Drink Recommendation: Horchata
Food Recommendation: Pico De Gallo (Made fresh daily)
Cha Cha Cha- Portland, Oregon
I used to live in Mexico where there is a taqueria on every corner. They are small holes in the walls. Poorly lit, with booths lining crammed into any available space. People jam in, to eat a late-night snack, of freshly made tacos and cervezas. The air is colored in with the aroma of spiced carne and cilantro. Bandera Music plays in the background on an old jukebox and you can't help but notice the smiles on everyone's faces. The simplicity of these taquerias is something to admire. The bare minimum. Good, cheap food and happy customers.
Cha Cha Cha has taken this same simple concept and turned it into a hip, friendly place to enjoy a fresh, cheap meal. The minute I walked in the door I am greeted by a counter worker with a huge smile. He allows me time to look over the menu. I scan over a list of true Mexican tacos and burrito specialties. I am impressed by the extensive variety of tacos filled with meat, cheese and veggies in a corn tortilla shell for nothing more than $1.50. (In Mexico you couldn't walk down the street without running into a taco stand. They would offer simple tacos of any sorts for no more than 8 pesos (about $1.00). I am ready to place my order, I do not feel rushed or intimidated. I ordered the Enchilada Verde Platter. It comes with a choice of two enchiladas (chicken, beef, cheese, or veggies), Spanish Rice, Beans, Guacamole and fresh Pico de gallo, topped with salsa verde. To drink, I order Horchata (Rice milk, sweetened and topped with cinnamon). Whenever I get the chance, I order Horchata. It's sweet, creamy and refreshing. With the tip, this meal only cost me $8.00. I take a seat by the window. The clean-cut wood table and chairs push up against magenta covered walls, complimenting the well-balanced art deco and Latino feel of the room. A blend of hip, latino, trance Music play in the background. I sit back and am transported to the days of living in Mexico. No more than five minutes later my food has arrived carried by that smiling waiter. He gently places it in front of me and politely asks if there is anything else I needed. There isn't. I am ready to dig in.
The iconic Latin colors of red, green, and brown swirl together to make a masterpiece in front of me. The first bite is a fork full of hot black beans that intermix with cold Pico de Gallo made with juicy cactus. The Chicken, in my enchiladas, is cooked to perfection, wrapped in warm corn tortillas, smothered in salsa verde, and creme fresh. It is the perfect platter and portion for lunch. When I finish, I get up to put my empty plate in the bin (as you do in most restaurants in Portland) and walk out the door, but not without the friendly staff thanking me and telling me to have a good day.
Service, Atmosphere, Food, Drinks come together effortlessly to create an enjoyable lunch experience. If you want to lick your lips with a flavor of Mexico; Latin Lovers this one is for you!