Sabrosa Barbosa

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Sabrosa Barbosa

Sabrosa Barbosa

Location: SW 9th and Alder
Hours: Monday-Saturday, lunchtime

The Story: To make a truly excellent green chile dish, roasting the chiles is paramount. At Sabrosa Barbosa, owner Cyl hand-roasts pounds of chiles in a cast iron skillet every night. That attention to detail is what garners this new food cart a gold star.

Sabrosa Barbosa opened late last year with a bright red paintjob and bold signs at the ever popular Alder food cart pod. Cyl, chef and owner is originally from LA where she, like many of us in the street food biz, worked 20 years in a different career. It wasn’t until the last few years that she began dabbling and experimenting in the kitchen when her friends and family recognized she had a hidden talent. No formal training, just late nights and attention to the right ingredients and experimentation has led Cyl to open her cart for us Portlanders to enjoy. Most of her dishes are prepared a full 24hrs in advance so flavors can mature and infuse. A celebration of Mexican cuisine made with love.

Pork Chile Bowl from Sabrosa Barbosa

Pork Chile Bowl from Sabrosa Barbosa

The menu at Sabrosa Barbosa offers up dinner plates, bowls, quesadillas and even nachos. The mole is made with molasses and honey, no refined sugars here. Cyl uses Peruvian beans with their mild sweetness and thin skins – the longer you cook, the more buttery they become. The Pork Green Chile Bowl is a treat for anyone looking for a spicy dish. And not just for heat sake, Cyl utilizes both jalapeño and serrano peppers to yield a fruity, smoky and spicy effect. Served over spanish rice, this bowl may compete with the others available on the lot for flavor and excitement.

Sabrosa Barbosa is the newest player on the lot. While some may see their cuisine as similar to other vendors, that is the magic of street food. Everyone does it different and Cyl is no slouch when it comes to flavor. The food cart is just one step in her journey to bring passion for cooking to the masses. Keep an eye out for this one. Drop on by next time you’re up that way and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Chicken Mole Dinner – Peruvian beans, Spanish Rice and tortillas – $8.75
  • Green Chile Dinner – pork or chicken – $8.75
  • Quesadilla Dinner – tortillas, sliced avocado, tomato and cilantro, spicy house crema, peruvian beans, spanish rice – $7.50
  • Chicken Mole Bowl – served over Peruvian beans and Spanish rice- $5.75
  • Fresh Peruvian Bean Bowl – Peruvian beans topped with fresh onion, tomato, cilantro, diced avocado, fresh feta cheese – $4.50

Facebook: Sabrosa Barbosa
Phone: (503) 278-5606

Los Alambres Torteria Taqueria DF

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Los Alambres Torteria Taqueria DF

Los Alambres Torteria Taqueria DF

Location: SE 82nd and Taylor
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11-9, Sun, 11-6

The Story: There are over 70 different Mexican food carts and trucks in the Portland Metro area from Hillsboro to Gresham, North Portland to Wilsonville. How does one vendor differentiate themselves from the rest? For Los Alambres Torteria Taqueria DF, it was a massive list of tortas.

Los Alambres Taqueria is the work of Antonio and Micaela Hernandez who opened the truck on 82nd last year. Their focus is on Mexican dishes from Distrito Federal (Federal District.) Signature items include Alambre, a special dish of mixed meat, cheese served with tortillas, Tortas, and Agua de Jamaica (Jamiaca juice.) I was floored at list of 17 different Tortas, ranging from the Cubano with breaded beef, ham, hot dog, head cheese, Mexican cheese, Mozzarella, egg and chorizo to the Toluquena with chorizo, Mozzarella and chile serrano. There is a torta here for anyone. I picked up the De Luxo with pork leg and Mozzarella. I’ve had tortas before, but when I was handed the grocery bag with my torta inside, I almost dropped it, surprised by the weight. Seriously, this is a pound or more of Mexican sandwich. Thin torta bread with a salad mix of peppers similar to an olive spread and topped with sliced pierna (pork leg) and Mozzarella. Every bite included spicy pepper, salty pork and creamy cheese. The bread was superb, a perfect choice for these sandwiches. If you’re a big eater, these tortas are for you. Or, grab one and share.

