Eating With Juan

Adventurous eaters seeking a fresh Portland communal dining experience have a new frontier–Eating With Juan. Hosted every Tuesday night by Navarre Chef John Taboada and his lovely wife Giovanna Parolari, at the Luce event space on East Burnside, Eating With Juan showcases the delicious Yucatan cuisine of long-time Navarre chef Juan Alvarado.

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Although it consistently offers ceviche and beer, Juan’s menu changes weekly, and this past Tuesday we were served an exceptional ling cod ceviche with finely diced tomato, onion and cilantro on crispy corn tortillas ($3 each), and platefuls of roasted pork, pickled onion, and refried pinto beans served with fresh corn tortillas ($12). A selection of wine is offered at $5 a glass, or you can guzzle cold bottled Mexican beer with your meal ($3).

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In honor of Juan’s south-of-the-border eats, the Luce event space is hung with festive Mexican papel picado banners, and both sides of the simple room are lined with rectangular tables for 8 (or however many you can cram around them), so you’ll eat elbow to elbow with your neighbors, which makes the whole thing feel like an informal neighborhood dinner party. As the dog days of summer melt into the soul-sucking rain-drenched days of autumn/winter/spring, Eating With Juan will be the ideal destination for a culinary adventure that feels like a mini Mexican vacation…a very affordable one.

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Eating With Juan is held every Tuesday from 4 pm to 9 pm, or until the food runs out. Luce is located at 2138 E. Burnside, directly across the street from new June restaurant and Heart Roasters, and just a few blocks down the street from the Simpatica/Laurelhurst crew’s soon-to-open Ate-Oh-Ate. This stretch of Burnside is becoming quite the stomach’s paradise.