El Taco Yucateco

mexican food cart portland

El Taco Yucateco

Location: SW 10th and Alder
Hours: Weekdays, lunch

The Story: Elloy Martin makes an amazing panucho. Simple, satisfying and oh, so flavorful. Elloy Martin has been making Mexican street food magic in his food cart El Taco Yucateco for a couple of years and now comes to serve the downtown Portland eaters.

I first met Elloy a year or so ago when he was at Green Castle. I made the mistake of assuming his cart was the same as a similar named vendor out east. Lucky for me, it wasn’t a huge error as it was his brother’s cart I had visited. After some ups and downs at Green Castle, Elloy moved the cart downtown this year and opened up on SW Alder between 9th and 10th. The menu at the cart is what you would expect from most Mexican vendors – tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas. All fresh, made to order with pride. What stands out here are the panuchos, a special type of taco. Elloy has to go as far as Sandy to source his special masa paste for the tortillas. A panucho is different than a taco and served open face like a tostada. He makes a tortilla then quickly fries it, puffing it up. Elloy then pulls it out, slices it open and stuffs it with black bean paste. Back in the pan to finish up, he then tops it with lettuce, cabbage, shredded and seasoned chicken, pickled red onion, tomato and avocado. A panucho, done right, is one of those dishes you don’t want to eat – so beautiful. If I could, I would take it somewhere so they could preserve it for all time. Each bite is a treat from the avocado mixing with the marinated onion and the creamy beans. The tortilla isn’t hard, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking up in your hand. A couple of panuchos and a Jarochita on a sunny day is all this boy needs to make him smile.

mexican food cart portland

Panuchos from El Taco Yucatecos

While waiting for my order, a few other patrons came along for burritos. One woman came up proclaiming that the cart “had the best taco salad in town.” I’ll have to try that next. Elloy is one of those vendors who smiles and engages his customers whether he’s busy or not and I enjoyed chatting with him about Mexican street food. Makes me want to take a trip. Drop on by El Taco Yucateco next time you have a craving for something new. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Panuchos – $2
  • Tacos – beef, chicken, cactus – $1.50
  • Quesadilla-  $3, add beef or chicken for $1
  • Tamale – $3
  • Taco Salad – beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, your choice of meat – $7
  • Burritos – $5
  • Tortas – $5

Phone: (503) 901-0768
Facebook: El Taco Yucateco

I Heart This Cart

Brett Burmeister
comfort food cart portland

I Heart This Cart

Location: SW 3rd and Washington
Hours: Mon-Sat, 11-4

The Story:

Multicultural Comfort Food is the theme for I Heart This Cart at SW 3rd and Washington. Looking at the diverse items on the menu, I see what they mean.

On a cool winter day, I revisited the cart to chat with the new owner Heather and check out the latest menu offerings. Heather trained at Western Culinary and has worked in every restaurant and catering spot she could. She even worked a kitchen at a fly fishing camp in Alaska and at the Playboy mansion. How ’bout them apples? Heather worked with the previous owner and took over the cart earlier this year and has made it her own. The goal is to make people happy. Heather can pretty much cook anything, but prefers to create dishes where she can “stand over a pot and stir.” Comfort food.

At I Heart this Cart you can pick up everything from pulled pork sliders to a chicken sub or jalapeno mac & cheese. If you’re truly into the ultimate comfort food, check out the different tater tot dishes including cajun tots, loaded tots with cheese, bacon, green onion and chipotle ranch or go crazy and enjoy a plate of carne asada tots with everything you can imagine plus seared carne asada. If you’re looking for a healthy dish, I heart this Cart offers up a fresh cobb salad also.

I Heart This Cart has a steady stream of patrons while I stood around chatting with other vendors. Heather has built a following of regulars, but also attracts newcomers who are looking for good home cooked food. Drop on by next time you’re looking for something new and let him know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Tater Tot dishes range from $2-$8 depending on toppings and size
  • Cobb Salad – $7
  • Chicken Caesar Wrap – $7
  • Pulled Pork or Roasted Chicken and Grits – $8
  • Pulled Pork Sliders – $8
  •  Cheesesteak – $5 or 8 depending on size

Phone: 971 407 9930
Facebook: I Heart This Cart
Twitter: @this_cart