Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wanna Know A Secret?

We are so lucky to live in Portland, especially those of us on the east side of the river, because of the profusion of great ethnic restaurants here. Name any part of the globe and you're pretty guanteed that Portland has a restaurant that represents that cuisine, from Russian to Lebanese to Moroccan to Cuban. One that is not well-known here, however, is Salvadoran cuisine, with its pupusas and yucca and tamales wrapped in banana leaves. One person who's out to change that in a big way is Gloria Vargas, owner of Gloria's Secret Kitchen in Beaverton.

Out of her pocket-sized restaurant she produces fresh pupusas, thick round pancakes stuffed with chicken, pork or cheese and her signature tamales, corn masa wrapped around big chunks of meat or cheese and steamed inside deep green banana leaves. Thursdays are delivery day to several New Seasons stores, who are starting to carry her products, and during farmers' market season she has a booth at the Beaverton Farmers' Market.

At the restaurant you can get these and more, including chuletas, chipotle beef and daily specials, all served with some of the best black beans I've had in town, as well as a vinegary pink cabbage salad that accompanies most Salvadoran entrées, rice and fresh greens. Prices are very reasonable and you'll be glad you found this before the secret got out, because this woman is out to build an empire!

Details: Gloria's Secret Kitchen, 12500 SW Broadway in Beaverton; Phone 503-643-2320.

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