FONT

MORE STORIES


Many tastes are offered by food cart vendors around the city; S.E. now hosts one from Puerto Rico

DAVID F. ASHTON - Anthony Tony Banegas welcomes customers to taste Puerto Rican food at his new cart, EL COQUÍ! in the Portland Mercado. In mid-February, the only Puerto Rican food cart in Oregon – "EL COQUÍ!" – opened at the Portland Mercado, in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood, on S.E. Foster Road.

"'El Coquí' is named for a chirping frog found across Puerto Rico – a cultural symbol for the island," grinned chef/owner Anthony "Tony" Banegas, as he prepared food for a catering assignment. "Our food comes from Afro-Caribbean roots, Spanish roots, and also the native tribe of Taino from Puerto Rico."

It's a misconception that Puerto Rican food is very spicy, the chef said; "Unlike other Latino dishes, we cook more with garlic and culantro – it's similar to cilantro, but is less spicy, and brings full, rich flavor."

He began making an order of the island nation's most famous dish, called "Mofongo", for a customer. He fried green plantains – then smashed them in a mortar and pestle, adding butter, garlic, salt, and pork (vegetables or chicken can be substituted for pork) before finishing it with chicken broth.

"I also use vegetable broth, as a vegetarian option," Banegas said. "What I love is that Puerto Rican food has many vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options, without sacrificing the taste of our traditional recipes."

El Coquí also features traditional Puerto Rican small dishes like pinchos (skewers), empanadillas (meat and/or vegetable filled turnovers), and bacalaitos (fried codfish fritters).

You'll find Chef Banegas cooking in the green food cart at the Portland Mercado, 7238 S.E. Foster Road.

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine