It been burrito week for me. I was invited to try 3 restaurants and they are all in the same fresh Mexican category. They’re all in a similar price range too and all have locations in Utah (Weber County, specifically).
Cafe Rio’s New Spicy Green Chili Pork
First I tried Cafe Rio‘s new spicy green chili pork burrito at the Bountiful, Utah location that is just off the freeway on 500 West. Cafe Rio just launched the new Spicy Green Chile Pork and a hot habanero sauce. They have been working on these new products for a few years and this is rare, they usually don’t introduce new products. They are however introducing a new look – all new restaurants will have the new decor and the older ones will be updated.
Any new product Cafe Rio introduces has to blend with all of the other flavors and not alienate their current customers. I thought that the spicy pork tasted a lot like their other food and that they went too safe on this one. It was way too mild for me, even smothered in habanero sauce. I expected to at least have my eyes water and mouth burn. So if you’re already a fan and don’t want too much spice on your food, it’s something new to try. I like it more than sweet pork – which I find too sweet. One friend calls it candy burritos.
One fun element is their marketing campaign and ads which feature a woman named “Barbara Coa” who is not a fan of the new spicy pork. She wants everyone to “stand up for sweet pork” (or pork barbacoa). This is a really fun campaign and some people think Barbara is a real person who goes around crashing Cafe Rio appearances and ads with her own opinion. Check out more at standup4sweet.org.
- Cafe Rio doesn’t have freezers or microwaves in any of its restaurants and uses only fresh ingredients in every meal.
- Each restaurant is up early every morning, hand-squeezing over 1000 limes per day, hand- scooping fresh avocados, and making secret recipes from scratch.
- Cafe Rio’s signature sauces, salad dressings, and desserts are made by hand every day. Sauces cook for hours.
- Every tortilla is handmade fresh in the restaurant.
SPICY PORK FACTS:
- Spicy Green Chile pork Launched in Utah June 11th, currently available only in Utah and Nevada
- Spicy pork slow simmered for 7+ hours every day, in a mixture of peppers and spices
- Cafe Rio has created a new spicy hot Habanero sauce, to accompany the Spicy Green Chile pork.
- Spicy Habanero hot sauce can be put on any meal
- Habanero Hot sauce is made fresh every morning with tomatillos, onions, peppers and habaneros
- Spicy Pork can be put into any meal
I give Cafe Rio the BEST DRINKS AWARD for their amazing limeade and strawberry lemonade. It’s one of the few restaurants where I order anything besides water. I also LOVE their key lime pie and flan, including that they are not a huge portion, but come in small pie tins. Delicious!
Cafe Rio Giveaway – Enter to Win 2 Free Meals
I have two Cafe Rio tshirts in size Large to give away. Each has a tag that you can cut off and redeem for a free meal! Just wear your tshirt to Cafe Rio. To enter comment below and let me know if you prefer SPICY or SWEET. The contest will end on Monday, August 15, 2016 at midnight. One winner gets both tshirts and coupons. The winner will be announced on August 16 on this blog and I’ll update this post to reflect the winner.
UPDATE: WINNER SELECTED, CONTEST ENDED
I selected a random number based on the total number of comments and that ended up being comment #1, Windy Olson. I will contact her to give her the prize. Thanks to everyone who entered!
Moe’s Southwest Grill Review
A few days later I went to Moe’s Southwest Grill in Clinton, Utah (their second Utah location- there’s one in Layton too, by Target) with my friends from Yelp. I loved that they have tofu, black olives, grilled onions, green peppers and grilled mushrooms! Plus, they are the only one of the places I reviewed that has a salsa bar. Oh yeah! I thought that the dressings and vegetables were amazing. Note: right now if you download their app you get 50 points and that earns you a free burrito. Not sure how long that lasts, so don’t wait!
The day after I visited Moe’s, I tried to win free burritos for a year by being one of the first 100 people in line when they opened. When I got in line I was on track to get it. After standing in line for a few hours other people cut in line and I missed getting free burritos for a year by 5 people. When I got in line I was about #90 so I stayed. About 20 minutes before they gave out the certificates, more people jumped in and that was it. I didn’t make it.
Moe’s does this with every grand opening. They need to get/enforce some rules to make it fair. Communication was non existent. I drove 20 minutes each way and waited in the hot sun for nothing. Please guys, take a queue from Lagoon and ban people from saving places in line:
If you love their salad dressing like I did you’ll die if you go to their website and see the calories. Go for the vinaigrette or plow the calories into dessert. I had a smothered burrito with rice and black beans. Loved it.
Moe’s gets the BEST SALSA BAR AND VEGGIES AWARD.
Sweeto Burrito Review
Sweeto Burrito just opened their Riverdale, Utah location, and I got invited to try it out with my blogging friends. It was the most fun of all of the events. I loved it and didn’t want to leave. We had some Utah foodies there and we enjoyed chatting about the food and hearing the story of how Sweeto Burrito got started, directly from the owner. I may have shed some tears. Short summary: he had a family to feed, his advertising agency went bust, so he turned his long time hobby of making burritos into a food truck and lived on the road on/off for a year. In the end he expanded and used his graphic design skills to create Sweeto Burrito into a franchise with locations all over the country. I could tell this was either really expensive design (check out the menu, the writing and naming of the entrees is killer) or this guy really knew what he was doing. I mean check out the menu board that has a video embedded in it!
This was definitely my favorite Mexican quick serve restaurant this week in terms of atmosphere and style. I also loved that they have brown rice! I forgot to get it but I wasn’t too sad because the white rice was so good. Their rice isn’t heavy but super fluffy and light. In fact, I want to learn how to do that at home. Unlike the other two restaurants I reviewed here, you do not see the ingredients in an assembly line in front of you. Instead, you put in your order and they bring it to your table.
A lot of the menu seemed really high calorie and I’m not just talking about the deep fried cheesecake burrito with cinnamon sugar and raspberry sauce! The inside was melty and warm, pure yumminess. However, I just can’t bring myself to eat that many calories, so I only had a few bites.They don’t have calories listed yet but as they get bigger they will. I’m a little bit afraid to know but by creating a rice bowl light on rice and heavy on beans and other low carb ingredients, I’ll happily be back.
Sweeto Burrito plans to put in a drive through in and get habanero salsa that actually has some heat in it (can’t wait). This location is close to my house so I’ll be back. I got a rice bowl and onion rings, plus tried the cheesecake burrito. I’d skip the onion rings next time (even though they came with fry sauce I just wasn’t a huge fan, they were not bad but not something I’d crave), and I’ll try a higher calorie burrito when there’s a day I can spare the extra calories. They look truly delicious, I’m just a little bit afraid.
BEST SMOKED CHICKEN AWARD + DECOR AWARD
Now if I could just get the
– Mint limeade from Cafe Rio (a long time favorite, strawberry limeade too and the key lime pie)
– Veggies, salsa, steak, and tofu from Moe’s
– Smoked chicken, brown rice and hotter habanero salsa from Sweeto
I’d have the perfect burrito (for me).
Note (though it doesn’t change my opinion) that these meals were comped. This was an unusual week. I put on events like this and attend them sometimes, but somehow the burrito planet aligned and I got to try 3. I’ll have do a radical redirect and eat Thai or something next week. I’ll be back I just need to take a breather.