My week of good food continued last night at Barrio with my stepdad, John. As I mentioned, John was in the ‘hood for business and very generously offered to take me out for dinner. I picked a spot right here in the Slope that I’ve walked by many times but have never experienced first-hand.
Barrio is sort of a Latin-fusion restaurant with festive music, bright colors, and exciting wall murals:
We sat at a table by the window, and if it had been a bit warmer, we could have opened the window right out to the sidewalk. Perfect for people-watching. The chips came immediately with two salsas. I was hungry, so this was a very exciting development.
The red salsa was my favorite because it was sweet. Maybe they used peppadew? Or maybe I just like to say/write peppadew …
Anyway, we housed those chips and got a second basket (of which we ate a significant portion as well, minus the leftovers that I took home). The second basket came along with some freshly mashed, chunky guacamole, on the house. It’s hard to beat free and fresh guacamole.
I also ordered one of the specialty cocktails — a “perfecto nestorindo” — because it had agave, fresh mango, and pineapple, and I’m a sucker for drinks with fresh fruit!
It was good, but it kind of tasted just like a regular old margarita. I should have gotten the strawberry mojito. Next time!
John and I split the sweet plantain and black bean empanadas (lightly fried with Oaxaca cheese and tomatillo salsa) for an appetizer. Obviously, any dish that contains sweet plantains and black beans is a given!
They were delicious, but I don’t think I need to tell you that.
I threw a little guac on top for fun. As I remarked to John, any time I can get sweet plantains, black beans, and avocado in the same bite, I’m a happy camper.
For his main dish, John ordered el plato del dia: sauteed shrimp enchilada with cilantro jalapeno pickled onion salad and achiote salsa, queso fresco, and crema nata.
I had a bite and it was delicious — that red salsa again!! Check out the beautiful ribbons of salsa and crema:
I went for the Yucatan shrimp with cilantro and jalapeno marinade, calamari coconut rice, and pickled onions:
A little spicy, very cilantro-y, and very fresh! The shrimp was perfectly charred:
And that coconut calamari rice! I tend to avoid white rice since it’s so nutritionally useless (it’s actually one thing that I feel ok letting go in the trash can, gasp!), but this rice was amaaaaaazing with the hint of coconut and the rings of calamari. I ate every single bite.
John and I decided we had room for dessert (because dessert goes to a different stomach, obviously). The waitress recommended the chocolate-crusted coconut cheesecake. Doesn’t that sound brilliant? But, cheesecake struck me as a little bit too heavy after the loaded meal, plus we were in the mood for something more “authentic.” Being that I’m on vacation and all, we chose the Borracho Tres Leches cake (fyi, borracho = drunk) with anejo tequila salsa and whipped “crema.” (I love how they just threw random Spanish words all over the menu.) The whipped crema turned out to be the leaning tower of crema. We watched it topple, and now you can, too:
Once the crema had settled on the side of the plate, I smushed it all back on top of the cake and cut it in half. John got me a spoon at the end so I could Olympic all the extra milk out of its misery. Finding a home for every last crumb applies to drips, too, you see.
So, it was a lovely meal that involved all of my favorite Latin food components and excellent company. I left stuffed, but not painfully so … which is a big accomplishment for me 😀 Thank you, John! (And mom, we were thinking of you the whole meal and ate extra in your honor. Wish you could have been there!)
What is your favorite Spanish/Mexican/Latin food item?
P.S. I completely forgot to add, look what came with the bill!
Mexican “gelt”! It was good chocolate, too 🙂