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.
After catering for Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, and the Radio City Rockettes in cities across the U.S. and Canada — not to mention a stint working for James Beard nominee Alex Roberts in Minneapolis — Josh Steiner decided to settle in Oregon. He rented an apartment, sight unseen, in the West Slope neighborhood of Beaverton and stayed put for three years. A few weeks ago, he relocated to downtown Portland to be closer to his job as executive chef at Meriwether's Restaurant. And now that he's living closer-in, Steiner is already missing his old late-night taco haunt: SW Canyon Road's Taqueria El Paisano.
There's a strip mall right on the corner of SW 87th and Canyon. Thursday through Sunday, from 9p.m. until 4a.m., you can get the best tacos at a place called Taqueria El Paisano. The tacos are $1.50 each, with your choice of eight meats, including beef tongue, cabeza, and tripe. My favorite is the beef tongue, tender and juicy every time. The restaurant is too small for adequate ventilation, so the tacos are cooked outside on a flat top, the corn tortillas warmed next to the sizzling meat. Inside, there are a few rows of condiments: onions, cilantro, jalapenos, limes, rustic-cut chunks of radish and cucumber, and the freshest green chili sauce I've had. I generally order tacos there after whiskey and good conversation with my favorite bartender, Jim, at the Eastern Pearl. I always mean to take the tacos home with me, but end up eating them before I leave the parking lot. Granted, the parking lot is usually crowded with the taqueria's other customers, most of them coming to and going from Caribe, the dance club next door.
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