The Story: How many traditional Hispanic taco trucks are there in the Portland region? Our guess is there are hundreds. Next to Thai Food carts, which seem to be every other cart as well, we can think of no other cuisine more proliferate than the mobile Taqueria Mexicanos that dots cart pods, rows, roam the streets, and are flying solo in parking lots from the inner city, to the edge of the urban growth boundary.
It makes sense. I was at an American urban planning conference in 2010 and sat in on an excellent panel run by a Latino Women’s planning group. One of the panelists, of Mexican descent who grew up in the taco truck epicenter of East Los Angeles, explained:
Taco trucks are the original, nutritious, cheap fast food of my people. My community doesn’t have a lot of resources or money to open many restaurants, families are often extremely busy working 2-3 jobs to get by, and no one has a lot of money to spend on food. Taco trucks have been around for decades in my community, the Food Truck fad is nothing new to us. (note: I’m still searching for her presentation online to link to if you are interested in this sort of thing).
Hats off to Rico’s Burritos for honoring this tradition of affordable, nutritious, and mouth watering food. I’ll admit, we can sometimes get a little “tacoitis” burnout here at Food Carts Portland, as we eat at so many similar taco trucks on a regular basis. Rico’s surprised me by the quality and care put into their food. The proprietress and I, a lovely and elegant older woman, were limited in communications by my Gringo lack of Spanish language skills and her lack of English, but man did we relate when it came time to tasting her food. It was surprisingly good.
I’m a big fan of all seafood, and Rico’s serves a very fresh, very nicely seasoned fish taco as well as a fish burrito. The first time I visited we determined, though a comic exchange with the owner in my hodgepodge Spanglish, that it was Tilapia, and my two tacos came seasoned with just enough chilies for a bright red-bite. Rico’s doesn’t skimp on the amount of seafood, and load the fresh, soft, handmade tortillas up to the brim with vegetables including slices of avocado at no extra charge.
I was able to gather with the help of a fluent Spanish speaking translator that Rico’s has some cool plans in the works, different than most taco carts in Portland. The owner, perhaps inspired by the popular Podnah’s Pit BBQ across the street, is thinking of adding Pollo Asada. That’s roasted Mexican style chicken on the BBQ, by the way. For that we can only say, Por Favor!
I’ve probably been to Rico’s 3 or 4 times this month alone (Confession, I live two blocks away). Each time I’ve been, they’ve always welcomed me with a warm smile, and some warm, outstanding traditional taco truck fare. My ‘hood’s strip on NE Killingsworth can be a bit of a wasteland for food options, so having Rico’s so close is a godsend for those days where the hungry monster takes over, but my time and money is limited. Portland food carts, you just keep getting better and better. Thank you Rico’s for contributing to Portland’s food cart scene.
- Burritos – $5
- Tacos – $1.50
- Tortas – $5
- Sopes – $2
- Choice of meats for above – Pollo, Asada, Carnitas, Pastor, Fish
- Chicken Enchiladas with Flour Tortillas – $5
- Breakfast Burrito – chorizo, egg, tomato, onion, chile – $2.50
Hours: Mon- Sat, 10am – 6pm