Having just moved from a smallish Oregon town, McMinnville, to the largest city in the state, Portland, I’ve found that I spend entirely too much time hiding myself from the hustle and bustle chaos of the city, watching bad movies or playing too many video games when I’m not finishing classes or working.
Today I went on an adventure. My destination maybe a mile away, I set out, on foot, to Porque No? on Mississippi. I know what you’re thinking – isn’t this another baking blog? Well, technically, yes, but being new to Portland, and attending culinary school, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about Porque No? and was dying to try it out.
Its not a lot to look at, but a lot of Porque No?’s menu consists of your choice of “meat” or “veggie”, is heavy in beans, and usually comes with guacamole; a good example of low food cost. But deep down inside, Porque No? is an eatery/bar at its finest, where you don’t have to feel bad for getting a few drinks in during your lunch break, snacking on well priced tacos or some great rice and bean style bowls.
Nothing really stood out at me, so I went for something that seemed safe – Bryan’s Bowl.
Your choice of meat or veggies in a bowl with beans, rice, guacamole, salsas, queso fresco, crema, cilantro & a side of chips or 3 tortilla
Not knowing what “meat” meant, and feeling too shy to ask, I went for the veggies and chips (though I’ll more than likely get the tortilla option if asked again), and a small margarita, salted. Total? $12.75
I suppose the wait wouldn’t have been that bad if I hadn’t gone alone, but it gave me a chance to take in the sights and sounds of Porque No?. The employees easily fall into the Portland hipster crowd, who would probably feel just as comfortable in the front of the house as they would at a peace rally or Arcade Fire concert. They were casual, calm, easy to approach, and to be honest, quite indifferent, which is far less obnoxious than your typical Starbucks employee and far better than a bitter diner waitress.
The customers I saw around me, on the other hand, was what caught me off guard. I had gone with the expectation of finding twenty something artists and musicians, young upcoming professionals, more hipsters; what I found was a collection of mainly late twenty somethings to thirty somethings with a dash of forty and up, all of which didn’t seem to mind the constantly changing styles of music, 60’s to current chart toppers, back to 80’s, progressive rock, Nirvana, back to the Beatles, so on and so forth. Nor did they seem to mind the eclectic figurines, statuettes, and other assorted pictures hanging around the place.
My bright red bowl came on a plastic fry basket, flanked by lightly fried flour tortilla chips. The top of the bowl was divided, one half guacamole, the other half the vegetables, centered was a dollop of crema, a solitary sprig of cilantro laying to one side. Not much to say though, it was beans, rice, and a few vegetables (mainly broccoli, green and yellow zucchini, and tomatoes). Though it wasn’t anything to really rave about, there wasn’t anything to complain about either, which is what I think made the food so good (though my vegetable bowl was a little lacking in the vegetable department). The margarita was strong and had a lot of flavor, most likely due to the “fresh squeezed juice”, and unlike most margaritas I’ve had since turning twenty-one, had just the right amount of salt on the rim.
Porque No? isn’t somewhere I would recommend for a first date or when you’re looking for something different from your day-to-day, but overall Porque No? was a decent experience, somewhere I”m really going to have to go back to with friends. Good prices for good food when all you want to do is sit with people you know, have a few drinks, and not have to worry about keeping yourself chained up in the kitchen.