Location: SE 13th and Lexington, Sellwood
Description: If you’ve ever been 16, hanging out in Tijuana on Avenida Revolucion on a school night chugging beer, cheap tequila and Cokes and brandy and needed something to eat to soak it up before waiting in the always slow border line to get back to your suburban San Diego home before your parents noticed you were gone – you always went to one of the many taco carts dotted along Revolucion.
That first taste of taco I still remember vividly: a simple corn tortilla, some carne, maybe some cilantro and a squeeze of lemon – pure heaven. And pure simplicity.
Unfortunately, many Mexican restaurants in Portland – especially those offering tacos – drench soppy, sloppy red salsa on their food that dominates what should be a simple affair.
Enter Kiko’s Taqueria Uruapan – a cart/coach in the budding Sellwood food cart mecca. The menu is simple – and is small enough to display in hand-painted writing on the side of the cart: tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas.
You don’t have to be loaded on booze or cash or 16 to enjoy the food here either. Not only is the food fresh and delicious, it’s cheap- one dollar for a taco. One dollar.
Theoretically one could get lunch for, say, three bucks.
In my opinion, a Mexican restaurant lives or dies by the quality of its carne asada. If you have to disguise it with non-essential items it’s not very good asada. That’s why green or red hot sauce is handed out separately – let your customers do the pouring.
So, is Kiko’s asada good? Oh yes. It’s moist, flavorful and fresh. And at a dollar a pop, it’s even better.
The quesadillas are a bit more expensive at a whopping three dollars. I tried the plain cheese-only version with some hot sauce on the side and enjoyed it – not very greasy but with a good toasty flavor.
On another visit I tried the carne asada quesadilla and it didn’t disappoint. It was a bit greasy – c’mon it’s cheese and meat – but it definitely satisfied my craving.
Portions of food at Kiko’s aren’t huge. But that’s cool – the fantastic flavors make up for it. It’s also a simple affair – the way it should be.
(prices in the $1.00-$6.00 range. A bargain!)
Tacos – carne, pork, chicken
Look for the daily specials on the chalk board
Monday -Officially Monday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. / Unofficially open Saturdays -though they never take down the closed sign.