HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
What have you made lately? Get great advice
TELL US

corn tortillas

e
Eva b Apr 20, 2005 11:49 PM

Nick and/or anyone else,

Where is a good place to purchase fresh corn tortillas to go--Portland or eastern 'burbs would be best.

Thanks!

  1. e
    extramsg Apr 21, 2005 12:20 AM

    Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon makes them fresh daily at 162nd and Glisan. Is that too far out?

    Image: http://www.extramsg.com/albums/album2...

    14 Replies
    1. re: extramsg
      e
      Eva b Apr 21, 2005 12:59 AM

      No, the location's fine, and you've recommended their food too. Just didn't want to go to Hillsboro! Are they good tortillas? Does anyone make them "a mano," (or w/a press) for sale outside of a restaurant?

      1. re: Eva b
        e
        extramsg Apr 21, 2005 01:46 AM

        Not that I know of.

        Are the tortillas truly better than what you get in the store? Maybe, maybe not. But their real advantage comes from being made that day. That definitely matters. If you're going to be keeping them in the freezer or frig for the next month or two, it might not be worth it unless you're going there already. Remember, de Leon only serves food for breakfast and lunch. They make their guisados early in the morning and start serving at like 8 or 9 am. I think that's about when they start up the tortilla maker, too.

        My suggestion is to do it yourself. It's quite easy to make corn tortillas by hand. I rarely do for enchiladas or chilaquiles or tostadas or chips, but for tacos and quesadillas I usually do (well, not for crispy Mexican-American tacos). Masa harina is really easy to rehydrate, there's no gluten to worry about, it's just water and flour, etc. And you can use a press. It's only slightly more difficult than making toast.

        If you didn't need a ton of them, though, I bet you could talk one of the little places that makes them by hand into whipping you out a dozen. Try Tres Jalapenos on Division by Wong's King or La Michoacana taco cart at Division near Lauro and Pix. You might try the Morelia taco shack I'm going to be posting on soon on 82nd.

      2. re: extramsg
        c
        Chris Neville Apr 21, 2005 01:56 PM

        Hello,
        Do they use lard? Does anyone? In Mexico I asked about this and the ones that did tasted better, at least to me.
        Chris

        1. re: Chris Neville
          e
          extramsg Apr 21, 2005 02:12 PM

          It's atypical to use lard in corn tortillas. I don't know anyone locally who does.

          1. re: extramsg
            c
            Chris Neville Apr 21, 2005 04:52 PM

            Hello,
            Yea, I was surprised when I got this response. Maybe they were telling the tourista what they thought I wanted to hear? The pastele had it, though.
            Chris

            1. re: Chris Neville
              e
              extramsg Apr 21, 2005 05:40 PM

              Where were you? In thicker tortillas/masa-based antojitos, like for huaraches, sopes, gorditas, and the like, it's common to add lard to make them lighter. But I haven't seen it in tortillas. But there's a lot that I haven't seen.

              Lard makes a huge difference, I think, in pastries and flour tortillas, though. And then there's freshly rendered lard, as opposed to the white stuff from Armour, that has more flavor, too. I've been looking for that and haven't seen anyone in Portland selling it explicitly yet. I should ask at a place like Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon where they're making their own chicharron and carnitas every day.

              If anyone ever sees a brownish goo for sale at a taqueria or tienda, please tell me.

              1. re: extramsg
                k
                kyle Apr 21, 2005 06:17 PM

                I've bought lard a few times at Edelweiss. They render their own.

                Kyle

                1. re: kyle
                  n
                  Nettie Apr 22, 2005 01:08 AM

                  Thanks! I've been looking for non-Armour lard for a while and haven't been able to find it.

        2. re: extramsg
          s
          SportEater Apr 21, 2005 05:46 PM

          The de Leon tortillas (at least the corn ones, the only ones I tried there) weren't as good as I was hoping. They're a small-scale tortilla factory, and they tasted a bit, well, manufactured. Freshness is a plus, but I don't care how fresh the Franz bread is, I don't want it. Pick up a package of what they make, you'll see they've got preservatives I don't want in the fresh, preferably hand-made tortillas I'm looking for. The rest of the food at the counter, on the other hand, was really good. Worth the trip out there for lunch, but definitely not worth the trip for the tortillas, IMO.

          I've been on this same quest, sorry I don't have any finds to share. I've just started making 'em myself, which is easy and fun (though I always make a big mess), and tortilla presses are really cheap.

          I kinda like TJ's organic flour tortillas. Wish they had a corn version.

          As for the lard, I think it's pretty common in flour tortillas, but I've certainly never heard of it in corn tortillas. Now a touch on the griddle when heating up the corn tortilla, that's another story.

          1. re: SportEater
            e
            extramsg Apr 21, 2005 06:04 PM

            I remember purchasing some "organic" corn tortilla monstronsity once at TJs. It looked like a multi-grain mess of a maiz tortilla to me and not like anything I'd actually expect in Mexico.

            I think most of these little tortillerias like that are similar. I know that La Morenita down in Woodburn, which sells its tortillas to lots and lots of taquerias and tiendas in Portland and Salem, also has preservatives and cellulose gum, etc, in their tortillas. I still think that the freshness makes a meaningful difference in comparison to store-bought tortillas. But there's definitely a textural difference between those and a freshly made, hand-pressed and griddled tortilla.

            1. re: SportEater
              e
              Eva b Apr 22, 2005 01:46 AM

              I usually get TJ's too--but I like the hand made flour and, for the right application, the hand made corn (pretty thick for some uses). I should get a tortilla press, you're right, I've made them before and it's not difficult. I do need to get out to Leon for brunch though!

              Thanks!

              1. re: Eva b
                e
                extramsg Apr 22, 2005 03:01 AM

                Email and I'll meet you there! de Leon is so good with multiple people because everything's by the pound and it's so hard to just eat one thing. See pic below.

                If you're going to do corn tortillas, two recs: 1) get the heaviest tortilla press, not one of those aluminum jobs. (The wood ones are nice, too, but very bulky.) 2) Get a cast iron comal. So much better than a skillet or the steel/aluminum versions that you seem to have to be a Mexican to use skillfully.

                Now I'm tempted to go out there tomorrow morning on my way to The Dalles!

                (How do you choose just one of these...)

                Image: http://www.extramsg.com/albums/album2...

                1. re: extramsg
                  e
                  Evab Apr 22, 2005 03:14 PM

                  Nick,
                  This weekend is out, but can you go during the week? I'm assuming you are thinking "brunch" since you said early is best at de Leon. Any day but Monday next week would work for me and I might be able to drum up another accomplice. Actually, on Monday I have to go out to Forest Grove, so maybe I'll try the place you recommended in Hillsboro. Any interest in that? (you can e-mail me direct too)

                  1. re: Evab
                    e
                    extramsg Apr 22, 2005 04:46 PM

                    I'll email you.

          Show Hidden Posts