There’s a certain pleasure in handing over the reins for dinner — especially when it’s almost 100 degrees out and tasty tacos and puckery pomegranate margaritas await.
Porque No? has two locations now — one on Mississippi (always crowded, tiny interior) and Hawthorne (also busy but much larger and with handsome patio out back).
It had been too long since I’d been to either PN, and in this heat, tacos and cool drinks sounded divine.
It was fairly cool inside for those of us escaping the heat, but still toasty outside for the sunbirds who were chasing the rays.
The patio seemed like something you might find in a small town in the Keys or coastal Mexico.
For those not familiar, the set-up is pretty straight-up; wait in line to order and pay and then wait for a server to show up about 10 minutes later with your food.
They know how to handle the good-sized crowds that zoom through here.
Our drinks order was taken almost as soon as we stepped in line and so chips and cocktails were ready by the time we had paid and went in search of a table — a fairly impressive logistical trick.
Nothing like a round of pomegranate margaritas, mandarino Jarritos, and a bowl of warm tortilla chips and salsa to improve one’s mood.
The margaritas were excellent– tart, limey, refreshing and plenty boozy.
And the chips?
Their presence was so short-lived that it’s hard to recall, but I do remember a blur of warm crispness dipped into a zippy salsa. They were gone in minutes — ensuring just a few minutes of quiet to take in the vibe of the place before the main event.
Everywhere you looked, there were interesting things to look at.
It’s like dropping into a friend’s apartment who has been travelling for much of his post-college years, and many mementos compete for attention.
Each item seems like it has a back story.
And clearly so many of these items remain at close hand as they provide daily inspiration.
What a great collection of cookbooks, and obviously dog-eared — a good sign of things to come.
Time to get serious.
The food had arrived.
Charlotte had a quesadilla from the kids menu and Oliver had a trio of carnitas tacos with all the toppings on the side. The meat was cooked perfectly and the little corn tortillas were super fresh and pliant. He never got around to the toppings, but I put them to good use with the second order of chips we ordered.
Hubby chose three different tacos: spicy shrimp, fish with fresh pineapple, and steak.
All the tacos are small — you will probably need two for lunch or three or more for dinner. The calamari was good, but overwhelmed slightly by the amount of pico de gallo on it.
The other two tacos fared much much better; the pescado combined crispy cod with crema, cabbage, salsa verde and pineapple and it was dynamite, exuberantly flavored with bright flavors and lots of crunch.
The carne asada was simpler but no less tasty — perfectly seared Cascade Farms beef with spicy salsa de arbol, onion and cilantro.
I ordered the Bryan’s Bowl; any one of the meats, seafood or veggies offered on the taco section of the menu plus warm pinto beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, queso fresco, crema, cilantro and either three of their homemade tortillas or more of their addictive chips.
I chose carnitas as the star and the all the additions worked together gorgeously. My bowl was spicy, creamy, tangy, and filling — and a great deal for $8.50.
I can now understand the name.
With such a winning combination of fast service, great prices, killer drinks and toothsome food, indeed — why not?