I agree with you about their huaraches. Great prices as well as good taste.

Try the birria de chivo some time. It's my favorite meat of theirs. They also make excellent carnitas and lengua (arguably the best lengua around, but it's not a meat of choice for me). Good tamales, too. And on weekends (at least) they do al pastor and grilled chickens outside.

btw, I have some pictures of the food here:


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