Awhile ago I was reading an article along the lines of top Mexican restaurants/top tacos in the U.S. and along with the expected list of restaurants in SoCal/the Southwest I was surprised to see a Portland place on there! It was called ¿Por Que No?, which I didn’t recognize from growing up there. I texted a few of my Portland foodie friends to put it on our list for my next visit and they all started to rave or say they had heard great things!
On my recent trip back they had opened a location on Mississippi Ave (original location is in SE) and it was the perfect stop for lunch with my friend who works down the street at the Adidas campus. My friend said that a lot of times the line is out the door so we went for a bit of an earlier lunch. It was still busy but luckily there still were some tables available outside on the beautiful Portland summer day! As we went up to order at the counter I was taking a look at their specials and they had a special of enfrijoladas- corn tortillas dipped in beans. I got super excited for a second because I had been reading an article about the next food trends and it talked about a puffed tortilla stuffed with beans.Not to by any means insult what is probably a culinary masterpiece but it sounds like a corn (and gluten-free!) chalupa stuffed with refried beans on the INSIDE! Man did I want to try one desperately! I figured it’d be awhile till I found one of them- maybe on a trip to SoCal- but could this be it?! Alas what I am dreaming of is a panucho (Google it and thank me later) and not enfrijoladas…
Despite the slight disappointment about it not being a panucho the enfrijoladas were still awesome! You got your choice of meat and I got steak, plus it came with rice and beans on the side! I also got a chorizo taco on the side, because I couldn’t go without trying one of their tacos!
In front of the kitchen was a big salsa station with hot sauces also and the spices stacked above it. Even though it was an earlier lunch I was pretty hungry and spent what was probably a weird amount of time dipping my finger in the salsa waiting for our food. One of my favorites was the chili de Arbol salsa. My friend ordered a half order of chips for like $.50 cents and I don’t know what kind of “half” order it was because it was pretty big! They were great chips- crispy and with the house made taste (corn and a little bit of oil) and of course perfect to dip in our favorite salsas!
The tortillas and the meat I think were what probably got ¿Por Que No? on that original list I saw, because they were both awesome! The tortillas were more fluffy, but with some crisp and similar to the chips you could taste the oil just enough to give it flavor. The enfrijoladas were like enchiladas but with beans instead of sauce. A little bit messy but good. My friend also got them and agreed they were amazing! Both the steak that came on the side of the enfrijoladas and the chorizo in my taco were great quality and delicious. The steak was well-spiced and the chorizo was saucy. When it comes to chorizo I do have to say my favorite is the Colombian chorizo (the sausage kind). But I do like the ground chorizo at Mexican restaurants when it isn’t dry and this chorizo was definitely not! When a Mexican place’s tortilla and meat are both quality and make that perfect combination you know you’ve found a great place. ¿Por Que No? is definitely one of those places!
As we were leaving the line was starting to get long, but it would have still been worth the wait! It has delicious tortillas and meat and definitely I think earns its place on that list of top Mexican/tacos in the U.S. that I saw it on. Plus with $.50 cent half orders of chips and $3 tacos it’s a pretty good deal! Absolutely adding it to the list of my go-to places on trips back to Portland!
¿Por Que No?- 3524 N Mississippi Ave Portland, OR (also location in SE Portland)