The Portland Mercury This quaint, sunny cantina with its array of religious iconography is like taking a mini vacation to Chiapas. The portions are very generous, and special menu items include the filling and delicious chicken enchilada casserole. Nice selection of beer & cocktails.
The Oregonian Newspaper- Cheap Eats: Que Pasa Cantina
Published: Friday, September 30, 2011. Que Pasa bills itself as Mexican comfort food, which is redundant for those of us who already consider Mexican food part of that category.
Still, what some comfort food lacks — color, spice, any trace of health value — Que Pasa’s comida has in spades. With menu items such as chicken enchilada casserole, this is comfort food for those who embrace life in a society constantly juggling the concepts of pluralism and the melting pot.
The chow: The casserole mentioned above and the side option of Potatoes Ole best exemplify the Mexican comfort food aesthetic. The potatoes are mashed with carrots, sweet white corn, jalapenos, cheddar, jack and sour cream — and they’re as good as they sound.
Two sides to consider are the homemade chips and salsa and the stuffed jalapenos. The chips are dusted with a mix of spices and come with three salsas — a salsa verde, a pico de gallo and a medium-hot habanero. The stuffed jalapenos will banish all memory of poppers from your mind with their light, crispy breading, and stuffing of goat cheese and chorizo.
As for main dishes, Antonio’s Pastor Tacos burst with cumin and chili powder, and the pineapple salsa gives them a fresh, tropical flair. Some of the aperitivos, or starters, work as main courses. The corn and goat cheese quesadilla is creamy on the inside and crisp on the out. You can always add chicken if you feel it’s lacking in protein. Que Pasa seems happy to accommodate your culinary peculiarities and will even spice only half your chips, if you ask.
Real deals: The chips are as good as what you’ll get at ¿Por Que No?, and without the absurd wait. Get them with a large guacamole and three types of salsa.
Hangout factor: The patio is a great place to sit on a summer night, and the staff is genuinely friendly.
Liquids: Soda, Jarritos, homemade limonada or strawberry lemonade, Stumptown coffee or tea, Mexican hot chocolate, beer, margaritas.
What’s half-baked? Not much. The chips might be too spicy for some, and the chicken enchilada casserole is a bit overpriced, but these are minor quibbles.
Inside tips: Happy hour goes until 6 p.m. every day, and because the restaurant opens at 3 on Saturdays, that means three hours of discounted food and beverages.