Friday, February 26, 2010

Beet Greens and Blues - Taqueria Los Gorditos

Since last August, I’ve moved six times, couch surfed while writing my thesis (don’t recommend it), rented a room from a middle-aged stranger (I don’t suggest that either), left the country for a stint or two, and signed a nine-month lease on my first apartment mere weeks ago. All of that has complicated any possibility of attaching the word “home” to a physical space. My only solution so far has been to locate home in my senses – in the sights, touches, and sounds of the people I love, in the tunes of familiar troubadours, and in the tastes I go searching for when I feel I’ve floated an inch too far away.

Here in Portland, one of those tastes comes from a taco truck. Through every one of those six moves, in the midst of piles of cardboard boxes and a stubborn queen-sized mattress inexplicably free of handles, I’ve been able to ground myself with a burrito from Taqueria Los Gorditos, on the corner of SE 50nd and Division. They’re even a bit homier than your typical food cart, having expanded to a full covered patio with tables and chairs. This is the place to go for cheap, amazing food close to campus – tacos are only $1.50 and their GIANT burritos start at $4.50. I’m not making claims about “The Best Burrito Ever” or gesturing wildly to the giant menu of amazing vegan/vegetarian options featuring great soyrizo vegan nachos. I’m not going to wax poetic about the mysterious superiority of their beans and rice, or describe the mind-numbing delectability of any meat option you choose (they’ve got carne asada, pollo, carne deshebrada, pastor, lengua, cabeza, encebellados) or tell you to CHOOSE THE CABEZA despite any Google searches that might steer you away. You won’t regret it, but I didn’t tell you that.

Nope. I’m just going to say that these guys are consistently delicious, friendly, and they happen to be located a few blocks from a house where I once lived. That house is no longer home, but I’m telling you, a bite of that burrito still most certainly is.

Taqueria Los Gorditos
Location: SE Division and 50th (NW Corner Lot)
Hours: Mon-Sat 11-8 (Closed Sunday)
Phone: (503) 875-2615 – Call in orders are welcome.

And for your listening pleasure, a few songs about the romance of the often unobtainable “home”, from some great bands old and new.

“Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
“Good To Be Home” by The Everybodyfields
“Not at Home” by Peter Broderick
“I was Young when I Left Home” by Antony and Bryce Dessner (Bob Dylan cover)
“I Ain’t Got No Home In This World” by Woody Guthrie
“Home Cookin'” by The Band
“Coming Home” by The 88

Thursday, February 25, 2010

PFM News for the 2010 Season

We are less than a month away from the opening of the downtown Farmers' Market on March 20th. Let that one sink in for a moment. Mmmmmmmmmyes!

Some interesting PFM news: This year's market is taking over another block and will stretch from SW Montgomery Street to SW Hall Street, but they aren't doubling the number of vendors. Instead, they are removing that inner ring of stalls and creating two large squares of vendors. It's an effort to reduce the insane crowding we've been dealing with for the past few years - so, hopefully, no more gridlock in from of the most popular vendors, and more access to the awesome events going on in the middle - like the music and that absolutely fabulous Chef in the Market cooking demonstration... We'll see how it changes the hustle and flow of the Saturday morning market, which, in other news, is being joined by...

TWO NEW MARKETS for the 2010 season!

PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE: Every Monday from June 21 to October 25, 2010, in the heart of downtown Portland from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

NW 23rd AVE, on the southeast corner of NW 23rd Avenue and NW Savier Street. from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday from June 3 to Sept 30.

I'm so excited about this. I recently moved to the West Side (which is a bit of a culture shock, to be honest) and am so looking forward to trekking around town a couple of times a week to spend time with my favorite people in PDX at PFM.

(The pictures for these post, and likely in some posts to follow, were taken in the open air market in Jerusalem. I spent 10 days in Israel on a culinary tour and have a bunch of gorgeous food to show you!)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beet Greens and Blues

Hey everyone! I'm writing a column for Reed's newspaper, The Quest, about PDX food carts and music, and had a crazy idea that sharing it with you could help me get out of my blogging rut. It usually just takes a couple of posts before I get refreshed and excited about blogging, and it's always hard to be a seasonal food blogger in the winter, but I miss food writing and my parents miss reading it. We're only a month away from the opening of the downtown Portland Farmers' Market, but this city is still full of great food and my kitchen doesn't stop because my typing does. Here goes.

Beet Greens and Blues

Here is where we find ourselves: In this city, in this decade, at this time in our lives, we can, and should, be eating some of the best food in the country. Our local farmers, bakers, butchers, and brewers are pumping out the highest-quality goods with regional flare, and the DIY culture has creative young chefs and cooks from around the world sticking a kitchen on wheels and calling it dinner. Portland’s vibrant food cart scene is, by now, no secret, and I’m sure many of you have your favorite places for burritos and fries. Also, unless you’ve been listening solely to Liberace for the past few decades, you no doubt know that Bridgetown is a breeding ground for hungry, ambitious young musicians. I believe it is no coincidence that where great food is found, great music usually won’t be far behind, so why not combine the two?

Here’s my plan: eat good food and listen to music I like. Each week I’ll stop at a PDX food cart or cheap eatery and size up the joint for under $10—with ratings for taste, quantity, and overall quality—as well as highlight local shows, new releases, or throw together a playlist of classic tunes, with some semblance of connective tissue between the music and food. At times the eats will inspire the music selections, and at others a song or album will send me out searching for a certain taste. Sometimes I’ll eat with local musicians, or find out which local chefs make their own tunes when they aren’t making waffles. Food + Music + Portland = Beet Greens and Blues. Get ready.

Got tips? Send your favorite PDX eats and grooves to, or join me for dinner and a show. It’s a beautiful city out there – go and taste it.

And for starters, here are my favorite food-related tunes to get us going:

“Come On In My Kitchen” by Robert Johnson
“Hot Potatoes” by The Kinks
“I Eat Heavy Metal” by Pete Townshend with John Lee Hooker
“Animal Crackers” by Melanie
“Vegetables” by the Beach Boys
“Tupleo Honey” by Dusty Springfield
“Tuna Fish” by Emiliana Torrini
“Country Pie” by Bob Dylan
“Eggs and Sausage” by Tom Waits

Eat well!