This is the perfect little hole-in-the-wall for authentic taqueria style Mexican food.
The space is tight and the atmosphere casual. The ordering counter is immediately on the right as you walk in the door, with a drink cooler to the left and a pastry case across room. The gal at the counter was very friendly, helpful, and patient with our family of four.
My wife ordered the Burrito Enchilado, my 11-y.o. son ordered the Tamale plate with beans & rice, my daughter a basic cheese Quesadilla, and I went for un Orden de Al Pastor (comes with beans, rice, homemade tortillas).
The whole family loved what they had, but I can't speak for their taste buds, so I will just elaborate on my own...
The first thing I tasted was the large horchata that I ordered. I found it to be very sweet and syrupy, with a good balance of cinnamon. For just drinking by itself, I would prefer the lighter, less sweet horchatas that I've had at other local taquerias; but when paired with my dinner plate, I thought it was excellent.
All of our food came out very quickly, and all were generous portions (especially for the price). In addition to my al pastor, they also brought out a roasted jalapeno with a wedge of lime -- one of my favorite treats. How did they know?!? The tortillas were obviously fresh, and they reminded me of my benchmark for homemade tortillas, Luis' Taqueria in Woodburn. The al pastor was lightly sweet, with a homey warm flavor that is hard to describe -- I rate it even better than my old standby, El Chilito in Canby. The beans reminded me of the real home-cooked Mexican refried beans I've had a handful of times over the years, and the rice also did not disappoint. Absolutely delicious.
We took home a few small bits of leftovers, most of which came from my 7-y.o. daughter's quesadilla -- she could only eat half of it. We headed over to the pan dulce case after dinner and each picked out a treat to eat at home later. It was all very good.
I don't want to be too quick to crown Los Girasoles as the best Mexican food around, so I'm going to have to come back and try a few more menu items. But after one visit, I will confidently place in the same category as Luis' and El Chilito. We will be back for sure.
Noah and I have a new father / son activity that we both enjoy immensely -- plane spotting at PDX. We have gone three times this summer already, and seen a variety of different aircraft.
There used to be spots along Marine Drive where you could pull off and watch planes take off and land, but now most of those are closed. The Port of Portland suggests heading to the short-term parking garage and heading to the seventh floor. At $3/hour, it really is pretty inexpensive entertainment.
With the help of websites like Flight Aware, we have been able to plan our last two visits during some of the busier times. But even with advanced planning, you never know what you will see at PDX -- could be private planes, could be smaller Cessna Caravans, or it could be a "heavy" with a fresh coat of paint from Boeing's painting facility at PDX. On our second visit, we saw all of these plus traffic being diverted from San Francisco due to the crash of Asiana Flight 214 -- PDX even got a visit from a Cathay Pacific 747-8 (Boeing's largest commercial aircraft) because of this.
The most exciting event we've witnessed at PDX so far has got to be an empty Emirates 777-300ER that took off with a fresh coat of paint. The space needed for take-off was shorter than what is typically needed for the Alaska Q400 turboprops. The size of the aircraft combined with the dynamic sound of those massive jet engines was exhilarating.
Here is a video of the take-off. This vantage point was a couple hundred feet to the left of where we were standing:
I used to have my work and personal emails all forwarded to the same email client (MS Outlook), but since getting a smartphone, I have realized that it is nice to keep them separate -- so I have set out to do just that, both on my phone and on the multiple PC's that I use.
The quickest, easiest solution I could come up with was to find a simple, free email client that I could have my personal emails sent to, and I would keep outlook for business email (as well as contacts and calendar). A quick search pulled up Mozilla Thunderbird, so I decided to give it a try.
Setting up Thunderbird was a snap, and it was able to correctly execute configuration of my personal email server settings on the first try -- without any manual assistance from yours truly. Outlook has never been able to do that. It doesn't do everything quite like Outlook, but for personal use, it is more than adequate.
Considering the price, I won't complain too much about what Thunderbird lacks compared to Outlook...
We went to a birthday party at the local amusement park on Saturday, hoping to have a great time. In the end, it ended up being a mixed bag... Emily had fun and wanted to stay until closing, but Noah didn't care for any of the rides, and somewhere on one of the kiddy rides, I lost my phone.
Now the good news in this is that it was just a basic free phone that I got three plus years ago, but the bad news was that I lost a lot of contact info, and worse yet, pictures of my kids. I had hoped the person who found the phone might turn it in to the lost & found, but alas my faith in the goodness of humanity was not reinforced in this instance.
I had put a hold on my service soon after I lost the phone, and decided to check my usage -- just to see if anything showed up. Sure enough, in the half hour time it took for me to report the phone lost, there were several calls and texts, but most annoying of all was the downloading of 2MB of data in that time (on a "pay per data use" contract). Thankfully the Verizon rep said they would not bill us for that usage.
So, now that I was without a phone, I decided it was time to finally get a "smartphone" -- but what kind? I narrowed my choices down to two iPhone options (4S & 5), and two Samsung Galaxy options (Note2 & S4). I even made a few cardboard mock ups to carry around in my pocket to see how the larger size of the Samsung phones would feel in daily use...
I eventually decided on the Samsung Galaxy S4. This phone can do so much that I am still setting everything up and getting used to how it works. I could have gone with an iPhone as a safe bet, since I'm very familiar with the iOS on my iPod Touch -- but I am very happy that I took a chance on the S4.
Here is a photo I took with my new phone last evening (click to enlarge)...
Now I just need to be a little more careful if I go on amusement park rides -- this phone definitely was not free!