Rio Grande Tacos Y Salsas
1411 Isleta Blvd SW
We stayed at Explora in Albuquerque a little longer than our hosts, Jeremy and Bodhi, due to the fact that Bodhi needed a nap. By the time we left, we were starved. Warren said he wanted to eat Mexican food, so I turned to Urban Spoon for some advice. A place called Rio Grande Tacos y Salsa came up under "Talk of the Town." We just went for it since it was about 7 miles away from where we were. Little did we know that we'd end up across town, but we didn't care since we know that most of the good places are off the beaten path.
We liked that it looked small and we could tell it was going to be authentic right away. I worried that it might be cash only and we only had a few dollars. "Jiro has cash," Warren reminded me. (He brought along his $20 in savings to buy something on our trip.) I told Jiro that we might need to use his money, but that I would pay him back. Without missing a beat, he said, "You can borrow $3, but you'll have to pay me back $5."
Dang! Luckily when we got closer I noticed that they did accept credit cards.
It was a little past the normal lunch hour, so it wasn't very busy. We grabbed a table right away and the monkeys (Satchel, 8, and Jiro, 6) didn't bother waiting for the waitress before raiding the drink cooler next to our table.
Warren and Satchel decided to split a grapefruit Fresca, Jiro got his usual orange Juarito, and I went with a good ol' Diet Coke.
The waitress brought chips and a red and green salsa to the table along with some menus. We'd had a debate on the way over as to whether or not they would have cheese dip since most of the places we'd been to out West did not. Then warren through down the guantlet and said that we really should never order it anyway because it is bad for us.
I ignored his lecture and enthusiastically ordered the cheese dip as soon as I saw it in the menu. The kids were thrilled and immediately began hording chips until its arrival.
Unfortunately, it never came. English was not our Waitress' first language, so I guess there was a misunderstanding...much to (the cheese dip hating) Warren's delight.
Our disappointment was soon eclipsed by the arrival of everything else that we ordered. Although Warren got his usual tripa and lengua tacos, they came out looking very new and exciting. We loved the presentation with the grilled green onions. The tacos seemed tinier than usual, but he definitely had a good size serving.
I ordered a beef burrito with green chile sauce and although it doesn't look like much, it tasted fantastic. And spicy! I would have liked to have a side of rice and beans, but I may have inadvertantly ordered off of the a la carte menu. I ate my weight in chips and salsa (before Jiro confiscated the basket) so I was ok.
When it came time to order, Satchel knew what he wanted right away--beef soup. That kid loves soup! He's gotten something similar at Caminos de Michoacan but with chicken. He was thrilled to see that Rio Grande's version came with rice and tortillas.
He attacked the huge chunks of meat and wrapped them up for easier eating.
We've recently discovered that Jiro is not really a fan of Mexican food. At a place in Milpitas, we lucked up a chicken taco in a hard shell with lots of cheese on top that he loved. They didn't have any hard tacos on the menu so I worked with the waitress to mold the tostada into something similar. Jiro wasn't thrilled that it was flat and that it had beans, but he did eventually eat some of it. (When he abandoned it, I ended up taking a bite and discovered that it was probably a little too spicy for him. I sure liked it though!)
Jiro ended up assisting Satchel with the vegetables and corn in his soup and even ate a few chunks of meat.
We couldn't leave without a visit to the bathroom, especially since the hallway was inexplicably lined with old records. (My guess was that it was decor from a previous tenant since we were technically on old Route 66.)
The bathroom was a very small one seater and there'd be no way to change a diaper in there.
Our bill was a little over $30, which was fine, but not nearly as cheap as you can get away with in Memphis. We all left full and happy with a nice doggie bag for our hosts' awesome dog, June, to enjoy.
(Before getting back in the car, we went shopping at the market next door which had tons of fresh produce and the biggest pinatas you've ever seen!)