The holidays are an expensive time of year, so I’ve been looking for restaurants where I can stretch my dollar. I came up with Taco Escobarr as a place were I could do just that, getting some – hopefully – good food and still keeping a couple dead presidents in the money clip. They are close to a number of other restaurants in the arts district on Congress St, many of which are excellent. I hadn’t eaten there in a few years, and since that time, the ownership and menu have both changed. I hoped the purveyor of Mexican munchies could hold its own in an area which certainly has fair share of competition, but doesn’t lack for foot traffic and hungry people looking to grab something to eat. We went there on a Friday to take advantage of the happy hour offer of free chips and salsa and discounted drinks.
Since I was meeting my wife and arrived about ten minutes prior to her, I had the opportunity to have a nice sit-down with the menus. I browsed the drinks which included a large selection of infusions and then the food which showed some typical Mexican fare such as tacos and burritos with lots of choices for meat and vegetable fillings. When my wife arrived, we discussed our day, the available food and drink, and whatever else came to mind. She quickly decided on a cocktail – Mango Tangerine Marguarita with the house made mango-tangerine infused silver tequila and mango puree. I decided to pass and stick with the delicious Taco Escobarr water.
When the waitress brought my wife her drink, we were prepared to place our food orders. She ordered 2 Crispy Tacos – griddle fried tortillas with melted Chihuahua cheese, green onions, cabbage, and cilantro. One was ordered with fried avocado filling and the other with pollo chipotle. I stuck with a trusty Burrito – flour tortilla, queso fresco, pinto beans, rice, guacamole, cabbage, pico de gallo, and crema. I ordered it guacamole-free, but there was an option to have it smothered in salsa and cheese, so for an extra three bucks, I went with that and the chorizo filling. Then I threw in an app of El Ninos Nacho – chips, queso Chihuahua, pickled jalapenos, onions, radish, pico de gallo, cilantro, and crema – because I find it difficult to eat Mexican without gorging on some nachos.
Mrs. Portlandeater sipped her margarita as the waitress walked away to put in our orders. Insisting that it was good, she forced me to try the fruity potion. I did. She was right; that beautiful cocktail made me feel like I was on the beach in Cancun. I felt a slight sea breeze fly through my perfectly coiffed beard and part it right down the middle. As she sipped the drink, we received some free happy hour chips and salsa. I tried them and was quite pleased with the zip of the tomato based topper. It was a tad spicy and well constructed. As I was munching on those, a large crowd walked in and took the restaurant from moderately busy to pretty much full.
We sat and waited for our orders and played some games of Rock-Paper-Siccors-Lizard-Spock. After I won a best of seven series, the nachos showed up looking like a champ. With a small pile of chips and plenty of toppings including a zigzag of the crema on top, I was salivating at the thought of trying the Taco Escobarr version of one of my favorite apps. I chomped my first couple chips and was very happy with the results. There was no lack of goodness mounting them, and the creama was a perfect substitute for the more standard dallop of sour cream, giving the chippy concoction a refreshing finish after a flavor amalgamation delivered a nice touch to all my taste buds. Combined with cheese, hots, veggies, and the like, the nachos delivered a superb nacho nirvana.
Nachos were done and before long, we were the proud recipients of tacos and a smothered burrito. My burrito was piled high, wrapped tight, and topped with lots of cheese, salsa, onion, and cilantro. I usually like to hand-feed my burrito into my burrito hole like a conveyor belt, but the smothering made that a very messy proposition. I skipped that thought and took the fork and knife in front of me and started to chop and poke the bulbous wrap until I had a piece ready to enter my face. I ate the bite and was seriously impressed. The house made chorizo was not only spicy, but was so plentiful in my burrito, I thought they might have thrown all of Porky into it.
As I got further into my menacing Mexican mound, I found the non-meat ingredients, but they were smaller in proportion to the burrito than I was used to getting at other Mexican joints because they had to make space for all the chorizo in this one. While I enjoy the rice, beans, and other components, it’s hard to argue with lots and lots of perfectly created pork falling out of my food and acting as the primary part of the filling. It didn’t hurt that I also had lots of cheese and salsa on top of the thing. As I delved further into my chorizo rocket, my wife enjoyed her tacos which were topped with cabbage and onions.
With our meal finished, I was ready to close out the food portion of the evening. The happy hour deals of free chips and salsa and a couple bucks off the price of the marg contributed to our total cost of about 38 bucks before tip. That was pretty good because we still ate a lot of food and because I was trying to save cash after buying lots of Christmas gifts. Taco Escobarr has a touch of street-foodiness and definitely has a fun, party-type atmosphere too with more spirit infusions than a satanic revival meeting. Plus, they’re open 11am – 1 am 7 days a week, so you can go just about whenever you have a craving for an assortment of the Mexican foodstuffs. Go there with the guys, the girls, or whoever you damn well please. I Mexi-can guaran-tequila you’ll love it!
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