Okay, I know I just did a road post and I promised to mix it up a bit, but right now my backlog of road posts is bigger so bear with me. So, after a brief exploration of Portland’s street food scene, we headed off to Newport, probably the closest thing Miss Golden Rule has to a home away from home. She loves the place. Me, when I’m not there I can find flaws with it pretty easily. But when I’m there, I never want to leave. I blame the hypnotic effects of the Ocean. Anyway, since it was MGR’s birthday, we decided to hit a place she’s been curious about for a while now.
So, Cafe Mundo. Definitely one of the quirkiest places I’ve eaten at. Stroll down Coast Street by Nye Beach, and look for the building that’s the most overgrown with vegetation. It was a Saturday night so I had made reservations, but they had live music going on inside.
In that space, it was basically a big echo chamber. Since we were wanting a chill vibe, we decided to sit outside.
The temperature was being pretty unkind for August, and unfortunately all of the good seats around the fire pits and whatnot were taken. We ended up sitting at a rundown picnic table that was on an elevated wooden platform, kind of like a stage. There was some interesting artwork and dilapidated toys around to keep children entertained. We looked through the menu, made our decisions, and I headed in to order.
The kid got a cheeseburger, her mom settled on Chicken Mole Tacos, and being unable to resist seafood when I’m at the Coast, I chose the Albacore Burger.
I guess I should take a minute to discuss the menu, which is an odd blend of hippie, hipster, and lazy. For example, the root beer is locally made, as is the kombucha (which comes in seasonal flavors). Their cocktail menu uses organic vodka in some options, but then some of the cheapest, crappiest rum available in others. They roast their own organic, fair trade coffee beans, but the menu mentions nothing about the origin of their proteins. It’s just a weird blend, considering that menus tend to be all or nothing anymore. Then again, it kind of goes along with the whole patchwork, hodgepodge thing they have going.
The kid’s plain cheeseburger was just that. Nothing much to say about it, other than it perfectly illustrates the odd lack of side dishes at Cafe Mundo. The kid got a pickle spear, no complaints there because she LOVES pickles.
The Chicken Mole Tacos are just that as well, with no sides at all. You probably wouldn’t need them after three good-sized tacos, but it’s still strange to see a taco plate at a restaurant without at least a smear of refried beans and/or some indifferently prepared rice.
The only items that really come with sides at all are the ones on the “sandwiches” section of the menu. Those come with an organic side salad, or you can upgrade to a cup of soup for seventy-five cents. I can’t speak to the soup because I went the salad route. I don’t remember what the soups that day were, only that none of them sounded like they would accompany a tuna burger with wasabi mayo very well.
In the end, Cafe Mundo was more interesting from an aesthetic standpoint than from a culinary one. The kid wasn’t terribly impressed with her burger, MGR described her tacos as “good, not great”, and my albacore sandwich was decent but not significantly better than the one I used to get at Chili’s back in my high school days. It’s a funky little place and the food is okay, but I doubt I’ll be tempted to return. Especially with Nana’s being right across the street.
Food: Miss Golden Rule summed it up perfectly.
Value: Not great considering what you get. If they had an ocean view, it would make more sense.
Service: Competent enough when you grab their attention, but very laid back.
Atmosphere: Wacky. That and the music are probably what keeps the regulars coming back.
Final Grade: C+