Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: weekdays, lunch
The Story: What’s that phrase – for every door that closes, another opens? It seems the story of the ever evolving street food scene in Portland. Just as you fall in love with one vendor, they close and you’re faith in food is dashed. Lucky for us, when the previous owner vacated, Tony’s Cucina opened offering something special.
Tony Velasquez open his cucina early this year with a menu of Mexican/Italian fusion cuisine. After spending a quarter century in the medical field, he jumped ship and went to culinary school. When a friend asked if he wanted to try out a cart, Tony took the leap. The menu is inspired by childhood favorites – the best foods his mom use to make. Everything is made from scratch with care.
Tony lived in Arizona for twenty years where his love for the Sonoran dog came about. While there are different approaches on how to create this dish, Tony’s approach was to work with fellow fans to craft a signature dog in the style. Starting out with a bacon-wrapped dog on the grill, the bun from An-Xuyen, is sliced open just enough to hold the dog, beans, cheese, lettuce and tomato and then topped with a grilled jalapeno. It was so beautifully presented, I didn’t want to eat it. I will warn you, if you take that first bite, watch out for the pepper to roll off onto your hand, then your shirt, then the table. Lucky for me, I caught it before it hit the ground. The spice of the pepper mixed with the creamy beans, veggies and that dog create a wonderful mix of flavors. The bun is superb, one of the better buns out there with just enough chew, but not doughy.
Tony’s Cucina is a great new addition to the 10th and Alder lot. While there are other Mexican vendors, no one is doing the Sonoran dog nor are they offering dishes like an enchilada casserole. He will even make you a Cuban coffee. Drop on by next time you’re looking for something new and let Tony know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
- Squishy Taco – corn tortilla dipped in hot oil with chicken, steak or chorizo – $2
- Fish Taco – $2.50
- Enchilada Casserole w/ rice and beans – $7
- Quesadilla – $2.50
- Tortilla Dog – grilled hot dog wrapped in flour tortilla with cheese – $1
- Sonoran Hot Dog – $6
Hours: Weekdays, lunchtime
Facebook: Tony’s Cucina