I know, I'm the only person in the whole wide world who doesn't LOVE and pine away for Cafe Rio. When last in Salt Lake City, Whitney, who would sell her first, second, and last born child to eat there, made us go to said dreaded restaurant. Not once, but TWICE. Two times the aggravation and assault on the ears, senses and taste buds! Well, it's not horrible food, (unless you make the mistake of ordering the fish taco, which sounded good on the sign and I love fish so in my ignorance thought it sounded good. Note: to those of you thinking "who orders a fish taco?" and "you got what you deserved," let me explain myself. I always watch the food channel, why I don't know because 1-it makes me hungry, and 2- the fish tacos people are having food conniptions over look sooo yummy, but they don't exist. They never seem to materialize, no matter where I try to find them. On the Cafe Rio sign it said fresh fish with coleslaw...NOT! The fish was not fresh and it was salmon. I could stay home and get salmon! SALMON is the only freaking fish they have in Canada! And coleslaw? This is the same dang lettuce you shovel on everything else in here, dag nab it, who are you trying to kid???!!!)
Back to why I hate Cafe Rio...
First of all you have to stand in line for an entire lifetime. To be fair, the first trip wasn't as bad because it was 2:30 in the afternoon and the "lunch crowd" had thinned considerably, so our wait wasn't too long, but long enough for me to read the menu and come up with fish taco. Actually, I am going to forget about the first trip, I have sort of blocked it out- it was a disaster...so I am going to give you an account of the second trip into hell on earth.
We waited just inside the door at the back of the line for literally 45 minutes. It wasn't too bad because we didn't have any hungry children to entertain (can you imagine???!!!) I was lucky enough to have my sis in law and Paige with me so the time passed by quite nicely. BUT 45 MINUTES? for this abuse???
The lady behind the glass that I am too short to see over says "Ihepya?"
I cleverly deduce that this must be where I give my order because you have to begin somewhere and this is as good a place as any. Because I took 2 years of Jr. Highschool Spanish, I will now translate for you. Ihepya translated means "good evening, I am sorry for the long wait, but Id be pleased as punch to take your order now." Isn't it funny how such a short word in a foreign language translates? And vise versa: In Japanese, domo arigato gozimass (sp?)translates to "thanks". Awe the intricacies and nuances of human verbal interactions. The art of communication! a pox on ....I digress.
Well after 45 minutes I still know only one thing...no fish taco. I don't know what I want because it all looks the same to me. Burrito, enchilada, casadilla, tostada... it all looks like a pile of lettuce.
Me-"I'll have the taco salad please." Why confuse the lady- it's all taco salad.
BLAM- tortilla slammed in a tin foil bowl. Now comes the hard part.
Taco Nazi-"BACAPINO????" Dang-I got nuthin! I rise up on my tippy toes as high as I can and peer over the wall, hoping to maybe SEE what she's saying. She has her dripping spoon clutched tightly in her hand and I know if I don't say something in the next 1.4 seconds she's going to hit me with it. I search my brain trying to remember my 2 years of Jr. High Spanish but for the life of me, I can't recall bacapino. I do know that sometimes the "N" in pronounced ENYAY. Back-o pinyo? that can't be right. Biblioteca? Nope- that means library. Not entirely sure, but I don't think that's on the menu. I look at Paige for help. PPFFF! she's 5 foot tall, she can't even begin to see over the wall. I look desperately to the Nazi for a clue and she yells it even louder. OOOOH the volume helps!!! Black or pinto! "Black please." BLAM! drippy black beans are slammed onto the tortilla and then she says"rize?"
Me -Pardon me? (this is getting to be a habit)
Nazi- "RIZE?" Again with the volume- They must think I'm deaf. There are 400 people in there and it is kind of hard to hear. Rize- I comply- tip toes- not much help but the spoon is shaking in her hand so I figure what difference does it make, it's some kind of food and it's probably ok so I mutter yes please.
Balm- rice it hurled unceremoniously on top of the now runny gooey black mass. OHHHH, RICE! She glares at me, shoves my salad down the line and I am onto the next nazi. Darn it, I was just starting to
understand her. We had something going. A pithy conversation, she and
I. Oh well, I am nothing but resilient, so I move down the line,
girding my loins for the next test.
Nazi-"meed?" Shoot. One word, this should be easy.
Me- "pardon me?"
Nazi-"MEEEEED!" Again with the yelling and again with the tip toes. There are pans of "stuff" and her claw is racing around over the top of them. Hmmmmmm .I eek out "yes please?"
Nazi with one very angry eyebrow-" whakinemeedyowand??"
Think Carol- what's in a taco salad? Taco- meat MEED! CHICKEN!! I want chicken. I am very proud of myself now, but it doesn't last for long.
Second nazi proceeds with a string of totally illegible ingredients, one of which is sheese. You said it lady, SHEEEESH! Wait no I hate sheese, no sheese! Leedus? Not into temptation? yes please. Note: The amount of lettuce they hurl on your salad, taco, or enchilada is directionally proportionate to the size of your head and shoulders- how they know that size is beyond me because you are by now cowering behind the glass wall mumbling please, for the love of all that is holy, just put on what ever you would eat. Whitney has given me orders that she wants shredded lettuce, not chopped.......Yeah that's not going to happen- you're getting whatever the heck kind of leedus the nazi gives you, girlfriend!! I come away with salsa and who the heck knows what else but I am adamant that I want those little strips of hard taco shells on top of this mess. Who says there are not miracles in the last days? I tell her to put the hard little taco strips on top please. She does! I am cooking with gas now- I've got this mastered!! "dresin?" Pride goeth before the fall. Oh what fresh hell is this?
I fall back on my regular- "Pardon me?" "DRESIN?" as in you dumb, deaf ignorant gringo, Dresin DRESIN!!!! Salad dressing! Yes please. One eyebrow. WHHHHHHakine? OH. Whitney has given me very strick orders- Lime cilantro dressing. That's the part that makes all this eatable! Me-"Lime cilantro please." bang bam slam in the bag, pay your pesos and we are OUTTA HERE!!!!
I am wondering how my Canadian husband got through that gauntlet so unscathed. I ask him how he managed this. "I don't care what they are saying I just tell them what I want." SIGH. Well that might have been good to know an hour ago!!!
So we get home, through 2 feet of slush and snow and miles of traffic, with our piles of soggy lettuce, with who the heck knows what's under it, but hey, I got the hard little taco strips on top so I am deliriously happy, ecstatic beyond belief so get ready to go into gastronomic Nirvana people!!!! and we discover to our utter displeasure and dismay ust h(slight understatement) they have NOT given us lime cilantro dressing. Instead we have some oil on the top, dark green glop on the bottom goo that has congealed and doesn't smell very nice, and Whitney is furious. That's the best paaaaart, she wails . Yeah, I know- that's what makes the lettuce taste good. I refuse to go back. It is snowing and has been snowing for 3 days. I will not go back there for that abuse a third time. I look at the green crud and think to myself just pour it on, close your eyes and eat it! My sister in law, who is the kindest soul on the planet takes Whitney back to hell and retrieves the correct dressing. Just how they did that is still a mystery and will forever be a mystery to me. Just one of those things that you have to take on faith. I know they gave me the WRONG dressing to spite my ignorant, spanish illiterate self.
I do NOT heart Cafe Rio!!!! I could have gone to Cowboy Grub and had a lovely scone with honey and butter! Hey, maybe they have hooneyantbadder at Cafe Rio and I could have that on a tortilla.
I'll suggest that nestime I am drug to that place. I got news for ya.... NEVER AGAIN!!!!