Monday, March 02, 2009

Saturday is a special day

This weekend I set out to recreate Café Rio’s sweet shredded pork and cilantro-lime rice, and thanks to this recipe and this recipe, I came pretty close. Hooray for Google!

2 to 2½ pounds pork loin
3 cans regular Coke
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 cup water
1 can diced green chilies
1 can green enchilada sauce

With the least amount of touching possible, rinse the pork (ew). Trim the fatty and sinewy pieces off (I almost threw up). Put it in a heavy-duty Ziploc with a can and a half of Coke and ¼ cup brown sugar to marinate. We put the bag inside of a bowl and set it in the fridge overnight.

Next morning: Transfer the raw pork to your slow-cooker along with ½ can of Coke, ¼ cup water, and a dash of garlic salt. Make your husband discard the filthy marinade.

Cook on low for 6 hours, then remove the pork and shred it up. Dump out the leftover juices. Blenderize the enchilada sauce, chilies, ½ can Coke and the remaining brown sugar (1 cup) and add it all back into the slow cooker for another 2 hours on low. Tamp down the shredded meat so as much of it as possible is covered with the liquid.

Prepare 3 cups cooked rice (add a teaspoon of lime juice into the water for the cooking process).
Combine 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro into separate container. Using some sort of utensil, pound the cilantro to pieces so that it really gets ground into the mixture. Slowly add it to the rice as you fluff. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I just now realized that’s two TEASPOONS of sugar. Our rice definitely had two tablespoons of sugar in it.)

1 cup Herdez Salsa Verde (it’s a tomatillo sauce, and we were able to find it at our Safeway)
½ cup ranch dressing

The original recipe called for equal parts of each, but we found the ranch a little overpowering. Also, to true Café Rio fans – I didn’t set out to make the sweet green sauce they pour all over the burrito to make it “Enchilada Style”, I wanted to make something similar to the creamy tomatillo sauce they serve on the side. This is a little spicier than that other stuff, but still good.

We threw in some black beans and combined the elements into burritos, but it would also be amazing in a salad. The general idea is that the pork is delicious, and it smells delicious, and when you eat it it makes you full. So, really, it’ll be an overall great experience for everyone involved.DO IT NOW.


…After typing the words “Grand Finale”, I can’t not tell this story. My family and I drove the Al-Can highway when I was 8 years old. From Anchorage, Alaska to Stafford, Virginia, my dad led our procession in his old red Dodge Ram with a canoe on top, pulling our pop-up tent trailer. My mom followed close behind him with all the kids packed into the suburban pulling the horse trailer. We communicated by CB radio and made our home in a different fairground each night so that our horse, Fancy, could stretch her legs in an arena after 10 hours of cramped standing. We’d all pitch in to set up camp, eat some form of hot dog creation for dinner, then we’d settle in to our beds for the evening. And each night without fail, when the lights were out and my mom would try to discreetly remove her bra from underneath her T-shirt, my dad would draw attention to the fact by announcing to everyone, “It’s the grrrrraaaand finaaaaaaleeee!”

Sorry, mom. But aren’t you proud that I spent my entire Saturday cooking?


  1. I so am getting Cafe Rio for lunch now!!

  2. i went to a party + someone brought this dip + i swear it's the closest thing i've had to the cafe rio dressing so far:

    1 1/3 c. Sour cream
    ¾ c. Mayonnaise
    ½ bunch Cilantro chopped
    1 package Ranch dressing mix
    4 tbsp. Salsa verde (green salsa)
    2 cloves Garlic
    1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional)
    Juice of one lime
    milk to thin it Out

  3. Perhaps the best part of this entire scenario, besides the graaand finaaale of course, is that we can eat like 12 burritos cafe rio style for the cost of 2!!! If you happen to be a queer bait, you could also substitute caffeine free coke, but you will not get the buzz that accompanies ever so exciting Cafe Rio experience.

  4. OH MY GOODNESS!!! My mouth is watering - I've only experienced the Cafe Rio pork once (we don't have it up here), but OH MY I NEED it right now!!! Thank you for this.

  5. i'm making this. soon. and i'm laughing to hard to decide when. . .

  6. Good going "Pioneer Couple"! Sounds delish! Now I must try this...maybe with some helloova! and this isnt really gramma j, just didnt want to take time to change it.

  7. ...or you could just go to Cafe Rio and buy it, then do something fun on your entire day off instead. Oh yeah, you don't have a Cafe Rio.

  8. As they say in 1926: "That's Rich!"

  9. I have heard that Cafe Rio is a yummy place to time I venture to the states, I'll have to find one.