My niece, who is a restaurant expert in her own right, knows that I am constantly on the quest to find authentic Mexican, but more specifically Mayan, cuisine, in Winnipeg.
Not only am I drawn to the clean, fresh flavours of this healthy way of eating but the tastes transport me (via my imagination) to summer time or, as I consider myself blessed to be able to say, my annual sojourn to the Yucatan peninsula. So when she told me that a really great, little Mexican restaurant had opened on west Portage, I had to put it on my "must try" list.
When we pulled up, I thought that we must have come to the wrong address because from the outside, I thought it was a sub spot. It definitely has a "fast food" look to the place. And then I thought, well why not, as tacos and burritos are fast food, meant to be consumed like a hamburger on the run or for a quick meal. They even had our favourite brand of Mexican fruit soft drinks.
The pair of fish tacos that I chose was quite petite as compared to my husband’s hearty burrito. In three chomps I was done and yet the portion size is consistent with our times in the Yucatan. With most meals a little package of the same sized corn tortillas will come to the table so that you can scoop up from your plate and blend the flavours with every taste. Each bite of the taco, sparkled with cilantro, shredded lettuce, crunchy cabbage, queso fresco (which I didn’t even know that you could purchase in Manitoba), a well-prepared pico de gallo and one of my favourite tastes in all the world: pickerel. I was one happy camper.
But then to my husband’s chagrin, I started eyeing up his burrito. Everything the taco had not been, the burrito was — hearty, substantial and bursting with chicken, rice, beans and shredded cheese. Once all of your selections are spooned into a customized bowl at the serving counter, it is then edged onto a whole wheat tortilla and folded together. But then (and I think this is the key), it gets put into the arms of a big, hot griddle to seal the edges and just begin the melding process of the ingredients.
So do not be surprised when you arrive at Burrito Splendido: yes, you have arrived at a "fast" food restaurant, but it is so much more.
Kathryne Grisim’s foodmusings.ca blog was named best local blog in Uptown Magazine’s Best of Winnipeg readers’ poll.