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A Sandwich a Day: Pollo a La Brasa at Las Primas in Portland, OR
In this great nation of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year--so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Peruvian food outside of pollo a la brasa (literally "grilled chicken") is pretty foreign to me, so when I stopped by the very recent addition to Portland's dining scene, Las Primas, I gravitated toward pretty much the only menu item I was remotely familiar with: the Pollo a La Brasa sandwich ($8.50).
The key to good pollo a la brasa lies in a salt-heavy marinade and proper cooking to ensure the tenderness of the meat. At El Inka in neighboring Gresham, the chicken is cooked whole on a spit in front of a roaring fire. There's not enough time for that here (this is a sandwich place, after all), so it's grilled instead. The juicy hunks of white and dark chicken from Draper Valley Farms don't end up quite as melt-in-your-mouth tender as they do at El Inka, but they're still plenty soft with a salty crust.
Accompanying the hefty stack of pollo is a spicy crema de rocoto made from the notoriously hot Central and South American rocoto pepper, along with lettuce and tomato to add some crunch. Fleur De Lis Bakery seems to supply the bread for half the sandwiches in Portland, and here they are again with a lovely ciabatta roll that's sturdy enough to hold the production together without a tough crust to worry about.
Sandwiches at Las Primas come with fries or a salad. Fries are traditional with pollo a la brasa, so how could you order anything else? The shoestring fries are crisp, well salted, and an excellent complement to the sandwich.