1615 Southeast 12th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
I’ve had my eye on Teote ever since I decided I was moving up North. I love trying things I’ve never had before, and I try to eat gluten free when I can. (because of an intolerance, not because it’s cool. In fact most of the time I fail miserably at keeping with it and spend many nights miserable. Worth it.) With a trip to this restaurant I can check off both of those requirements! Teote is an entirely gluten free Venezuelan restaurant. So of course I have been drooling over the menu since September. And now I can finally fulfill my dreams!
The interior was so colorful and lively! I was surprised to see that we were to order at the counter, but that was absolutely fine with me. Someone took our drink orders while we were waiting in line, and when we got to the front they were already there waiting for us! Super cool! We got some delicious, tart sangria, apple cider, and my sister ordered a mango-orange-habanero agua fresca. I was proud of her. Usually I’m the one who orders the weirdest thing on the menu. This drink was divine! It was thick like a nectar and the habanero was not overly spicy and did not linger on the tongue, but just tickled the back of the throat ever so slightly! It was definitely something I’ve never experienced before and now I want to try to recreate it. Or just go back to Teote.
We sat outside by the fire pit, which was chilly but it was worth it for the ambiance! I loved that there was a seating area around the fire, but the seats were a little too far back from the pit to actually eat there. That would have been sweet.
We decided to order a few of the plates, which all came with beans, rice, salad, fried plantains, verde sauce, plantain sauce, diced beets and an arepa. For those of you who aren’t familiar with arepas (I was not) they are basically fried and buttered corn cakes that are usually eaten with some sort of meat sauce on top. They were very crispy and just slightly sweet, and although they were fried there was no greasiness to them at all. The beans and rice were covered with the verde sauce, which added a tiny bit of tanginess to the dish. The plantains were nice and savory. I’m not a banana fan so I appreciated this!
The Grilled Pork Chop Plate was one of our choices. The pork was very moist and tender, and was brined and marinated in a smoked habanero and citrus sauce before being grilled. The citrus and smokiness really stood out to me. It wasn’t my favorite pork chop ever, but it’s hard to please me with pork chops. I’ve only really had one special one in my life. Maybe I’ll venture back to that restaurant at some point…
The Teote bowl came with everything that the plates do, except for the arepa. You have a choice of a bunch of different marinated meats as toppings, so for the bowl we chose Pernil, which is pork shoulder braised with morita chile and gluten free beer, all topped with cabbage salad, queso fresco, cilantro and verde sauce. These people know their meats. It was so tender and with just the right amount of kick to it!
Olivia got the Teote plate with Mole. I know I’ve said before that I’m picky with Mole because I don’t like when it’s too chocolatey. This Mole confused me greatly. It was so chocolatey, but it somehow worked. Not only that, but it was probably the best Mole I have ever had. It was also pretty spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. It was even better eaten on top of the arepa!
Last but not least is the Teote Plate with El Diablo (Pork belly and roasted poblano chileʼs glazed in a red chili maple sauce, topped with pickled onions, verde sauce, queso fresco and cilantro. Swoon.) This is embarrassing for a self proclaimed foodie to admit, but I’ve never tried pork belly. Not intentionally, I swear! It’s just not a very widely used ingredient where I come from. And now I know what I’ve been missing all these years! It’s like taking bacon, and making it BETTER. Like, melt-in-your-mouth and bring tears to your eyes good. It actually really melted in my mouth. The sauce it was marinated in was very smoky and sweet, almost like a barbecue sauce. The flavors in this one were so complex, I finished off my whole plate, which almost never happens. (My eyes are way bigger than my stomach.) The pickled onions added a nice crunch and the acidity cut the fattiness of the pork belly perfectly. This has got to be the best thing I’ve eaten in Portland so far!
Atmosphere was great, service was great, food was phenomenal, I really can’t find anything bad to say. Even the pricing was extremely reasonable, which is unheard of for great (gluten free) food in California! Don’t let the label “gluten free” scare you. You can’t even taste the difference between regular food and gluten free food when it’s done right. And this place definitely does it right!