Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tierra del Sol

Tierra del Sol is located at the Portland Mercado food pod (SE 73rd and Foster) in Portland, Oregon.

Tierra del Sol specializes in Oaxacan cuisine and had been selling their food at Farmers markets since 2012. Juan and Amalia Vazquez head this family-run business.

On the menu, you'll see a few Oaxacan favorites all using local and/or organic ingredients. The pork and steak come from Carlton Farms. Even the blue corn tortillas for the tacos are handmade. Tlayuda, a dish resembling a Mexican pizza (thin, crunchy tortilla with various toppings). The tlayuda is one of the iconic dishes of Oaxaca (a portion of Mexico).

The line was insanely long at the Portland Mercado grand opening. I'd say it was consistently one of the longest lines. I was probably in the line for a good 30 minutes, but only because the grand opening brought a few thousand people to the event. I'd reckon it will still be busy otherwise, but not insanely so.

I got three tacos ($3 each), one carnitas, one al pastor, and one pollo. The al pastor is pork marinated in chile guajillo sauce and pineapple. Each meat I got was juicy and flavorful. If I had to pick one, I'd go with the al pastor. The chile guajillo and pineapple give the meat an extra dimension of flavor.

Of course, this begs the question: was it a $3 taco? I can't see myself eating this all the time, as it may take at least 5-6 tacos to fill me up on an average day. There are other Mexican food carts or food stands that will also crank out in Portland for cheaper. The use of organic ingredients likely bumped the prices up as well. At the end of the day, it's a purely subjective thing.

There are also some scratch-made hot sauces here, ranging from mild to extra hot. The mild is quite refreshing. Their hot sauce has a kick with creamy consistency, and the extra hot has a smokier experience.

Frankly, I'd still like to try the tlayuda. Although it's $15, it's roughly 14" in diameter and should feed a couple people. Or one panda. Tlayudas were flying out the window at the grand opening, and it looked amazing.

Go here to learn more about Tierra del Sol!

As a fan of Latin-American cuisine, I'm very excited for Tierra del Sol and all of the other food carts at Portland Mercado. This may end up being yet another of my go-to spots in the city. 7.5/10

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