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La Costera


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#1 ExtraMSG

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:41 PM

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I could have sworn I had reported on this truck before. I had only been once. Funny thing, though, the guy totally remembered me and when I had come and what I had ordered. It had been nearly a year. He must have a photographic memory for fat gringos who order mariscos. I had ordered camarones zarandeados before.

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Menu is extensive with desayunos, tacos, and mariscos.

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I started with a couple tacos, al pastor and carne asada. The tortillas were handmade and decent. The meats were very, very good. The asada was well-crusted, seasoned, and juicy. There was a little bit of gristle, but it didn't matter. The al pastor had a nice flavor and was also well-seasoned, well-crusted and juicy.

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I also got a tostada de ceviche de camaron. I just got back from eating fresh gulf shrimp on a daily basis, so these didn't hold up to that, but they weren't bad, certainly not off-tasting and only lightly cured, mixed with pickled red onions, tomatoes, and cucumber.

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Even better, though, was the empanada de camaron. It had a very light and crisp shell.

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Inside was a sautee of onions, tomatoes, herbs, and shrimp. The shrimp were lightly cooked and delicious. The whole mixture was. I found this much tastier than most empanadas de camaron, which are usually much simpler with shrimp in a chile sauce with the chile sauce mixed into the dough as well. This was much more well-rounded and flavorful. And the shrimp were cooked perfectly.

I talked with the guy for a while. He's from Guerrero and has been here nearly 20 years. He has four kids, all in school. He has worked at a ton of places, mostly restaurants, including Don Camaron. He barely makes any money. The gas for his kitchen is $30 no matter how many customers come by. Some days he has as few as 6 or 8 customers. He might barely break even. He pays about $500/mo rent for the space plus about $700 every six months to the city. On a good day he might make $150 before food costs, gas, and rent. I pointed out he could make a lot more money just working minimum wage 40 hours a week. He didn't care. He says he loves his job and loves cooking. He said that he often has friends with no money ask if he can provide food for their wedding or for a quinciniera. He said he doesn't charge. They just buy the food and he cooks it and serves it for free. He loves his job.

La Costera
La Costera

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#2 FoodKid

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 12:16 AM

Any idea of the hours?

#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 07:37 AM

He lives a couple blocks away, so I'm guessing he's open as often as possible to get every bit of cash he can from the place. Lunch and dinner most days, I suspect.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#4 Egads

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 10:49 AM

He barely makes any money. The gas for his kitchen is $30 no matter how many customers come by. Some days he has as few as 6 or 8 customers. He might barely break even. He pays about $500/mo rent for the space plus about $700 every six months to the city. On a good day he might make $150 before food costs, gas, and rent. I pointed out he could make a lot more money just working minimum wage 40 hours a week. He didn't care. He says he loves his job and loves cooking. He said that he often has friends with no money ask if he can provide food for their wedding or for a quinciniera. He said he doesn't charge. They just buy the food and he cooks it and serves it for free. He loves his job.

Good for this guy--sounds like a decent chap, and sounds like he's turning out a good product. Since I have absolutely no knowledge about this kind of thing, how does what he's paying compare to what you might pay at a local pod? Seems like he'd do better for himself if he was able to be in more of a food cart destination than out away from lots of foot traffic. Thanks for the report, though--there's absolutely no chance I would have found out about this place otherwise.

#5 FoodKid

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 01:44 PM

Went here today. I don't have a lot of experience with Mexican seafood, but the empanadas de camaron were easily the best I've had. Very clean flavors in the shrimp. He also gave me a small bowl of soup with a slightly spicy broth with bits of fish and shrimp in it with chopped vegetables, which was also great. He was very excited to ask me what I knew about Mexican seafood. It looks like he really loves what he does. I wish his cart was closer, because I would probably be here on a regular basis if it was.

#6 ExtraMSG

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 01:14 AM

With Cora y Huichol nowhere to be found, this is easily the best Mexican cart for seafood. 2nd would be Bora Bora. Their shrimp empanadas are better than any of the b&m places, though. I go to La Tapatia a couple times a week now for ingredients and should stop here more for a quick snack.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#7 FoodKid

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 07:31 AM

I don't know if it's closed or simply moved, but La Costera was not at its normal location when I drove by there a few days ago.



#8 dehory

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 08:04 PM

La Costera is in a new(er than the one in NIck's photo) truck across the street from its previous location.

 

17510 SE Stark St
Portland OR 97233
(503) 267-1797


Shrimp empanadas were delicious, albeit fried a bit too pale. I think the (incredibly nice) owner was rushing the order because he didn't want to keep us waiting. They went very well with the habanero salsa from Bora Bora. The caldo de camaron and ceviche de pescado were quite enjoyable too.

 

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#9 ExtraMSG

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 01:57 AM

Yeah, they moved a few months ago.  The tenants changed at the other location.  Sorry, never saw FoodKid's post.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's