Guero basically means "white boy," and—let's get this out of the way—that's one of the people who'll be making your tortas and huaraches at this pretty little cart on Southeast 28th Avenue. But Alec Morrison and Megan Sanchez are basing their menu on Yucatecan food, which means annoying conversations about authenticity are 99 percent beside the point. The Yucatán peninsula was long isolated from much of Mexico, but easily accessible by sea to anybody with a boat, leading to a bastardized Mayan cuisine where seemingly anything goes.

Until recently, the cart offered a sterling version of the citric, nutty cochinita pibil pork dish unique to the peninsula; sadly, it is currently absent from the menu, along with the entire taco menu and all traces of tortilla. The cart—an evolution from Taco the Town, the bike-courier taco service we reviewed fondly in April—is now focusing its menu on large, lovely and mostly vegetal tortas ($7.50). It's a wise decision. The crisped and flavorful bread, imported across the Columbia River from Vancouver's Veracruz Bay Bakery, is perhaps the best torta base in town. The tortas, far from the customary grease bombs, are filled with fresh cabbage, housemade cilantro aioli and avocado, plus an optional (recommended) dusting of Cotija cheese for 50 cents extra.

The vegetarian mushroom torta is hearty, and one wouldn't miss the meat if the meat weren't tender carnitas that's been slow-cooked in lime, oranges, cumin and cinnamon. But it is. And it's probably what you're going to order. The third torta option on a recent visit was a Toda Madre, a carb attack of a sandwich stuffed with an entire huarache and a wealth of meaty tamarind-and-habanero-soaked tomatoes. The huaraches are available for $5 ($2 extra for tomatoes or carnitas), but seriously, you want it on that fine Vancouver bread. It's the best Mexican-style, white-boy sandwich experience in town.

  1. Order this: Toda Madre or carnitas torta. Period. 
  2. I’ll pass: The rice bowls are pleasant, but unless they’re topping them with an egg that day, go for the tortas. 

EAT: Guero, 113 SE 28th Ave., 593-8846. 11 am-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday.