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Restaurants & Bars 1

[pdx] Taqueria Ochoa

aristo | Dec 17, 2003 01:11 AM

Following Nick's recommendation I headed west to Hillsboro to try some down to earth Mexican food at Taqueria Ochoa (or Ochoa Taqueria, depending which sign you are looking at).

I loved the place and came back two days later and enjoyed it again.

Now be aware that this is a Mexican place catering to the local Hispanic community with very little English spoken. Don't look for a fancy setup; in fact, bring your own silverware if you don't like to use plastic ware. (They do give you real plates.)

Here is the routine: no table menus, just lots of plate pictures by the counter and a long list of items behind the counter, some in English too. You order at the counter, pay, and then help yourself to the free side-dishes buffet of chips, fresh pico de gallo, four types of yummy salsas, radishes, and a few more items.

The food was ranging between good and excellent, but what made the overall experience "great" was the authenticity and the feeling of getting true value for the money. I challenge you to spend more than $10 per person, drinks and tip included! $6 is more likely.

I loved the soft tacos: $1 each, served open faced on flour tortilla with a lime wedge and heaping amount of meat. I had the carnitas, tongue, and another one recommended by the lady at the counter (sorry; forgot the name) - all were great. They have about 10 types of tacos; eventually I will try them all.

First night I let the lady select a plate for me. It was the house special combo plate that included chile relleno (ok), thinly sliced and grilled meat with grilled onions (a bit chew but very tasty), 2 crunchy tacos, 3 soft corn tacos (I think they were tacos. good, but not as good as the $1 a la carte tacos) and flour tortillas. Not bad for a mere $5!

Second day I came for lunch (same "menu"). I had some of those wonderful $1 tacos, followed by a plate of fried whole fish accompanied by a bit of guacamole, rice, beans, and lettuce. The fish is Tilapia. I liked it (similar to the St. Peters fish I grew up eating in Israel) but be warned: it's messy, with lots of bones and served whole with the head. Again, just $5 for the plate (and all the free helpings from the buffet).

Don't expect much in line of the deserts, but then again, when you are happy and content, even the instant coffee and the mediocre $1 flan taste great.

Looking around I saw some nice looking hearty bowls of soups and plenty more nameless dishes that I will be back to try... (Hey Nick, any particular dishes that you recommend when I come back?)

[943 SE Oak St. Hillsboro; one block west of Cornell. 503.640.4755]

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