Cha Cha Cha-Portland, Or


Drink Recommendation: Horchada

Food Recommendation: Pico De Gallo (Made fresh daily)

I used to live in Mexico. There was a taqueria on every corner. They were small holes in the walls. Poorly lit, with booths lining every wall. People jammed in, to eat a late night snack, of freshly made tacos and cervezas. There was always a wafting aroma of spiced carne and cilantro. Bandera Music played in the background from an old jukebox and you couldn’t help but notice the smiles on everyone’s faces. The simplicity of these taquerias were something to be admired. 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 was greeted by a smiling counter worker. He allowed me time to look over the menu. I scanned over a list of true Mexican tacos and burrito specialties. I was impressed by the wide variety of tacos filled with meat, cheese and veggies in a corn tortilla shell for nothing more than a $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 that 8 peseos (about $1.00).
When i was ready to place my order, i did not feel rushed or intimidated. I ordered the Enchalada Verde Platter. It was described as my choice of two enchaladas (chicken, beef, cheese or veggies), Spanish Rice, Beans, Guacamole and fresh Pico de gallo, topped with salsa verde. All for the reasonable price of $5.95. To drink I ordered Horchada (Rice milk, sweetened and topped with cinnamon). Whenever I get the chance, I order Horchada. It’s sweet, creamy and refreshing. With the tip, this meal only cost me $8.00.

I took a seat by the window. The clean cut wooden table and chairs pushed up against magenta covered walls, complimented the art deco, latino feel of the room. A well balanced blend of hip, latino, Trance Music played in the background. I sat back and was transported back to the days of living in Mexico. Not more than 5 minutes later my food arrived accompanied by a smiling waiter. He gently placed it in front of me and politely asking if there was anything else i needed. There wasn’t. I was ready to dig in.
The typical latin colors of red, green and brown swirled together to make a wonderful presentation on my plate. My first bite was a fork full of hot black beans intermixing with cold Pico de Gallo made with juicy cactus. The Chicken in my enchaladas was cooked to perfection, wrapped in warm corn tortillas, smothered in salsa verde and creme fresh. It was the perfect platter and portion for lunch.
 When i was finished, I got 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 came 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!
(This review was adapted from LeLa’s Review Blog ‘The Sassy Server 2007)


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