On the way out to Sauvie Island today for the pumpkin patch (more on that in a later post when I get the pics done), we stopped for lunch at a taqueria on N Interstate between Portland and Lombard (on the east side) called Playa Azul.
They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, breakfast all day. They have chilequiles and miscellaneous egg dishes for desayunos. The have tacos, both in combinations and ala carte. They have burritos and tortas, enchiladas, and quesadillas. Plus, they have even heavier dishes like bistek ranchero, camarones al mojo de ajo, milanesa, and chile verde. Very extensive menu for such a small place.
They started us with very good chips and salsa. Well, the salsa was maybe a little thin, but still good. The chips were house made and perfect.
We ordered their huaraches con pollo ($5.50), their birria de chivo ($6.75), and a taco de carne asada ala carte ($1.75).
The huaraches were quite large. The masa "sandals" were house made and a little undercooked, probably. They weren't fried. The beans were a little runny, but the flavor of everything, masa, beans, cheese, lettuce, and poached chicken, was pretty good. The poached chicken had a very nice flavor and was all white meat.
The birria was very tasty. The broth was quite meat-flavored with a heavy note of cumin. However, the meat wasn't very meaty. There was a lot of bone and tissue. But it tasted very good and came with freshly made tortillas, cilantro, onion, lime, and salsa verde.
The best item was the carne asada taco. The carne asada was perfect: crispy little bits, still moist on the inside, with a wonderful char flavor. The tortillas weren't house made, but they lightly fried them improving the texture. It also came with a nice guacamole on top.
It's like a typical taqueria inside and they provide take-out (comida para llevar) as well. In addition to the usual TV with Univision and Telemundo, they have an extensive collection of academic books -- critical theory, philosophy, cultural studies, etc.
So, if you're in the area and want some decent to good Mexican or are looking to brush up on your Noam Chomsky, Playa Azul is a good choice.