Tienda Santa Cruz

8630 N Lombard St., 286-7302. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

It's worth the trip to North Portland 2.0 for arguably the best avocado sauce in Portland, drizzled on asada tacos or shamelessly dousing an al pastor plate. The signage on this fiery red grocery promises a lot: "Panaderia Santa Cruz Taqueria, Tienda Mexicana, Carniceria." And a golden cross. That's the universal sign for taco heaven. The asada or pastor are your best choice, heaped with onions and cilantro onto two corn tortillas for tacos that are both crisp and chewy ($1.25 each). But it's that lime-spiked, cilantro-flecked guac that holds the key. Tucked in the back of a slightly dodgy grocery, past marinated meats and piñatas—NoPo denizens, University of Portland students and new apartment transplants come together over the open salsa bar that's a local legend. Regulars actually shoo moochers away when they try ladling guacamole into containers to go. You'd think the green stuff was gold.

Check out Willamette Week's 2016 Cheap Eats guide here.

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