De Luxo Torta from Los Alambres

De Luxo Torta from Los Alambres

Los Alambres is open daily for lunch through dinner at the corner of SE 82nd and Taylor. They have covered seating there, so you can enjoy your meal out of the weather. Not knowing how big the torta was, I also ordered a Taco del Barrio with asada, chorizo and grilled onions. Amazing! Next time I’m out on 82nd, I will definitely make a visit. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tacos – asada, chorizo, pastor, birria, chicken, veggie – $1.25
  • Tortas – See list here – $6-9 per sandwich
  • Quesadillas-  $3.50-5

Website: Los Alambres
Facebook: Los Alambres Torteria Taqueria DF
Phone
: 503 213 0085

Chefinos

Lizzy Caston

Chefinos

Location: NE 26th and Alberta
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:00 am -7 pm

The Story: On a street with at least four Taquerias, in a neighborhood with just as many taco trucks and carts, we bring you yet another traditional Mexican food street vendor to the Alberta Street mix.  Chefinos is a bright red cart with homey touches such as potted plants and a covered area with benches and a tables for eating out of the rain. Over the years, several food carts have come and gone on this tire shop’s parking lot: I can recall a baked potato cart, a couple of different taco trucks, and I think at one point there was a juice truck. It’s hard to keep track.

No matter the reasons the other carts have come and gone, Chefinos is making a go of it, serving more than just tacos and burritos. Originating from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, owner Maria (last name not given) offers regional Oaxacan fare as well as burritos and tacos. Dust off your Spanish and look for items usually found in Mexican street markets such as  Tamales de mole oaxaqueno an hoja de platano (Tamales with mole sauce Oxacan style wrapped in banana leaves) and when in season, Elote Asado (Corn on the cob with mayonnaise, spices,  shaved Queso Fresca cheese, and lime).

Chefino also has Molotes –  described by this Oaxacan food and culture website as:

 …a very special “holiday street food”, found in Oaxaca during Guelaguetza, Easter, and Christmas times. It is made with a disk of fresh masa then filled with a Chorizo and Potato filling, fried, then topped with Black Bean Puree, Queso Fresco and garnished with sliced radishes.

On one of my visits, I tried the Tlayuda – a 14″ toasted tortilla with refried beans, shredded chicken, lettuce, red chopped radish, Oaxaca cheese (like a string cheese), and avocado. In some distant way you can see this dish might be a traditional precursor to a Taco Hell Tostado, or heck you might even call Tlayuda the original Nachos. Although, obviously resembling nothing like the neon orange cheese and salt-lick tortillas found in convenience stores across the great U.S. of A.

Chefinos `2

Hours here are spotty, and there’s no website, phone or even printed menu to take home. It’s what I call a “worth the hunt” kind of a food cart. One of the reasons we love food carts is the sense of adventure and discovery and the hunt. Sure, there’s carts you can rely on over and over – order online and pick up when ready even. Then there’s carts like this one – traditional to a capital Taco. Yes they use lard, and no they don’t take credit cards – it’s cash only, por favor.

Chefinos – keeping it real. One Tlayuda, Taco and Tamales de mole oaxaqueno an hoja de platano at a time.

Sample Menu:

  • Burritos (choice of meats from asada, chorizo, chicken, beans, among others) – $4.50 – $5.50
  • Tamales – $4.50
  • Tlayuda – $10.00
  • Elote – $2.50
  • Tostada – $3.00

Phone: None

Tacos Pa’ella

Lizzy Caston
photo by Adam Wickham www.humanradio.org

photo by Adam Wickham www.humanradio.org

Location: NE 15th and Alberta, East of 15th
Hours: Daily 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

The Story: “Tortillas Hechas a Mano”. Handmade Tortillas. So simple, but so much better than even the day-old store bought kinds. It’s like the difference between eating week old Wonderbread from the outlet shop, and a freshly made Baguette from a quality artisan baker. NO COMPARISON. “Tortillas Hechas a Mano” is a sign that a taco truck or cart might be a cut above the norm. Quite literally, a sign. Usually hand scribbled and stuck to a taco cart, it’s what taco hounds often look for when assessing the quality and how autentica an establishment might be.

