We were greeted warmly as we skimmed the menu (available in a stand by the door). Once we settled on what we wanted, we placed our order with a cashier, filled our drinks, and selected a table. I was thrilled to find that the water was served in a pitcher next to the soda bar, filtered and iced.
On this visit, we picked out a pinneapple salsa, a black bean and corn salsa, and a “salsa suave” made from chipotle peppers.
The white corn chips had a coarse texture and left a vague flavor in the back of my mouth. The pineapple salsa was made with chopped fresh pineapple, onion, tomatoes, corn, cilantro, and peppers. The pineapple juice meant that cup was partially filled with a watery sauce. The spiciness was about medium, building as you ate from a “not spicy at all” first bite to a “ooh, maybe spicy” realization a bit later.
The black bean and corn salsa contained many of the same ingredients as the pineapple salsa (onions, tomatoes, cilantro, corn) but the absence of the peppers meant this was a more mild sauce. The touch of lime gave it a bit of tang.
The hubby enjoyed the suave salsa, proclaiming it “very hot” with a slow burn.
As an alternative to salsa, I often like to just salt the chips. I was surprised to find that there were no salt shakers on the table, especially since these chips could have really used some.
Our food came up quickly. I had ordered the “Nudie Burrito” with chicken, black beans, and no sour cream (shown above). The chicken and beans were topped with shredded cheese and pico de gallo and piled over rice with a few decorative chips as garnish. The chicken was grilled and cubed, with distinctive char lines still visible and a clearly grilled flavor. The pice de gallo was on par with the salsas, fresh and tangy. The rice was a soft white rice and the cheese was very finely shredded, like the bagged cheese available at the supermarket. The entire dish was infused with a sharp limey tanginess which I found a bit off putting. The flavor had an odd huskiness to it that settled in the back of my throat and made the other flavors less appealing. I have a feeling this may be more a matter of personal taste than anything else.
My husband termed his Big Cali* Burrito with chicken straightforward and cleanly done. He liked that the grilling prevented the burrito from getting soggy and agreed that it was legitimately “California styled”.
They serve beer, wine, margaritas, and sangria. Their attentive service ensures you never have to worry about an empty glass and their patio, overlooking the lake, holds great promise for lingering once the weather warms up.
The food is not my preferred style of Mexican but the staff’s awesome attitude and their friendliness to groups ensures that I will back on at least a semi-regular basis.
Total for the meal: $19.41 (Included two burritos and one soft drink).
I will forever find it hilarious when California is referred to as “Cali”. This seems to be a uniquely southern thing as I hadn’t ever heard it before I moved out here.
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