Location: 13732 McLoughlin Blvd – Milwaukie, Oregon
Description: If you ever find yourself zipping down McLoughlin in Milwaukie and have a sudden hankering for a cheap, delicious food cart taco, there’s hope – it’s called Maria’s Taco Cart.
It’s a welcome site for many reasons, mostly because it offers some decent Mexican food for hungry eaters that don’t want to make the trek to downtown Portland food carts or downtown Milwaukie’s Cha Cha Cha or Casa de Tamales.
The cart, parked almost across the street from venerable Bomber restaurant, sits in the parking lot of a closed “gentlemen’s club” [the kind with the signage spray-painted on the awning] and is pretty easy to miss if you don’t happen to catch the small roadside sign. Trust me; you won’t be casually strolling by on a leisurely walk.
The first thing I noticed on the freshly printed menu was its lack of prices, but if my order was any indication, the prices are pretty cheap. Two carne asada tacos, one quesadilla and one burrito totaled $8.50.
The two tacos were spot on – simple, moist and delicious. Toppings? Onion and cilantro, with a lime on the side making them the perfect combination for the 80+ degree day I visited.
Though the quesadilla was inexpensive [my guess is $2] it was bland and mediocre and made from what tasted like store-bought Mission flour tortillas and white cheese. That’s a deal breaker for me and inexcusable.
The bean and cheese burrito on the other hand was delicious and made with refried beans – greasy, fatty, creamy refried beans made with God-given lard. I’ve noticed many carts in town use whole beans in their burritos or as a side. Though I’ve been coming around to that style, my money is still on the traditionally made refried bean dish, the more lard the better.
But, the standout of the visit wasn’t the food itself but the red hot sauce – it’s some of the best I’ve had in Portland. Seriously. Most hot sauce served with meals around town is too smoky for my taste. Maria’s was a bright red, chunky goodness bordering on being too hot without being overbearing. Great colors, texture and taste.
My advice: stick to the simple and delicious tacos and while waiting for your order from Maria, marvel at the non-ironic 1970s soda stickers still adorning the sides of the former roach coach and gaze at the WWII bomber across the street that rules McLoughlin. Eat standing up, sitting in your car or on the lone picnic bench.
Maria’s is a welcome addition to this part of town – here’s hoping she starts a trend.
Prices weren’t listed, but it’s safe to assume that entrees other than tacos are in the $2-$4 range.
Tacos, tortas, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, sopas are offered with choices of the following: Chicken, beef, pork, lengua, cabasa, carnitas, tripas.
Maria’s also offer a special Tostadas de Camarones – shrimp, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, avocado, lime.
There’s also a nice variety of traditional Mexican drinks including Jarritos, Sidral and Jumex, and Mexican candy.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: Maria, 971-241-4064