There are some streets in Portland that are great destinations for a meal or for a relaxing stroll. The 2000 to 5000 blocks on SE Division are great places to walk and enjoy a sunny day. With Stumptown Coffee, Mexican cuisine, food trucks and the upscale deli market at Woodsman Tavern, you’ll have plenty of places to stop as you amble down these short Portland blocks.
It was a sunny afternoon, families were having garage sales on the lawns of their Craftsman style vintage homes and we were headed to Mi Mero Mole. With Portland Food Adventures (PFA) coupons in hand, we were anxious to try the cuisine of Chef Nick Zukin. We had enjoyed his company during our PFA meal at Xico earlier that week. We knew that he knew Mexican… true Mexican food, so our expectations were high.
We entered Mi Mero Mole and found familiar Mexican offerings.. jarras of refrescos and menus offering guisados, down home street foods. Chef Nick’s menu consists of freshly sourced and cooked ingredients, including the tortillas, rice and beans. He draws inspiration from the local foods found in and surrounding Mexico City. At Mi Mero Mole you can dine indoors or outside on sidewalk picnic tables. This sunny day, we couldn’t resist the sunny picnic tables and our chosen meals were delivered to us.
It had been hard to choose from the extensive offerings and both ended up with a variety of the pork adobo. I had it in a burrito and my friend had it on a combination plate with fresh corn tortillas, rice and beans. Being a lover of aguacate, I had to have a side order of their delicious, creamy guacamole. My friend, having a sweet tooth, zeroed in on the fried plantains in caramelized sugar. We could have had a vegetarian plate. We could have had cerveza, mezcal or a margarita. We could have had a Mexican frozen dessert on a stick. But we had to save these for another visit.
As we enjoyed our lunch, Chef Nick Zukin stopped by with a tub of fresh flores de calabaza (squash blossoms) destined to be quesadillas. You never know what will be on the menu. It depends on what is fresh that day.
We had been told to have a hearty appetite when visiting Mi Mero Mole and that proved to be true. What is a delightful surprise is that you don’t need a hearty pocketbook. The prices are very reasonable.
We needed to walk off our wonderful lunch so continued down Division enjoying the street scene, the shops and small restaurants. We ended up at the Deli at the Woodsman Market to peruse their selection of cheeses. Duly inspired by our lunch at Mi Mero Mole, we ended up selecting bags of Mexican black beans (actually imported from Mexico) from the eclectic deli grocery shelves.
The blocks are short in southeast Portland, the businesses are fascinating and you’ll find excellent dining venues all within walking distance from ample parking on side streets.
Mi Mero Mole, 5026 SE Division St., 232-8226, mmmtacospdx.com. Tue – Thu: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Fri – Sat: 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sun: 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Facebook Page.
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