Vegetarian Burrito, $3.25
Driving west down Lombard, you think to yourself, have I gone too far? Have I missed the ever hidden St. John’s? No, keep going, you think and you urge on. You see a red store front, bars on the windows, with a large sign that reads: Tienda Santa Cruz. You decide to go in— walking through the front doors, to your left sits a pastry case with elegant cakes and a fruit stand filled with mangos and ripe cherries. You walk further, past the aisles filled with Mexican groceries, bags of candy for piñatas which hang from the store ceiling and glass candles. Before stepping into the restaurant in back, you see another pastry case—this one filled with doughnuts, cookies and sweet breads. One step further: welcome to Santa Cruz.
The restaurant portion of Santa Cruz is sadly stark with no music, white walls, aside from a mural on one wall, and long mismatched tables and chairs. However, this is all a part of the Santa Cruz experience. For food this delicious and cheap, you could put me in a dungeon and I would still be happy eating this burrito.
I first heard about Santa Cruz while working at Roosevelt High School. My goal was to find out where the best Mexican food was in North Portland. The more I asked around, the more apparent it became that Santa Cruz was by far the best. After trying it a million times over, I agree and will even say it’s the best authentic Mexican food in all of Portland and by far the cheapest!
I’ve tried a few things here but became obsessed with their vegetarian burrito. It’s giant and filled with pinto beans, rice, melted cheese, large slices of avocado, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and your choice of three different salsas. I like to mix the salsa verde with their red salsa. The best part of the burrito—the crispy tortilla. If you are really, really broke, you could even split this burrito and you would be leaving full for $1.60. Crazy right? Their tostadas, for $1.25 each, are delicious and topped with cotija cheese, sour cream and again, large slices of fresh avocado. Skip the $3.00 tacos at Por Que No (get their Bryan's Bowl instead) and come here for the same yumminess--but only $1.00 a piece. I know, its as if they are giving away food!
If you have even an ounce of room in your happy stomach, try their chocolate covered doughnut for .50 cents. The dough is fluffy and they use semi-sweet chocolate in the frosting—making it satisfying, but not overly sweet.
Santa Cruz is one more reason to head up to North Portland!
8630 N. Lombard
Portland OR 97203