The Story: If we’ve learned one thing at Food Carts Portland since we started this little website way back in ’07, people are very opinionated about taco trucks and very loyal to their favorites. It’s funny how much discussion, passion, commentary, and photo swapping a simple stuffed handheld tortilla or two-fister burrito can create.
Sure, some certainly rise above others as far as quality, freshness, and individual unique offerings. There are certainly superstars of the taco truck world here in our city and metro area. Then there are what I call the good old reliable tacos. These trucks serve great food, but are really known more for convenience, large portions, and low price points.
Taqueria el Tarasco bridges the best of both worlds: very decent food at great prices, and big portions. This might not be destination taco dining, but having this truck in my ‘hood is a godsend. It’s close to the I-5 Killingsworth Interstate on and off ramps, near a Portland Community College campus, and the Max Yellow Line, and is open just late enough on the weekdays to make grab and go dinner a real possibility. There’s even parking available on the surface parking lot they share with Lao Vieng Market next door. The tent covered seating is a nice addition when I want to take the dog for a walk but not eat in the drizzle or wind.
The menu won’t surprise you. In the mornings they have a breakfast burrito with cheese, ham, eggs, beans. Their fillings for tacos and burritos include Asada (steak), Pollo (chicken), Chorizo (sausage), Al Pastor (pork), Birria (beef), as well as Lengua (tongue) and my personal favorite Cabeza (which they describe as ” beef head” but in reality are braised beef cheeks). Tacos run $1.50, and Burritos are at $5.00 (but they are huge). el Tarasco also offers a burrito with mole sauce, or one with nopales (cactus). Other well known offerings include Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Tostadas, Tamales, and Tortas. Condiments include a rainbow’s variety of house made salsas and sauces, and a generous portion of sliced avocado can be had on the side for $0.50 extra. Taqueria el Tarasco also knows their Portland demographics, and if you are vegetarian or vegan you can get a nice tofu taco or burrito, and beans sans lardo.
For those looking for more regional specialties el Tarasco does have Sopes, Huaraches, and one item I wish more taco trucks made: Huchepos (sometimes spelled, Uchepos). These are a regional treat from the Mexican state of Michoacán. Imagine a very light, fluffy tamale made with sweet ground corn (either fresh or frozen, but not dried like other tamales), and drizzled with crema and salsa verde. Huchepos are almost dessert-like in their corn sweetness. For this author, Huchepos taste like fresh sweet summer corn right off the cob, and they are quite addictive.
All neighborhoods should be so lucky to have a great taco truck, and for this little N. Portland enclave, Taqueria el Tarasco hits the spot.
- Burrito – $5
- Enchiladas – 4 for $6
- Huchepos – $2
- Sopes – $3
- Tacos – $1.50
- Tamales – $2
- Quesadillas – $5
- Tortas – $5.50
- Tostadas – $3
Hours: Mon – Sat, 10am -6:30pm
Phone: 503 839 8679