|Fernando’s Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: SW 4th and College|
|Hours: M-F Lunch||Times Visited: 2|
“You are going to love this sauce”
-Counter woman at Fernando’s Mundo Fiesta, referring to the Vegan Caesar wrap.
Fernando’s is another cart in Portland that you walk by one day, and notice there’s a big “VEGAN FRIENDLY” sign sitting outside. You thank the vocal vegans who have stopped by, or the considerate management, or both, and commence browsing their menu.
In the middle of the growing PSU area cart lot on SW 4th between College and Hall, Fernando’s beckons with their colorful signage, extensive, prominent menu, and on-the-go college student type meals. Like many other carts on this strip, Fernando’s has a small covered deck where you place your order, and step back on the sidewalk into the drizzle to wait. Their long menu, which is posted all around the counter window and on the deck, includes vegan options for salads, wraps, burritos, and there has been a vegan special featured on both of my visits.
I’ve tried the Vegan Caesar ($5) and the Vegan Tequila ($5.50) wraps. Both of these meals had the following in common:
- The fillings were slick, no thanks to the oily dressings.
- I had to hunt for the precious few pieces of tofu in each wrap. Slimy but decent, nopal cactus dominated the Caesar wrap; while equally slippery hearts of palm took over the Tequila. I counted maybe four miniature rectangles of tofu in the Tequila wrap.
- Incredibly nice customer service from the counter woman taking and delivering orders.
- Super quick service: receiving both wraps within mere minutes. If I was rushing between classes, I would not forget this.
- Dry, but flexible tortillas.
The housemade Vegan Caesar dressing was flavorful, but it wasn’t creamy. I didn’t love it- I’m sorry, counter woman! It was gritty, perhaps there were nuts involved, and again, oily, like it could use some more time in a blender. Regardless, it did make things interesting in the wrap of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, long pieces of green cactus (which always reminds me of a soft, sour bell pepper) and those few pieces of tofu. I liked the tang of the homemade Caesar, but the situation was alarmingly oily.
The Vegan Tequila wrap was a special of the day with the addition of hearts of palm; it’s on the regular menu with the bonus of meat or tofu, without the palm. It sounded exciting, with corn, spiced black beans, and their tequila sauce, but this one didn’t hold my interest at all. It was as if I had poured a little bit of black bean salsa into my wrap, and threw in a can of hearts of palm. I didn’t taste any tequila in this second oily sauce, or really any other flavor. I was a tragic incident of a wrap and I gave up with over half to go.
So should you go here at all? Keep it in mind if you’re frantically requiring a quick vegan meal in the PSU area to go, refuse to step into Chipotle and don’t have the patience to wait for a fantastic box from Asaase Ital around the corner. But realistically, particularly after reading about this reviewer’s experiences, are you interested? In a city full of vegan burritos and wraps, I don’t want to eat something I’m not enthusiastic for. There’s potential, and a considerate, friendly welcoming to vegans, but the cart doesn’t deliver on the quality.
If I found myself short on time and around this cart row, I’d half consider a Vegan Caesar salad with the dressing requested on the side, but there are other options that would leap into my head first: calling ahead at aforementioned Asaase Ital, Basha’s, Food for Thought, Hot Lips foccacia slices, and hopefully, coming very soon –the all vegetarian Valhalla moving to the neighborhood, to name a few.
Once again, my apologies to the sweet counter woman.
Vegan Caesar Wrap
Vegan Tequila Wrap
Inside the Vegan Tequila Wrap