Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
There are a lot of Mexican food carts in Portland, so it takes that extra step (hint: a very spicy option helps) to give me a little more incentive to head in that direction. At Santana Mexican Food, Lorena is the lovely woman taking orders at the window. I don’t speak much Spanish, and I found out that English is not her first language, but no language barrier could deceive my observations.
At least a couple of customers who ordered before me were in a joyous mood, talking to Lorena in Spanish, and happily awaiting their food. As other people stepped up to the window, Lorena smiled and acknowledged each person. I had no clue what to get; everything looked so good. Lorena just smiled and told me to take my time, no rush.
Lorena said the fajitas ($6.50) sell very well, but the Wet Burrito ($7), covered in a mildly spiced red sauce and shredded cheese, is the most popular. My carnivorous side told me to get the beef fajitas. Beef, bell pepper, mushrooms, and onions are cooked on the flattop and served with a scoop of vegetables, Spanish rice, your choice of beans (red, pinto, or black), and corn tortillas. Lorena asked if I wanted hot sauce – red, green, or habanero – and being the spice nut that I am, habanero all the way! The beef was juicy, and the cooked vegetables retained a bit of crunch. The corn tortillas were separately wrapped in aluminum foil, steamed perfectly. The habanero salsa brought pleasing heat and an assertive fruitiness. Overall, this was an abundance of food that didn’t break my wallet into multiple pieces. Huzzah!
The fajita plate takes a bit longer to prepare than other dishes but Santana’s offers tacos and burritos, should one be in a hurry. There are meat and vegetarian options that cater to almost all customers. Check out Santana Mexican Food and tell them Food Carts Portland sent ya!
Meat choices include asada, pastor, pollo and carnitas
- Tacos Combo served with Spanish rice and choice of red, pinto, or black beans – $6
- Fajitas served with Spanish rice and choice of red, pinto, or black beans – $6.50
- Wet Burrito served with Spanish rice and choice of red, pinto, or black beans – $7
- Tacos $1.50 each
- Burritos $5.50 with meat, $4.50 vegetarian
- Sope $3
Hours: weekdays, lunchtime