During a recent weekday lunch rush, Little Conejo's airy, open-kitchen dining room in downtown Vancouver was aclatter with activity—one cook in a heavy-duty Ben Davis apron rapidly chopped suadero, a lesser-known cut of beef located near the belly, while another poured one of the 80 varieties of mezcal stored inside a tin-topped faux adobe structure. Since late 2017, Little Conejo ("rabbit" in English) has been serving up some of the most intensely flavorful tacos on either side of the Columbia.
Founded by Noble Rot's Mychal Dynes and Nodoguro's Mark Wooten, the food is made with produce from Wooten's own Phantom Rabbit Farm in Portland and is one way they strive to incorporate a farm-to-table ethos whenever possible. Even the masa is made in-house from hand-ground corn—though not grown on the farm year-round, cobs for the seasonal elotes are harvested from Wooten's plot. Tortilla rounds are then dipped in manteca (butter) before cooking to preserve the flavor and keep them pliable.
If a full roster of creative mezcal cocktails isn't enough to motivate you to ford the river north, Little Conejo opened a satellite cart this summer in the Prost! Marketplace pod on North Mississippi Avenue. The menu is pared down (no alcohol), but hits most of the brick-and-mortar's high points with meat spit-roasted right there. Al pastor/rotisserie pork, silky suadero/caramelized beef and choriqueso/sausage and cheese ($3.50 each) are wrapped like gifts in layers of browned cheese.
Pro tip: The Vancouver location doesn't serve choriqueso, lengua or al pastor at lunch, so if you've got a specific midday craving, you'll have to head to the cart.