Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cafe Rio Copy Cat Recipe

6 large Tortillas
Shredded cheese, Mexican blend
Cafe Rio Rice (see below)
Cafe Rio Pinto Beans (see below)
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork (see below)
Lettuce (NOT iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)
Diced tomato, onion, and cilantro (pico de gallo)
Guacamole (see below)
Sour cream
Tortilla Strips (see below)
Cotija cheese, crumbled (or you can use Parmesan)
Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch (see below)

 Cilantro Lime Rice
1 c. uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Pinto Beans
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. 

Cilantro Lime Dressing
1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe)
2 tomatillos (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them)
½ bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno (Use the seeds too if you like it spicy. You could substitute a few drops of green Tabasco for the jalapeno.)Use a food processor and blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Sweet Pork
(I love the pork but in the picture I used the beef that I make for the Mexican tacos.  It was awesome)
2 pounds pork (we like to use boneless pork ribs)
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chilies
3/4 can red enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty Ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.

Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.

In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.

Put shredded pork and sauce in crock pot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!

3 avocados
Red onion, chopped (about 1/4 c.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (or to taste)
1 large ripe garden tomato (or 2 smaller tomatoes), diced
juice of 1 lime
4-5 shakes green Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Pit avocados and mash in a bowl. If you like your guacamole kind of chunky (that's how we like it), coarsely chop with the side of a fork instead of using the fork to mash it straight down. Carefully stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed. That's it!

Tortilla Strips
Cafe Rio uses corn tortillas for this but I prefer flour tortillas.  Which ever you like they will work great.  Cut your tortilla in 1/4 inch strips and fry in canola or vegetable oil until light brown and crispy.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain excess oil.  Sprinkle immediately with a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

Here is how to put it together.  I buy fresh tortillas that are not cooked yet but you can use your favorite flour tortilla. I quickly cook the tortillas in a skillet on the stove.  Then lay the tortillas on a baking sheet (or if you want to be just like Cafe Rio you can buy the aluminum pans at the store) and sprinkle with cheese.  Put into a 375 degree oven until the cheese melts.  Add the beans, rice and pork.

Then add the lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, tortilla strips, Parmesan cheese and some cilantro leaves.  Serve with the dressing.


  1. mmm... one of my favorites :o) The recipe I have used is Dr. Pepper. I'll have to try the coke. Also the beans look really good.

  2. Your pork recipe sounds better than the original, the sugar in it always turns me off,however my family loves their pork. I will refrain what I think of it. I make one that is much better than theirs is. Cafe Rio used to call it Yucatan pork until I complain that that was so wrong because was so far from the pork made in the Yucatan. I love their most of their food even though I feel my own food is better and my friends attest to this. If I told you what they actually put in their pork you would be sick as I am I am sure. I do not mean any disrespect to Cafe Rio I just happens to be a very critical Mexican that loves food. Thank you for sharing. PS your blog is lovely, Maria

  3. ...I need to make enough for 100ppl for my sisters double baby shower I am throwing her this Saturday...

    I hope you check and reply to your blog posts frequently.


  4. I'm guessing 6 based on there being 6 tortillas at the top of the recipe...

  5. Forewarning... if you try to make the bean recipe it ends up SUPER salty and runny. Maybe half the recipe and double the beans and it will end up better?

  6. Frustrated with the bean recipe. It's not even close to Cafe Rio. :( Looks nothing like the picture. Tastes nothing like Cafe Rio.