Serious Eats: Drinks

Hangover Helper: Spoonbread-Stuffed Chile Relleno and Brisket Nachos at Trigger in Portland, OR

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[Photographs: Adam Lindsley]

For a slow day at the office made even slower as a result of hitting the sauce a little fervently the night before (hey, no one's judging anyone here), a hearty bite of Tex-Mex is just what the doctor ordered. And it's what you'll order, too, if you find yourself in a similar predicament and manage to make your way to the doors of Trigger, the newest place in Portland to procure that soul-pleasing marriage of Texas and Mexican comfort food.

You may find Trigger's menu daunting at first, but you'll do right by zeroing in on the Spoonbread-Stuffed Chile Relleno. The large poblano pepper isn't breaded; instead it comes nearly blackened by heat and doused in tomatillo salsa and crema on a bed of black beans. Cut through the bittersweet, tender body of the pepper and you'll be greeted with soft cornmeal spoonbread mixed with a little goat cheese in place of the usual metric ton of Monterey Jack. As a result, the dish feels considerably less heavy than its battered-and-deep-fried brethren.

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But your order's not complete yet: Trigger is one of the few restaurants outside of central Texas do nachos properly. You'll receive six large housemade chips, each piled with charred brisket ends, refried beans, melted cheese, sour cream, and tomatillo salsa, along with a pickled jalapeno on top. With every chip getting the same amount of toppings, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to go back to the "dump everything on a big pile of chips" method that leaves bare every chip beneath the top layer.

Trigger is best considered a weekday hangover cure; if you show up before 5 p.m. on the weekend jonesing for Tex-Mex, you'll be staring down a CLOSED sign and have to drag yourself to a lesser establishment. (Of course, you could always take a nap and come back later.)

Trigger

128 NE Russel Street, Portland, OR 97212 (map); triggerpdx.com
503-327-8234

About the author: Adam Lindsley is a Pacific Northwest-based writer, musician, and the author of the pizza blog, This Is Pizza. You can follow him at @ThisIsPizza on Twitter. He is currently on a serious coffee stout kick, so if you have a particular favorite, be sure to let him know.

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