The hail and heavy crowds did not stop us from going to the opening day of the most anticipated cultural hub, Portland Mercado. The project came to fruition after 9 years of planning and it was worth the wait! Funded by grants and a loan by the Portland Development Commission, Portland Mercado is located in the Lents neighborhood with a dense Latino population.
From Foster Road, you could hear the live music blaring from the bandstand under the huge white tents. A huge crowd of people, spanning every generation was bopping and swaying to the music. We could smell the deliciously spiced aroma of the food carts as we drove past with our windows down. It was cold, but we didn’t care. We wanted to hear, smell, and see everything that Portland Mercado had to offer!
We parked about 5 blocks away. The closer we got, the more we could smell and hear. The people who were leaving had delicious looking food and bags of groceries or snacks. It was cloudy out and partly hailing with rain. But no one seemed to care. After all, we had been waiting for years for this to come true. And it finally WAS!
We walked through the gated parking lot which was full of information booths. It lead us to the HUB. It was at the entrance where we were greeted with the smell of the churro stand. There was a line to get in, but it moved fast. Good thing we had the churros to keep us busy! As you entered the building, there were colorful traditional decorations hanging from the walls, the ceilings, and the windows. To the right was an impressive candy/snack shop. I couldn’t read anything so I identified things from the photos on the package. We walked away with a bag of chili flavored corn chips, mango-chili and pineapple-chili lollipops.
The whole reason why I wanted to go was because of the Chorizoria. I turned the corner from the candy shop and there it was… Don Felipe Products specializes in Tolucan style chorizo and is locally made in Forest Grove, Oregon. The owner, Salud Gonzalez, was standing at the counter giving out samples of his tasty chorizo. I tried the chicken chorizo and I was very much satisfied. I chose my flavors and paid his partner who was manning the register. 30 bucks on chorizo, but it was well worth it!
Check out Portland Mercado and their other merchants!