Tacos Pa’ella is an honorable, authentic taco truck with a little sign on the side that says in English and Spanish, “Handmade Tortillas”. But, this basic yet colorful cart also provides a very deep commitment to what I like to call THE ART OF THE TACO. It’s a simple cuisine, but the simplicity is the art: Handmade food, quality, made fresh.

photo by Adam Wickham www.humanradio.org

photo by Adam Wickham www.humanradio.org

Specializing in foods from the Jalisco region of Mexico, an area legendary for it’s outstanding chefs, Tacos Pa’ella’s owner takes his craft seriously. How seriously? The cart’s tortillas aren’t just handmade, they are made using a wooden press without lard or oil. This isn’t just traditional, it’s mucho traditional.

I’m a fiend for good chile rellanos – an Anaheim or similar pepper, stuffed with ingredients such as mild white cheese, dipped in a whipped egg batter, pan fried, then sometimes doused with a flash saute tomato sauce. Served with rice, beans, and tortillas on the side, it’s just one of those “food of the gods” foods for me, sadly it’s often very hard to find in Portland. Tacos Pa’ella however, makes a terrific version – can stand up to any fancy Mexican restaurants anywhere.

photo from Cartlandia www.cartandia/tacospaella.com

photo from Cartlandia
www.cartandia/tacospaella.com

Other items at Tacos Pa’ella are similarly deceiving. Sure, the menu might be a mirror of what you can find at most taco trucks and carts, but it’s the quality of ingredients, careful preparation, and overall care that matters. Tacos Pa’ella dishes up all three with an additional serving of friendliness.

 

Sample Menu:

Meat/Veg options: asada, pastor, tripa, carnitas,  chorizo, pollo, or lingua

  • Tacos – $1.25
  • Burritos – $4.25
  • Tortas – Mexican sandwich – $4.99
  • Enchiladas – $6.95
  • Asada Plate – $7.99
  • Chile Rellenos Milanesas – $6.25

Phone: 503 729 9614

Adamariz Taqueria

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Adamariz Taqueria

Adamariz Taqueria

Location: 221 N Killingsworth, west of Vancouver
Hours: Tues-Fri, 9am-9pm; Sat, 10am-5pm

The Story: It takes a strength and courage to launch a food cart. It takes even more to set up shop alone without the support of a food cart pod or neighbor carts. Adamariz Taqueria has that drive.

Tacos from Adamariz Taqueria

Tacos from Adamariz Taqueria

Located on N Killingsworth just west of Vancouver, the spot has hosted a few short lived vendors in the past, but when I walked by the other day, the owner of the truck was out there on the sidewalk personally waving at passers-by, welcoming them to his new location. The truck is so new, they haven’t had the time to rebrand it with their own name, but trust me, this is Adamariz Taqueria. Tacos, tortas, quesadillas and burritos are the options here at the cart. What sucked me in was the options for fillings. Lengua, Cabeza, Chorizo along with the traditional chicken, pork and steak. Sadly, the day I visited they had already sold out of lengua, so I picked up cabeza, chorizo and asada. Cabeza, beef head, may turn people off, but for me, it comes through as fatty, creamy and salty – just what I want on a tortilla with some cilantro and chopped onions. All three tacos filled me up on my walk home. Why can’t more satisfying food be only $1.50 a piece?

I’m excited to have a new taqueria within walking distance of where I live and they are open into the dinner hours. Good Mexican at a good price. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

Meat/Veg options: Steak, Pork, Chicken, Lengua (beef tongue), Cabeza (beef head), Chorizo, Veggie

  • Tacos – $1.50
  • Burritos – $6
  • Tamales – chicken – $2.50
  • Tortas – Mexican sandwich – $6
  • Quesadillas – $6

Phone: 503 960 1429

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