Nacheaux Introduces Portland to “Mexicajun” Fusion

At Anthony Brown’s garishly teal-colored food truck, Mexican favorites get hitched to Southern food and Cajun-Creole flavors, as in Brown’s own life.

Nacheaux owner Anthony Brown. IMAGE: Wesley Lapointe.

It could have been called Taceaux. Or Burriteaux.

At Anthony Brown's garishly teal-colored food truck, Mexican favorites get hitched to Southern food and Cajun-Creole flavors, as in Brown's own life. The 34-year-old Los Angeles native grew up with both a grandmother in Georgia and a stepfather from Mexico.

"I have a real-life abuelita, and a lot of people don't know that about me," says Brown, who is Black. "That's where the Mexican part of Nacheaux comes from."

On top of that, his wife and business partner, Stephanie, is from Covington, La. So the "nacheaux," as it were, come with red beans and dirty rice instead of refried beans, while the taco fillings include chicken, catfish, crawfish and shrimp—all fried. This is not the big stretch it might seem: You can find "Mexicajun" food in both Louisiana and Southeast Texas, while Austin's Torchy's Tacos built a mini-chain in part on its fried chicken taco. But it's a rare concept in Portland, if not entirely unheard of.


The "Nacheaux nachos" ($8.50) start with a big pile of fresh-fried chips, and also feature carnitas that could just as easily be cochon au lait. Like many other menu items, it's served "Nacheaux style," which means it's topped with housemade, lightly pickled cabbage slaw and onions, hand-crumbled cotija cheese, cooked salsa and a house crema spiked with Sriracha, among other things.

"A lot of people are like, 'Is it spicy?'" Brown says. "And I'm like, 'No, no, Cajun spice is different from spicy. It's got a ton of flavor.'"

As such, the roasted tomatoes in the salsa are joined by green bell peppers—part of Louisiana's "holy trinity," along with celery and onions—rather than jalapeños or serranos, with just a bit of added cayenne kick. The salsa and the crema both shine on the tender fried catfish taco, which has layer upon layer of taste sensations. Besides the fish and accompaniments, the breading is seasoned with 15 herbs and spices: garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, curry powder and paprika are the ones that Brown is willing to reveal. An entirely different seasoning blend goes into the masa for Nacheaux's thick, hand-pressed corn tortillas.

The Nacheaux crunchwrap. IMAGE: Wesley Lapointe.

All the proteins are also available à la carte ($5.50-$6) and on top of mac and cheese ($8-$10), while the fried chicken turns up not only in a burrito ($9), but also a cheesy "crunchwrap" ($9), both stuffed with red beans and dirty rice. There's also brunch on Sundays, daily specials and desserts, including such items as a chicken masa waffle with chipotle chocolate syrup, avocado crab toast, and "double chocolate marshmallow fruity pebble pancakes with edible cookie dough."

"When I first started, people would say, 'Oh, I can taste the passion behind your food,' and I was like, 'I don't know what that means,'" Brown says. "Passion can't be tasted. But I realized that they meant they can tell that I take a lot of pride in the things I do, and that's super-dope."

EAT: Nacheaux, 8145 SE 82nd Ave., 971-319-1134, Noon-7 pm Wednesday-Thursday and Saturday, noon-8 pm Friday, Sunday, 9 am-3 pm.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.