Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food luminaries to share their under-the-radar recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Image of Martha's Tacos courtesy lafayetteoregon.org
As chef and co-owner of Paley's Place, Vitaly Paley bases his cooking on simple preparations of local, sustainably grown ingredients. Recipient of the 2005 James Beard award for Best Chef Pacific Northwest, chef Paley prides himself as one of the leaders of the movement to define regional Northwest cuisine. (The restaurant has garnered praise in local and national publications such as Oprah, the New York Times and Food & Wine, and has been featured on the Food Network and the Martha Stewart Show.) But's its another Martha's that gets his engine going — that is, whenever Paley spends time in the Willamette Valley's wine country.
Martha's Tacos is my absolute favorite place to eat when I am in the wine country. So whenever I am in the valley for a meeting, to do an event, or just to catch a bike ride I make sure I leave enough time to stop there for lunch or a midafternoon snack. This place is a no frills, genuine article right on 99W in a tiny town of Lafayette. Lucky for me, I found it when I had to fill up on gas at the station near by years ago and have been religiously going there ever since. I crave their tongue taco, chille relleno, tamale, torta, guacamole, chips, salsa. I might as well keep going and list their whole reader board menu because whatever I end up having I always lick the plate clean. The food at this dive Mexican joint is so soul-satisfyingly good that every time I am anywhere near it, my car (or my bike) seem to, as if by tractor beam, and be dragged into this tiny hole in a wall. It's a must go.
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