Romo's La Jara

Okay, I'm calling an emergency suspension of the 24 hour rule. Basically, we have a standing rule here that any review has to be written by the end of the next day following the eating adventure (technically, not a 24-hour rule, but oh, well, what are you going to do?)

Last night I was sitting down to write about Romo's when I learned that my internet connection was down. It stayed down all night.

So, I discussed the issue with JLowe, since GastroBoy is indisposed and nearly disqualified from any discussions related to this blog, given his recent bout of slacking off. And JLowe agreed that, given the technological impossibility I stumbled upon last night, an emergency rules suspension is in order (sadly, he was unable to argue himself into allowing a suspension when he fell asleep last week before getting to the computer to write a post on The Hunan, so we are left with the need to go back again to allow us to blog with integrity about superior Portland Chinese food. Man, having standards sucks...). Thus, I get to offer this review.

The other night, my wife wanted to go out for dinner. I'm always game, even though we actually can't afford it right now, so it was decided that we'd head out . Lately, we've been hankering for Mexican food lately, which is hard since (as I've previously lamented in other blogs) Portland's Mexican food scene is a bit unimpressive in the last few years.

She was interested in going to La Bamba, a place on Powell that a friend of her's had recommended. But we were with child, and unsure of whether they would have the requisite kiddie seats. So, instead, we headed to Romo's La Jara, on SE 50th and Hawthorne.

Crappy cell phone picture of Romo's

When I was a kid (late 80's), Romo had a place out on NE Sandy Blvd. It was discovered by my grandma, hardly a Mexican food officianado by any means, and it became one of my favorite places to go. Romo would often come out to the table to chat, and his chimichangas were awesome.

Sadly, he disappeared, and I feared he'd never, ever return. And then, a few years ago, he did.

I've been back a few times, and typically don't like the food anywhere near as much as I used to. Mostly, I reckon, because I've avoided the chimichangas, which are steeped in all sorts of trans-fat or whatever death-dealing foodstuff there is out there to dread and fear.

But I decided on this night to neglect my arteries and opt for my tastebuds. I ordered the Chicken Chile Verde Chimichanga (about $11).

As we waited for our food, my wife and daughter and I munched on fresh, hot tortilla chips. A little bit greasy, but very good and nicely salted. The salsa that was served was a little less pico de gallo-ish, like you see commonly now. It was very wet, but among the thin wateriness were chunks of delicious and savory veggies that put a nice zing on my tongue. Actually one of the better restaurant salsas I've had in the past few years.

My chimichanga came served with rice and beans. The beans had cheese on top. The chimichanga itself was about 6 inches long, 3 inches tall and piping hot, with fresh guacamole and sour cream on top. Inside was delicious savory chicken, nicely chunked, in a wonderful, zippy-but-not-too-zippy green sauce that made me very, very happy. Normally, I try to split these things into two meals these days, to try to keep from feeling too heavy afterward. This meal stood no such chance.

My wife ordered the shredded beef chimichanga and complained that it was a bit dry and boring. I didn't get to try it, but I suspect if she'd asked for a little more salsa for the table that would have made things right.

My daughter had a cheese quesadilla (actually, one-fourth of one, which was to my delight as it gave me the next day's lunch) and it was well done. Not too much cheese, not too little, and the tortilla was very good.

So, having been to Romo's a few times, I say it's adequate in general, but the chimichangas are to die for.

By the way, I'm always soliciting ideas for good Mexican food in Portland. Please offer your suggestions in the comments.


m a k i l a said...

One kid friendly:
Aqui Mexican Cafe
1408 SE 12th Ave, 97214

One for take-out:
Taqueria La Sirenita
2817 NE Alberta St, 97211

Anonymous said...

La Bamba (at SE49th and Powell) is, in fact, very kid-friendly and has excellent food. They have a really extensive menu and their service is excellent. We've been there probably five or six times already. The most recent time with our neighbors and their toddler and newborn. Check it out!