Good Mexican food is hard to find

Growing up in Southern California, I’ve grown accustomed to a certain level of Mexican food. I’m used to authentic, hearty dishes. I’m used to hand-pressed corn tortillas, perfectly seasoned meat with just the right kick, and fresh-cut salsa. Since moving to Oregon, that’s been a hard find. Granted, I live in a fairly Hispanic town, there just aren’t a lot of places that meet my standards.

One place I have been and loved is La Estrella in Forest Grove. They make wonderful tacos and have a killer salsa bar. Because of my lactose intolerance I haven’t been able to try other dishes, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. What I also love about the restaurant is how “hole-in-the-wall” it feels. It’s not a big place, and every time I’ve been there, there haven’t been many other patrons (but I also tend to go in sort of off times and it’s in a small town). In California, I never went to places that had this feel. Most places were part of chains or still done up like a chain restaurant. The notable exceptions were Harbor House in Seal Beach and a place friends took me to in San Clemente when I visited in March. Both were great places with good food.

Last night, I once again got to have some great, authentic Mexican food. My alma mater hosts a Visiting Writers Series where authors come to campus and give readings. Beforehand, a dinner for the author is held with some students and faculty. Last night was one such dinner, this time catered by a small family company called La Surianita out of Forest Grove. It was delicious. I wish I could have snapped some photos of my plate to share with you all, but I was hungry and I had been in the amazing smelling room for probably 20 minutes already. There were the standard rice and beans, and there was also a choice between chicken, fish, steak, and the veggie option of mushrooms. I had the chicken and the mushrooms. Both were good, but the mushrooms…oh man. So, so good. Really, I love a good mushroom more than most any other foods. In fact, I’ll likely devote an entire post to them soon. I like love them that much.

Anyways, the dinner was fab and I would definitely recommend them if you’re in the market for some good catering. (The number on their card is 503-357-2664.) I’ve also heard that they have a booth at the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market. I will have to confirm this for myself next week. I really hope they have mushrooms.

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