Portlanders (Portlandians? Portlandoise?) - those people who live in Portland Oregon - are blessed with a hopping microbrew culture and some excellent restaurants. I mentioned Mother's earlier in my salmon hash recipe. I'd like to recognize one of the more humble but delicious fast-ish food restaurants.
At the corner of 10th and SW Morrison (1000 SW Morrison), Maya's Mexican food serves a high-quality take on the fast food Mexican served in way too many restaurants nationwide. By using fresh ingredients, a light touch, and quick preparation, Maya's avoids the problem of burrito deja vu.
The space is small, with stools along a window counter providing much of the seating, but there's ample room to sit outside and enjoy a warm breezy Portland summer night. Inside, the menu is written on an enormous blackboard hanging behind the main counter, and the variety is welcome. The standard chicken and beef dishes are here, but so are several fish and vegetarian options. Even if the food is good, I'm annoyed if a restaurant's selection includes only one or two items for the non-carnivores among us.
We ordered and sat outside with our drinks while the food was prepared. When it was ready, the waiter/cashier/cook brought our food out to us. My wife ordered a vegetarian fajita dish and I enjoyed a nicely spicy fish burrito. Often when a fast food Mexican restaurant tries to spice up a dish, the spice in the form of jalapenos or Mexican hot sauce overwhelms the flavor of the food. That didn't happen here, and the flavor of perfectly fried and not greasy whitefish came through in every bite. The guacamole side was bright green and perfect.
An added bonus is the choice of three different margaritas, and a selection of local beers. On the night we ate at Maya's, we had a choice of Black Butte Porter, Fat Tire Amber, Mac Tarnahan's Highlander Pale, and the beer I chose Deschutes Brewery's Mirror Pond Ale, a hoppy India Pale style ale with a pleasantly bitter taste and a sharp clean finish.
The beer went very well with the crisp tortilla chips which displayed no traces of the greasiness you can often find in chips at other places. We walked away from Maya's pleasantly filled and with more money in our pocket than we'd hoped we'd have after dinner out.
If you get to Portland, or if you live in Portland, make sure you try Maya's for an inexpensive light Mexican treat.
1000 Sw Morrison St,
Portland, OR 97205
Tel: (503) 226-1946