Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Real Deal

Cafe Rio. If you've lived in, near, or have visited Utah in the last, well, five years, I'm pretty sure you've heard good things about Cafe Rio. It's yummy!

Well, as poor students and then as new parents, we don't get to go here very often. But they serve this tasty chicken salad we just can't live without, no matter how poor. Start with a fluffy, fresh tortilla encrusted with melted cheese. Then layer lettuce, cheese, tortilla strips, your favorite veggies, and shredded seasoned chicken on top of a bed of rice and black beans, top with creamy cilantro lime dressing, pico, and guac and you have heaven on an aluminum platter.

In between our merely bi-annual visits to this local mecca, we created our own imitation salad and eat it at home on a weekly basis. Our substandard salad consists of a layer of Zatarrain's Red Beans and Rice, shredded taco-seasoned chicken, and a close second to Cafe Rio's house dressing, Seven Seas Green Goddess dressing. Add to that a pre-packaged tortilla, shredded cheese, and a bed of lettuce. It's not quite as elaborate or delicious, but it does a pretty good job of satisfying our need to experience a taste of the royalty that is Cafe Rio.

Well today we took Chris's secretary, Tiffany, to lunch so he could show his appreciation for all she does. We took her to Cafe Rio. It was time see how close our knock-off is to the real deal and identify what adjustments we need to make to get closer to perfection. Well, of course my salad was delicious, but I realized that our salad at home is nothing like the real thing...not even close. In fact, it doesn't taste anything like the real thing. I guess this is a good thing because our homemade salad is tasty and affordable and since it is such a different flavor we can still eat it at home without being disappointed that it's close but not close enough to the real thing.

The moral of the story is that we failed miserably to recreate this salad, but at the same time, we can still enjoy our homemade salad for two more years until we are again due for a visit to Cafe Rio!

Some food for thought: Here's a random blog with some copy-cat Cafe Rio recipes; here's a thorough restaurant review.

1 comment:

Stacie said...

Denver has a pretty good knock-off called Costa Vida. It's a good substitute if you live far away. They also have the option to buy smaller portion sizes, a must for me.

Long live Cafe Rio!