Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cafe Rio.

So, aside from people and school, the only thing I miss about Utah is Cafe Rio. Oh, the sweet pork salads are sheer bliss. There was a Costa Vida thirty minutes away here in Portland, but it closed a few months ago as a victim of this economy. This upset me.

In order to remedy this loss, I decided I needed to figure out how to make it. And since you either love Cafe Rio or have never had it before, I thought I should share my findings with you, dear readers, to experiment on your own if you, like me, are far away from Utah.

Sweet Pork
I marinated a 2 lb. pork roast overnight in a large Ziploc bag with ¾ c brown sugar, 16 oz Coca Cola, 1 small can of green chiles, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 c tomatillo sauce (you could substitute green taco sauce), and 2 Tbsp of Worcestershire (because I add this to everything). (I just found a couple other recipes online that added chile powder, if you want some more heat, do that.)

Then I pressure cooked the meat and marinade (with top piece rattling) for 40 min (if you're of the patient variety, or the kind who is cool enough to wake up early in the morning to set up a crock pot, go for it.) Then, take the meat out and shred it.

To the marinade, I added 1 tsp corn starch paste, and ½ can enchilada sauce, heated to just before the boiling point and blended with a submersion blender and then added the shredded meat back in.

How easy was that?!

Cilantro Lime Rice
My favorite part of Cafe Rio is the rice. This is pretty close.
Standard rice fixings, 1 cup brown rice, 2 cups chicken broth, 2 Tbsp butter, then I tossed in the the white part of 3 green onions minced, 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice and 1 tsp cumin. After it did its cooking business, I added about 2 Tbsp of finely minced cilantro and the green parts of the scallions with 1/4 cup tomatillo sauce and fluffed up the rice.

Black Beans
Um for simplicity's sake, just take 2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed and add it to a pan after you've sauteed 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil and 2-3 cloves of garlic minced, then add a little bit of water or chicken broth and a 2 tsp of cumin.

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
I Sandra Lee-ed this too, (but I was sober,) mainly because who has time to make a million things from scratch like Cafe Rio? I took a jar of Trader Joe's ranch dressing and added two diced large tomatillos, one clove of garlic, and half a bunch of cilantro, and the juice of one lime. Use the handy submersion blender again and you've got deliciousness.

Throw in the tortillas that Costco sells that you cook yourself, lettuce and guacamole and you've got a pretty close facsimile of Cafe Rio. Go do it.

***Edited: After eating leftovers for lunch, I've discovered that I would make more rice and beans for the amount of meat the 2 pound roast made.


Britt said...

Bless you, Molly.

whitney allison said...

OR, you could just come visit. I'll buy you the biggest salad they've got.

Birgitte said...

5 months later---- I think I'm going to the store now to buy some Coke :). Not for my addiction no... If it's good, maybe I'll share some with you!