Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Casa Vaca

All you have to do is scroll down this blog a couple of posts to see how passionate I am about what constitutes a good taqueria. As a matter of fact, you'd better not use that sacred word, "taqueria" to describe your taco joint unless you're going to present me with an authentic, delicious, Mexico City style street taco that whisks me back to the Distrito Federal at the first bite. Sadly, so, so very sadly, the tacos at Casa Vaca do not. I'm particularly sad about this because Casa Vaca is in Multonmah Village, Portland, a ten minute walk from my house. Imagine our glee when Jon and I thought we could buzz up to the Village and grab a delicious and authentic taco anytime we wanted. Such is not the case.

It was actually my brother and I, a D.F. taco expert in his own right, who checked this place out about a week after it recently opened. We were impressed with the lovely and rustic interior (suspiciously lovely and rustic, my brother observed, for what usually constitutes a taqueria), happy to see the local beers and other local items they feature, but were terribly disappointed when we were served two plates of tacos: one of Carne Asada and the other Al Pastor (good barometers for taco-sampling) upon the appropriately small, soft, corn tortillas. Once we had a bite of each, we agreed that the tortillas were good and fresh, but both fillings were bland and very far from the authentic flavor we expected. As a matter of fact, they weren't even close. The same lack of flavor applied to the rice and the beans served on the plate, though the kale salad was okay. Wait a minute: KALE SALAD? Served with tacos? Oh, come on, this may be Portland, but that's carrying things way too far.

No, no. The tacos at Casa Vaca will not do, and I have no desire to try anything else they serve, which, is mostly burritos and some appetizers, as I recall - my mind is too muddy from grief over the lackluster tacos to really remember, and I can't find the menu on line. Owners of Casa Vaca, if you happen to read this and want to know what I think a real taco should taste like, go here: La Fuente, Tigard, I mean, actually go there and eat a taco. Or go to the taco truck outside of Village Merchants on Division Street, called Lindo Michoacan. Both those places serve Michoacan style tacos which have thicker, bigger tortillas, but are nevertheless fantastic, or check out Porque No on Hawthorne, whose tacos are a little fancy for me but have exquisite flavor. I'm afraid you could use a little schooling in the art of the taco.

Evaluation: Not sincere at all
(clarification: I'm not saying there are not some sincere aspects to the place, but no place with such disappointing food can rate any higher than this on the sincerity scale.)


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