11.11.2010

Vegan, Gluten Free Portland Restaurant Review: ¿Por Que No?

If Andrew had to pick his favorite cuisine, he'd probably say Mexican food. So naturally he loves any place that serves anything resembling a burrito. I love it too, but I think his love is far more persistent (Meghan: "What do you want to eat for dinner?", Andrew: "Oh, I dunno, burritos? Tacos? Mexican food?"). Needless to say, taco night is a huge smash in our household. Even more needless to say; we jumped at the chance to try ¿Por Que No?.

This bumbling little taqueria has always caught my eye. The brightly colored building and large open windows stand out on Hawthorne (but so can the occasional line out the door). I tend to wait until the last moment before deciding where and when to eat, which results in a sudden drop in blood sugar and a very unpleasant mood (which I refer to as "fading"). So when we finally planned to try this place, line and all, I was very excited!

Now, I am going to be upfront and get my critiques out of the way first. Yes, the line can be long at times and seating can be sparse (you should wait until ordering to grab a seat and you might have to share a table with others). You also order at the counter and clear your own table. However, the line doesn't take too long and the food is usually out fairly soon.

Overall, I also thought some of the food was a little pricey, given the portion sizes and [lack of] service you get. I am all for clearing my own table and self-ordering, but I think that the price of the food should reflect that (and the individual tacos do not). Andrew has tried their "Verdura Tacos" (veggie) and ordered three at $2.75 each. They were delicious, but weren't very big and did not fill him up. For $8.25, it was small dinner. However, they came on their house-made corn tortillas which are the best I have ever tasted! We also ordered chips and salsa and happily snacked away on the excessive amount of chips, only to run out of the salsa. It wasn't a large helping at all, so we thought we'd get some more, only to find out they charge $2 for a refill! That really irritated me - so savor your salsa, because the chips and salsa are still worth getting!

I ordered the "Bryan Bowl" with veggies and without the crema and queso fresco. I have checked with the restaurant and that does make it gluten free and vegan. I think this is the best option available to a vegan/gluten free girl (or boy). After multiple visits, Andrew and I have decided that we will probably never try anything else. For $6.75 you get a bowl full of veggies, beans, rice, guacamole, salsa and cilantro. They also place a little radish slice and lime wedge on the top, which makes me love it even more. You also get to decide whether you want chips or 3 corn tortillas with it. The first time I ordered the tortillas, which are amazing and a must-try. However, I think I prefer the house-made chips with the bowl. You get much more and these chips are my absolute favorite ever! They are so thick and warm! I know some people prefer thin, crispy chips, but not me! I love the thick and crunchy ones and these hit the spot!

The critiques are forgivable, especially considering our favorite item is cheap and muy deliciouso. Andrew and I love this place. The atmosphere at ¿Por Que No? is fun and we enjoy it. The taqueria is festive and bright and has a great ambiance. They also have a happy hour everyday from 3-6pm, where they offer $1 off their chips and salsa (or guac) and $.50 off their tacos. They also offer $.50 off their tacos until close on Tuesdays. While there is not a large selection of gluten free/vegan options, I think this is the perfect place if you want to enjoy happy hour with some friends, and sip their famous margaritas or agua frescas with dinner. I recommend taking a look at their menu and giving this place a try (they have 2 locations to choose from: Hawthorne or Mississippi)!


Sorry for the phone picture, but here is the Bryan bowl:

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