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Mexican Food in Portland: El Palenque

This place serves Salvadorian fare in addition to Mexican. El Salvador is only one country away from Mexico, down there in the skinny part of Central America. The lunch menu was limited and the offerings somewhat unfamiliar, but we were pleased with the flavors and the atmosphere.

1) free hot crisp chips (1 YES)
2) two or more salsa choices, one of which should be spicy HOT (1 only one kind it was delicious)
3) margarita with tequila and lime in it, no high fructose corn syrup (1 this was not a typical marg, had some tropical fruit juices and spices in it, but it was also delicious)
4) food and plate temperature sizzling hot (1)
5) menu: simple, fresh, authentic, not "creative" (1, not what we're used to getting in Arizona but plainly traditional, simple and fresh)
6) good sauces/beans/tortillas (1 you even get a choice of black or pinto beans, both were good)
7) good entrees (1: enchilada was great, papusa was greasy but yummy)
8) reasonable price (1: Total bill for three people with two margs and three lunch specials: $28.)
9) pleasant space, warmth, colors, lighting, smells, service, etc. (1: simple colorful interior, cheerful staff, prompt service)
10) "Sopapilla o' tortilla?" (0 nobody around here seems to know the magical question)
BONUS: (0)

Points: 9 or 4.5 stars. So far this is the closest one to home that we like.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
Salvadorean Food
Thanks Live on Earth for the posting. I had a favorite Salvadorean restaurant I went to when I lived in the Bay Area where I was introduced to 'pupusas'. They are like a fat pancake stuffed with a filling and absolutely delicious. At least at the restaurant in San Francisco, it was served with a side of Salvadorean sauerkraut - which was not at all like German sauerkraut, having a more delicate, less assertive flavor. I took friends there that didn't like German style sauerkraut, where they discovered they loved Salvadorean sauerkraut. It was house fermented, making it a good source for probiotics.

I will have to try El Palenque sometime. Thanks again for the tip.

Cascadian Guy
Apr. 10th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
Re: Salvadorean Food
The pupusa you describe is much like the one that they served, and yes there was a side of Salvadorean kraut, quite tasty. Let me know if you want company when you come to my hood to check it out!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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