I had to write this blog post from memory, without the picture to accompany it, because every time I look at this picture my mouth salivates, my stomach growls and I become overcome with an urge to run to the truck and drive to Temecula for some Cafe Rio.
With Mexican food being my favorite cuisine for 27 years, and living in SoCal, I’m a huge authentic snob. I hate most Mexican food places for serving up “White” or “American” bastardized Mexican food. I’ll always prefer a hole in the wall Oaxacan place that serves up fresh bell peppers and cotija cheese over a traditional taco or burrito place.
When I saw Cafe Rio, I was intrigued, but decided to try it with a grain of salt. It is, after all, a chain restaurant. It’s designed like a Chipotle, but with many more options.
First, you choose the format you want. Choose from a burrito, salad, enchiladas, bowl, tacos, quesadilla, tostada salad or nachos. I always opt for a burrito, because they make the tortillas fresh by hand right in front of you. Tortillas are terrible for you and a major source of unnecessary calories, but if you’ve ever had a homemade tortilla, you know they are impossible to pass up.
Next, choose your meat. Chicken, fire grilled chicken, barbacoa, spicy green chile pork, chile roasted beef, fire grilled steak, salmon or veggie. They have cilantro lime rice, pinto beans and black beans, just like Chipotle.
For toppings, choose from pico, tomatillo sauce, salsa Fresca, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, cheddar jack cheese, green chile sauce, red chile sauce, lettuce, cotija, tomatillo dressing, serrano peppers and lime.
My go-to is black beans, cilantro lime rice, cheddar jack cheese and pico de gallo inside the burrito, served wet with green tomatillo sauce and more cheese on top. Lime and sour cream on the side is also crucial!
Once they make your item, they put it through a little heater that warms everything up just right, before adding on the cold items like lettuce, sour cream and guacamole.
You honestly can’t beat the serving sizes. When you want a massive burrito the size of your face, encompassed in a warm, homemade tortilla, Cafe Rio is the place to go.
Have you ever tried this Mexican food chain? Let me know in the comments!