Solely based on convenience and my craving for mexican food (on a daily basis), we decided to run across the street to Salsa del Rio for lunch today. Their breakfast burritos were a big hit a few months ago, and since then we have avoided going there mostly because our expanding waistlines and growing asses were telling us not to. There had to be an intervention. But you can’t deny yourself all of the pleasures in life, right?
We stopped in for lunch, meeting a small crowd that was finishing their delicious meals and heading out the door. The restaurant is small and bright, with a full page of windows and a glimpse into the kitchen where they are preparing everything upon order. We were welcomed by Phoebe, the owner, as we normally are, followed by a compliment or thoughtful comment. (Nothing greases your patrons like a good compliment, it immediately makes me feel like ordering a $4 beer instead of drinking “ugherr, I’ll just stick with ice water”.) We were handed a basket of chips and salsa and a menu to peruse, and there is no better way to start off the meal.
Deciding to be adventurous with the rest of the menu beyond the breakfast burritos, I anchored on the Barbacoa Brisket Burrito. I already knew the breakfast burrito would be steaming hot, full of eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes, oozing with cheese and cooled with sour cream. Alas, my bet paid off. Within a few minutes, I was handed the best decision I had made all day long. With a foundation of beef brisket, they built a dreamy tower of pinto beans, salsa verde, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. Then they wrapped it with love and tortilla and seared it on the grill. You know when you taste something that was just prepped and cooked? Like the tomatoes are almost still chilled from being in the fridge only to be taken out upon your request? That is what I received held together in paper on a plate I could only assume was an heirloom from Phoebe’s grandmothers kitchen.
To top it off (literally), I asked if they had hot salsa. They provide you will the “everyone can handle this” variety, and green tomatillo as well, but I need something that almost makes me beg them to stop the burn. A moment later, Phoebe arrived with “baby wipe” salsa, description left to the imaginatively-inclined. Without the sour cream and fresh tomatoes, it’s possible I would’ve cried. A very happy cry of joy and delight and a little bit of “fuck, I’m going to want to eat this every day for the next two months”.
But, it was at this point that my lovely roller coaster ride comes to a screeching halt when I make the same request I do every time I walk in there, “Do you have horchata today?” This sweet, milky beverage with a hint of cinnamon is rice water almost always mixed with a secret family recipe. But of course, Phoebe responded “Umm, no, not today” knowing that her retort would be met with upheaval of tables and chairs around me. We exchanged dueling glances (hers much nicer than mine, and mine partially clouded by tender, beef brisket) and we both knew I’d be back tomorrow to ask the same question. And order another Barbacoa Burrito.
|previously- coveted breakfast burrito|
|Hereby referred to as Salsa del Rio Game Changer|